I'm excited about every article that I get published, but this one is special to me. I don't normally write about things as personal as my chest, but I had such an epiphany with a stupid little sports bra that I couldn't resist sharing.
As women in general, we are too hard on ourselves. In fact, as humans, we're too hard on ourselves. We hold ourselves to impossible standards, and we don't have to do that anymore.
My body has stretched to give me twin girls. While the stretch marks and loose skin didn't feel normal or natural at first, I realized that it was exactly what was supposed to happen to my body. That's what our bodies were made to do. How beautiful that my body was even capable of having babies.
So, with that in mind, I'd greatly appreciate it if you took a moment to read my latest article. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Read the article here: How a $30 Sports Bra Restored My Sense of Self
*Originally written for and posted in the ANWA Quarterly Newsletter*
Being a writer means baring your soul. For some, it’s their entire soul, and for others, it means revealing a tiny piece of a larger puzzle. This can make you feel vulnerable and raw.
Ernest Hemingway said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” It feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it? We let ourselves bleed because we have a truth to share and explore. We bleed to better understand ourselves, our experiences, and the world around us. We bleed because we write. Or maybe we write because we bleed.
The simple act of sharing your writing is opening yourself up to judgement, criticism, praise, or to simply be ignored. It can be painful. It can be soul-crushing. But you know what else it is? Worth it.
Opening yourself up to failure and ridicule is a lovely and painful way to become a better writer. Don’t let your fears or insecurities hold you back from doing what you’re meant to do.
I attended a query letter webinar recently, and I decided to submit mine for a live critique. I knew it needed help, but I didn’t know how to move forward. I needed it to be ripped apart so I could put it back together. There’s always that hope that they’ll tell you it’s perfect. But let’s get real; that didn’t happen.
The presenter pointed out the things that didn’t work, and the attendees all chimed in about what they didn’t like. My face burned, my cheeks reddened, and I had a hard time breathing, but I was taking vigorous notes. It was embarrassing. It was a little humiliating, but it was exactly what I needed to take my query letter to the next level. If I didn’t open myself up to this experience and opportunity, I would be running on that hamster wheel, not knowing what to do next.
But the one experience that has forever changed me was the agent/editor live panel at the 2017 ANWA Conference. Weeks before, I decided on a whim to submit my first page to be read aloud and critiqued. Normally, I would never do something like that. In that moment, I decided that if I ever wanted to achieve my writing goals, I had to start putting myself out there. I had to be willing to be hurt and bleed a little.
When the live panel began, I completely forgot that I submitted my first page. I was sitting blissfully in the audience until the lady next to me mentioned that the presenter was nervous she wouldn’t read the pieces correctly. She explained that ten writers submitted their work, and then it hit me. I was one of those writers.
I thought about flagging down the presenter and snatching my paper. I wondered how I could’ve ever let myself be so foolish. What had I been thinking?
It was too late. I hoped they would run out of time before she got to mine. That didn’t happen. As she read my first page, my insides felt like they would spontaneously combust. I wanted to leave the country, change my identity, and never come back.
Then as soon as it began, it was over. The panel members gave me some constructive feedback, and the comments were glowing. So was I. After that class, a member of the panel requested that the writer of that piece come get his card and requested the full manuscript. Cloud nine had never felt so delightful.
I sent my manuscript, and I waited months and months and months (Did I mentioned months?). They recently declined. It did not end in a contract. It didn’t even end in feedback other than the no. But because I put myself out there, it made me stronger, no matter how weak I felt in the beginning and when I received the rejection. The entire experience reminded me that I am a writer, that I have ideas and stories to share. It reminded me that I am capable.
Kurt Vonnegut said, “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
That is the writer’s journey. Don’t be afraid to propel yourself off a writing cliff. How else will you know what you’re made of?
I wrote this article quite a few months ago, but it's been well worth the wait to get it published on PregnantChicken.com.
If you have a moment, I'd love it if you took a look and let me know what you think. Or, have you ever felt that someone was too jealous of a parenting moment to celebrate with you?
Read the article here: When Asked About New Motherhood, I Lied (Because It Was Going Well)
I'm always excited when I get a new article published, and this is no exception. I've been waiting for this one to go live for a while, so I couldn't wait to share.
I've had quite a few freelance writing gigs over the years, and this is a small compilation of the things I've learned -- both good and bad. My experiences have helped me decide when to turn down a writing gig and when to accept one. Not all writing gigs are created equal.
Please click here to read the article. I'd love to know what you think or about your own freelance writing experiences.
A writer's life is one full of rejection and disappointment. I've never felt it more strongly than I have the last few weeks or so. The writing life is painful. It is good, too, and fulfilling and joyous, but it hurts.
I've been working on one of my novels for three days a week since the beginning of the year. I have many weeks under my belt. Then I think of how far I've gotten. Not far at all. I keep circling back to the first chapter still. All this time and all this work, and what do I have to show for it? A whole lot of nothing.
I'll be honest. I thought I'd be much further in nine weeks than a solid first chapter and mediocre second, third, fourth, and fifth chapters.
My goal this year is to query three agents per month. I've kept up with it, but that also means I'm receiving regular agent rejections. I've had many agent rejections in the past, but there's something about these that feel so painful. Each rejection makes me feel further away from my ultimate goal. Each rejection makes me question the path I've chosen and makes me wonder if I'm good enough.
Remembering My Progress
Sometimes in the face of disappointment, it can be hard to remember progression and achievement. My brain tends to focus on the things I'm not getting done rather than the things I've completed. I need to change that. Although, it's one thing that keeps me productive. I may not be hitting these main goals like I wanted, but that doesn't mean that other cool stuff isn't happening all around me.
I may not have made huge progress getting through page numbers with my revision so far this year, but that doesn't mean I've failed.
I took my first chapter to my critique group twice, two months in a row, after working on it in between. I needed a solid beginning to help me frame the rest of the revision, so it makes sense that I kept circling back to it. It wasn't ready for me to move on to the rest of the story. I may have a lot of work left to do on the novel, but I have a strong first chapter, and there's something beautiful about that.
As for the agents, I used to never even get a response from agents. I may not be getting positive news, but they're actually responding. That shows progress.
I also had an article pitch approved for a book on writing put together by ANWA (the writing association I'm a part of). I'm ecstatic about that. Now I just need to buckle down and write it. No big deal, right?
I'm making progress on my writing, but just in different ways that I originally imagined.
How are your 2018 writing goals coming along?
I'm an adjunct creative writing professor and freelance writer, but I dream of being a published novelist. This is my journey.