What’s up, buttercup?

I promised to get back into blogging this year, so how about a quick recap?

Abigail is four years old. She attends Parents’ Day Out at our church two mornings a week and dance (combination ballet & tap) class on Friday mornings. We started the school year doing preschool at home but – full honesty – I haven’t pushed her with academics nearly as much as I did her brother and sister. What can I say? Chris swears she’s the last baby and it just all feels so different with her.  She got glasses a few months ago, and our eye doctor diagnosed her with amblyopia – so she has to wear an eye patch a few hours each day to correct it. She’s in speech therapy for help with those adorable lispy mistakes she makes; I’m so proud of her progress but it’s always a little bittersweet when a kid leaves behind those babyisms and starts talking like a grown-up. She’s funny and tender and still a kid who’s smiley 99% of the time.

Susannah will be turning seven in a few days. She’s rocking the first grade at her Montessori school. She has lost a whole bunch of teeth – I have lost count and I didn’t write down every time she lost one. This seems like something a mom should keep track of. – and she always pulls them out by herself. She joined the Girl Scouts this year and is a Daisy in her school troop. (She’s selling cookies this week, if you need a Thin Mint fix. Just call me!) At church, she portrayed Mary in the Christmas pageant and she loves singing in the choir.

Jonas is nine (turning ten in February) and in fifth grade. He’s tall (Dad’s genes) and wears glasses (Mom’s genes) and such a smart young guy. He’s playing basketball this winter and played soccer in the fall. He’s also gotten a little more aware of Internet privacy, so sometimes he asks me not to put things on Facebook – I have a feeling that will extend to the blog, too.

Chris is happily practicing general surgery and really enjoys working with his partners. In addition to his dream car – the Mustang he bought in 2014 – in 2015, he got his dream truck! It’s a Ford F-150 something-or-other with a bunch of souped-up features that make him very happy (and that I don’t ever remember!)

And I’m making some changes. I’ve retired as a La Leche League Leader; even though I enjoy working with moms and babies, it had become difficult to continue doing volunteer work without much support. Plus, I need to make some margin in my time to add new things… like writing a book.

I’ve wanted to write a novel for my entire adult life, and most of my childhood, too. But I’ve always let fear hold me back – fear of failing. Fear that I couldn’t really write a long-form story that stays engaging and coherent. Fear that my ideas were too trite, too cliche, too tropey. Fear that people would read my stories and hate them – read my stories and hate me. So I just never did it. This summer I had a turning point about my fears, but that’s a post for another day; this fall I decided to join thousands of other participants crazy enough to try to write the first 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

I spent November doing NaNoWriMo and churned out 51,638 words of the first draft of my first novel. In December added another 11,000 words and then gave my (terrible, awful, okay maybe there are a few redeeming bits) baby to three trusted beta readers. Their feedback is coming in now, and I’m working through the wisdom in The Story Grid – so I have a plan for January to be a month of rewriting and new writing.

There are still several more steps before this book sees the light of a public day. Another round of beta readers, and the edits they suggest. Then querying agents, and probably getting a bunch of rejections, and maybe one acceptance. Then shopping the novel to publishers, and getting a bunch of rejections, and maybe (it only takes one!) a contract offer. And then – if all the stars align – maybe someday you’ll be able to find my book at your favorite bookstore or online retailer.

So tell me, chickadees, what’s new with you?

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

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