Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

Tag Archives: I’m going on an adventure

Scotland Sheepies–first oil painting in a year!


Scotland Sheepies--first oil painting in a year!

Sooooo….. My novel is in the middle of being reviewed by my writer’s group (Singapore Writer’s Group, amazing people) and an editor in Belfast, which means I shouldn’t touch it! Gahhh what do I do with my time? Guess I’ll get back into oil painting. For funsies, I’ve included my most recent painting, showing my progress layer by layer; it’s based on one of the many, many pictures of sheep I took while on the Isle of Mull, Scotland near the ruins of Shiaba. Acrylic background and oil paint.

Grazing sheep on the Isle of Mull, off the the west coast of Scotland near the ruins of a town that people were forced from to make room for grazing sheep.

Grazing sheep on the Isle of Mull, off the the west coast of Scotland near the ruins of a town that people were forced from to make room for grazing sheep.

There and Back Again… Samwise Gamgee’s Door


There and Back Again... Samwise Gamgee's Door

One of my favorite pics from my visit to official Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand. Yes, they really did built the entirety of Hobbiton in some guy’s sheep pasture haha. Unfortunately, there’s nothing actually behind the hobbit hole doors so you can’t live there. It was really beautiful though, one of my favorite stops while in NZ.

Are you are writer working on building your social media platform? Me, too!


It’s amazing how much work there is after you spend hours and days and months and years writing that novel, after revision and editing and re-revising and editing. Late nights, early mornings, weekends, all sacrificed to crafting and perfecting your masterpiece, making sure the word count doesn’t balloon into ridiculousity and you’re keeping your target audience in mind. Ensuring there’s tension on every page, a strong story arc, character development, proper grammar and punctuation, watching for repetitive word use and clichés, chapters ending in excitement, etc. Dang, sooo many processes go into creating a good novel—and that was just the tip of the iceberg! Then you let people rip it to shreds, which leads to more re-writes, which leads to more editing….

After all that, for me anyway, comes the really hard and scary part…writing that query letter and synopsis, researching agents, and hunting for that rare publisher that takes unsolicited submissions. Some want a one page synopsis, some want two. Some want a bio in that query letter. How do you sum up the soul of your labor of love in a one page business letter that may well go into a slush pile when an agent looks at the word count?

What Grinds My Gears (Family Guy) meme

Some agents want it mailed with a SAS envelope, some want it emailed but only in PDF, some won’t open attachments. And while you’re waiting on pins and needles, hoping and praying that you’re at least worthy of a rejection letter (as opposed to them being too busy to even respond), making sure you’re working on your blogging and twittering and amassing followers.

Wow, why do we do it?

No, seriously, why?

For me, it’s because I just love to write—have since I was nine. I love creating complex characters, delving deep into their inner workings, then putting them in impossible situations to see what they do. I love going for a run and having random inspirations pop into my head. Thank God for my notepad app or I’d probably forget them by the time I get back to my condo! I love the natural high I get when the words are just flowing onto the page and I know I’m creating something beautiful. I love scrolling through my finished manuscript, seeing what came from my brain and my soul.

Will I be able to break into traditional publishing? There’s a chance; there’s always a chance. I’ve been rejected for other novels dozens of times. If I do, great. If I don’t, well I’ve created something I’m pretty damn proud of anyway. Like I said, I just love to write.

So about that social media platform…. Follow me and I’ll follow you. We can go on this adventure together.

Why do you write?

The picture is self-explanatory



(My second meme ever.  I’m on a roll!)

So…why did I start this blog? Eight months ago my husband and I decided close up house and shop and life, all the while yelling “I’M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE!” Seriously, this was said many, many times. My almost twin brother even wrote a going away speech for me based on it. I’ve had many adventures so far, from the plethora of malls and hawker centres (think really cheap food courts with…interesting food) in Singapore, to Viet Nam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

BUT my biggest adventure has been a writing adventure.

I’ve spent the last eight months pouring all I have into writing my current novel, then revising and editing and re-writing—a labor of love and pain and sweat and tears and lost sleep that leaves you utterly drained (I SWEAR I rarely rhyme!). I want to write fun (and short!) things outside of a novel, about the struggles and (occasional) joy of a writer’s life. I want share my work with the world. I’m also kind of a random person and my head is often full of thoughts that I’d like to unleash on the unsuspecting internet every once and a while. Lately these thoughts have been around living in the singularly unique Singapore and things I miss from home (Madison, Wisconsin).

Mostly I want to write randomness for fun and hopefully connect with other writers and photographers and travelers and crazy, random people such as myself.