Journal

Writing:

I took a break but it didn’t feel like much of one. Work picked up where my writing left off. I’ve been swamped, restless, and busy. Having the time to return to the draft will be a pleasure, but that time isn’t now. I still haven’t decompressed. I still need to breathe.

Living:

It was my birthday this past November so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want and who I’d like to be. 2018 has been physically difficult, but I’ve been trying my best to make the most of the good days. There were good things this past year too: I signed with a literary agent, I got to visit Paris, and I’m probably the fittest/strongest I’ve been in my life.

But the last couple months brought back a bunch of insecurities I thought I’d gotten over a long time ago and I’ve been working hard to rewire my brain. There are small things that take regular reminders — like remembering how to smile without grimacing, re-learning how to walk without making myself small, and remembering that most people don’t even notice my social awkwardness.

I don’t like feeling afraid. I want to live this life fully, and that means pushing past my fears and kicking doors open. This next year I want to live with fewer apologies, and continue to take small acts of courage: like saying hello to the co-worker I walk past daily, but whose name I don’t know, like wearing bright lipstick even if someone might comment on it, like public speaking even if it makes me nervous. I want to be myself, less filtered, no matter the reaction. This year I want to be brave.

Every year comes with its challenges, but I have hope for the next. I’m so glad I’m still here to share it with you.

Recommending:

Why Art is Important via the Duke of Bookingham. I have parents who think that pursuing the arts are useless (which is why I’ve started on it a bit late in life) This is the best take down of that argument.

I’m Broke and Friendless and I Feel Like I’ve Wasted My Life via the Cut. You don’t even need to read the letter asking for help. The advice below it is solid for anyone living a creative life and struggling with it.

Reading:

  • Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud (YA)
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
  • By the Hour by Roni Loren
  • Forbidden Hearts Trilogy by Alisha Rai
  • The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham
  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand  (YA)
  • The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
  • The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
  • Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

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Journal

Writing:

There are times I didn’t think I’d make it, but I’ve finished the latest draft of the Gothic WIP. Structural edits get intricate at times, but I think I’ve excavated the main point of the story. There were subplots to add, and some to remove. The story is better for it.

Stats for the number crunchers: 20k completely new words (new chapters) not including rewrites to existing chapters. The novel clocked in at roughly 79k words. The previous draft was 77k words.

Next up is line edits and that’s where I get to play! Then I should be ready to share it with beta readers. But first up is a short break. We’ll resume shortly after this commercial interruption.

Living:

I’ve got a weird confession to make that I feel rather awkward about: I enjoy going to the gym. WHO IS THIS PERSON?

When I discovered that my lack of energy was due to anemia, it all got a whole lot easier. Time on the elliptical doesn’t leave me foggy headed all day. I can enjoy listening to my smutty podcasts and music. For a little while I don’t have to be mom, or worry about deadlines, or juggling two careers. I can just be.

And post pregnancy, then post miscarriage, it felt like this one small thing I could do to take back control of my life and my body. It often felt like this body was not my own anymore — one that had rebelled against me. My body may not have changed much outwardly, but my feelings about it have. I can lift that weight. I can go a little further than I did before. And little by little, I’ve been feeling stronger in more ways than one.

Reading:

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Avacedo (YA)
  • Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (MG)
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (YA)
  • Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (YA)
  • Witchmark by C.L. Polk
  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (YA)

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