Hello my Mighty Friends,
Welcome to February. Or should I say thank goodness for February, because that means January is behind us, and we’re that much closer to spring. It’s even a springlike day here, in the 50s and muddy–which for horse people is synonymous with spring (and fall, but let’s not go there).
Same as last time, I’ve broken this post up into two parts. The first is all things books, the second is all things life and writing. I hope you enjoy!
First up, we’re only four months away from the release of Shadow & Flame. Can you believe it? To be honest, I’m struggling to put my mind around it. It feels like I wrote the book forever ago, mostly because so much has happened and changed in my life since then. But I absolutely can’t wait to see it in real book form. Here’s a little taste of what’s that going to be like:
Street Team Sign-ups
In other books news, sign-ups for the Shadow & Flame street team are officially open until March 4. Just head on over to the Onyx & Ivory tumblr for details, including a peak at the grand prize. To all Relay Riders who complete the missions, I’m giving away swag, including a brand new character card. But who is it??? Well, that reveal will be coming next month.
Once again, I’ve been given the opportunity to present at WriteOnCon, an absolutely wonderful online writing conference, that’s super affordable and full of awesome resources. This year, I’ve contributed a blog post titled Writing For Emotional Impact. But to be honest, this is more like–Mindee’s most mind-blowing writing lessons she’s ever learned herself and is now sharing with you. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it.
I’m also participating in a live panel about Managing Mental Health, a subject near and dear to my heart, and which I’m going to dive into a little below in the MIGHTY section. That’s happening on Sunday, February 10 at 4:00 EST. There are also pitch opportunities with agents and critique partner hook-ups, and so much more. Be sure to check it out.
If you’re still reading this, thank you for being here and braving this part of the post with me. It’s scary to be putting myself so much out there in this way, but also important. I want to be accountable. As I said last time, the purpose of this section is to discuss this life journey I’m on as I try to live by my Be M.I.G.H.T.Y personal mission statement.
It’s been a long, crazy month full of a lot of ups and downs in my physical health. I started the month running a 5k and then spent the next week unable to do much moving around due to dizzy symptoms. And then just last Sunday, I had a small vertigo attack. It only lasted a few seconds, but it trigged a lot of panic and fear. I’m feeling better now, more solid, but every day is a chance for good or bad as far as my physical health is concerned.
Fortunately, though, my physical struggles have led to some break throughs in my mental and spiritual health. Specifically, I’m finally starting to understand that the biggest cause of my troubles is that I’ve been living my life with my loves out of order. It’s a concept that St. Augustine wrote about at length, this idea that we get in trouble when the priorities of our love are misaligned.
For me, I’ve always loved achievement more than anything else. Even more than my family, than God. Specifically, I was in love with the idea of being published and the achievement–the identity–that doing so would give me. This meant that if it came between choosing between a movie night with my family or getting the word count done for the day, I would either pick the writing, or I would spend the family time thinking about the writing and fretting about not getting it done. Same goes if the choice was between exercising and taking the time to prepare a healthy meal.
This was wrong. So so wrong. It was only after I achieved the publishing dream that I realized the fulfillment and sense of purpose I’d been longing for and striving after wasn’t to be found there. Finding an agent, publishing a book, none of that fulfilled me. The happiness it brought, while awesome, was fleeting. It didn’t give me a foundation of identity or security. This realization led to a slow but steady decline into depression. One so severe that I’m certain it contributed significantly to my meniere’s diagnosis and all the struggles and complications I’ve been dealing with since.
But you know what? The publishing was never going to do the things I had dreamed it would. Even if I’d been a huge best seller and had all the film deals and everything else, it still would’ve been fleeting. Why? Because it was never meant to a first love, first priority. I had my loves out of order. I was living my life wrong.
To put it another way, I was guilty of “worshipping” the writing and publishing. It’s like David Wallace Foster once said: “There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”
That’s right. What we worship, what we serve and love is a choice. It’s one that will either make us or destroy us, that will either give us hope or despair. The despair comes from worshipping something that can let you down. What happens if you love your spouse or partner the most and they cheat on you? What if you love and worship your children the most and you lose them? What if it’s your career but it tanks? It’s a tough, tough question. And the only answer is to love and worship something immutable. Something that cannot change or be taken away.
For me, that means living my life with my faith as the first love and priority. Next is family, (my husband first and then my kids). After that is fitness (exercise + diet), and then maybe comes the writing and career. We’ll call it fiction. That way, it’s easy to remember. Makes is snappy. So here it is, my new, properly aligned, Core Values.
I’m going to keep this first and foremost in my mind. Remind myself of it everything. And each day I’m going to Be MIGHTY. What about you?