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April Wrap-Up: Good books, many words, not enough naps
I didn't actually realize how much I did in April until I sat down to write a post about it. No wonder I'm tired!
Hi, and happy May! I originally shared this post over Patreon, but as I rework how I want to use this newsletter, I thought it might be fun to sometimes include these wrap-ups here, too, for newsletter subscribers who aren’t as close to what I’ve been up to. When I was an aspiring author I always loved little peeks into author’s lives and a sense of what they days look liked. It always scratched a kind of curiosity itch, and sometimes, helped motivate me to keep plodding away on my own books. If you want access to these when they first go-up (as well as all the other craft and publishing resources I share), Patreon is the best place to get them!
April was a bit of a ... wild month for me. Many things moving, and many big decisions, some I'm not really to talk about just yet. It seems like April is always a busy time for me in publishing, a sort of ending of seasons as we step fully into spring and leave winter behind -- last year, at this time, I finished my copyedits and acknowledgements for TOWB, and turned in the first draft of Mossheart. In April, I finished the copyedits and acknowledgements for Mossheart, and the sequel is due this month (eek!) I tend to start drafts in the fall/winter, so April and May always feel a little like a kind of finish line. (Although, I'm going to be attempting to draft something in a totally new category this summer....so we'll see how that goes.)
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Either way, call it a kind of mental-and-career-spring cleaning, eclipse season, or Becca just feeling feisty -- but I looked back at the last month this morning when I was journaling, and I can't quite believe just how much I did! Thought it'd be fun to share some updates below.
Like I mentioned above, this month was a busy one! Let's get into it.
Mossheart is done. DONE! I can't quite believe it. Pass pages & acknowledgements have been turned in, and, terrifyingly, the book is now up on Netgalley and Edelweiss, so you're free to go request!
I wrote 30,000 words for the Mossheart sequel! Originally, the sequel was due at the end of April, but I realized I needed a little more time, and asked my editor if she'd prefer a messy book sooner or a cleaner book a bit later. She wanted cleaner (thank god). So, I'll be finishing that up this month and getting it turned in. I can't believe I'm already wrapping up the first draft my third published book.
I worked on something . . . secret. :)
I got a newsletter out. Finally. lmao. And of course, in true Becca fashion, what was supposed to be a very brief update turned into a very long essay about thoughts on the ways the people who love us show up to support our work, inspired by a conversation we had in one of the Story Grove meetings about this very thing.
I got the bonus story for the TOWB paperback turned in -- and the art prints announced! ICYMI, I announced the TOWB paperback will be featuring a bonus short story and the tarot cards I had commissioned for the preorder campaign, printed full-size into the book. It's going to be absolutely beautiful, and I'm so excited.
This is technically not writing, but writing-related: I've hinted about the preorder goodie for Mossheart, but wanted to share progress here! Since middlegrade is a good deal quieter than YA, I didn't think it made sense to spend money hiring an artist and getting prints made. So, I decided to hand-drawn some images from Mossheart that I'm going to get turned in Mossheart. These will be available if you preorder through Sidetrack bookshop!
I'm still in the sketch phase, but here's a little peek! I forgot how much I've missed doodling.
What I read last month:
Hannah Franken's Godkiller (adored this one!)
Annie Proulx's Fen, Bog and Swamp
Melissa Fu's Peach Blossom Spring
Emily St. John Mandel's Sea Of Tranquility A weird, lovely, incredible, slum-breaking five starts
Started (and am still reading) Personal Effects by Robert A. Jensen
Started (and am still reading) my dear friend Andrea Tang's The Kingdom of Without, which is out this fall, and I. FREAKING. LOVE IT SO FAR
What I'm obsessed with lately:
This episode of Writing Excuses, recommended to me by the wonderful Ayana Gray, that talks about your Brand as a writer, and how that can differ from your brand as a person. I've been listening to Writing Excuses for going on ten years now, and can't recommend them enough!
.....Google Calendar (.....I know, LMAO.) I finally found a system of calendar blocking that works for my brain and it's actually become...soothing to use my calendar every day? It was heavily inspired by this video, but I’ve tweaked it quite a bit to match my own scheduling needs.
My freewrite Traveler! Look, I didn't want to love this thing as much as I do. I am the first person to say you do not need to spend money on anything to be a writer, and if there was anything I was going to tell writers to invest in, I still think Scrivener is the best 50 dollars I've ever spent. That said, if you're in a position like I am where you a) need to draft a book very quickly and b) can write it off as a business expense........it becomes a lot easier to justify. (And if you do fall in this camp, I do have an affiliate code for 25 dollars off, which is RMIX23. Look mom, I'm an influencer.)
Turns out it's actually very easy to dye your eyebrows with beard dye??? I got my eyebrows tinted back in March for the first time, but it was bit too expensive for my taste for something that only lasts a few weeks. Men's beard dye is....12.99. It took five minutes, and my eyebrows already look filled in & done. The more you know!
Brain-dump journaling before writing every day! I have tried to journal for years, and it always became so rigid that I gave up because I felt like I wasn't doing it right. But I have finally found something that worked -- ugly brain-dump journaling for 8 minutes every morning before I start drafting. It gets the wheels turning, even if it's just 8 minutes of me complaining about my job or moaning about how my house is a mess.
I shared a sneak peek of the Percy x Galen short story
I finally got a new notion template up about developing ideas into a full-fleshed story that several of you have reached out to let me know you have loved (which makes me SO HAPPY) I also included the presentation I gave at Oakland University about developing ideas for my Patrons to follow along or edit to your needs, since I know notion isn't for everyone!
For anyone in the Story Grove: Our May dates will be this Sunday, the 7th, at noon ET, and Thursday, May 25, at 7pm
What I'm looking forward to in May:
The new Zelda game
Zelda Tears of the Kingdom
Turning in Mossheart 2
Warmer weather, which means I can finally plant my garden!
And finally, some goals for this month!
Read at least three books
Finish this damn sequel so I am allowed to play Zelda!!!!
Publish at least one Patreon post a week
Start a new creative endeavor I've wanted to do for years, but haven't had time for! (More on that soon...)
Finish the preorder sketches for Mossheart!
And...that was April!
The entire month felt pretty fast-paced and chaotic, and it really wasn't until I sat down to write this that I'm like man, I did a lot! Let me know if you guys like this kind of wrap-up, or if there's something else / other topics you'd like to see. Feel free to drop your own wrap-up or goals for the month of May below -- I love hearing from you guys!
Hope you all have a healthy, happy, creative month of May!
Some journal prompts for you:
What are you proud of from the past month?
What do you want to focus on this month?
What's a way you can refill your creative well this month?
And of course — a cat pic.
Mix'd Thoughts is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.