*By which I mean literature, not, like, “Suh dude, lit party.” Though in my opinion, books are also pretty lit.
Well, we’re here. Four months after college graduation, and I’m finally doing that “life update” all my friends did in June. Oops.
And what a four months. Here are some things that have happened.
I graduated from Stanford! With a degree in English and Creative Writing! I traveled! And then I settled into “real life.” What does this mean? Why do people keep saying it? Unclear. It’s as if all the life I was living before was a dream or a simulation. Apparently, I have not yet experienced this “real life” people are talking about.
I moved to Berkeley!
- I know where to find the best coffee.
- I am very near my friends from college.
- It’s always slightly chilly, so I get to wear this olive jacket all the time. Look! Am I hip yet?
- I spend a lot of time in my very small apartment staring at the fluorescent lights of a parking structure. It is both lonely and bad on my eyes.
- All my Stanford gear is going very unworn.
- I bought an $11 juice today because it did not occur to me that such a thing could cost so much, and by the time I realized my mistake, I couldn’t say anything for the sheer awkwardness of it all.
I am adjusting to professional author-dom! It is still very weird. People ask me what I do, and I hedge and blather and eventually say something like, “I guess I write, sort of,” which does not come close to covering it.
I spent the past 26 days rewriting my manuscript (the one with the aerial silks, for those of you keeping score at home) in its entirety. Once I’m a little further (farther? forther? This is why I need an editor) down the editing pipeline, I’ll write a more thorough post on how edits work in traditional publishing, but essentially: I wrote a whole new book. Remember when I pretty much rewrote the entire book after I signed with my agent? Yeah, I did that again. Will my editor ask me to do it another time? Perhaps!
People always apologize when I tell them this. I think they expect me to be really mad at my editor for suggesting changes. But… that’s literally the whole point of an editor. She wants my book to be awesome! Fortunately, I do, too! So I’m going to keep rewriting and editing it until it’s as awesome as possible.
The pace, though. It is a very draining yet utterly rewarding sort of thing. I wrote 150,000 words over the past three months in various manuscripts. Some days, that meant writing nothing. Other days, that meant writing for twelve hours.
Writing is like gas in a closed container. It fills all the available space. If you have a free hour, write. If you have twelve free hours… write?
This is how I’ve always treated it. When writing was just a hobby, it was a great way to soak up boredom. But now I’m oddly lacking in the hobby department. I suppose I *could* write for twelve hours a day, every day, including weekends. I have no office to commute to, no coworkers to distract and/or befriend me.
It’s wonderful and it’s difficult.
On Pitch Wars:
For those of you in the online writing community, this is probably not the first you’ve heard of Pitch Wars. I was a mentee in 2016 and I’m a mentor this year. After reading A LOT of submissions, I absolutely fell in love with Rachel Morris’s beautiful, lyrical, fantastical novel. She’s my mentee, and we’ll be working on polishing her manuscript together for the next few months. Look out for it during the Pitch Wars agent round!
On Other Things (that you may or may not care about, depending on how much you love me):
- I’m about two thirds of the way through my $11 juice (so, like, over $7 of juice), and it’s actually pretty good. My shame is lessening with every sip.
- Taking BART between Berkeley and SF is weirdly loud. The train turns and makes this SCREEEEEEE-WUB-WUB-WUB sound and everyone just keeps facing forward like this is a normal part of the human experience.
- I’ve been taking aerial silks classes to better understand what my characters are doing. Y’all. It’s so hard. It’s so fun. It’s the next fitness craze, I’m sure of it.
- I miss Bend lots and loads. Deciding not to go back after college was a weird thing. Career writing/free lance work gives you a bit of a paradox of choice, housing-wise. Your living situation is SUPER important because you rely heavily on the location itself (for work) and the people you live with (for human interaction, since you don’t have coworkers). Every few days, I wonder why on earth I chose this, and I find myself looking at Estonian AirBnbs.
- I haven’t gotten a haircut in, like, eighteen months. I am irrationally convinced I will go to someone new and they will do something terrible, like put globs of bubblegum in my hair.
- I had these artfully ripped jeans, but I put my heel through the artful rips and now I just have flapping denim around my knee. Please advise?
- If you have wisdom for me–on writing, working for yourself, expensive juice, things to do in the Bay Area, dealing with fluorescent lights, being an “adult” in the “real world”–please do let me know.