Journal

Writing:

This year was all about revisions. I’ve definitely felt the level-up speed bump. Well, more like a wall? Revisions on the Gothic novel have been as pleasant as pulling teeth: knowing I’m not quite there, but almost, but not knowing what “there” means.

I took the last week off (the child was sick so everyone was exhausted), and you know, I think it’s just what I needed. I’ve got an idea that won’t let go. Unfortunately this idea means that I’m going to have to start over with this round of revisions. So it goes! I believe it’s worth it.

Living:

I don’t know what to say about 2018, except that it felt like forever, and I felt nearly every possible emotion. I’m glad to put it behind me, but I’m taking a few lessons out of it too…

  1. It only takes one yes.
  2. Writing gets harder the more you know, not easier. The frustration means you have gotten better not worse.
  3. People do change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. You can’t predict it, and neither is it your fault.
  4. People will get used to you wearing bold lipstick.
  5. Every story takes it’s own time. You can’t force a breakthrough. You just need to trust that you will figure it out someday. Sometimes that means setting a story aside for weeks, days, years.
  6. There’s always more work if you’re looking for it. The hard part is making time for everything else.
  7. Happiness is something you have to keep fighting for, even if it means doing one small thing every day that makes you smile.
  8. Sometimes being brave feels an awful lot like being afraid all the time.

May your 2019 be better than the last year. To more adventures! I can’t wait to see what good things happen for you all 🙂

Recommending:

Four Days Trapped at Sea with Crypto’s Noveau Rich by Laurie Penny – Even if you aren’t into tech, read it for the writing alone. It’s simultaneously brilliant, funny, and horrifying.

Reading:

  • Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (YA)
  • Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (YA)
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (YA)
  • From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon (YA)
  • Royals by Rachel Hawkins (YA)
  • Roomies & The Proposal by Christina Lauren
  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston (YA)
  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (MG)
  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
  • A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev

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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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