On writing

GROWTH

tomato_growth

So thankful for all the growth in my life lately…
I don’t mean the ‘numbers and clout’ kinda growth, because I could never really bring myself to become good at that (and hence see very little of it🙈). No, I mean the kind of growth that comes in almost imperceptible shifts; the kind of growth that just knocks on your door one day, like an old friend you’ve never met before.

It’s been a year since I started to query my debut novel, and I know so much more now. I know about the market and how hard it is to break into, especially with a book that’s not particularly commercial. But I also know what I DO want, and it turns out, that’s not getting traditionally published at all costs.

In a recent conversation I had online with another author, I discovered I knew exactly what I want! Namely: a) be in a support group of creative allies, and collaborating over going it alone; and b) building a small but dedicated audience, over making my work the most commercial it can be.

Somewhere in the months since the first episode of The Raven’s Toll came out, it appears I have grown into this knowledge. Growth has knocked on my door, and I welcome it.

For years and years and years, I wrote things that I didn’t publish. Which is fine – I needed that time – but now I can finally see the power of presenting things. Determining something is done and sending it out into the world. From the moment you do that, apparently it brings on a whole new dynamic. One that makes me feel very happy and alive right now.

So I would say: go out into the world. Regardless of whether or not your work is perfect. Regardless of the audience it may or may not find. Putting it out there – putting yourself out there – is enough. It’s enough to encourage growth, and one day that growth will knock on your door. And no matter what it looks like, I promise it will feel great.

NB. I: Did I follow my own advice? No, I didn’t, and part of me regrets that, which is why I’m writing this. I still don’t mind I took so much time honing my craft, but I definitely didn’t have to be such a perfectionist about it:).

NB. II: The plant? In the picture? Is one of my windowsill tomatoes; a late bloomer, just like me. <3

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Writing body positive: a learning curve

(he he, see what I did there)

Ever since starting a new medication three years ago, I’ve slowly but steadily been gaining weight. Fun! Especially when you take my past of disordered eating into consideration.

My reality now: I have a bigger, softer body. One that doesn’t fit the ‘standard’ definition of good bodies anymore. And no matter how often I tell myself it’s stupid and inconsequential – turns out, as someone who always used to ‘pass’ (and for whom ‘passing’ was pivotal), ‘failing’ that standard and still maintaining a sense self-worth is no easy feat.

And that got me thinking. How am I supposed to drop that standard as a measure of my own worth, when I’m telling my readers it’s important at the same time??

Yup. All the important women in my book? Were young, pretty – AND THIN. Apparently this is how the world works EVEN IN MY OWN HEAD. Any woman worth following, or investing in, should be considered ‘beautiful’, ‘passable’ at least, in a physical sense.

Gotta say, reading N.K. Jemisin already did a good bit to cure me of that bias. But the most important work I had to do for myself. I had to look within, to see where that blueprint came from, and why I was applying it to my poor characters.

And so I stopped. I made some women old. Or plus-sized. Or just average. WITHOUT THEIR SIZES OR AGES OR LOOKS BEING A TOPIC OF CONVERSATION. I robbed that little nagging demon, that says we should all conform to the norm or we no longer matter, of a voice.

I’m not saying I’m perfect, and neither is my manuscript. My heroine? Still pretty, still thin. It has a function, but she’s definitely also thin and pretty as a kind of wish fulfillment. Is that bad? Is that good? I don’t know. But I do know I find it important to explore my own bias on this topic – and to write beyond it. To write body positive.

Curious to know if this is a thing for anybody besides me;)

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