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?
🎨 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'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 ✨
🐰 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.
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
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.
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,