This is the end (again). ⚡
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Earlier this week, I reached a big and somewhat anticlimactic milestone. I finished the latest - and hopefully last - draft of my novel-in-progress.
This milestone was big because I’ve been working on this book for five years, and it’s changed so much since I sketched out those rough first scenes. It’s gone from first person to third, the desert to the ocean, one narrator to multiple. Characters were ruthlessly cut while new ones slowly surfaced. I went through at least three beginnings and twice as many endings. It was a journey and now it’s done.
This milestone is anticlimactic because I’ve been here before. According to my drafts folder, this is number five. Typing “the end” the first time was thrilling; the fifth time, I just saved my Word document and started getting ready for work. (Oh, and posted a screenshot to Instagram - there was that, too.)
A few people have asked what’s next for the book. The easy answer is that I don’t know, and I’m doing my best to not care. When it comes to art, the only part you have control over is the creation of it. Selling it, marketing it, getting it on shelves, reaching the right readers - that part is mostly out of your hands.
This reality used to cause me a lot of anxiety. I'm a person who likes to be in control. I organize my life with a meticulous color-coded Google calendar, I set extremely specific goals each year, I meal plan and budget and follow training plans and maintain a spreadsheet of every book I’ve read since 2013. So for me to say, “Publishing this thing I’ve been working on for five years isn't my job! I can’t control it! I’m not even really thinking about it!” That’s pretty huge, and it took me a long time and a fair amount of heartbreak to achieve this level of zen.
"Not thinking about it" doesn’t mean I’m sticking it in a drawer with all the others - at least, not yet. It means I’m putting it in the hands of people who understand the next steps, and letting them take over from here.
In the meantime, I get to return to the part I love, the part I’m good at. The writing! Not driving in right away, because it’s the holiday season and my brain needs a rest, but thinking about the new year and all the creative goals I want to accomplish over the next twelve months
Remember that outline for a new book I started in the fall, the one that somehow got to be 7,000 words long? I’m excited to finish sketching out the plot and the characters and the twists and turns, and write the whole thing in 2020. (Well, the first draft, anyway.) I have an idea for an essay I’d like to write. I’m looking for a writing group, because I’ve been working in isolation since finishing my MFA and realtime feedback might be nice. I want to read at least 30 books. I want to take this newsletter to the next level, after I figure out what that means. I want to support other writers, and share their work, and buy their books, and sing their praises. In other words, I want to live a creative life that gives as much as it receives, which has little to do with publishing and everything to do with writing, reading, and relationships.
(Though I'm not gonna life - a book deal would be nice, too. Fingers crossed!) 💛
🧀 Snack of the Week 🧀
If you live in Wilmington, I highly recommend the Gouda Gals, who in no way sponsored this snack and surely do not even know my newsletter exists. They describe themselves as "two gals making cheese grate again" and do they ever! When my team at work had a holiday party earlier in the week, this lovely charcuterie board was the star of the show. The olives! The brie! The honey! The crackers! All my snack dreams came true, and I celebrated accordingly.
12 People Talk Honestly About How They Paid Off Debt, Buzzfeed. "I used to talk about student loan debt like medieval peasants talked about death: as a primordial burden, like the price of some kind of original sin, as the price of living. And as something that didn't seem to burden the rich and powerful very much at all, somehow, or at least not as violently or as often." 💰
Instagram is Broken. It Also Broke Us, Vox. "[A]s Instagram is a place where bullying, harassment, and hurt feelings are rampant, it has also become profoundly boring. In our endless quest to chase the Instagram algorithm, now that we know what it wants from us — authenticity, supposedly, but mostly just the aesthetics of it — we resort to only the safest content, the things we know will convince people to double tap." 🦋
What Everyone's Calling Emotional Labor Is Actually Just Labor, VICE. "When we decide to call housework “emotional labor,” we deny the extent to which housework is simply work, which capitalism has historically extracted from women, for free. And in that obfuscation we make it more difficult to forcefully rebel against those conditions." 💔
A Tiny Challenge
I'm hard at work on my goals and resolutions and list of things I want to accomplish in 2020, the first year of a new decade, and honestly my list is looking a little sparse. This week, hit reply and tell me one thing you want to accomplish next year, because I need some good ideas!
See you next Sunday! 💌
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