April 2018 Reflections

LIFE UPDATES

  • Paneling/Signing + Meeting Toronto writers
    • This past month, I got to meet some amazing people in person! There’s a group of writers in Toronto who are incredibly talented and kind and welcoming. I hadn’t met any other writers in person before, though I have met authors. We met up at the panel and signing at Chapters Brampton with authors E.K. Johnson, Julie Dao, Rachel Hartman, and Morgan Rhodes! It was an exciting day of a brilliant panel with amazing questions and gorgeous answers. We had drinks later and talked about various writerly things that drew some strange looks from our server. I was so nervous but so excited and it was all so worth it. Writing is a solitary experience, but having this wonderful people in my life now makes it much less lonely and terrifying.
  • TAKING A BREAK FROM NOVELS
    • So, April was the month of getting things done. In order to accomplish that, I had to set the books aside for a while. It was a tough choice considering how many books I have set for my reading goal, but a necessary one. I reached a point where novels weren’t quite right for me. You’ll see what I managed to read this month and most of these books were poetry! I try to read as much poetry as I can these days to work on my voice and improve my prose. Not that I’m copying lines or phrases of course, just grabbing inspiration to pull together words in ways I hadn’t imagined before. Seriously, poetry helps.
  • Camp NaNoWriMo
    • I was very ambitious this month, desperately trying to get out this story that’s been in my head and growing and growing for several months now. I planned and plotted and expanded this little idea into something real. I had an outline and character bios and themes to touch upon. I did my research again and again until I figured out all the details of this book. It’s the first contemporary I’ve written, this #BakingFigureSkaterBook, and that proved to be a real challenge. With DVpit in the same month, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to accomplish both books. Annnd unfortunately, I was right. It was fun getting to play around with this book though! I didn’t win Camp NaNo, but that doesn’t mean I won’t finish this book.
  • Revising WHEN THEY BECKON
    • This was the other book that occupied my time. I’d planned on finishing revisions in February, but uh… things didn’t go as planned. So I wanted to get it all done in time for DVpit. 14k words scrapped, rewritten chapters, countless tweaking and polishing… A lot was accomplished! I focused more on that than my YA Contemporary. It’s the book of my heart, the one that I couldn’t not write, the story and characters filling my head for over two years now!
  • DVpit
    • I did a post on this pitch event because it was pure ridiculousness and nothing like I imagined, especially since I’d participated in DVpit last October with less than 10 likes from agents in total. Anyway, that happened. That was surprising. I’m still dealing with the aftershocks of that event, but hopefully I’ll have some news on that in the near future! Who knows!

BOOKS I’VE READ

  • Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ★★★
  • Sweet Persuasions by Rochelle Alers ★★★
  • Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics ★★★★★
  • No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay ★★★★★
  • Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire ★★★★★
  • Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook ★★★
  • A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver ★★★

FILMS I’VE WATCHED

  • Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
  • Risen (2016)
  • Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
  • Berlin Syndrome (2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

TV SHOWS I’VE WATCHED

  • Timeless (2016-)
  • Once Upon a Time (2011-)
  • New Girl (2011-2018)
  • Black Lightning (2018-)
  • Imposters (2017-)
  • Into the Badlands (2015-)
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March 2018 Reflections

LIFE UPDATES

  • Nonfiction piece on Ruru Reads
    • ICYMI: I had a nonfiction piece about first love and being fetishized on Ruru Reads that you can read here! I also wrote an open letter to go along with the publication in case people I know in real life read this piece and have some thoughts, which you can read here.
  • Working on Multiple Projects AT ONCE IS A LOT OF WORK WHY DID I DO THIS
    • So I’m trying to be ambitious and get a lot of things done. There are so many ideas in my head and so little time to get them all down. Sometimes I just start projects and let them sit for a while now that I’ve got some words down for them. At first, I was beating myself up over the fact that I did this with both RivalAssassinsWIP/B&B and BakingFigureSkaterBook/RFRE, but I realized I did this before. I wrote the beginning of WQC while I was drafting WTB because I needed to get that opening scene out so I can focus on WTB. And then as I was doing revisions on WTB, I started THTS because I had the beginning perfectly formed in my head.
    • So basically, I realized I’ve been doing this multiple times. Start, get the voice, and return to the main thing that I get done. It’s not always novel-length stories either. There are some short stories in my folders that are incomplete or in  need of serious, little things the size of a chapter or two in my novel-length projects that flow out in the moment so I can silence all the noise.
    • Maybe I’ll write a full post on that silencing-the-noise thing. I was telling someone the other day that I don’t have characters speaking to me or imagine worlds first like they do, I’m one of those writers who has an idea that’s like a seed and it grows and grows – or ideas like a web that’s constantly expanding. One small point that grows and expands until it’s this whole thing. And, sometimes, the starting point just needs to get down before I start building it, just so it feels like it’s getting the attention it demands.
  • No longer the New Girl at work
    • I’m adjusting to my job well, I think! I’m getting the hang of things to the point where I’m being allowed to help train the new person at work. It’s a little stressful because I don’t do things perfectly and there are still things I’m uncertain about, but it’s nice to look at it as seeing all the things I have learned and can do. That’s kinda why I like my accountability threads on Twitter – being able to visualize my progress and look at how far I’ve come.
  • Struggling to enjoy books
    • I do read a lot lately, but I might be burning out. Last year, I had a goal of 50 books. This year, my goal is 100. It’s a big jump and who knows if I’ll actually accomplish it. I don’t have as much time to read anymore because my commute to work isn’t as long as my commute to school. And books lately haven’t been as good as I hoped they were. I’ve been losing interest. Maybe in April I won’t strive to read as much as I planned (8-10 books per month) and just focus on my WIPs.
    • In trying to combat that lack of interest in novels, I’m trying to read more poetry! It’s an interesting adjustment and it does help me work on my prose and vocabulary so my writing isn’t repetitive or dull. That’s not to say that people who don’t read poetry write in repetitive or dull ways, but my writing gets that way. It’s my extra boost of inspiration especially since my writing often stems from a single line that’s beening playing over and over again in my head until’s written down.
  • Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo
    • this is part of my ambitious streak! So, in combination with working on multiple projects at once, I’m trying to get a schedule together to accomplish my goals. In the mornings, I’ll be writing. In the evenings, I’ll be editing. Since I do want a life outside writing, however, that means I won’t be cramming in edits every night which is fine with me. Who knows if I’ll win Camp NaNo? I’m still going to try and use this month as motivation to be productive. Hopefully I won’t get stressed out and hate myself if I don’t accomplish that 60k word count I’m aiming for.

BOOKS I’VE READ

  • Everless by Sara Holland ★★★
  • A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole ★★★
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ★★★
  • The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory ★★★
  • Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest ★★★
  • This Impossible Light by Lily Myers ★★★
  • Easy by Marie Ponsot ★★

FILMS I’VE WATCHED

  • Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)
  • Love, Simon (2018)
  • Tomb Raider (2018)
  • The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)
  • Expedition China (2017)
  • When We First Met (2018)

TV SHOWS I’VE WATCHED

  • This is Us (2016-)
  • Black Lightning (2018-)
  • Gossip Girl (2007-2012)
  • Versailles (2015-)
  • Timeless (2016-)

Looking on the Bright Side of Writing

Writing is hard work. The journey to traditional publishing can be agony.

Is it worth it?

I’m sure it is, especially if that’s what you want to do.

Personally, I can’t tell you if it is because I haven’t been traditionally published. I haven’t gotten a book deal or even an agent. I haven’t even received an offer of representation from an agent at this point. You know what, though? That’s okay. I don’t need to rush. I want these things to happen and I want to make a career out of it, but I don’t need to hurry to get there or stress about not being there or let it get to me.

Of course it still does. I whine, I complain, I mope about, I’ve even cried. Staying positive in this journey is difficult. There’s a lot of rejection involved and even more envy along the way. Talented writers are everywhere. Writers spending more time doing writing than you are everywhere. It’s easy to fall into a place where it all feels hopeless and worthless and absolutely awful. What if my hard work means nothing? What if I’m just imagining my talent? What if my stories are awful? What if no one cares?

At the end of the day, I try to remember that my dream isn’t to have fans or get rich and famous – it’s to write books for a living. Literally a living wage. Money to sustain me, maybe money to spare for luxuries like shopping sprees or even vacations. I’m not dreaming big here. I’m just dreaming about doing what I love for a living. It’s as simple as that. To get there, however, there’s a lot to do and a lot to endure.

Here’s what sucks:

I don’t have time to write between classes or during classes like I did while I was in university. I don’t have the energy to write thousands of words every night like I used to. Sometimes I can’t get more than a thousand words a week. My job takes up so much of my time and I lack the motivation to work on my WIPs a lot of the time.

I received over a dozen rejections and at least another dozen more queries unanswered. I didn’t receive more than ten likes on tweets in DVpit, the only Twitter pitch event I participated in. For the queries I did send out, they were all rejections or no answer whatsoever.

I didn’t get into any mentoring contests I entered. I didn’t receive any special feedback. I didn’t participate in YA Twitter until late last year. I barely had any writing friends and hardly anyone I could talk to who could understand what I was doing and what I wanted to do.

Even though it took me a month to churn out the first draft of WTB, it’s still being polished up nearly two years later. I don’t have several critique partners or beta readers. I don’t have people raving about my book. I don’t have friends freaking out about what’s going on. I don’t really feel like it’s Some Amazing Big Thing, even if I do think it’s good. I don’t have the confidence to ask more people to take the time to read it because it is a full-length novel and people have more important things to do. I don’t even have the confidence to show it to friends and family even though it’s something that makes me proud.

Every other draft has taken me much longer to finish. WQC went through multiple incomplete drafts, rewritten until I found a draft I liked and finished and I’m still uncomfortable thinking about sharing it. THATS took a few months but a year of brainstorming and lots of crying and the first draft feels like it’s awful. #RivalAssassinsWIP has maybe 12k words so far while #BakingFigureSkaterBook has maybe 5k. I am no even close to finishing either of them.

That’s a lot of bad. That’s a lot of things to be upset about. Putting it all out there is like finally exhaling, like uncurling a fist and removing my nails from my palms, or getting off my feet after spending hours upon hours on them. I don’t dwell on every single thing all the time, but I do think about them often.

Lately, I’m in a slump. I’m still trying to get used to work because it’s not consistent and I’m often closing the store, which is a lot of work. But writing makes me happy. Writing is something to look forward to at night. I am regaining my focus and feeling more motivated and getting excited about my projects.

I go on a lot about how it’s garbage, it’s the worst, my writing sucks, etc etc. I apologize for the state of it. I don’t expect people to rave about it. The truth is that I LOVE MY BOOK. I LOVE MY STORY. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s so interesting. The characters are intriguing, the plot is thrilling, the magic is so SO COOL. Maybe other people won’t agree with me, but I’m happy with the way it’s coming along. I am KILLING these revisions. This new draft is going to be awesome and I can’t wait to send it out to agents, to show them how much I’ve changed and improved.

Those are a few good things. Here’s some more:

Within all the agent rejections, I did get relevant feedback from interested agents. They told me that they liked the premise, that my query letter was great, but they also gave me a heads up on what wasn’t working: too many words, a slow start, too much exposition in the beginning. And a couple of them asked me to revise and resubmit to them. And while one agent did end up rejecting me, she said she took some extra time because she really liked the premise. AND THEN I got a very delayed full MS request from a query I sent in October and had marked as a rejection (which has been super encouraging and provided extra motivation).

I finished the first draft of WTB less than two years ago. I hadn’t written seriously in several years before that. I now have several upcoming projects in various stages of development and two complete first drafts of exciting stories. My writing has improved substantially. I’ve developed my voice, my style, and maybe my brand of YA fantasy stories with criminally-inclined heroines who do what they want to get what they want. I’ve started writing #ownvoices stories and do it (most of the time) without shame or uncertainty.

I now have writer friends. I communicate more with others about writing. I have CPs and new eyes on my MS. I hope to obtain more readers before I start querying agents. I’m excited to have people read my work and I know there will be someone who will feel passionately about it.

These days, my mental health is much improved. I have some money now to buy things here and there that I wasn’t able to buy before. I have a job that is fun even if it is challenging and even exhausting sometimes. I have a significant other is everything and more than I wanted in a partner. I have my best friends and a belief in the stability of our friendships. I have a wonderful relationship with my mom. I am gaining confidence in myself and what I can do.

It’s hard to stay positive, but every day I start faltering, I start thinking about what I have done so far and what I have yet to do. I will accomplish what I want to accomplish. I’ve come a long way. I have further to go. It won’t be easy, but I know I’ll get there.

Seeing the good between all the bad doesn’t come naturally to me. I still see the worst in myself, the things that could be better, the things I need to do and haven’t done. The bad thoughts come in all the time and it’s never really easy to flush them out. It is possible though, and that’s what matters. At least, that’s what I’m focusing on.

Find the good stuff. Hold on tight. Stay positive. Keep going.

The journey will be bumpy, but it’s going to work out.

Counting: A Non-Fiction Piece on Ruru Reads

You can find the non-fiction piece referred to in this post here on Ruru Reads.

Non-fiction has always been terrifying to me. Writing already makes me feel so bare and vulnerable. Having this piece out there means so much to me, I can hardly explain it. With that said, it’s important to acknowledge that others might be affected by this piece in some way or have opinions. Feel free to email me about this if you must, but please do not discredit how it felt to me. Your truth might not match mine, but it is still my truth and experience.

To my ex-boyfriend who inspired the piece:

Know that I am not holding this grudge against you. We were young. I know I hurt you and, if you read this, then you know that you hurt me. The problem about our relationship was that we weren’t suited for each other. We also didn’t understand the complexity of each other and what we were together. I hope you’ve grown as a person, that you understand what you made me realize was wrong and that you showed me what I could or couldn’t bear. You taught me so much about myself and what I want in a relationship. You taught me to think about others’ happiness in addition to my own.

But bad things happened during our relationship, things that didn’t happen because of you or because of our relationship. It was not a good time for me. My mind was dark and my heart was broken and my life didn’t seem worth it. I wasn’t capable of handling a relationship while navigating my sadness and trying to adapt to my changing life after serious mental health challenges. Maybe, at another point of time, we could have tried to make it work. I don’t regret that it ended and I’m sure you’re much happier now with someone else, just as I am. I’m sorry I hurt you. I know you didn’t mean to hurt me, or to inspire such anger and resentment. We didn’t understand what we were doing or what was wrong. We were never meant to be.

To my high school classmates who didn’t understand why that relationship ended after so many were rooting for us:

The fear of disappointing you all stopped me from ending it sooner. The fact that so many people loved and cheered for this relationship made me feel like I was the villain, that I hurt this by who loved me so fiercely. The truth is that I didn’t feel loved, I felt like a piece to collect. This piece might shock you to know how I truly felt and you still might not understand what was so upsetting or what was wrong with what happened. I hope that you’ll eventually understand. I was a highly-visible minority and I felt the implications of that every single day. When it was highlighted even more, it hurt. I wanted to be more.

To other POC who faced similar circumstances:

I know it hurts. I wish we didn’t have to endure it. I wish it wasn’t so dehumanizing and belitting and painful. I wish we could be loved as individuals, that we didn’t have to realize that the person we loved treated our race and/or ethnicity as a commodity. It’s not a selling point on a person. It’s an identity, but not the only one that matters. I deserved to feel loved as a whole, not for pieces of me. We deserve that. Even if it’s not what they intended or they don’t realize what they’re doing, intent doesn’t erase the effect.

 

 

February 2018 Reflections

LIFE UPDATES:

  • the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang
    • Team Canada!! Virtue/Moir!!! All the winter sports!!! I don’t care for sports in general, but I’m always drawn in by the winter Olympics. It’s the only time I get invested in sports. I basically watched nothing else but news and the Olympics.
  • Trying to sort of my scheduling for work, reading, and writing
    • The thing I hated about school was that it didn’t just end when classes ended for the day. I worked on school stuff before, between, and after classes during weekdays. On weekends, I worked on assignments: research, papers, lab reports, etc. I wrote in every spare moment. I binged books the rest of the time, often committing to one book a week. These days, it’s much different.
    • In general, I like my job. Change has always been a challenge for me though. Right now, I’m still in the process of settling into my job. I’m learning the ins and outs of it, increasing my product knowledge every day, figuring out how to make drinks, learning the faces and preferences of regulars – oh my gosh, there is so much to know. I’m learning quickly. The thing I haven’t fully figured out yet is scheduling my reading and writing. Luckily, I get my work schedule in advance, but I’m still struggling to fit in the stuff that makes me really happy.
  • New writing projects
    • This month, my writing muse is back! I plotted out the skeletons of my next projects: the WTB sequel; my rival assassins book; and my YA contemporary. They’re getting more fleshed out along the way, but the fact that I had enough inspiration to figure out the main details is HUGE. I even started drafting my rival assassins book, aka B&B (and you can follow my progress through my #RivalAssassinsWIP tag on Twitter or just the thread).
    • The Olympics have also fueled my inspiration for my YA contemporary, which is now going to figure both baking and figure skating – so that will be super exciting. I meant to finish B&B first, but the inspiration got the best of me and, whoops, I guess I have two WIPs going on at the same time plus revisions for WTB? My accountability thread is here with the hashtag #BakingFigureSkaterBook (it’s long, I know, whatever).
    • This isn’t a good idea. I do not recommend having multiple projects going on at the same time but I do not have self-control right now.
  • CP Notes and Revisions
    • My CPs have provided amazing feedback. My heart breaks each time I go over their notes because I wish I was perfect and the MS needed no adjustments, but that’s obviously not the case. I’ve started revisions and hope to have a polished MS in time for the next DVpit. That’s a little less than 2 months from now, which is loads of time for me!

BOOKS I’VE READ:

  • City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty ★★★★
  • The Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe ★★★
  • Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne ★★★★
  • The Harlot Countess by Joanna Shupe ★★★
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo ★★★★★
  • Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco ★★★★
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black ★★★★

FILMS I’VE WATCHED:

  • The Danish Girl (2015)
  • Riptide (2017)
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)
  • Moulin Rouge (2001)
  • Mudbound (2017)
  • Baywatch (2017)
  • Seventh Son (2014)
  • Everest (2015)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

TV SHOWS I’VE WATCHED:

  • This is Us (2016-)
  • Myths & Monsters (2017-)
  • Big Brother: Celebrity Edition (2018-)
  • Black Lightning (2018-)
  • Versailles (2015-)

When Social Anxiety Affects Reading

My social anxiety gets in the way of what I read and how I read.

Some people won’t get this. That’s okay. Every time I’ve talked to someone about this, especially in face-to-face conversations, I get a lot of confused faces and people telling me that they don’t understand how it works, how I could get anxious about that. It’s just a book, no one cares what you’re reading, no one is paying attention, etc. etc.

But it’s a real issue for me. My social anxiety plays a big role in my reading habits.

I hate going to the bookstore and bringing up my choices to the cashier. I hate the way they look over the cover or make comments about what book(s) I’ve chosen. I hate that I want to talk about my excitement about stories while also find it uncomfortable to talk about what I’ve read and/or want to read. I love being able to see books all lined upon shelves, but I hate when someone can see me looking at them and trying to decide which one(s) to buy. I feel like I’m being judged even when I’m not. I feel ashamed about my choices even when I shouldn’t be. I feel like I made the wrong choices or I’m inviting strangers to talk to me about my choices or… or just being seen and judged.

And then there’s the books themselves. Look, I love seeing POC on book covers. I love the visibility because we deserve to see ourselves prominently in literature. But I hate eyes on covers and not just eyes in general, eyes that seem like they’re looking at me. My anxiety flares up. I get that irrational feeling that I’m being judged by (yes, I know, what the hell?) a picture. I get that way about all pictures that feel like making eye contact with someone. It’s weird. It makes me uncomfortable. It conflicts with my excitement over POC on book covers.

And then there’s the actual reading. I don’t like showing covers. I hate when people can see what I’m reading. I hate having that possibility of strangers getting insight into what I like by seeing what I’m reading. Do you know what solved that for me? eReaders. eBooks. Very very small font in those ebooks. When people complain about ebooks, there’s me in the corner, feeling bad because I rely heavily on ebooks to get any reading done. These days, I mostly use the OverDrive app through the Toronto Public Library.

Oh, the library.

When I was little, I loved the library. When I was little, I didn’t have the social anxiety I have now. A couple days ago, lovely human being and talented writer June Hur tweeted about a heart-warming encounter she had at the library. Her tweet reminded me of just how much I used to love the library, even if I didn’t like reading (I liked photography books though!). But it also reminded me of how I don’t go to the library anymore.

The last time I physically went to a library was last year to get a library card. I haven’t had one since high school. When I used the library while in high school, I used the tiny library at my school and usually only browsed during after-school hours when no one was around. Going to a library in Toronto last year… well, it triggered a panic attack for me.

It’s a big space. It’s bigger than I remembered. There’s so much organization and so much of my time there was aimless wandering, wide-eyed and breathing heavily because my social anxiety Did Not Like Being There. It didn’t matter that I was excited about getting my library card so I could use the OverDrive app. It didn’t matter that I had more access to books. The library, as much as I wanted to love it, made me panic.

I haven’t gone back since.

And it breaks my heart. It fills me with shame. Does that make me a bad reader? Is it ridiculous that I’m like this? I am terrified of the library. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. Seeing how important libraries are just makes me feel worse. I’m happy that they matter, that it makes books available to more people. As much as I love libraries and I support them, I’m still scared. I’m still ashamed of that fear holding me back. I’m still sad that I am held back.

One day, I’ll be able to go back and explore the shelves. I hate that I haven’t yet. One day, I want to face my fear and get rid of it. Maybe that’s dreaming big, but I tend to dream big anyway. One day, I’ll go to the library and conquer my fears and enjoy my visit. One day, but not yet. I’m not brave enough yet.

Reading is one of my favourite things to do. I wish my social anxiety didn’t get in the way of it. It does though and that’s my current reality.

New Year, New Challenges

The end of 2017 brought me a sense of major accomplishment.

The beginning of 2018, however, has brought feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy.

A new year is always difficult for me. Winter, on its own, is a difficult time of elevated levels of depression from staying indoors and a lack of warmth and sunlight, frequent socialization that gets draining for introverts like myself, watching the numbers of my bank account dwindle from spoiling friends and family, and most of all, the resolutions.

Resolutions kick my ass every single year. There is so much I want to accomplish and it feels like I’m running out of time. While I know I’m being silly and there is plenty of time, my overachiever mindset brings out the best and the worst in me. My mind is stuck in this loop of you should have done more by now. It’s a painful cycle and I need to break it.

The biggest challenge so far is reading and writing.

My reading goal this year is 100 books, which isn’t impossible since I managed to read nearly 130 books last year between coursework and studying. My writing goal is to revise my main project, When They Beckon, so I can dive into querying again soon. My hope for this year is to sign with an agent. 

As for reading… I can do 100 books. That’s like 8 books a month. Currently, I’m planning on getting through 10 books a month. What am I going to read? I have no idea. Last year, I drowned in romance novels and it was beautiful. Maybe I’ll expand my range of romance novels since they brought me so much happiness, brightening up the darkest, dreariest days. Maybe I’ll explore more fantasy and sci-fi because those are my genres for writing. 

The problem is that I don’t feel like I’ve written or read enough. It’s only been 10 days, so why am I freaking out? It’s ridiculous. So far, I’ve read three books. Three! That’s a decent number. But, considering how desperate I was to read while I was in school, this feels like nothing. In my mind, I’m in a slump. Nothing has been holding my attention. Books I had on hold at the library and had been anticipated didn’t hold me. One by one, I had to return them, unfinished.

As for writing, I wrote THREE new short stories this year. I have new critique partners and I’ve been working on stuff for them. I spent the end of the year doing major revisions on WTB, though it still needs some polishing before I send it off into the world again. I have done a lot. I want to do more. What I’ve done doesn’t feel like enough.

I’m also in a slump. I’m someone who writes every day in some way. I finish books within a few hours. But these last several days? My attention keeps wandering. My interest quickly deflates. Books I’ve been anticipating keep disappointing me. I don’t know what to read next. Usually, I crave a certain kind of book. Right now? I have no idea. My writing feels flat and lifeless. Reading helps, but I’m struggling with reading. If I’m struggling with reading, I’m struggling with writing.

This cycle sucks. We’re only ten days into 2018 though. This feeling of failure and sense of urgency is unnecessary. These thoughts and feelings are also terrible on my mental health. I have to stop thinking that I can’t do things, that I’m not creative or productive or worthwhile. I have to stop those thoughts before they turn into a downward spiral.

So, here’s my plan: take a step back, reconsider, and (try to) relax. I need to make realistic timelines. I need to assess my goals. I need to stick to the daily tasks I set in my planner. I need to schedule without stressing myself out. I need to be easier on myself.

Not everything is in my control and I need to make peace with that.

2018 is going to be a good year. It will. It has to be.