The Cost of Creativity

Two of my three young adult children, in some way, wish to be writers. They are young adults though, so a million things could change, especially their minds. Dare I hope their minds? 

When people ask, "What are they studying?" or "What do they want to do?" or any variation of the inquiry, and I explain the potential writing part, they all exclaim, "Ahhh....just like their Mom!" I'm sure they expect me to overflow with pride and joy, but if I'm honest, pride is the very last emotion I feel in those moments. Apprehension, fear, heaviness, foreboding...followed by a fierce level of protectiveness, are more likely. 

Let me explain.

Writing is a beautiful venture. It fuels the soul and taps into the most intense longings of your heart. It's stretching and satisfying all at once. It's the closest to controlling your loveliest dreams and reigning in your most desperate fears. The creative arts are enriching and restorative and life-giving. They are also life-sucking.

Putting a pen to paper and sending it into the world for others to see will always leave you exposed and raw and open and vulnerable. Oftentimes, your work will be noticed, maybe even exalted. But sometimes, it can be misunderstood and criticized, or even worse, dismissed, and that rejection. It will break your heart. Such pain, my sweet children, I'd do anything to shield you from.

Writing for writing's sake, is the truest and most worthy endeavor. Writing for fame and fortune, more like a cautionary tale.

One might ask why I do it then. Well, if you ask any writer this question, whether successful or novice, most of us have the same answer: Because I can't not write. It's just not an option. 

So sweet children of mine, don't let my hesitation stop you. If the wild words call to you, if your writing demands to be written, take to the pen and let it flow. Whatever the result, I'm sure it will be magnificent, and I will love every word, for I understand the beauty and the cost.

Carry on, creatives. 


Holly and Jenn

Homecomings and Heartaches

It may look like just a La Croix can but it’s not.

It’s Noah’s. And we just dropped him off at the airport at the end of his Spring break.

I know this can is his because he always takes the tabs off his cans. He fiddles with them, he chews on them, he plays around them until it's time to drop them right into the cans from which they cometh. 

It used to totally bug me because those tabs typically ended up in the sink or the garbage disposal!

But not this one. I’ll drain the can carefully and toss it in the recycle bin, tab included. And when I do, it signifies the end. (I know!! I’m so dramatic!) But really, it's the end of our wonderful, spring break of freshman year, visit. The end of the nine days when my heart got back into its comfortable and familiar rhythm of Noah being home. The end of a glorious week witnessing his casual comings and goings, of feeling his presence.

When your child moves away and comes back for a visit, with them returns a level of joy when walking through the house and stumbling upon little reminders of them…like socks, hats, wrappers, keys, sweatshirts, whatever. Well, that’s all done now. Sure, he’ll be home in less than three months, but my soul had just forgotten the ache it endured when he was several states away. And my soul doesn’t want to remember.

It doesn’t get easier. My heart is heavy and also full, so I’ll hang onto that. Until the next homecoming.

Thanks for listening.
Holly and Jenn

Better Late Than Never ... #oneword 2023

Happy belated New Year friends! 2023 marks the 10th year of this blog and the writing partnership Holly and I began when our babies were truly babies and our passion project was our sanity. We have grown, we have changed, and we have endured. For this, I am so grateful.

So a little bit ago, we had our New-Year-New-Intentions dinner at one of our favorite spots: Nick's in San Clemente. (If you haven't tried the Salty Pear Martini, you are missing out on something magical. Go. Enjoy. You're welcome.) 

Anyway, at the beginning of every year, sometimes closer to the first than others, we gather our thoughts and our desires and brainstorm ALLTHEWRITERLYTHINGS. It's a perfect way to center ourselves and reorient our personal and writing goals. 

So, back to Nick's and martinis, which, by the way, offer some great inspiration...that's when Holly revealed her #oneword. (It's soooo'll hear from her soon.) And I sat baffled because, my word was alluding me. Actually, I had several words swimming around my head and they were mostly of the pessimistic variety, I.e.: overwhelmed, uninspired, discombobulated, afraid, unsure. Don't those sound fun? 

Thankfully, my genius writing partner has a Master's degree in Psychology and she was able to help me process the thoughts. It came down to this: if I want to actively begin publishing blog posts + marketing our book projects, then I have to actively re-engage with social media.  

(Aside: I've been mostly off social media for about two years, not for any particular reason but it's been centering, restorative, and all-sorts-of easy. And the thought of maintaining it all again feels a little daunting. Lovely to see everyone more, but still, daunting. Maybe it's just me.) 

But I'm trying to look at tip-toeing back into FB and IG and T and P as a purposeful and meaningful venture. In the past, social media was so much of how we managed the things relating to kids: social or sport or school events that they (perhaps) forgot to tell me about. Or Ladera Moms to make sure they weren't up to shenanigans (so glad to be out of that stage!). But with young adults managing their own stuff, the need-to-know is beautifully less.

Also, I'll let you into a little secret: I have a personal goal of being an agented writer by the time I'm 50. Which, close. Which means we need to get our book-baby back into the world, and into the right hands. (And it's been's been feels soooo ready!! Holly and I are ready!

So, thank you for following my train of thought and being patient. I really wanted to share the path that led me to my #oneword. I wanted to invite you in. It's part of being OPEN. Open to opportunities = open to criticism. Open to chances = open to success, but also = open to failure.

But OPEN, nonetheless, is my #oneword for 2023. 

I'm ready 2023. I'm here. I'm OPEN.

Friends, you may see us around a little more than you have and we appreciate your warm hugs. Community is what makes life special. Connection is essential. Even in seasons when we take a break to hibernate and process all of life's little and BIG changes. 

So, tell me, what's your #oneword for 2023? Whatever it is, we're cheering you on as you embrace it. 

All the love,

{J & H}


Image credit: Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

Holly and Jenn


National Novel Writing Month is almost here!! Again, we're taking advantage of the NaNoWriMo campaign to put some finishing touches on our joint project - The Vale and I'm hoping to complete the first draft of my new YA ghost story.

I already have close to 45,000 words in my first draft and to finish, I hope to get to around 80,000 words. So when I do the math, I need to write roughly 1200 words/day, around 10 pages. That feels like A LOT!

Again, some of our critique group friends are joining in the fun so we get to share the creative energy of the writing process. I know we're going to LOVE their stories!

If you're curious at all, visit to get more information and inspired. It's and AMAZING conglomeration of talent and motivation.

Wish us luck on NaNoWriMo2022!! 

#keepitcreative #keepitmessy

{J & H}
Holly and Jenn

Empty Nesting Coping


Last year, when Logan left for college, we decided to get a new kitten. 

This year, when Noah left for college, we decided to get a new kitchen.

Projects give purpose. They're a great distraction. When you have to empty ALLTHEDRAWERSANDCABINETS, it takes your mind of your (mostly)-empty nest. Each little step takes time. Each decision is utterly important: lay-out, style, color, tone, stone, paint, knobs, pulls, etc. etc. etc. Each requires more mental energy.

So, the search has started for (duh, duh, duh...) backsplash. Wish me luck. 

I'll share before/after photos once the madness is done. By then, my kitchen will be beautiful and my heart will have settled into the new feel of our family. 

Happy Fall Y'all! #keepitmessy



Holly and Jenn

Something New?

No, no one's getting married. We're just in a transition period. Blogging, writing, creating. These are the things that get left behind when life steps in. The life of work, raising young adults, caring for family members, running a house, and all of the other responsibilities that accompany the title of parent. 

So, Holly and I have barely worked on our book in the last eight months. After completing the requested R&R for an awesome agent in the fall, we put the book aside and tended to ALLTHEOTHERTHINGS. Unfortunately, after the new year, we learned that the agent who held our baby in her hands, while praising the edits and the story-telling, did not feel the timing was right for her to take us on as a client. 

Enter the disappointment. Then also enter a job change with the potential for a relocation, drama with children, family activities, college tours, graduations, over-demanding work, etc., and it was easier to put our book on hold so we could manage ALLTHEOTHERTHINGS. It makes me sad to say it: The Vale just wasn't a priority. Couldn't be.

Now here we are. Dare I say things have settled down a wee bit? Yes, our lives seem to have a little more room to spare. But the question lingers: What do we really want to do with that time? Do we want to take the torch and run with our WIP again? Are we ready for the work? Can we commit to each other and to our band of characters who wait in the wings? Is now the time to put The Vale back into the world?

Or perhaps there's something new awaiting discovery...time will tell.

It you're at a crossroads, whatever it may be, consider us sending you strength and clarity and support. Twisty-turny as the path may be, you're not alone. Carry on boldly, friends. We're cheering you on.


Jenn and Holly

#roadsaremeantfortraveling #TheVale #awritersheartneedstowrite #keepingthedreamalive

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

Holly and Jenn

Congratulations Graduate!

This is our baby. Our youngest. Our heart.
Today he graduates from high school.
Today, he closes the chapter of his youth and prepares for the next great adventure.
Today, he will bask in his determination, his passion, his success. 
Today, he claims ownership of his wild dreams, his lofty goals, his story. 
Today, he celebrates. Today, we celebrate.
Congratulations Noah. We are so proud of you!
We'll be front and center for the next chapter, cheering you on and supporting you every step.
You got this!!
Holly and Jenn