“January? The month is dumb. It is fraudulent. It does not cleanse itself.”
– Anne Sexton.
There’s been this challenge going around of showing yourself in 2012 and showing yourself now. I have a lot of pictures from back then (see above) and far less now. But I’m up for a challenge.
I’m not 26 anymore. Not (currently) blonde, certainly not as thin, but I have to say I’m so much happier? Even here, kicking off the third year of this stupid pandemic. Even though things are getting bad again and the prospect of getting through this thing without catching covid seems more and more unsustainable. I’m still much happier in my 30s.
Part of that is practicalities. A happy marriage, financial security, a career instead of odd jobs cobbled together to make ends meet. My favorite thing about getting older, too, is just how much less you care about stuff? I don’t put up with crap I don’t like anymore. I removed the people from my life that were hurting me and disrespecting my boundaries. I stand up for myself to rude people or cruel people. I’ve transitioned from being the woman older women felt like they had to protect to being a woman who looks after my younger female friends and coworkers.
The WORLD is worse, but my life is better and I’m happy for the last ten years. I’m happy I married my partner. Got two dogs. Lived through Taylor Swift releasing RED twice.
Would I trade it all for that 26 year old body back? …no? No, right? No. Definitely no.
Anyway, happy new year. My book comes out this year. That’s cool, dude.
Also, I leave you with this clip I posted on my twitter to watch:
I write, uhhh, a lot of fanfic. I am a fanfic old, if you will. An elder internet millennial. I’ve been here a long time and have had the same one hobby since I dialed up that modem and realized other people felt the same about Mulder and Scully as I did.
I was already an adult when ao3 hit the scene. So while that’s not an all encompassing view of my fandom history, the statistics page there is illuminating. For instance, I have 126 works posted, which seems like a lot until you consider I’ve been scribbling down pretend stories about other people’s characters for nearly 25 years. And yeah, typing that did hurt. My word count is… over two million. Easily.
ANYWAY, I write a lot of fanfic.
It means for the last twenty years or so, I’ve always been working on something. Some story, some idea, some fandom. Always something in the hopper. I realized driving to work this morning that I’ve been writing my current WIP for over a year. Did I mean for it to become a behemoth? No, but it happens. I remember when I started writing it, I was like, why am I even doing this? This is gonna take forever.
With fanfic, your deadlines are kind of your own. You can make yourself a schedule and stick to it or you can post whenever or you can start something and never finish it and because it’s a hobby you do that doesn’t make money, and if people don’t like it, too bad. I’ve always been really good about finishing things and keeping to a schedule of some sort. Once a week. Once a month. Something.
However, I’ve been feeling so guilty about my current WIP because this is the first time I’ve had to juggle my career and my book deadlines AND my fanfic and I bet you can guess which one always gets put on the backburner. It kind of breaks my heart because my fanfic is WHY I have book deadlines in the first place. My fanfic audience who have read my stories devotedly and shared them and reblogged them and talked about them with their friends is why I get to now be published. So I don’t want to abandon something that has been such an enormously large part of my life for so long, but I also want to wholeheartedly go on this new journey. I know that I’ll never stop writing fanfic because I love to do it and because the community is so, so important to me. But I might write it slower and I may write less. And that’s okay.
In conclusion, here are some of the great things I have because of fanfic.
And the time someone had one of my fics bound like a real book and so kindly sent me some copies:
I think the most important lesson I’ve learned from this hobby is that I absolutely have to write what I want to read, even if it’s very specific and niche. My longtime fandom friend mylittleredgirl was on the fanfic maverick podcast talking about her fanfic journey and it was a little like listening to myself because our experiences were so parallel. But she was saying she wrote for an audience of one: herself. I do the same thing. It’s always an extremely happy accident that other people like those stories, but they’ve always been tailored exactly for me and that’s definitely a lesson I can take with me as I move into the publishing world.
I’m gonna write for me, but for a nominal fee, you can read it too. Or, if you’re broke, you can still read two million words of my fanfic for free.
Also, if you think I’m writing this blog post to procrastinate on finishing my next chapter, mind your business!
I hope everyone is surviving the holidays so far. Here’s a glimpse of my last couple weeks:
Okay, sure, one of these things is not like the other but I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift and it’s as much a part of me as my love for star trek, diet coke, and schnoodles.
It’s a weird time, I feel like people are being especially edgy. I think the pressure of the holidays mixed with the on-going pandemic are setting people off. I work in a public library, so I really see a diverse cross-section of humanity, and everyone is just barely hanging in there. Someone did try to set our library on fire, for instance. That sort of edgy. (I wasn’t there, but my co-workers were amazing and everything turned out fine.)
I’m trying to be patient with everyone in hopes that they will be patient with me. Maybe not the arsonist, but like, everyone else.
It’s not that I don’t want to achieve my goals, but sometimes it feels like I’ve girl bossed a little too close to the sun when I have too many things up in the air. I can plow through obligations with the best of them, but I can’t do it forever and the recovery is always kind of dicey.
I signed with Ylva Publishing in April, turned in the first draft of my book in the summer and then spent most of this fall working through the editing process. And somewhere in between waiting for edits to come back, I started the second book. Now, the final, final draft has been submitted and it’s a big weight off, but ALSO, the first draft for the second book is due at the end of the year, so now I’m just realizing that I’m always going to be caught up somewhere in this process of writing and deadlines and edits. Maybe in multiple places at the same time! It’s okay, but I’m new at it and so it’s been somewhat of a learning curve, figuring out how to manage it all.
My body knows, too, when I’ve completed something stressful and important because the moment it’s off my plate, my body forces me to take a break. Sleep all day, nurse my joints, survive a migraine. I spent most of yesterday in bed. (Relatedly, I cannot recommend the Starry Eyes Self-Warming eye masks enough for people who get migraines. I use the icehats a lot, but sometimes you just want something warm and not cold and these are great for naps.) I even gave myself the day off from working out, and I hate to upset my routine, so you know it was ~serious~.
It’s easier to beat myself up about not being perfect at handling a bunch of new responsibilities on the first try, but even I know that’s not productive or a good use of my mental energy. And the truth of the matter is, even though it’s been difficult, I think I did handle it well. I learned a lot about how I need to structure my time and my environment to make progress. I’ve been lucky to have the physical space to work and a partner who has been very supportive of both respecting my time and helping me change my space when I realized my original set up wasn’t working.
I’m a very disciplined person when it comes to work. I’m organized, I’m self-motivated, I’m efficient and so I was suited to take on a side hustle, so to speak, but knowing you can do it and actually doing it are two different things! But now that I’m somewhere between doing it and having done it, I find myself strangely motivated to keep doing it. To do it better. To have some success at it, even! I’ve watched my body slow degrading since I was a teenager and my vague plan about that, besides pretending it’s not happening, has always been to just work until I can’t and then it’s just like a blurry row of questions marks, but now maybe I do have a back up plan? Wild. Next stop, the sun!
Honestly, I don’t know anyone who is particularly thrilled with their job right now. I’ve worked for the same employer for the last eight years, and while there’s value in the longevity and stability, you really start to see how the sausages are made after a while. In my first ever job, at a restaurant when I was in college, it was drilled into me that you never called out. Even if you were half dead, you came to work and if you seemed bad enough, they might send you home.
It seems ludicrous, in the midst of a pandemic, but the truth was they’d rather have you at work with a head cold (over FOOD) than to call out sick. And in college, my time off always aligned with spring break or holidays. I didn’t have vacations, I just went home to see my family.
By the time I got through college and working two crummy jobs and grad school and the multiple jobs I had during that time, taking time off was just not something I did. I remember when I first came back to my home state after grad school, I worked as a barista from like, 4:30 a.m. to noon and then I took a nap and then I worked my minimum wage library job from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and that was most of my week. Sometimes I only worked one job, but for a good year, I just never even had days off. I had to negotiate both jobs to give me the same day off, and that was hard!
So when I got my government job at a public library system, for the first few years I barely took vacation. It got to the point where I’d accrued so much vacation I was going to start to lose it and I had to start taking it.
I’m better now. During this pandemic especially, I’ve taken more time off than I think I ever have since I started working any job. Our location was, and still is, insanely busy and we’ve been going hard ever since we reopened, so rest days and mental health days have become mandatory to survive it.
All of which to say, I’m on my two week vacation now. I always take two weeks off in October. I take other time, but this is my good vacation, the long stretch and it’s been really good and really needed. I’ve tried hard to actually rest. We went to Tahoe and lucked into some snow. I saw a bear! My husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. It’s been great.
I don’t necessarily WANT to go back to work on Monday, but I’m not absolutely dreading it, and I think that’s a good sign. It means I got some rest, had some time to reset, got to work on some other projects that I don’t usually have time for during regular work weeks.
Take your time off, if you can. Everything is so difficult right now, we need to take care of ourselves and find a way to make our creative endeavors our priorities, if only for a little while.
October is the best month. It’s not a debate. FACTS ARE FACTS. I love the fall, I love the Taylor Swift RED aesthetic, and I love being a spooky bog witch. Halloween is my favorite time and I never met a costume I didn’t want to wear.
This October has been lovely so far. Currently I am on a two week vacation that has only just started. Yesterday, I completed the first round of edits on my book and turned it in, which is like an enormous weight off. On Saturday, we had a backyard party for a coworker who is moving out of state and I got to see some of my lovely, fully vaccinated friends that I haven’t seen in person in like two years. We strung lights in the backyard and everyone brought food to share and there were drinks and it was just fully wonderful.
I also got a tattoo to celebrate my love of all things autumnal!
It was done by Kristina Bennett at Sugar City Tattoo Company and she was so nice to work with. I gave her some vague reference photos and said “autumnal floral with a pumpkin” and she knew the vibe exactly.
In a few days, we’re going up to South Lake Tahoe, which I’m excited to say did NOT burn down, so it will be so good to get out of town and decompress. I’m halfway through writing my second book, something I started while waiting for edits on the first one, so hopefully I can make some progress on that.
Anyway, I’m just popping in to say I love, love, love October and I hope you’re having a good fall so far.
Blogs are tricky, especially introductory ones. I’m a writer, but a fiction writer, so I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to write myself. I’ve always figured, if you’ve read one of my stories, you probably know more about me already than reading a bio paragraph.
Blogs can be good, though, I suppose to talk about any number of things going on that may not fit anywhere else. And if you’ve stumbled here, I guess maybe you want to know more about me the person outside of me the writer. I can do that. My pen name is Emily Waters, my real name is SOMETHING ELSE. You, however, likely know me as missparker. I’ve been a fanfiction writer for much longer than a published (or shortly to be published) author, so it’s definitely going to take some time to think about myself as a writer outside of that fandom space. If that’s how you know me or how you’ve found me, welcome and thank you so much for taking this next step with me.
If you’ve found me some other way, say through my social media, or through my publisher, Ylva Publishing, I’m so thrilled to have you here.
I live in Northern California with my husband and my two dogs. I do have a husband, he’s wonderful. It’s no secret to him or to anyone, I think, that I’m bisexual and he’s wildly supportive of my writing or of anything I do. He’s great. A keeper. I’m a children’s librarian, I read a lot of kids books. I’ve learned a lot about publishing by being a librarian who purchases for my library system’s collection, so I’m excited to be able to see publishing from the other side. Besides working and writing, petting my little dogs and puttering around my backyard, I’m afraid I’m not wildly exciting. I’m an introvert and I like to stay home.
If you’ve made it this far, I do encourage you to reach out to me via my twitter or my instagram or even my tumblr. I’m from the internet, so making online friends is my favorite. I’ll update this blog on the progress of editing my book, publishing it, and maybe writing some new ones. See you then.