7 Day Self Love Challenge ; What's Something You're Struggling With

Woah Nelly.

This is going to come as a shock to no one, but patience. Patience is the thing that I’ve struggled with since I was a child. I’m an incredibly motivated, driven, and task oriented human. When things are out of my control, I get beyond frustrated.

But if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

I’m frustrated with where I am physically. I’m frustrated with where I am financially. I’m frustrated with where I am in my career. I’ve come so far and still feel so far behind at the same time.

But frustrations can be two things. They can be discouragement, or they can be drive, and I’ve come way too far to let anything make me consider stopping.

#PublishedorBust


7 Day Self Love Challenge ; 5 Things I'm Grateful For

First things first, happy birthday to 1/3 of my pack! If you know Travis at all, please send him all the love you can as we celebrate his birthday!

I’m celebrating my 16th book rejection with a week of self love, compliments of my good friend Kirsti Coutlee. She’s also a very talented photographer, and I highly recommend you check her out!

Todays self love has tasked me to pick five things I’m grateful for. What are you grateful for? Share it with me in the comments. I’d love to hear whats making your heart beat today.

  1. Ryder

    Ryder is my ride or die. He is my right hand man. He is the oldest soul I know, and I feel like I’m a semi-old soul. Ryder has done this before thousands of times. He’s here to make sure I make it, and I’m so grateful for every single moment I get with him.

    “God Bless That Dog.”

  2. Travis

    It will come to no surprise to Travis that he comes after Ryder, mostly because we tell each other, “I love you almost as much as Ryder,” which is the thing I love most. I’m not even sure how I put into words how grateful I am. No one has ever loved me as honestly as Travis has. No one has ever understood and accepted my flaws like he has. No one has ever supported me like he has. If Ryder is my right hand man, he is my left, and I need both to feel complete.

  3. Mountains

    I am my truest self when I’m in the mountains with my dog and people I love. Doesn’t matter the season, how the rest of the day went, what else is going on in my life.

    There is no where else my soul feels more settled.

  4. Poetry

    If you have half the emotions I do, you understand how desperately you need an outlet to capture and free as many of those as possible.

  5. Friends

    I just want to take a moment to boast about Kirsti for a second. I have never been a woman who has been great at liking other women. It’s something I’ve really had to work on and grow into, because I know it’s so incredibly important to have strong female relationships. I was lucky if I had one or two in high school at times.

    Kirsti is one of the most beautiful humans I’ve ever met, and I’m so grateful she married one of my childhood friends. She relentlessly supports people, loves you like she’s always known you, and truly is the kind of woman who someone like Eleanor Roosevelt would’ve been proud of.

    She’s one of those magnetized people to begin with, you can’t help but be drawn in by her appearance, as its a reflection of who she is as a person. I have a long list of people I could talk about, but right now I’m grateful for Kirsti helping me slow down and look at life from all its angles.

    #PublishedorBust

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7 Day Self Love Challenge ; What Are You Feeling Right Now

In honor of my 16th book rejection, I’m celebrating with a week of self love journaling challenges with my good friend and talented photographer, Kirsti Coutlee.

What are you feeling right now is a question that could be answered differently for me at just about every moment of the day. This morning I woke up feeling emotionally hung over from a fight the night before with my significant other (we’re growing to communicate better). By 10:00am, I finally had the obligatory conversation about where I was during 9/11. All of my colleagues were in high school or college. I was in third grade. I feel like 9/11 always weighs us all down a little as we remember that safety isn’t a guarantee.

With that being said, thank you to the men and women who serve this country.

By lunch time I was stressed and anxious because I had so much to do and so little time to do it. By 2:00pm I was ready to walk out of the office and just sit outside and feel the sunshine on my face. By 5:00pm I came home to my significant other who ordered food with me and held me on the couch while I cried for a while.

I cry all the time. I’m embracing it instead of trying to change it. It’s who I am, and if it’s something I could change I’m sure it would’ve by now.

After watching Black Panther for the first time (amazing, how did it take me this long?!) I did some things on my to-do list. I cleaned the house. I picked up things I needed so my good friend that’s visiting tomorrow can be comfortable.

Tomorrow is my boyfriend’s birthday. I am trying to be a better girlfriend, and I still feel like I haven’t done enough.

In this moment I’m sleepy, but not in a frustrated I’m not asleep way. I’m more looking forward to bed than anything. I’m excited to write Travis a long note. I’m frustrated I forgot to pick him up a card that had nothing to do with birthdays. I’m so, so, so excited to see Julie I could explode. I feel grateful for having such a flexible and understanding partner, because this isn’t something I’ve always had. I feel content in a lot of ways, which is strange because I haven’t felt content all day.

I spend a lot of time pushing myself. I need to work out more or I need to write more or I need to work more, or I need to do more with Ryder or… the list never ends. We’re always pushing towards our next goal like we might not make it. I feel like I might not make it a lot of days.

In this moment however, I’m grateful I took the time to realize I was feeling content. It was like this pleasant surprise when I got to realize that I wasn’t artificially happy or anxious or frustrated.

Or crying.

I hope you get to have moments like these, too, soon.

#PublishedorBust6

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7 Day Self Love Challenge ; What Do You Think About You?

Yikes.

This isn’t information I offer up freely and often, so I’m just going to be as honest as I can be in this moment after an emotional morning. I wish I accepted myself more and needed others less to define my own worth. I’m 26 and I feel very behind where I should be thanks to more established authors. I wish I didn’t struggle with body dysmorphia and could look at food and working out as a way to take care of my body. I’m just not there right now.

I love that I’m confident and comfortable in confrontation, because their probably my two biggest asset. I love that I have allowed myself to be more fluid and change, even when it feels uncomfortable. I love that I am learning to talk less, so when I do, people really listen. I’m grateful that I’ve been around humans who have taught me to ask for permission.

Some days I wish I cried less, but then I wonder what my poetry would actually be like. I’m not sure it would be as good.

There are days I only derive my self worth from others, and some days I really struggle when I don’t get the positive reinforcement I need. Some days I crumble because I don’t get told I’m doing a good job, or I’m doing what I supposed to. This is especially hard when both the things I’m doing with my life right now have me in a roll that I’m much more a student than a master.

I understand how sad it is that 15 out of the 30 days in a month, I feel like other’s define my worth. I know it’s not attractive, and I know it’s something I should probably work on changing. Unfortunately, I’ve taken a lot of personality tests that have told me that’s not how I’m built.

Changing this about myself has never seemed likely, so I’m doing my best to acknowledge it instead and embrace it.

I wish more than anything I was already published. I know that these things will happen, but I struggle when they aren’t on my timeline. I’d give anything to be able to pick up a hard cover copy of my book somewhere, but I also understand it will all work out as it should. I’m learning to be more patient with myself and accept none of us are behind on anything.

Some days I don’t look in mirrors. Some days I look in mirrors for far too long. Some days my significant other asks me what I’m looking at and I don’t want to tell him, because he’ll say something nice back and I won’t believe him. And I want to believe him, and I want him to tell me all these nice, wonderful things when I make room inside myself to hear him. When I look at pictures of myself from the past, I think, “Look how skinny I was.”

I never give myself that kind of grace in the present moment. I avoid scales like the plague, because no matter what the number is, I know it won’t bring me any sort of joy. There’s nothing worse than the nightmare where I scratch my face off and finally feel better. No one should feel like that, and I don’t understand why I do.

The best thing I’ve ever done for myself is allow myself to change. It’s okay to be who ever you are today, and be someone else tomorrow, and still be the same person. I had a good friend in college challenge the perceptions of what I wanted to be. I thought the ideas were mutually exclusive and contradictory. She believed I could be anything.

I love that every day since then, I’ve worked on seeing ideas like those not as mutually exclusive, but as authentic to who I am and what I want to be.

Today, I don’t feel particularly confident. At all. I haven’t felt confident in a long while. But I know myself to be a confident person, so I know that it will come back when it’s supposed to.

When I write it down, I recognize that I think I should give so much more grace to myself than I do. But I also recognize that my goals and ambitions won’t always allow that, and the best I can do is find a balance between the two.

That’s what I think when I think about me.

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#PublishedorBust


Thought Catalog and I Are Having a Tryst

So very, very, very excited that Thought Catalog has picked up another one of my pieces. One that isn't a list either! 

For all my fam in heart break, I've been there.

This is the only thing that helped me get better.

New authors, I highly recommend submitting to Thought Catalog. Their turn around is 48 hours, and if you haven't been doing this long, that's like your crush texting you back instantly instead of waiting a week. 

READ IT HERE.

#PublishedorBust


Getting Published is for Celebrating, too.

What a day to be alive folks!

After two and a half hours at the dentist this morning, I was sitting in a dark room watching Parks and Rec and got the notification that I had been published on Thought Catalog!

Is it my book? No! Is it a great place to be published? Absolutely!

Hear are the 8 things that really happen when you start chasing your dreams.

If you're reading this, at any point ever, #8 is absolutely for you.

As always, all my thanks.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE.

#PublishedorBust


Rejections that are Harder to Celebrate

I can handle a template rejection. I can handle a mass email. I can handle no response if you say you won't be getting back to me.

Publishers and agents are like bad boyfriends. They’ll tell you they’re going to call, and then they don’t.
— Sushi, the smartest person I know

But it's the ones who say they'll get back to me and don't I really struggle with. And in July, it happened twice. One was my dream publisher. 3-4 months turn around time and they get back to everyone. I'm now headed into month five after three follow up emails, one message to their IG account, and one phone call with no response.

Most publishers I'd let it go. I wrote a great book, and if you don't want it that's fine. But if this one didn't receive my manuscript, I will fly to their home base and hand it to them personally. 

Don't test me.

I've done far crazier things for love. 

The second was a smaller publishing house that asked for my full manuscript. They said their turn around time was 2-3 weeks. I gave them one extra week because the third week fell on 4th of July. Now, here we are, six weeks in, two follow ups, and no response. 

While someone may look like they're killing it, the only reason they maybe going above and beyond is because nothing else is working. I've had a lot of people reach out and say, "You're doing it! You're so close!"

I'm not. I'm trying, but if was climbing a 14er, I'd have 13,500 more feet to go. 

 

So I bought a fig tree, and I'm planting it to celebrate. I'm counting two rejections for the little publishing house that couldn't, and for the one publishing house I truly hoped to sign with. 

18 rejections and counting.

#PublishedOrBust

Rejection is a Journey, Not a Destination (or something like that).

Here's the thing about writing.

You're going to write your heart out. Spill your entire soul through a slit you made in your wrist. You're going to fall in love with it, swoon over it, meticulously pick at parts of it that you know aren't right.

Then you're going to send it off into the world. And the world will write you back that it's not good enough. This is something I've always struggled with when it comes to my writing. When I read it to other people, they would tell me they loved it. After submitting my stuff to places for years, I began to wonder if I was actually any good at writing.

Now, I still feel like half of what I write is garbage. But I don't let those demons stop me from sharing it or submitting it places. But there was a time, I really did. 

In 2015 I submitted to one place and one place only: my college lit magazine.

I thought I had it for certain. I thought they'd want at least one or two of the four or five things I submitted. All of my friends rejoiced as they started getting their acceptances into the magazine. I received a blanketed rejection.

You shouldn't let rejection kill your drive, in fact, you should let it fuel it, but in all honesty, I thought if I wasn't good enough for a college magazine that no one really read but the arts department, and all my friends were good enough, maybe I shouldn't be doing this. 

Then, a year passes, we forget that we were ever in love, decide to love again, and take the big leap into the deep end of the pool one more time. I can't tell you why I decided to submit again. all I know is that it took me far too long to decide to.

This is the record of all the places I submitted to in 2016. 

 Please note all the one "Declined" and two "Completed" on the far left. The completed would also become declines, just in a mass sent out email kind of declined. 

(Which are honestly the worst kind of declines).

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Then came 2017. I had found more confidence in my writing, as I was dating someone who was also a writer. I was writing more than I ever had, so I began submitting to places again. 

Below is the outcome.

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If writing is ripping your soul out and putting it on paper, rejections are like setting those pieces of paper on fire, and not being able to separate your soul from the smoke before it floats away.
— Me, 2017

Side Note: Withdrawn means that 1 month ago, I finally withdrew Any Given Friday from Badlands Journal because if they hadn't responded to me in 2 years, they probably don't have that great of a literary circulation. 

2017 was the year I sat down to really write my book, so I honestly wasn't work on much else. I started to dapple in trying harder to get published, mostly because after sharing my poems online people really encouraged me to. 

And then came 2018 when I decided I just didn't care. 

I think a lot of what I write is garbage, but I do think my book is pretty great. I have a better chance of getting my book published if I have been published in other places so I set out to get published. 

Before you get to the photos, I want you to know that the moral of the story here is that I got another rejection today and it stung a little. More than that though, the first thought that ran through my head was, "Damn, I really need to submit to some more places."

I know for writers starting off, the rejections is one of the hardest part. Sharing your work is hard, but it's one of the best things you can do for yourself and I hope you know you're not alone. Even with 13 rejections try and remember the 3 acceptances you did get. Try and remember when you had 0 acceptances.

And if you haven't been accepted anywhere yet, this is the reminder that your writing isn't trash, you just haven't found the right space for it yet. 

Don't give up.

#publishedorbust

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Just Received Rejection #18

Here's the thing. 

None of the rejections get easier. That's why I celebrate them. When was the last time you were told no 18 times? It's probably been a while, if ever. But the reality for an author is that 18 "no's" are pretty standard. In fact, that's a pretty low number of rejections. A lot of authors give up or revise a book after 100 rejections, so lets just say I have a long way to go.

I've submitted to 47 places. I've been asked for one full manuscript. I have one dream publisher I haven't heard back from yet that I should've weeks ago.

Yesterday was a high, and today is a low.

And that's okay.

With each rejection, I take the time to celebrate it as an accomplishment. It's weird to give it closure, but it truly does make the experience of someone telling me "This isn't good enough" easier. Yesterday I celebrated my 14th rejection (yes, I'm a little behind) and below is the video for that. If you'd like to be a part of the conversation, I engage with my Facebook following on my author page and I'd love to hear from you.

As always, thank you for reading. I know another high day is coming. 

Stay tuned for information on the next rejection celebration (Rejection #15) as it will be a special one. Every 5 rejections I read a little of the book, and I'd love to have you join in the conversation and pick out a couple of poems for me to read. 

#PublishedorBust

 


The First Place I Was Ever Published

The first place I was ever published was my parents' fridge. Their undying support was another reason I felt like my dreams weren't dreams, just goals I needed to work at.

The first place I was really published, however, was right here. Thank you Punch Drunk Press in Denver for featuring my poem, "Nowhere."

Nowhere is now a piece I'm using in a large project I hope to have finished by the end of this year.

Stay tuned for updates.

#PublishedorBust