The “Adulting” Project: Navigating Between the Personal and the Professional

I used to fantasize of the glamorous writing life: working from home, eyeballs deep in books and notes, odd hours and a steady stream of whiskey and coffee. And it’s not too far off from what I’m currently living. Except, instead of writing I just keep wavering.

2016-09-22-00-20-55That’s the only way I can describe it. Like describing the way my fingers hover over my keyboard before I slam my laptop closed.

When I used to write, it used to be for myself. It used to pour out of me, like I had a tap into some kind of story well. It was every fear, every wish, every guilty pleasure. Every story was me. It wasn’t a job or a chore. It used to be a way to make sense of my own head; it was a way to live all the lives I wanted to live.

Now when I go to write all that I can do is stare at a blank page. Continue reading “The “Adulting” Project: Navigating Between the Personal and the Professional”

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What’s So Indivisible?: Identity, Community and Content Creation

What’s So Indivisible?: Identity, Community and Content Creation

I haven’t really addressed the identity of my website and the origins of the name. There isn’t a very elaborate story to explain the name, but the concept of the company has been stewing in my brain for years.

The Intent

When I was very young I knew I was going to have something to do with books when I was older. I was so sure I was going to be a librarian or a teacher or writer. As I grew older and started to learn more about the process of creating book and curating them I decided I would rather be on the creating side of the project rather than the coveting.

It wasn’t until I stepped inside my local queer bookstore several years ago that I realized that I needed to start creating content. As I walked past full shelves dedicated to gay and lesbian focused literature and found myself standing in front of a lonely single shelf for bisexual related literature. Upon this shelf laid volumes of threesome erotica, texts on non-monogamy, and a select few books on queer theory.

After a discussion with one of the staff members it came to light that it wasn’t for lack of trying: there just wasn’t enough literature out there.

This goes not just for bisexual literature, but for books about characters with disabilities, genderqueer characters, characters of colour that doesn’t center around blatant and malignant racism.

I knew there was a gap between what was being produced and what actually represents the current population in all its intersectional way, so I decided that I wanted to be one of the people trying to bridge. I wanted to create content that I needed when discovering myself.

The Plan

So it’s not enough to just decide you want to create content, you need to know what kind of content, who your audience is and so many other variables. I actually spent a number of years with this project on the back burner as I churned through different project ideas.  I put off getting started for a long time because of that.

So to avoid this project falling into the category of thing I never started I created a three step plan to start putting content out there. It pretty much goes as follows:

Step One: Get Experience

Sure some of the greatest startups began at the start of the creator’s career but origin stories like that just aren’t always doable. You have to start seeing the steps for all the tiny minutiae and the only way to do that is to spend time getting experience in the field.

I’m currently in this phase of the plan. This is the part of the plan where I work on growing as both a writer and an editor, through both online and print content. That’s why I’m enrolled in an editing certificate program and am building up my portfolio by taking on multiple short term and smaller projects, while I research more into the rest of the plan.

This is the part where you have to remind yourself that all this effort is going somewhere.

Step Two: Starting a Publication

As I fumble further along into the first step of my plan, the more I have been thinking about the second. Before I began step one, I had no idea what kind of content I really wanted to focus. I just knew there were a lot of voices not being given a platform and I wanted to change that. Now that I know more about writing, editing, and publishing, I’ve come to find myself planning out some of the smaller details on the first project I plan to launch.

Though I won’t get into the specifics now, this phase of the plan will be focused on getting that first publication out there and seeing the response to it. I already have an idea of what the genre will be and what the focus will be and how I plan to develop the content.

Heck, I’ve already started putting analysis together in order to begin piecing out what the exact steps I have to take before I even get to this step.

Step Three: Becoming Something Bigger

Since I already know that I won’t be satisfied with just one publication, even if it is recurring, I’ve already started to think about the expansion possibilities. The best part of starting your own business, is that you there are practically unlimited possibilities for where your company can go and you are the one in charge.

Since I don’t just want to publish myself over and over, and I want to help raise people’s voice when they’re not being I decided that I would need to expand into a larger publishing house. Since my publications are going to be about non-popularized identities anyways, I want to help publish artists and writers alike to start forcing more representation into the literary world.

I think it’s about time.

The Name

So what does any of this have to do with the name of my company? Well it began simply because I wanted to find a title that would speak to any kind of invisible or mid-spectrum identities. The word invisible really stuck in my head.

I ended up coming up with Indivisible because I realized that the reason I needed to see myself represented in more books was become I couldn’t separate these parts of my from myself. I can never walk away from it and they will always be a part of my life.

The name ended up working out very well because I soon discovered that with a few well-placed symbols I could still honor the Indivisible parts of myself, but also the Invisible aspects as well.

In[di]visible

Because even if you are invisible, you still can’t be divided into anything other than parts of you.

Flash Friday: Spring Break

Part of writing short fiction is very much so just practicing and editing. Part of my practice routine is that I write flash fiction inspired by a short writing prompt. Sometimes I make up the prompts and sometimes I use prompts I get from friends.

The amazing part of doing this exercise with friends. It’s so amazing what different things we think of from the same prompt, and how trying out a new genre can become a fun break from your usual work.

Here is a sample of what happens from one of these prompts:


 

Kla’rac twitched. She still had enough room to curl her fingers and toes. She clawed forward until she cracked through the surface. A sudden shock of cold air slapped against her snout. She hesitated. Abruptly, she jerked the rest of her body out.

She shrugged the dirt from her shoulders and rose to her feet. Her body was alert; her tail twitched in anticipation. As her body relaxed, she let out a yawn, her tongue tasting the spring air.  It fluttered delicately, the flavour of Meekha filling her lungs.

Meekha’s nose broke through the surface first. Kla’rac darted over and began to use her long digits shovelling the sand away. Meekha’s fingers emerged from the sand and intertwined with Kla’s. She gripped Meekha and using her body weight, helped draw her out of the ground.

A small shiver rippled through Meekha’s body. Sand rolled off her body and pooled around her in small mounds. She was beautiful. Cream coloured stripes ran down her dark coffee coloured body. Her flat head swivelled back and forth observing the plain around her. She nudged one with a long toe and then sighed.

“I miss the warmth already.”

Kla nuzzled her long snout against the top of Meekha’s. “I know amante, but the air is already warming as the sun grows higher.” Even as she said it, her muscles creaked reluctant to move, definitely not at the speed she was used to. “Besides, we should get started on hunting. The crew will need it when they wake up.”

Meekha stared at her for a moment. Her face halved into a cocky grin. “Well they won’t wake up for a few more days,” she murmured. “We’ll be alone until then.”

“Meekha…”

Meekha tutted her long flickering tongue. “You know you’re very tense. The girls hate when you’re so tense. You become a bit of a hardass.”

Kla couldn’t help gazing along her long slender tail as that last word hissed on Meekha’s tongue. She watched as the artichoke coloured tip swung back and forth like a pendulum behind her. Then it flicked up and wrapped around Kla’s waist.

Kla nodded absently and then smiled. “Tense huh? Well I wouldn’t want them to wake to a tense boss.” Her head swung around and stared at the mounds of soil peppering the ground. “We can go to the–”

Meekha’s hand was already pulling her down and they both fell to all fours. Sand and dirt flew beneath their extremities as they raced across the sand. A wide path weaved behind them from the swish of their tails in the sand until they reached the mouth of a cave. They slowed and rose to their hind legs.

“Well you did say you wanted to be warmer.”

The “Adulting” Project: The Self-Flagellating Writer

The “Adulting” Project: The Self-Flagellating Writer

This is a writing series documenting my journey into freelance writing and editing. It will mark important moments in my growth as a writer and as a person.

When I was nine years old I had an assignment to write a “myth”. I was supposed to write my own myth about anything that I wanted. So I decided to write the myth of how spring came to be. When I finished it involved a unicorn, elves, and magic and it was the greatest thing I had ever done in my life.

Since then I knew I wanted to write. I always saw myself hidden away, surrounded by papers and books and a sturdy wooden desk. But it always seemed like a faraway future, that I would just fall into one day. So instead I kept planning for some other future.

I always held back at the first step that I needed to take. I told myself it wasn’t possible to do, and that I’d end up failing anyways. I left things half-finished and I put projects on hold. I even stopped writing for a long time because I didn’t see the point. I knew I wouldn’t be happy without it but I didn’t see the point of continuing to do it if it couldn’t be my whole life. I call this the Self-Flagellating Writer.

I was miserable. I kept telling myself that I’d find something else that I had a future in. There had to be my real future somewhere. Nothing fit.

Then I befriended a co-worker who was actually leaving to start her own copywriting business. When I told her that I was thinking about writing, and that I always wanted to, she just looked at me and just said, “Then why don’t you?”

I didn’t have an answer. I had just never really tried before. I assumed I was going to fail before I even began. I started to analyze those feelings and where they came from. I was so bogged down with anecdotes of rejection letter piles that stood a foot tall and being told that my income would be unstable.

The reason I seemed stuck ended up being myself. I always had anxiety. The kind of anxiety where I get panic attacks in crowded rooms, and sometimes I walk around almost certain that impending doom is just around the corner. That anxiety leaked into every aspect of my life. I just didn’t realize it.

When I realized it was my anxiety holding me back, not the quality of my work it was easier to handle. I knew the only way to tackle my anxiety was to make a bunch of little accomplishments. I needed to reassure myself that I could do it.

I started to make plans and put the gears in motion. I began to share my interest in writing more openly, began to share my work and I started to read again. All of a sudden it felt so in reach. Before I knew it, I had this site and an idea in my head of where my future would be.

So now I sit at my sturdy wooden desk, surrounded by books and journals, with a week ahead of me filled with deadlines and word counts. It’s the most excited I’ve ever felt, and the most terrified. The anxiety is still there, but my grip on the reins seems just a little bit firmer.

My Talent is a Privilege

I had originally intended my first blog post to be more jovial, however sometimes you have to address a certain issue while the fire is still burning. I think there is a moment in time for every activist where their eyes widen and they suddenly realize they have been carting along some privilege they weren’t aware of.

I had this moment today.

The Realization

I found myself completely enveloped in an online argument. I spent all day is a whirl of comments and replies. Terms like privilege, racism, and tone policing were debated and discussed. There seemed to be an insurmountable resistance between arguments.

I was poised above my keyboard like a snake ready to strike when someone finally said, “You’re the first person who ever explained that to me in a way that made sense.”

I paused. I hadn’t said anything new. I thought I had just been echoing sentiments so many people had already described.

It then occurred to me: I knew I always had privilege as someone with a formal education, yet I didn’t realize that I had also been holding the privilege as someone who has been immersed in communication theories. Writing came before my activism.

Unpacking Privilege

So now I know that I have privilege, where do I go from here?

I have to understand my privilege and really explore what it means to have privilege. This privilege comes from how my brain works, how I take in information and how I can combine information from different mediums to address specific concerns. This is not easy for everyone.

Learning disabilities can affect a person’s ability to comprehend written, auditory or visual information.  Because I have the ability to understand information from written, oral, and visual sources, I have an advantage. I also have an advantage because I am able to articulate that information in my first language.

It’s not enough to know where my privilege comes from, it’s more important to know how I benefit from it. By being able to use language to frame my arguments in an approachable and authoritative manner, I could end up becoming the megaphone in an argument.

If I represent myself as an articulate and educated person through my work, my stance on a matter might be taken more seriously than through those who may not express their ideas with grammar and tone at the forefront of their minds.

Using Privilege

So I understand what my privilege is and how I benefit from it. Do I now give up my writing to avoid becoming a figurehead of movements I don’t belong to?

Not quite. I need to pay attention to how much space I take up and whether my experiences take priority. I need to know when to take a step back and allow others to speak up in their own way and not talk over them. I need to know when I am clarifying a point and when I’m taking credit for a point.

Just because I can offer information in digestible forms, doesn’t mean I should be the one to do it. I need to know the difference between offering my help to amplify and prioritize marginalized voices, and offering my services to serve my own agenda.

I need to use my privilege as a support for the movements I follow, not as a spokesperson or an expert.