And Everything Else (12/21/20)

Life updates you didn't ask for.

Hi, friends—have you been feeling as drained as I have these past few weeks? Honestly, it’s been harder than ever to get the motivation to do, well, anything, and my self-care routines like getting regular exercise, eating decently, and not wearing sweatpants literally 24/7 have kinda gone out the window. Sigh.

But considering what a year it’s been and the craziness of the last couple of months, in particular, I think we all deserve some leeway when it comes to being on top of our shit right now. Besides, 2021 is just around the corner, so even if things are pretty blegh right now, hope is on the horizon.

Here’s what else has been on my mind recently, in this week’s edition of And Everything Else:

#1. My next writing class is starting sooooooon

As I’ve mentioned, I’m teaching an 8-week Zoom class called Writing for the Internet, in which students will learn how to ~survive and thrive~ in the digital media world. If you’re interested in signing up, there’s still time to reserve your spot before the Jan. 18 start date. And if you have any questions or concerns, shoot me a message. Hope to see you there!

#2. I’m nearly done re-outlining my novel for take #2

As I talked about a few weeks ago, I had to take a step back from writing my novel because of some big changes I wanted to make that’d require a total refresh of the story. So, I spent many nights re-outlining the plot and filling in character details, which was a serious pain but essential (at least for me) in order to stay on track. Now, I’m almost ready to begin take two, and I’m confident that this new outline will be a much better guide for my second draft. Fingers crossed!

#3. I’m working on being more value-oriented than goal-oriented

As the year comes to an end, I’ve been thinking a lot about ambition—namely, how much of my self-worth tends to come from hitting a specific goal, whether a job title, salary amount, or even a byline. The events of this past year has made me really think about the satisfaction I get from those kinds of achievements, vs. from more value-based things like settling into a new city or staying in touch with friends. I’ve realized that focusing so much on goals only leads to short-term gratification; you hit one milestone and immediately start planning for the next one without actually feeling the pride/excitement/relief/etc you should. It’s an endless cycle that never offers true gratification, because you always want more.

But focusing on values, instead, means that you don’t make decisions based on what goals they’ll help you reach. Rather, your choices come down to if they align with the things you care about, such as being a mentor to others, or giving back to your community, or spending time with your loved ones. For me, that looks like spending more time writing my book, which isn’t bringing me any money now (or maybe even ever!) but is important for my soul—even if it means not having as many hours to do potentially lucrative freelance work or other side projects.

Of course, there are still plenty of career goals I do care deeply about hitting! But it’s about starting to understand why I care about reaching them, and making sure that it’s for the right reasons—not just to get a bigger paycheck or prestigious byline, but to make me feel happy, content, and proud of who I am.

So that’s where I’m at right now, folks. If you’ve been having similar thoughts lately or just want to chat, send me an email! I'd love to talk. And as always, thanks for reading.

Love from me and Ellie, who got sent the cutest custom sweatshirt ever,