All my life I’ve been writing something–from something for the school paper in elementary school, emo poetry in high school (yes, I was that cliche), a news story for the paper I interned at, a movie review, or even a technical manual. You name it, I’ve probably written it.

But I always wanted more.

I wanted to be published. I wanted my name on the spine of a book on my shelf. I wanted to know the words between the covers were mine.

In August 2016, I finally achieved that dream when my debut novel, Virtue of Death, the first in the Earthbound Angels series, was released.

Thus followed two years of constant writing, projects, editing, and insanity. I had lost sight of my goals, fallen victim to the industry and the need to constantly push and put titles out at an alarming pace.

I broke down. I didn’t want to read. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t even want to support my friends who were out there trying their hardest to make a name for themselves. I wanted to hide in a hole and pretend publishing didn’t exist.

It took me to a dark place. I mean, how could I go from living my dream one minute to loathing the fact I’d crossed an item off my bucket list. Depression set in. I hated every word I wrote and second-guessed everything. I was merely floating, blindly following what I thought I should be doing with little regard to what this grueling pace was doing to my mental health, my family, my relationships.

I took some time off. I deleted my Facebook and Twitter profiles. I was just me for a bit.

After a while, the urge to write returned, despite the fact I thought it was dead and gone. But this time I made a decision. I was going to write for me, and only me. No chasing trends or hopping on whatever trope is hot right now. I was going to write what was in my soul to write. If it led me to a tear jerker one day and a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy the next, then so be it. Because I was going to be true to myself and true to my gift (or so everyone tells me it is, I’m still not so sure).

I can promise you that I’ll give you the best stories I can. I will give you fun characters who laugh, who love, who have faults, just like the rest of us. I can promise I will make you feel something–though no guarantees on what that emotion may be. But you know what, if you walk away from a book and don’t feel something then the author didn’t do their job. I want to do my job.

I will do it at my pace, so if I don’t put out a book every month, or hell, every year, please don’t write me off. It just means I’ve got something brewing, and I hope it’ll be worth the wait. For as much as I love getting to surpass the one goal I had for my life, to publish a book, I have to make sure that I don’t sacrifice my health or sanity in the process–because if I’m not at my best, I’m not writing at my best.