one part patience, two parts devotion

i am bad at waiting 🌱


I am learning the value of patience.

Anyone with experience in the publishing industry will tell you that writing is waiting. Writing is work—hard, messy, crying-my-way-through-this-draft work. But it's also waiting.

Waiting for the final piece of your plot to click into place. Waiting for motivation or, at the very least, the stubbornness needed to show up again and again, day after day. Waiting for critique partners and beta readers to get back to you. Waiting for literary agents to respond to your query, whether it's a full request or a two-page synopsis. Waiting for an edit letter. Waiting to go on submission. Waiting for recognition, for release day, for the moments of brilliance between the stretches of mundanity.

I knew going into querying that I would need a distraction, something to keep me occupied. But I didn't realize just how integral that distraction—otherwise known as #CrippingRapunzel—would be to my sanity. I'm tired of waiting. I'm bad at waiting. But I'm starting to realize that, unless I cultivate a deep appreciation for the mundanity that bookends of brilliance, I will never be happy.

I wish I could say that I've thrown myself into #CrippingRapunzel, that querying is the furthest thing from my mind, that I check my email twice a day and that's it. But I can't. I'm a human being with a faulty human heart, so it took me a while to extricate my ego from the finished product that was WANING CRESCENT. I struggled to accept the question mark of publishing. I wanted to know the status of my book, the want so encompassing that I literally could not focus. My impatience was driving me mad.

The thing about fulfillment is that we look for it in the wrong places. Years ago, when I was nothing more than a National Treasure fangirl, I derived fulfillment from the act of writing. I basked in readers' reviews. I had vague plans of turning my 300-page, self-insert fanfiction into an actual book. But the joy was in writing. The ritual of putting words on the page. I loved stories, and I loved how certain words came to life when you strung them together. I approached writing like I approached God—with breathless devotion, and the knowledge that anything could happen if I just believed.

All this to say that I am returning to that version of myself, the saccharine sophomore with the love of present tense. I am remembering how to create for the sake of creation. I still check my email, because I'm a human being with a faulty human heart, but I am trying to hope less. I am trying to find fulfillment in the little things: words on the page; words that sing, that clap and dance, that look like poetry in the right light.

Every morning, it starts anew. I check my email, because I'm a faulty human with a faulty heart. I catch up with friends, tweet about Star Wars, stare at my cat as she dreams of stalking birds. I procrastinate, because writing is work, and sometimes I am lazy. And then I return to the page, the rhythm of the words, the sentences turned paragraphs turned scenes.

I don't always love it. Writing is work, and sometimes I hate even the rhythm. But sometimes I do. Sometimes I am that girl of 14, huddled in front of the fireplace in her parents' basement, drafting feverishly on her phone. Sometimes it is joy and breathless devotion.

I want more joy. Don't you?


Updates

🎨 My latest Notion template is available for free via Gumroad! I wanted to track my daily word counts, so I created a formula that would check a box every time I exceeded my minimum word count of 500. If you download the template, let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from you.

🎁 I still have author copies of WHY I'M NOT WHERE YOU ARE, so I'll be running giveaways on my Instagram and Twitter in a couple of days! Keep an eye out 👀

🐺 I'm still writing weekly columns for SMA News Today! You can keep up with "The Wolf Finally Frees Itself" here.

🔮 I'm finally hitting my stride with #CrippingRapunzel (thank God). As a thank you for subscribing, here are a couple of snippets from the first draft. 12 chapters down; 22 to go ✨


Recommendations

🐰 I love everything that Patricia Mou does, but I especially appreciate her G-G-G-C-C-C framework. Essentially, her perfect day consists of six "buckets." If she completes everything on her "don't go without" list, and dabbles in 1-2 other buckets, she'll have had a good day.

The G-G-G-C-C-C framework has helped me shift from my focus from "moments of brilliance" to "stretches of mundanity." Instead of hoping for a breakthrough, I try to dabble in the majority of my buckets on a daily basis:

  • Go in: Meditate, journal, engage in therapy

  • Go out: Be in nature

  • Connect: Meaningful conversations with loved ones, engagement on social media

  • Consume: Engage with media (TV/movies, books, video games, online content)

  • Create: Writing, social media posts, freelance work

It's a good day when I check off 3-4 of these.

📌 "Nobody Cares," Florent Crivello

I do wish more people were active online. The whole promise of the Internet was that of an infinite, vibrant, open forum of ideas. Instead, there seems to be a mass exodus towards private communities — they surely are where I get the most meaningful, genuine interactions, and hear the most original ideas today. This makes me wonder how many eye-opening insights we’re all missing out on, uttered in conversations that should have happened in public

🌟 Heather Havrilesky continually astounds me. I loved her essays on creative practice and exuberance.

EXUBERANCE makes room for the world. Exuberance sets the table like there are kings and queens coming to dinner. Exuberance is humility that's energized: AS LONG AS I DON'T MATTER, I MIGHT AS WELL HAVE FUN. Exuberance is unselfconscious and whimsical and sometimes it's even conflicted. Exuberance lets everyone be who they are without taking it personally. Exuberance is vivacious and even goofy but it also protects itself from the assassins of fun: status-seeking, contempt, anxious fear of others, and quick fixes.

"Spatial Abolition and Disability Justice," Joal Stein

Bringing together the worlds of disability justice and abolition could be one of the most powerful prompts for the future. What kind of world could we live in—where there is no need for prisons, flexible enough to meet the needs of everybody, understanding that we move through various states of dependency and vulnerability through our lives, in which we go beyond accessibility and inclusion toward systems of care and radical interdependence?

🎶 My spring 2021 playlist, feat. Hozier, Of Monsters and Men, and an evergreen resurrection anthem.


That's it for this month. Thanks for being here, and for showing up as your whole, faulty self, too-big heart and all. I'll leave you with this gorgeous poem by Danez Smith.

Honey, lilacs, and so much joy,
🐝

out with the grief

out of the grave ☀

It's odd, isn't it, how life repeats itself.

I have had a week. I won't go into specifics, because no one wants my icky, gooey heart pulp. But I will say this.

Yesterday, I sat down to write next week's column. I wasn't sure what to write about, so I turned to one of my favorite poems, "what resembles the grave but isn't" by Anne Boyer. I wrote about holes, about falling into and getting out of that which resembles the grave but isn't, and realized with sickening clarity that I was walking a groove in the world, a groove that was not a grave but a ditch, a groove I had walked before. Mental illness reared its ugly head, and so I turned to poetry, the survival kit I carry with me like a blunt-edged Swiss Army knife.

I follow a couple of therapists on Instagram, mainly because it encourages me to put my M.A. in counseling to use. They are, of course, holistic practitioners, so they talk a lot about ancestry, and self-healing, and the ghosts of trauma that inhabit our bodies. But their dedication to the biopsychosocial approach has me thinking about patterns, specifically behavioral patterns.

My friend and I often joke that life is cyclical. But it is. We find ourselves reliving the same moments—arguments with loved ones, or first dates with emotionally unavailable Tinder matches, or stress-related breakdowns. We get stuck in a loop. We make the same decisions, again and again, which means we see the same outcomes, desirable or no.

Oftentimes, these patterns are passed down through the generations. That's why holistic practitioners assist their clients in putting an end to generational trauma. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to close the loop. To try something different, something new, something brilliant and brave that would crack your world wide open.

All this to say that, more often than not, we find ourselves at a crossroads. We've walked the groove littered with evidence of our past selves, and now we have a choice: end the loop, or begin again. It's not always obvious; it's rarely ever easy. Ending the loop can feel like a knife to the gut. A tiny, but resounding death.

But there is magic to looking back and realizing that you stepped off the path. You rose from that which resembles the grave but isn't. You ended the loop, and now you're free to be something—someone—new.

People call these breakthroughs. I like to think of it as climbing out of a hole. Life is a procession of potholes, which is to say there is never only one grave. You climb out of a hole—you end the loop—only to start a new path, a new groove, a groove with the potential to become a grave.

I've had several of those moments this past week. I made a choice. I ended the loop. I am still me, but I am different, too. Like all magical things, there aren't words for it. Only feelings. Only this: expansion, and the icky, gooey pulp that is something new.


There will always be a part of me that loves Tumblr. It has informed so much of who I am as a growing sprout of a person. It's no surprise, then, that I repeatedly return to this post by user @kevingetem, which inspired one of my favorite poems I've written:

I don't write poetry anymore. (I'll never write poetry again, God willing.) But my "moment"—the death of that particular loop—has me thinking about poetry, and why I turn to poetry when things are hard. As a thank you for subscribing, I thought I'd include one of the last poems I ever wrote. It'll never see the light of day, so someone might as well enjoy it.


Updates

♿ The latest SMA My Way update is live! Check it out here. In my latest video, I define independence as an opportunity for creativity and innovation.

🐺 I'm still writing weekly columns for SMA News Today! You can keep up with "The Wolf Finally Frees Itself" here.

🔮 I've been going a bit overboard with #CrippingRapunzel aesthetics. Please enjoy a spooky forest, wholesome best friends, and the girl of my heart, Caldis Shan.


Recommendations

📖 "White people, black authors are not your medicine," Yaa Gyasi

"While I do devoutly believe in the power of literature to challenge, to deepen, to change, I also know that buying books by black authors is but a theoretical, grievously belated and utterly impoverished response to centuries of physical and emotional harm."

📑 "The Fact That Kim Potter, the Police Officer Who Killed Daunte Wright, Is a White Woman Matters," Frederick Joseph

"Oftentimes, there is a false narrative that white supremacy is upheld and perpetrated solely by white men. This narrative is largely based on the fact that white men own and operate the structures of white supremacy, thanks to the patriarchy's inherent sexism and misogyny. Not only is this narrative false, but it is also a danger in trying to combat the white supremacy itself. The reality is that just because white women don't have the utmost power in white supremacy, it doesn't mean they have none."

📚 Book blogger @molsbymoonlight compiled this incredible list of 101 books re: illness and disability.

💌 Everyone—and I mean everyone—has a newsletter these days. This article by Catherine Baab-Muguira explores newsletters by and for writers. If you're a writer with a newsletter, comment on this thread with a link and I'll be sure to subscribe!

🧵 Threads by Gina Denny and Rin Chupeco re: querying and literary agents.

📺 Like everyone in the book community, I watched all eight episodes of Shadow and Bone in a day; to no one's surprise, I am hung up on Ben Barnes as the Darkling. Villains can get it.

⚔️ Last but not least, I gave 4thewords another shot. For the uninitiated, 4thewords is an online writing game that boosts your word counts through the use of popular game mechanics. (In other words, you defeat monsters by writing a certain number of words in a certain amount of time.) I tried it last year and couldn't get into it, but I've noticed a significant increase in my productivity since signing up again. 4thewords is a paid community ($4/mo), but you can utilize their free trial to see if it's right for you. You can also use my referral code to get 30 days of subscription time for free: XDMWC76973.


That's it for this month! Thanks for being here, and for being you. Mask up, get vaccinated, and donate to your local mutual aid fund if you're able. Let's look after one another.

Babydoll dresses, green grass, and Darklina on main,
🐝

cultivating abundance

you are enough 💗

I've been thinking a lot about busyness, and what it means to be a sustainable creative in a world that prizes burnout. I've been a "full-time writer" (read: homebound creative with no job in the official sense) for a little under a year, and I'm already exhausted. My idyllic visions of full-time creativity buckled beneath the weight of reality.

If it's not writing, it's marketing. If it's not marketing, it's networking. If it's not networking, it's catching up on newsletters or podcasts or the backlog of craft articles that I keep meaning to tackle. Even reading has become a professional task—there's an expectation, implicit though it may be, that writers should stay up-to-date on new releases. And there are so many new releases.

It's a hellish kind of hamster wheel. And the consequences—everything from burnout to creative blocks—can be devastating.

So I am trying something new, which is to say I'm cultivating a fierce protectiveness. Of myself, yes, but also my work, the stories I weave in the spaces between heartbeats. I don't want to lose myself to this. I don't want to work and work and work until I'm little more than a shell of myself.

I want to sustain, and I want to fulfill.

There's so much to unpack when it comes to busyness, sustainability, and the pursuit of balance. Desiree Adaway speaks to the intersection of busyness, or a sense of urgency, and whiteness: "This sense of urgency makes it so we do not connect on a deeper level. It allows no time for discernment, reflection or real repair. We're busy all the time. [...] White supremacy knows that when we're exhausted we remain obedient. And when we're overworked, we tend to stay quiet. It rewards us for our silence, for not pushing back, for not questioning. Busy-ness doesn't serve us."

I find myself returning to that last sentence: Busy-ness doesn't serve us.

Busyness doesn't serve me.

The therapist in me recognizes that my tendency to overwork stems from insecurity. It's the natural manifestation of a scarcity mindset. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, explains it this way: "[People scripted in the scarcity mentality] see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everyone else."

I want to believe there is enough for everyone. I want to be so rooted in my self-worth that I can celebrate the wins of others while recognizing that one person's success does not equal my failure. But whiteness is pervasive. I'm never not afraid—of irrelevance, of failure, of losing to the people that whiteness calls my competition.

There's not enough to go around. There aren't enough agents, editors, publishers; one person's success on Twitter reflects badly on my social media. It's never enough, so I work, I push, I wring myself dry. I burn out because the alternative is defeat. And who am I in the absence of success? What's the point of life if I am not achieving everything I set out to do?

It took me years to recognize my scarcity mindset for what it is. I'm still unlearning the tenets of whiteness, extricating myself from the web of perfectionism and power hoarding. But I'm making progress. I'm becoming a student of abundance, reaffirming time and again that there is, and will always be, enough.

My invitation to you this month, as we transition from winter to spring in the Northern hemisphere, is to observe your scarcity mindset at work. Where do you feel spread thin? What triggers your feelings of "not enough-ness"? Has a sense of urgency infiltrated your creative work?

In my life, this looks like playfulness. Imagination. A willingness to try out different affirmations—statements of abundance that directly oppose a scarcity mindset.

There's not enough time becomes I have all the time I need.

I didn't do enough becomes I am worthy no matter my output.

I won't succeed unless I work myself to the bone becomes I practice ease in all things.

Sometimes I write my own affirmations; sometimes I mine them from the internet. (If you recognize one of the affirmations above and know who coined it, please let me know! I don't remember where I found them, and I want to attribute if I can.) Most times I feel like abundance is a myth.

But it's not. It's not. There is enough.

I am enough. And so are you.


Updates

♿ The latest SMA My Way update is live! Check it out here.

🐺 I'm still writing weekly columns for SMA News Today! You can keep up with "The Wolf Finally Frees Itself" here.


Recommendations

📘 March was a month of poetry. The latest issue of perhappened includes not only one of my best friend's poems but also a stupidly beautiful piece by Jeremy Radin. I devoured LOVE, AN INDEX by Rebecca Lindenberg in one sitting and am literally still thinking about it. This piece in DIAGRAM is a testament to Lindenberg's innovation and creativity.

💌 I've really been enjoying Nicole Antoinette's newsletter. This post on turning our "somedays" into "todays" hit me especially hard.

✍🏻 A guide to book pitches and a new approach to outlining.

🧠 This piece on being basic got me thinking about sustainable creativity and what it means to always be "on." As someone who writes for a living, I see myself reflected in Eghbal's conceptualization of being basic as mental recovery.

☕ I don't drink coffee, but Catherine Andrews' thoughts on time, productivity, and slowing down directly inspired my exploration of scarcity and abundance.

🌀 Hate crimes are on the rise, and it's up to us cultivate goodness in our communities. I love these words by Willow Defebaugh: "If one part of a fractal changes, by the nature of it being a fractal, the rest has no choice but to follow suit. We are fractions of a whole, fractals within fractals, capable of affecting systemic change by changing ourselves—a spiral that leads both outward and in."


As always, thanks for being here. I can't wait to step into the new, shiny, post-pandemic world alongside y'all.

As a thank you for subscribing, I put together a little worksheet to accompany my thoughts on scarcity vs. abundance. You can download it here. If you fill it out, feel free to comment on this post and let me know what you thought. I'd love to hear from you!

Abundance, spring flowers, and vaccines for all,
🐝

in perfect time

for the joy 🌻

I knew that querying would suck. They don't call it "the trenches" for nothing. That, and the therapist in me fully expected the anxiety that comes from putting yourself out there. I saw the self-doubt coming long before I sent my final draft to the first five agents on my list, which is why I was so adamant about jumping headfirst into my next book.

I needed the distraction—the good, messy, revitalizing work of a zero draft. I needed to convince myself that my worth as a writer wasn't inextricable from the success of WANING CRESCENT. I needed to know in my heart of hearts that I could reinvent myself, I guess, like every artist does when they start a new project. I needed to remember, with startling clarity, why I love stories, and why I've dedicated myself to the terrible, no good, "this is hell" process of writing them.

I needed to fall in love again, because otherwise, the trenches would take something from me that I could not live without. Hence #CrippingRapunzel.

I knew that querying would suck. Just like I knew that "starting a new project" isn't all butterflies and rainbows. I'd been writing WANING CRESCENT for so long that, in a very real way, my brain had forgotten how to write anything but self-insert roleplay and subpar Star Wars fanfic. There would be a learning curve. There would be complaints; there would be a slo-mo montage of me scrolling through Twitter and wishing I would open Scrivener already.

I was right. Querying sucks, as does the paralysis of a new project. Notion spreads and Pacemaker plans are all well and good, but starting a new Scrivener file is a special kind of terror.

I finally broke through my block, only to get a head cold. And then I got my first rejection.

The therapist in me was expecting it. I am neither surprised nor heartbroken. But there's nothing quite like opening the email, reading the words, and wondering if your career of choice is, in fact, impossible—not because you're a bad writer, but because your body doesn't work right, and who wants to read about a girl in a wheelchair.

Hence, self-doubt.

I knew that writing about disabled girls as a disabled girl would be, uh, trying. I've read the Twitter threads. I've seen the ableism—online, irl, persisting like a sinus infection. I know what I'm up against. But part of me hoped to sidestep the query trenches. Vault over them, with all the grace of a crip Wonder Woman.

I was, of course, disappointed. There is no "sidestepping" the query trenches; there is no cheat code that will grant me a dozen full requests in the span of a month. There is only the waiting. The sweat-slick perseverance of a creative who must, above all else, believe in herself, even when the world insists that I am better off ______ (insert ableism here).

I started writing this newsletter a week ago. Since then, I've gotten another rejection, a full request, and a letter from my insurance company stating that I am ineligible for a potentially life-saving medication because I'm too old (a long story, chronicled via Twitter thread because I am seething with anger). I am tired.

But I've been thinking about the process. How a creative's work is never actually done. How, as writers, we pinball from one achievement to the next, the rat's race of validation. First it's a complete draft. Then it's a revised draft. Then it's a query package, a full request, a meeting with an agent. An offer of representation leads to more revisions, going on submission with the book of your heart, hoping and praying and waiting, waiting, waiting. It doesn't end with publication, because the cycle starts again, from drafting to revision to sending your work to acquisition editors with the air of someone who has just watched their child go to war.

I've always wanted to be a writer. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to write. But the joy of it, the bone-deep fulfillment of making something out of nothing, has been lost in the grind.

I want to love where I am, all of it, the mess and the magic and the rollercoaster of emotions that is checking my email in the morning. The trenches suck. The liminality of a new project sucks. I'm not saying the uncertainty of a career-in-progress is fun, or enviable, or even Instagram-worthy. But it's part of the process.

My dad often tells me to enjoy where I am—to which I scoff, because the trenches suck, and no one in their right mind would want to watch their child go to war. But then I think of 11-year-old me, writing Stargate SG-1 fanfic in the back of her accessible van.

I think of 14-year-old me, plotting a sprawling National Treasure fanfic in her beat-up writer's notebook. (It has to be said: 14-year-old me was bullet journaling before it was cool.)

I think of 16-year-old me, reading Slaughterhouse-Five and falling head over heels for the present tense.

I think of 19-year-old me, so deep in a depressive episode she can't see the light. She looks for love where there is none, and sometimes, when she's especially sad, she loses herself in a story she's been working on, a story of gods and girls and possibly the end of the world.

I think of 23-year-old me, writing until the wellspring is dry. I think of 24-year-old me, finishing the book she's been dreaming of for a decade. I think of 25-year-old me, pandemic me, chopping and outlining and sticking to her guns, because revision sucks, but what else is there?

They're all me, and they're all proud. They're all stupidly in awe of the life I've built for myself, one of playfulness, imagination, books about girls in wheelchairs. The trenches suck, but somewhere out there is a version of me that wanted nothing more than to be here—here, the in-between, despite the uncertainty. The vulnerability of putting yourself out there doesn't negate the thrill of someone finding your work and knowing it was written for them.

I don't know what this looks like. Contentment. But I want to find it. I want to practice it, even as I refresh my email, even as I kick myself for struggling with this project. I want to take my time. To pay homage to all the versions of myself that make up me. To see the process for what it is, which is to say the destination.

Every morning, I choose an affirmation for the day. Tomorrow, and every day this week, I think I'll affirm what I already know to be true.

I will arrive in perfect time.


Updates

🔭 The latest issue of The Deaf Poets' Society is live! You can read my review of Marlena Chertock's beautiful poetry collection, CRUMB-SIZED, here.

💼 I'm officially offering editorial services, sensitivity reading, and Notion consultations! If you're interested in working with me, check out my website here.

🐺 I'm still writing weekly columns for SMA News Today! You can keep up with "The Wolf Finally Frees Itself" here.


Recommendations

📝 February is Black History Month in the U.S, and I've been soaking up the words of William Evans—one of my new favorite poets—and Saeed Jones. I also enjoyed CITIZEN by Claudia Rankine and I'M STILL HERE: BLACK DIGNITY IN A WORLD MADE FOR WHITENESS by Austin Channing Brown. I highly recommend this post by Imani Barbarin and this post by Anita Cameron.

👤 A fantastic character template for my fellow writers slash Notion fanatics.

💞 The writing community has been such a refuge for me of late, from Becca Mix's Discord server to Andrea Hannah's Unearthed. There is something to be said for being surrounded by like-minded creatives who have survived the query trenches. This post by Jessica Conoley breaks down the writing support triangle and how you can network with mentors, critique partners, and accountability groups.

📺 Everyone and their mother is watching WandaVision, and for good reason. I've always been a Marvel fan, but I'm enjoying the break from storytelling tradition—not to mention the diverse representation.

🌊 I'm taking a bit of a break from reading because I'm literally, like, eight books ahead re: my Goodreads challenge. Still, I'm loving HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS by Erin A. Craig.

🎶 Currently listening: "Satisfied" by The Staves, always.


That's it for this month. Keep your distance, wear a mask, and get the vaccine as soon as you can. We're nearing the end of this nightmare.

Perseverance, full requests, and the same 10 songs on repeat,

🐝

begin again

on fresh starts and new dreams ✨

Today marks a week of being in the query trenches.

For those who don't know, I've been working on a space fantasy novel for, like, a decade. (Long story short: What started as a National Treasure self-insert fanfic became a messy, heartful combination of every story I've ever loved.) After graduating with my M.A. in counseling, I decided to seriously pursue a career in storytelling, and have been working on WANING CRESCENT ever since.

Publishing a book is a painstaking process. First you have to write it. Then you have to revise it. Then you have to send this shard of creativity that you've been nurturing like a sun-starved seed to people called literary agents. If your sun-starved seed is beautiful enough to capture the attention of an agent (i.e., an agent offers you representation and you sign on with their agency), you go through more rounds of revisions. Once your agent feels that your sun-starved seed is ready to blossom, you send your book to publishing companies in the hopes that one of them is interested in putting your work in the world.

See what I mean? Painstaking.

I spent a good chunk of 2020 revising WANING CRESCENT. It was, to put it nicely, a mess. The first draft was a little bit like Frankenstein's monster, with misshapen body parts and unnecessary flaps of skin. I knew the characters like the back of my hand, but their arcs were pretty much nonexistent. The setting was solid, but the second act was sludge. I knew what I wanted to write, but I was having the hardest time reaching the final product.

Fortunately, my critique partners and beta readers were kind enough to save my bacon. With their guidance, I cut and rewrote and cut and rewrote and finally ended up with something I was proud of. I could've spent another six months wrestling with the manuscript, but instead, I gave myself a deadline of January 2021.

A week ago today, I sent WANING CRESCENT to the first five literary agents on my list. And then I lost my mind.

I sincerely hope that an agent will love this book just as much as I do. But I also know that, in many cases, it can take years for a writer to find an agent. You write a book, and if no one wants it, you write another, and another, until the stars align and an agent says, "I choose you." There's no guarantee. So much of being a writer is shooting your shot and steeling yourself for whatever happens.

I can't control the outcome. But I can control what I do in periods of waiting. So I'm starting fresh. I'm dreaming up a new story, with myth and magic and a romance that I've always wanted to write. I check my email obsessively, because I love WANING CRESCENT and want to publish it more than anything, but I'm trying to internalize the knowledge that I can—and will—begin again.

It's like that scene in Tangled. (Did I mention that my new book is a Rapunzel retelling?) Faced with her dream of 18 years, watching as a thousand paper lanterns light up the sky, Rapunzel is at a loss. "What if it's not everything I dreamed it would be?"

"It will be," says Eugene.

"And what if it is?" asks Rapunzel. "What do I do then?"

"Well, that's the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream."


Updates

🔮 I've spent the last week recovering from revisions, and am just about ready to start on my next project, #CrippingRapunzel. Like always, I have a Pinterest board and several Spotify playlists. I'm also chronicling my plotting journey via IG stories, and will be posting an accountability thread on Twitter once I reach the drafting stage.

♿ Everyone at #SMAMyWay is working hard to get more content to y'all! You can read my latest article, "No One Is You and That Is Your Power," here.

🐺 I'm still writing weekly columns for SMA News Today! You can keep up with "The Wolf Finally Frees Itself" here.

🖥️ I've been having a lot of fun making Notion templates! If you're a writer, you might enjoy "Your Dream Story," which includes a manuscript database, a revisions hub, and a to-do list, among other things. I also have a journal and daily affirmation template. I frequently update "Your Dream Story," so purchasing the template also buys you lifetime access to future versions of the pack. I'm always coming up with new ideas and better workflows.


Recommendations

🤝 I'm really loving Garrett Bucks' work over at "The White Pages." Timely reads for white people, with a focus on community care and reparations that lead to reconciliation. I especially loved "We can make each other care" and "What we owe each other."

📁 A long list of publishing industry resources, courtesy of Becca Mix's Discord server for writers.

📝 Some thoughts on a daily art practice, fresh starts, and writers block.

🌈 My seasonal affective depression comes and goes. It's hard to greet a new day when it looks exactly like yesterday—and the day before that, and the day before that. But I'm trying to embody this energy as we transition to post-vaccine chaos.

😷 This poem by Joan Kwon Glass.

📺 My dad and I are rewatching Lost and, to no one's surprise, having the time of our lives. The last season is rife with controversy, but I genuinely love it, and am looking forward to crying my eyes out during the finale.

📚 I've been listening to audiobooks while replaying Dragon Age: Inquisition, so I'm actually several books ahead of my yearly reading goal. I'm currently reading LEGENDBORN by Tracy Deonn, which deserves all 👏🏻 the 👏🏻hype 👏🏻. I also enjoyed THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone and READINGS FROM THE BOOK OF EXILE by Pádraig Ó Tuama.

🧵 I keep forgetting to check out this Twitter thread, but it looks cool as hell.


That's it for this month. Now that WANING CRESCENT is sitting in agents' inboxes, I actually have time for this newsletter, so I'll be back next month with more recommendations and a whole lot of thoughts on drafting a book from scratch (send help).

As always, thanks for being here. I think you're great, and am so excited to build a better world alongside you.

Determination, aligned stars, and a dash of optimism—

🐝

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