Congratulations to the winners of last issue’s giveaway, Natalie and Lu, who will be receiving copies of Meera Lee Patel’s essay collection, How It Feels to Find Yourself, and journal, Go Your Own Way!
This is my last issue of the year, as I’m headed to South Africa with my partner for a family vacation. I'll be back in your inboxes in January.
As I did last year, here’s my list of concrete writing accomplishments:
- Submitted to 23 publications/writing-related opportunities
- Taught my first writing class with Accent Society
- Revised 2 short stories, 3-4 times each
- Started brainstorming a novel and wrote ~6000 words
- Wrote 19 editions of this newsletter, including three interviews with Victoria Ying, Elise Hu, and Meera Lee Patel
- Took two writing classes and participated in two workshops
- Participated in the January #mini1000
It’s helpful to see this all laid out, but a friend of mine recently wrote me a thoughtful holiday card congratulating me on the “quieter lessons” she saw me learn this year. I noticed that compared to last year, I drafted fewer stories and submitted to fewer writing-related opportunities. But I realized that those trends and changes don't tell the whole story.
Rather than drafting, I focused on revision. Rather than submitting a ton, I focused on a more specific set of publications and opportunities. I began brainstorming my next big project because I felt ready for something meatier. I changed jobs and got engaged. I was more intentional with taking time off and worked on my relationship with creative guilt. I traded stories and feedback with good art friends.
I think it’s important to look at the tangible steps I took in my writing life this past year, but also remember that writing is one aspect of my life. A lot of the intangible work this year was thinking about the sustainability of writing in the context of my job, health, and relationships. I’ve certainly appreciated the loud acceptances and opportunities, but I also remember that the deeper work is in quiet, steady moments. If you are reflecting on your own writing behaviors, I hope you remember to think expansively about what you consider "accomplishments."
Gifts for writers
I’m resharing my gift guide, with some updates and new recommendations:
- Subscriptions: Lit Mag News for info on calls for submissions, various job / fellowship / contest opportunities, and interviews with lit mag editors. Sub Club by Chill Subs offers writer resources, Hit Submit Parties, discounts, and weekly lists of submission opportunities.
- Creative inspiration: AMC A-List, museum memberships
- Writing classes and spaces: Many writing spaces also provide in-preson and remote classes, such as GrubStreet in Boston, Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Hugo House in Seattle, The Center for Fiction or Brooklyn Poets in New York, The Writer's Center in Bethesda, and StoryStudio in Chicago
- Support for retreats, residencies, and workshops: Offer financial support, childcare, edits, moral support, etc. to make it possible for writers to attend retreats, residencies, and workshops.
If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider sharing it with a friend or supporting me via Ko-fi or Venmo! If there are topics you’d like to see covered in future issues of this newsletter, hit reply and let me know. Thank you all for reading and sharing your feedback.
- “How to Self-Direct Your Own Residency” by Alicia Toldi and Carolina Porras (I also love Syllabus, which imagines different ways a syllabus can function as a creative tool)
- A great interview by Brandon Choi with three authors of debut short story collections—Ada Zhang, Nishanth Injam, and Alexandra Chang—about their writing processes and literary lineages
- All the end-of-year book roundups: Vulture, The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, The Atlantic, and Electric Literature’s best short story collections, novels, nonfiction, and poetry collections
- Apply for financial support to attend the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Writers’ Conference. Fellowships support parent-writers, writers of color, educators, queer-writers, vineyard writers, and authors/poets with financial needs.
- Sara Petersen shares “some truths about writing a book”, including: “Your Book is the Holy Grail, The Peak of Mount Everest, The Moon Landing and for everyone else in the world, it’s Just A Book.”
Recent reads & other media
E and I reread Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn so we could then rewatch the movie. (We laughed when we realized this is the funniest book to read as a newly-engaged couple.) I read Rosie Danan’s latest book, Do Your Worst, which is a supernatural mystery/romance that epitomizes the “enemies to lovers'' trope.
E and I saw Poor Things—and a Q&A with Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, and Ramy Youssef afterward. While it was entertaining, humorous, and provided an interesting lens on femininity and self-actualization, it’s overwhelmingly more about vibes than depth.
Recently read short stories: “The Arrow” by Gina Chung
Note: Book links are connected to my Bookshop affiliate page. If you purchase a book from there, you'll be supporting my work and local independent bookstores!
~ meme myself and i ~
Journaling only when it’s medically necessary. A scheming cat. There are only four types of contestants on GBBO. Scallion hearts, my beloved. When someone’s talking about something but they haven’t unlocked that part of my personality yet. Ah yes, Louis Armstrong, the first person on the moon.