A little healing in the forest…

Trigger warning: mention of sexual assault

This post is not directly about writing, though writing it seems to signify to me I have come closer to healing and closure. The reason I will share something so sensitive is that, first, I don’t think such things should be kept secret and, second, I’d like to forge a bond with others out there who’ve experienced something like this. In connection, there is healing—let these words be the conduit for this connection to another injured soul out there.

Twenty years ago, a man attacked me. I was lucky enough to escape before the worst happened, but I’ve been afraid to walk alone in forests ever since, as this was the setting of the attack. When I now walk in nature, I take company or, at least, my e-bike because I don’t feel as vulnerable when moving fast. I rarely stand still, for that’s when the fear creeps and makes the skin on my back crawl with worry. No matter how beautiful the setting, no matter how great the longing to enjoy it, I never can, because my fear is there with me.

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Flying, writing, breaking a toe

Now that 2022 is nearly at an end, it’s time for an update. Let me start with some awesome news. My story “Salvaged” recently appeared in Escape Pod. I didn’t get to mark this here yet (shame on me!), but I had good reasons for that (see blow). “Salvaged” is a loose retelling of Snow White, which includes a robot and some aliens. If that’s your kind of thing, do head over to Escape Pod and read it or listen to it here.

The last half of the year has been tumultuous because of a major decision of mine. After five years at home (because of kids, Corona, and getting stuck in general), I decided that it’s time to rejoin the world. And as I was stuck at home so much and as I have always been drawn to aviation, I decided to apply as a flight attendant.

To my utter surprise, I got the job.

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The Nebulas 2022 Conference—Panelist for the first time!

Over a week has passed since the virtual Nebulas 2022 conference. I finally recovered from the time difference to report on my experience, which included being a panelist for the very first time!

I took the plunge and ticked the box, indicating I’m interested in being put on a panel. I admit I got quite the energetic butterflies in my stomach when I learned I was to appear on the “Living Overseas and Publishing in the US and CA” panel. But I shouldn’t have worried. My fellow panelists Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Kristin Osani, and A.J. Fitzwater were fabulous and so was our lovely moderator, Eugen Bacon.

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Does anyone ever get “there?”

Let me take a little of your time to talk about the concept of “getting there”. The lives of many seem to revolve around this elusive destination. Lately, mine as well. I’m a writer. I’m as passionate about this as the next writer out there. I’ve spent countless hours obsessing about the next steps in my writing “career.” The goals. The milestones. The obstacles.

I was first focused on getting a story—any story—published. Then I was focused on getting more stories published, then on joining a number of communities, and now I’m gearing up to obsess about finding an agent.

And as my obsessions peaked, the pure, innocent joy that the act of writing is for me dissolved.

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On rejections, the Odyssey Workshop, and a firm ground to stand on.

In my previous post, I talked about overcoming my inner critic (it’s an ongoing process). Now, I’d like to talk about what gave voice to my critical self in the first place: rejections.

This is another very candid post. There are some things writers don’t talk much about. I wished this wasn’t so.

After much deliberation, I applied to this year’s Odyssey Writing Workshop. Surprise, surprise! I didn’t get in. It was my first try. But it seems that my hopeful self is as persistent as my inner chastiser. I kept my hope to the end, so the rejection email hit me hard.

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My cruel inner critic, the Odyssey Workshop, pantsing, and dictation.

I am going to be candid. In fact, I plan to keep my posts a little more honest from now on.

I find a lot of advice like “5 Ways To Deal With Writer’s Block” or “10 Ways To Move Past Rejections.” But what truly helped me is hearing or reading honest stories. I don’t claim I’m qualified to teach others how to deal with the darker side of writing. But at least, I can share my thoughts and experiences, and my personal strategy for overcoming these hurdles. In this post, I’ll talk about dealing with my cruel inner critic, and in the next, I will talk about my struggle with rejections.

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More on Corona, writing, and anything else…

So, it’s autumn now and things are sort of going OK. Yes, SARS-CoV-2 is still around (I didn’t expect anything else) but at least the kindergarten is not closed yet. I am working and working and working, trying to finish the latest rewrite of my fantasy novel before the shit hits the fan for the second time this year.

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Corona, writing, and everything else…

Oh, has it been a year since my last post? Yes, it has. Of course, it has. And this silence is, not surprisingly, SARS-CoV-2 related.

Things in my life were just starting to look better. I had a short story, “Bread and Iron,” published with Short Édition, my son finally adjusted to our new home, and my two girls were just starting in day care. I was looking forward to returning to a regular writing routine and a bit of time for myself after a year of being entirely focused on my twin daughters. I was tired. I was so tired. But I knew that now life would slowly return back to normal for me.

And then, the shit hit the fan.

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My short story “Bread and Iron” has been published.

I wrote in my previous post that life got tough in the past few months. It hasn’t gotten easier. The girls are still a lot of work, my body still has its aches, I still wish I could write more. But there is a ray of light. My short story, “Bread and Iron,” just came out with Short Édition.

This publisher has a very cool concept. They have placed short story dispensers at numerous highly frequented public places like libraries or train stations (see a list here to check if there is one near you). You get a free story printed out at the touch of a button. But if you don’t have a dispenser near, Short Édition also publishes the stories online for free.

So, check out “Bread and Iron.” I wrote it with much love, and having it out there for others to read made a tough time in my life a little lighter.

On happiness, parenting, and ambition…and, of course, writing.

I’m six months into being a mother of three. My son is now four years old, and my twin baby girls are six months old. I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy. Not only because of the amount of work (diapers, soiled clothes, spoon feeding, etc.), but because I find it difficult to put my life on hold for a year until the girls start in the nursery.

I already shared my view that it pays off to write even 15 min a day. And I still stand by what I said in that post. The trouble is that this time around, I don’t need to relearn these lessons. I still remember them. I have learned not to procrastinate, and I value my time. These days, I’m trying my best to squeeze in a bit of querying and editing (drafting is a luxury) in the little time between the kids being finally asleep and my brain switching off.

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