Author Life Month 2016

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This February, authors around the internet celebrated #AuthorLifeMonth, using the hashtag and some suggested photo prompts to share an inside look at their books and writing life. My own writing life kept me from being able to participate every single day, but here's a complete round-up of photos that I included, and all the days that I missed, too.

The day to day habits of writing life are so mundane--literally one word at a time--it's easy to get caught in the minutiae and trick yourself into thinking you haven't come very far. This challenge was not only a fun way to connect with other readers and writers, but offered me some perspective. I have come a long way--and not just in my publishing career--but in my life.

Stories have always been my way of relating to people and understanding the world. My search for stories has taken me to unexpected places, introduced me to people I never would have met, and challenged me to grow in ways that I didn't think possible. Stories have been my VIP pass to life, in a way that Chuck Palahniuk described so well at the 2010 Muse and The Marketplace Conference:

"From now on, I'm going to write at parties. Instead of using writing as an excuse not to go out, I'm going to use writing as an excuse to go out. I'm going to go out and I'm going to go to every party and I'm going to go to every social occasion--and when people say funny, clever things I'm going to go in the bathroom and write them down. And I'm going to use writing as an excuse to be in the world and enjoy my life, instead of an excuse to hide out and be alone... That's still my philosophy. The process itself has to be its own reward. It has to be more fun than anything else you could be doing at that moment. Or you should be doing that other thing."

I don't need an excuse anymore.

I'm here have a good time.