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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 ice hats 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.
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It’s about time to turn in the first draft of my first published novel.
It’s a weird thing to write!!! I’ve been thinking about publishing a book since I was, eh, thirteen? But then, you know, things get in the way. Finishing high school, getting into college. I chose English Literature as my major, over Creative Writing because I thought I wanted to be a teacher and wanted a more general degree.
And then, when it was time to go to grad school, I was paying for it myself so I knew I better come out of it with a viable career. I graduated from college at the same time the economy collapsed, so instead of becoming a teacher at a time when teachers everywhere were getting laid off, I went to library school. I just didn’t think a degree in Creative Writing, a field that is notoriously hard to find success in, was a sound financial decision.
It’s not that I ever stopped writing. I’ve been writing consistently since I was a teenager. I started with fanfiction, I wrote original stuff in school, but fanfiction has been my hobby for 20 years. With every story I hit publish on, with every new fandom I dipped my toe into, there was always that thought in the back of my mind that I still had time to writing something original. A novel.
Lately, though, I’d started to put that dream to bed. I work at the library, I know intimately that a lot of books aren’t even very good and yet, getting published is HARD. A lot of it is just knowing the right people, networking, being in the right place at the right time. The rest of it is hustle. Write the damn thing, send it out, get rejected over and over again. It all sounded so difficult while trying to balance a full time job, a marriage, a chronic illness, whatever else life was throwing at me at the time. So I started to shift my thinking away from that. Fanfiction makes me happy. I like to write it and I find the community I’ve built around it to be very fulfilling and I worried that turning my hobby into a hustle might make me like it less, anyway. I was at peace with not being a ~writer~ and I figured that unless something fell directly into my lap, it would just never happen.
Guess what fell directly into my lap?
In a way, it was about networking, about being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people. Fandom is a powerful network. I’ve made so many fandom friends who have become powerful, badass adults. Now I’m on this journey, I guess. I feels like the right step for me now. Maybe I’ll publish a few books and decide it really isn’t for me. Maybe I’ll publish a few books and decide that I love it and I’ll keep going. I can’t wait to find out.
But first, I just have to send in this first draft, real quick.
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.
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.