Sunday Morning Tea: Dec 11, 2022

cup of tea on a saucer on wood table next to a tag that says "Sunday Morning Tea"

Good Sunday morning and welcome to my front porch for Sunday Morning Tea!

For the uninitiated, Sunday Morning Tea is my virtual writing salon, where we talk about our writing goals and projects while sipping on a hot cuppa tea!

The holidays are upon us, so today I’m drinking Harney & Sons Holiday Spiced Black Tea (not an affiliate link) with citrus and cinnamon. It’s actually not my favorite tea blend, but it does make the house smell like Christmas, so I can’t complain.

Mug that says "All I Want For Christmas Is You!" sitting on table in front of a chirstmas tree
Photo by Any Lane on

How are your holiday plans coming along?

Me? I haven’t thought much about Christmas. I’ve been too busy writing, which is saying a lot given that two Christmases ago, I was writing absolutely nothing.

Currently, I’m publishing my Christmas wedding story on Kindle Vella, editing each new episode as I go. I talked about this briefly in a previous post, but I came to an epiphany recently that looking at the big picture—the overall project, completing it, taking the next steps to getting it published, etc.—often overwhelms me, and I fall into this self-sabotage routine in which I talk myself out of writing the story, I convince myself that I can’t go the distance to publishing it, and I cringe at poorly written early drafts and then try to justify that I’m really not that good and so it’s okay to stop writing.

It’s why I’ve never been able to complete a NaNoWriMo project because the 1700 words a day intimidates me out of simply writing one, two, three words or more. It’s led to so many bouts of writer’s block. It’s the reason why I have more WIPs than finished projects, some so old that I don’t even remember what the plot outline was.

This year most of all I’ve felt stunted, unaccomplished, and there was a period when I debated whether to keep my blog because I wasn’t sure if it was actually helping me to achieve my writing goals. I do more writing online than I do offline, and it made me wonder how I could be a successful writer that way. Why would anyone have the incentive to buy my books if all of my content is available for free on my blog?

Of course, then that tiny little voice in the back of my head said, “What books, Nortina? What have you written?”

Well, I’ve written a lot! In fact, I’ve completed almost-novel-length stories many times—just look at my serials.

And then it hit me…

I can finish the big project. I just have to do it in bite-sized pieces. Take Waiting for the Day as an example. I originally began publishing it as a serial for 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans in December 2016 but ran out of steam at around Chapter ll. I wrote a few chapters over the spring but ultimately finished it in November 2017 as part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans. And even though it took me a year, I’m proud to say that I did it, and I did it by approaching it one chapter at a time rather than thinking about the overall story. Obviously, the climax is the wedding, but how does each character get there? That’s what I chose to focus on instead. And as a former English major who read plenty of books in the adult literary fiction genre throughout college, focusing on character development rather than plot comes very easy to me.

Granted, literary fiction is a niche genre, and not a lot of people enjoy reading it, but I still received high engagement on my posts, so I assume you guys liked it. 😉

But then I made the promise to publish it, and the self-sabotage routine began again, because then I had to edit it, and I kept looking at it as editing the overall story rather than taking it one chapter at a time as I did before. It scared me, and I eventually gave up.

I think it’s that instant gratification of being able to hit publish and allow people to read and enjoy my stories immediately that ultimately helps me to finish them, and it’s why the decision to publish Waiting on Vella, a platform built for writers of serialized stories, was the motivation I needed to finish editing it.

So what does this mean for the future of my blog and the future of my writing? Honestly, I don’t know. Because part of me still wants to take things offline so that I can give you a fresh new story in book format. But then I thought, how many people are actually reading my blog? I could probably still serialize a story online and then publish it officially at a later date without anyone ever noticing (Mom didn’t realize she’d read Waiting before until around episode 6).

And it’s not like it would be the exact same story. For example, I’ve edited so much already in Waiting—deleting entire chapters, reworking character arcs. Mitchell’s character, the groom, came off as a bit of a self-absorbed asshole originally, so of course I had to edit him. I do want people to like him.

Then another thought occurred to me. I could make “potential book” serials subscriber-only content. For instance, I’m making it a priority in 2023 to finish my longstanding WIP Love Poetry once and for all. If you’ve been following my blog since 2015, when I published the first of many drafts of this story for the April A to Z Challenge, would you like to be part of an exclusive group who gets to read the latest updates first?

I’m getting ahead of myself though, because I still need to finish Waiting before starting anything new. And I do have a new serial in the works for January that I intend to only publish on the blog because, well, it sounds a lot like a certain movie from the early 2000s starring Tom Hanks that we’ve all probably seen, so it’s not technically an original idea, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it fanfic.

We’ll see what the future holds, but it is my prayer that 2022 will be the last year that Nortina is known as the writer who doesn’t finish what she starts.


Do you have a project you’re hoping to finish before the year ends? Let’s continue to the conversation in the comments!


12 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Tea: Dec 11, 2022

  1. This is 100% me! It resonates so much. The first novel I ever finished (never published) took me 5 years to write. What’s worse is that it’s part of a story I began creating in my mind when I was only 17, and I didn’t finish the first book for it until I was in my 30’s. Then, I finished 3/4 of another book for it over 10 years ago and nothing else since.

    Finishing a book still feels like a major accomplishment. I can’t write when I’m not ‘feeling’ one of my stories. I end up hopping around from WIP to WIP following my fickle muse and praying I can get further in at least one of them, lol. So, I also have way more WIPs than completed stories.

    Editing one chapter at a time has also helped me. I didn’t start doing that until just the last couple of years when I found Grammarly. It’s such a daunting chore, even doing just one chapter, but it certainly helps tackle the process without completely burning me out or feeling way too overwhelming.

    I’m so glad I’m not the only pantser here, lol. I always feel like maybe that’s one of my downfalls, but I love it when my characters take me by surprise. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yeah, Grammarly is a godsend. I actually need to download it to my new computer so I can start using it on this current WIP.

      I know all too well what it’s like to have a story in your head for years before you actually write it down. It’s kind of weird because you’ve basically grown up, but your characters haven’t necessarily. So then, how do you still make it relevant for today’s readers but stay true to the original story? I’m going through that with another WIP. I definitely want to finish it, but I’m completely lost on how right now!

      Finishing a book absolutely is a major accomplishment! I recently saw a post on Facebook that talked about how amazing it is to write a whole book. Like, you created a whole world and characters from nothing but ether, caffeine, spite, and a sprinkling of carpal tunnel. I felt like that was directed at me, haha. But it absolutely does feel good to say you did it, even if no one ever reads it…although it would feel even better if people actually read it lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha-ha, Spite! I love that! It truly feels like that sometimes. I can honestly say that I’m glad I never finished my story way back then before I’d gained any experience to really hone my craft and learn so much more about writing and proper grammar. It would’ve been a tragic, hot mess. And when you love something that much, to see it turn out that way would be heartbreaking.

        I wrote a post about it once, about how I often feel like I’m still not qualified to write it as well as it needs to be written to do it justice because it’s been living inside of me for so long. Fortunately, it’s Low Fantasy, so the whole relevance to modern times doesn’t come into play for that one, but I totally get what you mean from other stories I’ve written in the past (read: before social media and touchscreens LOL). I’m sure we’ll both find a way to bring those particular stories current when we finally get around to finishing them. ❤


  2. Welcome to Kindle Vella, Nortina! I’m going to check your story out. I think I told you that I’ve been posting a story on there as well. It’s titled, Treasure.

    I published a novella last year, A Type of Hunger. Writing can be stressful so I work on my timetable, especially since I do have a day job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I’ve been following Treasure! I’m only on episode 5 or 6, I think, but I’ve been enjoying it so far. 😀

      Working on my timetable is something I definitely have to get better at doing. I’m still not as disciplined and organized as I would like to be, which often leads to late nights writing and no energy for my day job. Eventually I’ll find a happy balance.


      1. I know what you mean. I tend to submit an episode twice a week. My laptop died so that threw a wrench in everything because it’s just too much for me to proofread what I wrote and post an episode so I had to get a new laptop. And then I had an episode that took days to post so sometimes Vella is slow but most times it only takes a few hours. I’m up to Episode 27 and things have gotten spicier and have turned on their heads. I’m a pantser so I am organized but I don’t care for outlines and such. I keep those primarily in my head. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh, my characters change their minds, too, and I end up going with what they said.

        I meant to write that it’s too hard to proofread and post episodes using my phone so I have to use a laptop.

        I actually wrote this manuscript years ago so I also have to update it as I go along.

        Liked by 1 person

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