2018 In Review

Wow, I sure didn’t plan to literally not blog at all this year, nor did I plan to nope out of Twitter or fade off Facebook and Instagram. I feel like saying this has become an annual tradition, but it’s been a crazy year.

Have I mentioned that I have a rare disease? Yeah, it’s called acute intermittent porphyria. The short, not-a-doctor explaination is that certain stimuli make my blood cells stop carrying oxygen. Starting mid-2017, there was a lot of certain stimuli. So this Janury, I started a 3-times-a-week infusion regimen. That pretty much consumed my life for the first half of the year.

By summer, I was improving, so I was able to taper down to twice a week, then once a week by fall. Time to do SO MUCH WRITING now, right? Lolnope, time to catch up on all the everyday stuff that had fallen by the wayside.

While all this was going on, I did manage to start querying the YA fantasy novel I finished drafting last year. Part of that was participating in a Twitter pitch event called #DVPit, which exists to help marginalized authors get their work noticed. I still don’t have an agent, but it was encouraging to have several agents actually request my query!

The #DVPit coordinators are a fantastic, supportive group of industry professionals. If you’re a marginalized writer seeking representation, I encourage you to check it out. And if Twitter pitch events aren’t your thing, still check out the #DViants community that grew from writers who connected through #DVPit.

Believe it or not, with all of that going on, I’ve still been working on the final Thalia’s Musings book. I promise I’m not going to pull a George R. R. Martin on y’all. I have a complete, chapter-by-chapter outline, and the manuscript is about around a third of the way done. And since you’ve been so patient and so encouraging, here’s a tiny SPOILER: The book opens with a wedding!

Signing off with any kind of hopeful, proactive declaration about 2019 feels like challenging the Fates, so by way of New Year’s resolutions, I’ll leave you with this.

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2018 Facebook Resolutions

[This is an adapted version of a private note I posted to my personal Facebook profile on January 1st, 2018.]

I’m a very pro-social-media person. I love having so much access to so much information, and I love having so many ways to keep up with friends and family that I don’t get to see in person nearly as much as I’d like. And maintaining social media boundaries has always come naturally to me. I have some public accounts for networking [all of which you can find in the sidebar of this log], but my private Facebook has always been just for family and personal friends.

All that said, the last couple of years have been, well, the last couple of years. The way 2016 and 2017 affected my mental health isn’t sustainable. I discussed this a little in my #NaNoSoMeMo post. I knew coming into 2018 that, if it’s going to be more of the same, I need to be more deliberate about Facebook boundaries. I decided to post what I came up with in case it’s helpful to anyone dealing with the same thing.

Disclaimer: This is a list of personal boundaries that I came up with based on my own mental health needs, my own friend list, and my knowledge of my own abilities and resources. These elements are different for everyone, so I’m very much NOT suggesting this list is what everyone should be doing.

  1. NPR has a daily 10-minute world news podcast called Up First. I’m going to listen to that every morning and then ignore news for the rest of the day except for news about STEM and arts and entertainment stuff. This will include ignoring news articles that I support and agree with. I may end up hiding news pages that I like and respect, like NPR, The Washington Post, and The Hill. I hope my friends understand that this isn’t apathy or disdain, it’s just gaming Facebook algorithms. If anyone is curious about my opinion on a post I haven’t interacted with, they’re welcome to message me and ask.
  2. I will not be posting any articles about sociopolitical current events to Facebook. Again, this is just me gaming the algorithm. If I post one article about, say, patriarchy, racism, or homophobia in mainstream evangelicalism, Facebook thinks that’s all I want in my feed for the next ten days. And I don’t need it in my news feed because I already lived it. Besides, I have a small friend list, and everyone on it is either already educated on the issues I care about or knows how to Google them.
  3. My Facebook memories show me that, in my first few years of Facebook use, I posted more about random stuff I was doing, watching, reading, or thinking. Not sure when or why I stopped, but I want to do more of that.
  4. As far as my public/professional accounts, my rules for this year are that I’ll only engage on sociopolitical issues if (1) I have something to say that I don’t see anyone else saying, (2) I have a big enough following on that platform for my words to have any kind of an impact, and (3) I have the psychological resources to engage with the general public on that issue. Other than that, I’ll remember that I’m a writer/entertainer, not a news service, and expect my followers to remember that, too, and I’ll be gaming algorithms to show me feeds conducive to better mental health.
How are you planning to use social media this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

My Top Ten Posts of 2013

For my final post of 2013, I’m reflecting on the 10 posts that got the most hits this year. Yes, I’m doing a lazy Best-Of clips episode. Read on!

Image via Flickr, by Porto Bay Events

10. The Quandary of a High Femme Feminist

So when you see me in my pink ruffles, don’t assume I’m less driven and ambitious than the woman in a pantsuit. When you see my twirly floral miniskirts, don’t assume I’m waiting for a prince to call me pretty (or call me, period). And someday when I have a daughter and I call her my beautiful princess, don’t assume that I don’t also call her smart, strong, creative, hard-working, compassionate, and brave.

Because that’s my idea of a princess. And if I choose, I can be all of those things while decked out in pink and purple.

This post, which is actually from 2012, is still one of my favorites. If I were to write it over again, I might make it a little less ranty, but I definitely stand by the sentiment. I hate patriarchy and I love girly glamour. This really shouldn’t be a noteworthy position. Continue reading “My Top Ten Posts of 2013”