I’ve been hoarding them

published11 months ago
4 min read

“I’ve decided maybe I’ll just release it now and upload a new cover later when it’s done,” I announce to my husband while we’re doing the Wordle and having coffee ☕️.

Well, I’m having coffee—he’s having tea 🤢

My husband doesn’t say anything. He’s waiting for me to finish my thought.

“I mean, if Carry On can start out with a crap cover and iterate to something gorgeous, why can’t I?”

(I can rant about the travesty of design that is that cover for a solid 5 minutes. Because as a former pro book designer I feel personally affronted by its existence.)

My husband smiles, then sips his tea. “I’m glad you finally figured that out.”

But here’s the thing, I was trained to be a professional illustrator and book designer. And unlike other creative professionals like concept artists and even fine artists, we’re not taught to ever show our preliminary work. Not to clients and especially not to the public.

At most, we were trained to share mock-ups with clients. But even those were as close to the final as possible. Because the client couldn’t be expected to have the training necessary to understand and imagine what a sketch or thumbnail could become when finished.

So the idea of sharing unfinished work just feels…


Like a long piece of hair under your shirt you just can’t seem to find. Itching against your skin. Clawing at the back of your mind. Wiggling into places you can’t decently reach in public.

And that’s not even taking into account how viciously we judge each other.

We review and score and rank finished works. Who wouldn’t be anxious?

I have a thicker skin than most (yay autism) but I know so many that are paralyzed by the fear of judgment. So paralyzed that their creations never make it beyond even their own minds.

And I thought I was immune to this but…

I have 15 unpublished stories. Not because a gatekeeper out there in the world told me I couldn’t release them. But because I’ve been gatekeeping myself without even realizing it.

With thoughts like…

It’s not “done” yet.

I don’t have time to publish this right now I’ll wait.

I don’t write linearly like everyone else so there are big gaps in the story, and no one will want to read that.

I let thoughts like this keep my stories locked up on my computer instead of finding a platform or venue to showcase my work in progress in the way I naturally create.

So, Reader, are you also gatekeeping yourself?

Letting fear lock your stories away until they’re SUPER done?

Until they’re “perfect”?

If you are, I challenge you to take imperfect action today and release something into the world. Because remember, you can always iterate to something better later.

And if you need a venue to host your creation check out Wattpad.

I’ve been on Wattpad since 2012 where I did some of the original work for my first trilogy. Now each week I’m going to be posting a chapter from my Boys Love Flash Fiction project They Come at Night + releasing scenes from new works in progress.

I hope you’ll join me on Wattpad, Reader, and share your creative work with the Story Questing community. You can find me @thesagaofkat !

Your cohort in storytelling,

Kat Vancil


PS 👉 I’m working on putting together a free mini-course to help you create the foundation of your story. If story structure or construction has you feeling like


Then click here and I’ll put you on the list to be the first to receive an invite to this free mini-course when it goes live on Teachable in the coming weeks.

PSS 👉 I’m trying out something new and fun where each week I give you a writing prompt in the form of a “quest” down here in the PS section. If it helped spark your creative catfish hit reply and let me know or Story me on The Gram 😸

Quest of the Week

Your Legendary Character is walking along a beach when they unearth a bottle. However, there’s no message in this bottle, but a map.


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The Saga Quest

1179 West A Street, Suite 137, Hayward, CA 94541

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I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

Here to help you vanquish those story construction obstacles, slay that imposter syndrome clawing at the back of your brain & stomp boredom flat with heart-pounding Boys Love fiction. Join the Saga and choose your inbox obsession, whether it’s helpful advice to get your writing unstuck or 500+ words of weekly Boys Love Dark Fantasy to devour during your coffee break.

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