Monday, July 29, 2013

Wearing My Writing Hat More Often

I am a mother, so I think that should speak for itself when talking about the many hats I wear. To take that one step further, I am a mother to a three year-old and a five year-old (who you will see here with some of the hats I have made). 

On a daily basis, I’m a referee, cook, cleaning lady, playmate, wife, mother, friend, music lover, reader, obsessive fan girl, glorified chauffeur, and all around multi-tasker. That doesn't include my duties as a Holistic Moms Network chapter leader, homeschooling my children, or the work I do for my crochet/knitting business, Fiction Stitches. 

On top of all that, I am a writer.
During the month of July, I've been participating in my first National Novel Writing Month event, Camp NaNoWriMo, for a young adult contemporary I’m working on. While participating I've tried very hard--sometimes only doing it because of the constant nagging of my darling husband--to write something every day, even if it’s only fifty words. 

Surprisingly, I've done a pretty good job of it. I've found that it’s instantly rewarding to watch something grow at a more rapid rate than other work I have done, when I have purposely pushed my writing hat further down in the pile.    

With all the other things I have going on, it’s pretty easy for my writing hat to get pushed down or lost in the pile. And it’s only recently while doing Camp that I've realized it’s OK to wear it more often, or even in place of another hat I think I should be wearing, like dishwasher. 

The tasks of motherhood are never ending, so if I don’t make an attempt at writing somewhere in there--before my kiddos wake up or after they go to sleep--it’s just not going to happen and then it will take another twenty-one months to finish a single first draft. I need to make time for it. Period. Otherwise the characters in my head run crazy and I can’t focus on the other things I enjoy. Like spending time with my kiddos and making more hats!

**Due to safety concerns, I have since opted to remove the photos of my children wearing their hats. 
 photo a66a1aa4-a08e-48a2-bfcd-efc2d4fd1687_zpse4db374f.jpg

Saturday, July 27, 2013

So Many Hats

Do you ever feel like you wear just SO. MANY. HATS? Lately, I've felt this way. Don't get me wrong, I love having so many roles, but sometimes it can be hard to juggle. And sometimes, some hats take over more than others. 

A few of the 'hats' I wear are writer, wife, teacher, editor assistant, and mommy-to-be. Lately, the Mommy-to-be hat has taken over a lot of my life. I'm SO EXCITED to start this new part of my life and obviously can't stop obsessing and getting everything ready. So much of my days are just spend focused on our coming baby. 

But despite this insanely exciting thing that is about to happen (only a couple more weeks!) I can't just ignore my other roles either. So I'm learning to integrate my new roles while still maintaining my previous ones. Because I love all the other hats I wear also.

I don't have it all figured out. Some days are definitely spent wearing one hat more than the others, but I'm learning. Sometimes it can be stressful and other times it can feel like a breeze. 

But I figured out that if I set specific time aside for some things--like writing, work, editing--then it makes it easier to balance everything. I use my calendar a lot now to carve out time for some of the different hats I wear and I think it's really helpful for me.

I'm sure once baby gets here, I'll have to figure out a new plan all over again, but in the meantime this is what's working for me to balance all those hats on my head. What about you? Do you wear tons of hats and how do you balance them? 

 photo 1108d433-cc52-44af-9568-f23a432b631c_zps1bee2eb1.jpg

Also, just because I want to share it, here's a photo of me that my awesome photographer hubby took! (8 months here!) So excited to meet my little baby and start wearing my 'Mommy Hat!'

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On Hat-Juggling!

For the past few years I’ve alternated between wearing two main hats: my ‘writing hat’ and my ‘student hat’ – of course, with time in between for the ‘friends and family hat’!  But last week I graduated from university, so I’ve put aside my student hat for now…a strange feeling!  It feels like I’m at a loose end. I’ve always liked structuring my life – I live by lists and diaries to keep everything organized, and I felt the panic coming on as I approached graduation without a certainty of a full-time job – and knowing that no matter what crazy things the world threw at me, I had to keep writing.

The funny thing is, I’m actually busier than ever. Without the stress of university deadlines and obligations, I can focus on my writing – and on what I want from life. Right now, I’m alternating between job-searching, applying for internships, reviewing books on my blog, being an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing (and for the next two weeks, at Scholastic in London!), and working on the Darkworld series  with the wonderful Curiosity Quills Press, with the first book due to be published in September. That’s quite a lot of hats to juggle! I’m determined not to let the lack of graduate jobs get me down and to keep busy, so I jumped at the chance to intern at Entangled. I get to read books of all genres and write editorial reports, which is awesome. It’s a great feeling when you discover a book which could be the next big thing, and it’s also taught me to read with a critical eye, which I’m learning to apply to my own writing, too. I’ve learnt more in the month I’ve been with Entangled than I did in three years of studying creative writing, although that was a great way to learn how to critique tactfully!

In the past year, since I published my first novel (The Puppet Spell, an upper-MG/YA fantasy book), I’ve been learning to juggle writing with blogging and promoting as well as studying for my degree, and it’s been a lot of fun, if overwhelming at times! Writing a dissertation and two book series was no easy task, to say nothing of marketing and organizing a blog tour. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that it’s the WRITING that’s important, and marketing can be hit and miss.  Putting hundreds of hours of effort and a lot of money into marketing might not necessarily translate into sales. I learned this the hard way!

So I’ve resolved to concentrate on the writing itself. I aim to get 1000 words of my latest project every day, or a certain number of pages of edits. That way, my focus is on the writing rather than checking Amazon rankings or browsing for new ways of marketing. This month, as I work with my editor at Curiosity Quills on edits for the first Darkworld novel, the writing hat is very much on! Some writers have separate hats for writing and editing, but I’m one of those authors who constantly break the rule of ‘Don’t edit until the first draft is done’ – despite my best intentions! The first four Darkworld novels are in varying stages of completion, and I can happily jump from writing one to editing another. With different projects, however, it’s like putting on a new hat. The characters, setting, tone and voice are usually completely different. For instance, The Puppet Spell’s a quirky fantasy, whilst Darkworld is supernatural urban fantasy for older teens. Some authors can write multiple series at once, but I can’t do that past the planning stage. Once a story gets to a certain stage, it demands my full attention – I imagine my projects as like a line of talking hats constantly chattering at me. I’ve had to discipline myself to pick up one at a time and stick with it!

It’s not easy. But this is what I love doing. At times it can get overwhelming, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

 photo 50565a9b-bd0f-4ae6-a77d-7aa0d3ec3cca_zps58c64d47.jpg

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Many Hats Can a Person Wear?

I often feel like I'm in one of those crazy one-woman stage shows, the ones with elaborate costume changes and monologue-dialogue-entire conversations with myself, and sometimes the house is packed, and sometimes it's just the bleak sinkhole of an empty auditorium.

Suffice to say, I wear a lot of hats. I've become a quick-change artist, shifting between the different roles constantly; in fact, my daily to-do list is structured around the idea that I can only take so much of any one role for so long, and have to keep cycling through them to keep my energy level high. So here are just a few of the hats I'm constantly juggling:

  • Author (with many subhats, like Book 1 I'm Drafting, Book 2 I'm Drafting, Book I'm Editing, Book I'm Brainstorming/Researching, Book I'm Promoting, and so on and so forth!)
  • Editor (Editorial Assistant with Spencer Hill Press; editor/beta reader for friends' mss)
  • Worker Drone (subhats: foreign affairs wonk, translator, writer, working group coordinator--perhaps the toughest hast for an introvert to wear!)
  • Grad School Student
  • Goth-Rock Martha Stewart (subhats: Girlfriend, Sheltie Mommy, Board Game Night hostess, Master Mixologist, she of the healthy meal preparation, she of the "we are all going to exercise together dammit" whip-cracking, and lately, High Priestess of Rounding Up the Sacrificial Virgins and Faustian Pacts to finalize our first home purchase)
  • Worthless Lazeabout (subhats: binge-watching trashy paranormal "reality" shows, plowing through my never-diminishing stack of books to read, and assorted video game dorkery)
  • Cheerleader/Ass-Kicker for My Writer Friends
Whew . . . I got a little exhausted just thinking about it all!

But to touch on what Danielle said, far more artfully than me, it is exhilarating and fulfilling and just such an honor to live such a rich life. It's also occasionally draining and vexing--I never get that wonder day-after-the-last-final-exam feeling, and my working memory is totally shredded. (Thank goodness for my ubiquitous notebook, aka, the real brains of this operation.)

Still, cycling through all the hats works wonders for keeping me engaged and focused. If I get stuck on one task, I switch to the next. If I feel my attention straying, I can swap to something else to keep my excitement fresh. The brain is an amazing creature, and it always amazes me what problems my subconscious will solve for me when I've distracted my conscious mind with something else!

How do you juggle your hats? Do you have to tackle one task at a time until it's done, or can you alternate?
 photo 2d08e878-3ff2-48aa-b907-6dd7357ff733_zps48c94d2d.jpg

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ode To All The Hats

The Invisible Hat

I wear so many hats,
so many hats I do wear,
that I’m never quite sure if I’m coming,
going, here or there.

My mommy hat is neon green,
so that from far away it can be seen.
It blinks and glows, makes shrieks and groans,
and subsists solely on caffeine.

My grown-up hat is a dry-clean tweed,
so mature and responsible and ready to succeed.
It sits upon my head to make sure the pets get fed,
And that the mortgage is paid on time and my check is guaranteed.

My book critic fedora has a press card in its brim,
so focused when on deadline and find it necessary to skim.
Three books are due within days, their plots a total haze,
‘Hallelujah’ I cry out when I see the final tome is slim.

My last hat is an invisible one,
seen by none.
It’s heavy on my head, it’s weight like that of lead.
Its burden is all the writing that must get done.

No one sees this hat that sits upon my head.
Because the hat does not go to work outside the house, instead
It can be seen at the kitchen table, working on a fable,
Or plotting a mystery from the bed.

To my family I must be fair,
It is me who thinks the hat isn’t there.
My author hat does not yet pay bills or provide luxurious frills.
And so it often gets pushed aside, waiting for a moment to spare.

Only recently when people bother,
to ask what I do, do I say ‘writer’ instead of stay-at-home-mother,
I have a book coming out next year, it’s time I am clear,
I must make my invisible author hat glow like that of any other.

  photo 2c30eb61-8fa4-4bea-9fa9-ce06e0491553_zps3dd1863c.jpg

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Hats You Wear Don't Matter

When I was kid I wanted a hat. I blame this on growing up with tons of uncles and cousins, and living in WV where the rednecks play and hunt and fish and sport farmer's tans. (Truth.) But I had a really big head. Seriously. Baseball caps (which are adjustable) didn't even fit--unless they were the velcro kind that could fasten at the very end just enough to keep it together and on my head. I had a few cousins who moved to WV from Texas and they came with cowboy hats. One of them was pink and my first-grader self WANTED THAT HAT. Need I say more? That was a nightmare.

It looked A LOT like this.
In my life, I have literally owned three hats (excluding winter toboggan things. I love those.) They just don't look good on me, and I got tired of trying to find THE PERFECT HAT that fit my head and looked good and went with everything. I may not own or wear any real hats, but I wear too many figurative hats. Everytime I take off one hat, a new one takes its place.

Hats are a funny thing, because when I am wearing one I always tell myself that I don't want anymore--and then an opportunity comes up and I have to take it. So I add another hat to my head. (Anyone else have this problem?)

I think all this hat-wearing-overload stems from my desire to live a life of passion. If you've never heard the story of my how I realized the importance of living a life of passion, then it's here.

The thing I've learned since that post back in 2010? Living a life of passion is tremendous. Tremendously difficult, rewarding, exhausting, stressful. It requires a thick-skin, an ability to function without sleep, determination, perseverance, failure, patience and flexibility. It requires constant encouragement from the people who get it and a firm, unwavering reassurance in what's driving you so you have a response to those who don't get it; a response that you are doing the thing that's best for you--even if it doesn't make sense to others (which it won't unless they are doing the same)--because it's so draining and they think your life would be easier if you pursued something else. (Pursuing my passion is something that I find I have to defend a lot, especially since it's publishing, which is an unsure, low-paying, never-ending beast.) Passion doesn't allow for you to stop. It doesn't allow for you to settle. Instead it pushes you to go beyond your limit to keep up or stay ahead of it or just make it through the day. Other people don't always understand what you are working toward or why. That's why I believe whatever we pursue has to be something we're passionate about, something we do for ourselves and not for someone else.

I experience this a lot: this uncertainty about what my priorities are or why I am working so hard for this one thing.

From my roommate, from strangers, from my family, and sometimes from my friends who get tired of hearing me cry or stress about just. how. hard. this is. Especially when I live in one of more expensive areas of the country on no money. (Thanks, Metro DC area.) But despite that, I can't seem to stop putting on hats or wearing hats or being so completely excited (when I'm not stressed) about all the hats that I wear. And I wear a lot of them.

I'm an author.
A writer.
An editor.
An intern-director-person.
A bookseller.
An event planner.
A friend, sister, daughter, reader, encourager, cousin, TV fan, music-listener (those are hats, too!)

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter WHAT hats I wear. It matters that the hats I wear bring me joy, and give my life purpose.

That's all we can really ask for.

Right now, even though I tend to be so stressed out or overwhelmed that I don't know how to function as a human being, I never regret the hats that I wear. The various roles I get to balance are so rewarding, and the results from them matter. The results matter. To my authors, to my friends, to the customers at the store, to my future readers, to my author's future readers, to teens, to my friends, to myself.

Maybe one day I will remove some hats. Maybe all those things I identify with won't be there anymore, or maybe they will. I know the day I wake up and don't want to do something I'm doing is the day I'll remove that hat and move on. When I'm not joyful about that thing or I feel like it doesn't matter anymore.

Until then I will soldier on, probably gaining more hats without even looking for them. And one day, maybe, I will find a real hat that looks good on me.

I hope it's sparkly.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Four Common Problem Areas in MSs -- an Editor's Blog Tour

I interrupt this regularly scheduled programming of hats (and my, we do have some marvelous posts about them!) with a brief commercial for a hat that I wear. Editing! Last month, Between the Line Edits was started up.

BTL Edits is a freelance editing company that I started with my friend Briana and Patricia. Why? Because we love editing, we love helping writers strengthen their books, and we all have the experience to offer to others. BTL Edits is how we are hoping to do that.

This week launches our first big "Hello, we are here!!" to the writing community. And we're doing it in a practical way. A way that's about YOU (the writer) since that is why we are here anyway.

As editors, we read a lot of manuscripts. In reading all those MSs, we have all learned that there are some areas that tend to repeatedly be problem areas for writers. Four areas, to be exact. Each day for the rest of this week, we are being hosted by some fantastic writing blogs to share with you what those four areas are, and some practical steps you can take to see them and to fix them. You can also get some more information about Between the Line Edits at our website!

Be sure to check out our posts. Here's where we will be! I hope to see you around the blogosphere.

Tuesday -- YA Stands
Wednesday -- The Great Noveling Adventure
Thursday -- IceyBooks
Friday -- YA Misfits

Do you think you know what the four problem areas are? Take some guesses in the comments! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

There Are No Bad Hats

When I found out that this month's theme was "Hats We Wear," I thought about going any number of ways with my post. After all, I'm a writer, a mom, a teacher, an editor, a wife...I seriously need a time-turner most days.

But I decided that I wanted to go in a different direction. I want to talk about the hats we wear as readers.

That's right, readers.

In a recent blog, Maggie Stiefvater talked about literature and how it's interpreted. She wrote this:

I think you can talk in endless circles about what constitutes “literary” fiction and whether it’s good or bad or has no value or can be traded for a gallon of milk. And I also think you can talk in endless circles about whether or not there are “good” books and “bad” books and who gets to decide which is which. And if you do ever find an end to these circles, you can finish up with a indefatigable dessert course of the literary writing versus commercial writing debate.

I said basically the same thing in a 300 page dissertation that no one will ever read. That's right, a dissertation. Which means that I am, technically, a doctor. Which means that you should trust me. 

Or something like that.

But seriously, I'm basically a professional reader. I went to school a Really Long Time to read and study books, and in that time I read all the Very Best Things. 

And I'll tell you something, I didn't understand literature...not really...until I started reading Romance.

Yeah, I know, Romance--go ahead and mumble to yourselves about the genre fiction you distain. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Okay-- got that out of your system?  Great.

Now let me tell you about the different hats I wear as a reader and why I think they are so important.

For YEARS (roughly 14 to be exact), I was in love with Literary Fiction--Great Literature. I loved it enough that I decided to forgo a Real income and study it. (probably not one of my best decisions, but it's worked out well enough, I guess). I read everything--Shakespeare, Woolf, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Morrison (I love me some Toni Morrison). I wrote about literature. I even got some of those very dense, very stuffy writings published in Somewhat Important journals. 

But I will tell you something--As WONDERFUL as all those books are. As much as I loved--and still love--them, they are damned depressing. Nobody gets a Happily Ever After. Nobody rides off into the sunset. And when you are facing a pile of student loan debt and no job (told you that much grad school wasn't a good decision), you do not want to read anything that depressing. At least I didn't. So I read TWILIGHT.

I loved it.

Go ahead. Grumble about that, I'll wait.

Seriously. TWILIGHT was a revelation for me. It re-introduced me to YA, but it also introduced me to Romance. And then a friend suggested OUTLANDER. And that was it for me. I was hooked.

I spent the next 10-12 months reading every Romance I could get my hands on. I'm talking, literally hundreds and hundreds  of books--at least 1 a day. I exhausted Karen Marie Moning and made my way to Julia Quinn. From there it was Amanda Quick and Eloisa James and Kathy Maxwell. And when the library started running out of regencies with the pretty, frilly covers, I sucked it up and tried Nora Roberts. I'd resisted Nora Roberts, because she was what my mom read. And, like I said, for 14 or so years, I read Real Literature. Important Literature. (or so I thought)

Now as I'm reading all of these, I'm living in this tiny midwestern town in the middle of a cornfield where EVERYONE was connected to the University in some way. I'd use the self-checkouts on the 2nd floor of the library and smuggle the books out in a bag, because I was ashamed to have any of my pseudo-intellectual grad school friends see what I was reading. I told myself that I was reading to learn a new genre. That it was research. That maybe I'd write a paper about it someday.

You know what? That was all bullsh*t. I was reading those books, because for the first time in a loooong time reading was thrilling again. For the first time in years, I was staying up until 2am to finish a book.

You know what else? I wouldn't be a writer, and I certainly wouldn't be an about-to-be-published author if I hadn't read those hundreds and hundreds of so-called trashy books. If I hadn't put on that other readerly hat.

I knew literature up down and backwards by that point, but I didn't really understand it. I still loved stories, but I'd forgotten why. Romance (re)taught me about plot and character. Romance (re)taught me that it was okay for a story to unfold and be comprehensible. Romance showed me the kind of stories that I wanted to write--stories that end happily instead of satisfactorily. And Romance probably saved me in more ways than one during that hard, depressing time.

This is why I'm always somewhat shocked (though I don't know why I would be anymore) to hear people put down one form of literature or another. I hear writers and readers poo-poo romance for being fluff, I hear romance readers poo-poo literary fiction for being to difficult or dense. And I can never understand why. Books are books. Stories are stories. They are all the stuff of dreams and inspiration and beauty.

If you don't like something, don't read it. But there's no such thing as a bad genre. And that's my professional opinion (doctor, remember?) There are bad books, sure, but there are no bad genres. There are no bad readerly hats.

And what's more, I think that if you don't like something you should read it. You should put on that other hat and see what's out there. You should be willing to struggle a bit. You don't have to be converted, but you should want to understand. To know what other people love and admire. 

Joss Whedon gave some tips recently for being prolific. He says a lot of good things, but my favorite is this:
"...fill the tanks, fill the tanks, fill the tanks. Constantly watch things and things you don’t [normally watch]. Step outside your viewing zone, your reading zone. It’s all fodder but if you only take from one thing then it’ll show."

There is no better advice than this, I think.

So for all the YA-haters and Romance-haters and Literary-fiction-haters and the (list goes on and on, because people tend to be rather opinionated, don't they?)--stop. Just stop.

Put on a different readerly hat. Try something new. Expand your horizons. It will make you a better reader and a better writer.

And when you hear those slights against the genre or the author or the book that you love, just ignore them. Because the haters don't understand, will never understand, how expansive and infinite a reader can be. 

And that. That right there is the beauty of literature (big or little "L"). It makes us expansive. It makes us infinite.

 photo 798ccdd4-c462-416c-b26d-f68f0f8e09d5_zpsd01d8713.jpg

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hats We Wear - Chrystal

On keeping on the topic of hats we wear, I think I wear more sub-hats (is that a thing? I'm making it a thing) than hats.
I'm a wife, a writer, an editor, a sister, and a mom. Those are what I think of as my main hats, but there's so many different roles, or sub-hats, within each one.
As a mom, I'm also a nurse, cook, alarm clock, playmate, kisser of 'boo-boos', maid, teacher, taxi, and friend.

And, just like my mom role is filled with little jobs, our writer hat is filled with smaller roles too. We're storytellers, drafters, critique partners, and proofreaders. In my case, I'm also a snack food addict and consumer of large amounts of caffeine via jugs of coffee. Oh, and add music junkie because I have to have something playing while I write.

I could go one with all the sub-hats we wear as writers, but I'd rather hear what you think. What kinds of little roles do you take on as a writer?

Beside being a writer, what are some of the other hats you wear? What's your favorite hat to wear?

 photo 2e8a0d9f-452a-4697-9e3e-b0adf99fd5d2_zps3a7b1f71.jpg

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wear all the Hats You Can, But Learn to Say "No"

 Happy Fourth of July everyone! On this day of American Independence I write to you about wearing hats and some hazards of wearing, perhaps, the wrong ones. Enjoy!

I am an insanely busy person. The sheer amount that I get accomplished in a day is mind-boggling when actually looked at and picked apart. I’ve narrowed down the name of the hats that I wear most frequently to six: The Dancer, The Editor, The Poet, The Writer, The Teacher, and The Supportive Friend. These by no means encompass ALL the hats I wear. For instance, sometimes I’m The Sci-Fi Nerd or The Anatomy Buff and whenever I get to talk to my parents I’m The Youngest Daughter. Mostly I move seamlessly through the transitions of these hats. But really, when it gets down to the brass tax, these are merely aspects of my personality. And we all know that well-rounded personalities can seem schizophrenic when we put them in writing (a good character wears many hats too!)
All of that being said, my type A personality frequently takes on more than I can handle. I have a really hard time saying “no” to anyone.
“Could you come into work a half hour early?”
“Can you cover my shift while I’m on vacation?”
“Will you come to my show?”
“Will you read my book/paper/research project?”
All of this “yes” aired with my numerous odd jobs means that sleep, if I get it, sometimes happens on the subway train or in the middle of a book I’m attempting to read for pleasure. So the best advice to the wearers of many hats like myself and like many of the beauties who write for this blog, is to learn how to say “no” with conviction and no guilt. Let me say that again: LEARN HOW TO SAY “NO”.
In order to achieve some kind of personal happiness, we have to be selfish on occasion. Those moments of self-sacrifice are wonderful but you must allow time for yourself or you will burn out. This is not to say that you should overdo it and be selfish 24/7. You don’t want that and the universe won’t reward you for it. Binging and purging with anything leads to a kind of unhappiness that’s hard to get out of once it becomes habit.
This is where I’ll get a little personal. Two years ago I was wearing too many hats, trying to please too many people. I was in grad school and had two campus jobs: working as a writing tutor and as a research assistant. I also had a waitressing job and was involved in a dance company that required several hours a week. And for some crazy reason, I decided to join the Student Government at my school as a representative of the graduate students schoolwide. I had little to no time for myself and what time I did have I found that I was investing in relationship with people that I didn’t know at the time were toxic.
I said “yes” constantly. I worked longer hours so that other people could study or go on a much needed vacation. I said “yes, yes, yes” even though somewhere deep down I was screaming “NO!” This was the busiest I had ever been and the most social I had forced myself into. Outwardly, I looked happy. Inwardly, I wasn’t enjoying any of it and I couldn’t find satisfaction in any of my many accomplishments.
I have a crazy but super supportive family living in Florida. I would call home from Brooklyn on 2 hours of sleep and mumble through my anxieties to my mom. She warned me of taking on too much that wasn’t part of my passion.
“Asja, it isn’t worth it if it doesn’t further your dreams. If you aren’t able to pursue your dreams, if you’re compromising yourself at every turn you’re going to get sick. You’re not going to be OK.”
Taking action to regain control of where my happiness came from (not others or activities, but from an internal satisfaction) turned things around for me. I quit my waitressing job. I quit the dance company that I felt was using me rather than supporting me. I removed myself from the toxic relationships I had forged and I set out to get some better hats.
Now I’m happier than ever and still super busy. Instead of saying “yes” to everything I have begun to say “yes” only to things that made me happy.  I’ve stopped taking jobs just for the money (and yes, this is very hard when you live in New York). I’ve stopped investing in people who don’t care about me. I’ve begun to recognize my worth. Today, I work as an editor for a small press, a teacher of children under the age of 5, a dancer for 2 professional companies, I write poetry and fiction, and I support my artistically inclined friends by going to concerts, shows, and readings. I still say "yes" too much, still don’t get a ton of sleep and I’m switching hats multiple times a day, but I’ve never felt happier nor more like I’m doing what’s best for me.
Wear hats. Wear a million of them. Try them, throw them out, recycle them. But learn how to take care of yourself. Say “yes” when you want to. Say “no” even if it means disappointing people.

Now let's all go eat cake and BBQ and watch fireworks!

  photo e8d67f1c-5ab9-4926-9f0c-ce51cda1783f_zpsb4748010.jpg

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy July!

It's July -- which means we are back!  Everyone here is very excited to be rejoining the blogging world. I wanted to take some time today to make sure that you knew a few things about Tangled, and what the rest of 2013 means for us.

New faces.

We've added some new Tangled Girls to the mix! Asja, Kimberly, Brianna, Chrystal, Lisa and Emma. You can learn more about each of them here. We brought on the new girls because we exist to talk about the whole journey of writing, but since we've started, a lot of us have taken on different roles or experienced new things that aren't just writing anymore.

We wanted to add some diversity to the blog and stick by our commitment to represent various areas of publishing. Now we have soon-to-be published authors, writers who are just starting out, writers who have agents, editors, a publicist, and a fantastic gal in the UK, which obviously means she's awesome. We're really excited for all the girls, and hope that you will connect with them all as much as you have with us over the last two years.

Same purpose.

One thing we'll be doing now is talking about publishing. We have people doing various tasks -- not just writing -- and we want to talk about writing through those routes as well as being a writer. What does a book look like from the editing process? What's it like after your book is out? What's it like right before it meets the world? Or before you ever send a query letter or after you've sent 100? We're really excited to explore some other sides of writing that we've never done before. Hopefully you will be too.


We're also having a giveaway!! Keep checking back on this post because we will be adding some books. It will last until July 12 and then we'll be sending the books to the winner. To enter, just leave a comment on this post!

In fact, each day someone posts between now and the 12th, they will link somewhere to this giveaway. You can comment on every post and be entered. Just make sure you leave your email or twitter somewhere so we can find you!

Here are the books up for grabs! 

WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith
THE CAGED GRAVES by Dianne Salemi

Thanks for stopping by and celebrating our relaunch with us!

 photo 90e8891e-3b5f-4e5a-8ca7-70a9846bad3d_zpse6c804e5.jpg