The #SummerFeels Experience: A Reflection Paper

It’s certainly not the first time I’d done this: I’d submitted my work for collections before. Some of them even got published. But none of those projects had ebook versions on AMAZON.

Now, after almost a month since launch, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’m part of this thing. It’s a pretty great thing. How the hell did I get here?!

I mean, I obviously volunteered. When the wonderful Kate Sebastian put out a call for submissions for summer love stories, I signed up for it because I hadn’t really written a love story for a year or so at that point. I wanted to challenge myself.

And boy was I challenged. Because while I did in fact have an outline, one side character didn’t care and kept mugging for attention.

ReadinginBetween_Lion King Overact
Dammit, Teo. Stop quoting Lion King! (photo by Matthew Murphy, from The Lion King tour)

Sure, you can argue I could’ve written about him instead. But with an established word count and the deadline looming, I didn’t really have time to do that. Especially with a character who’s such a wild card. So I pushed on with my original plot.

It was like giving birth to a cactus. The only thing that got me through the whole process was the rum Coke I fortunately had access to (because we have a mini-bar at home) and the support of my family—my siblings in particular, who kept checking on my progress and agreed to read my work as I crammed on D-Day. My brother was pretty good at calling me out (gently) when he caught me slacking off, and my sister was a superb sounding board. They even tried to stay up with me as I chased the deadline.

I wouldn’t have made the cutoff without them. I love my family for the support. And the alcohol.

ReadinginBetween_Sibs and Mom
Me with my sib squad and my Mom (who provided the necessary alcohol).

The writing/submitting experience alone taught me so much! Some of the things I’d learned:

  1. I really need to cultivate more discipline when it comes to writing my own work. When I work on projects for other people, I find it easy to work on a schedule. But for some reason, I can’t do that with my own work (I’d rather sleep or read other people’s books. LOL). I should’ve up come up with a stricter schedule.
  2. I need to find ways to get past the idea of failure. I have days—weeks even!—when I just get overwhelmed by setbacks. I start thinking I shouldn’t bother doing this because I’ll just let people down with my crappy work, and end up clinging to a bed or couch unable to touch my manuscript for at least two days. I should’ve pushed harder.
  3. I should have just let that side character go wild. I could’ve just taken out those sequences and put them in another story. That way, Teo wouldn’t have tried with all his might to take over the piece. Because apparently, my characters fight me when I try to make plans for them.

It’ll be difficult to translate this into action, because I’d already established habits I find hard to break. But I’ll definitely keep trying.

At this point, I’d like to thank not just my supportive family but also everyone in the Summer Feels group and my long-time friends. The Summer Feels gang didn’t just encourage each other, they also shared their progress and some tips to motivate the participants. My long-time friends cheered me on, reminding me that even if I didn’t believe I was any good, they certainly thought I had potential. They even shared my Summer Feels promotions (K, I’m especially grateful for your mad sharing skills).

I know I have a long way to go. I need to work harder on my romance/kilig writing (I’m a little rusty when it comes to that), and I definitely need to have a more efficient process! This experience taught me I was capable of surviving it. I’m super grateful for that, and I hope you guys keep reading.

Now on to the next projects (which include a prequel to “At the Bermuda Triangle”, a collection of my poetry, and more stories from the Bermudaverse)!

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