It's a fun little side project that I've decided to work on, alongside my main manuscript! I've called it The Recovering Creatives Book Club - because it's a newsletter where I recommend books that have helped me to process my fears over the past few years, and become more settled in my own skin as a creative person/writer.
If you read this blog regularly, then you'll know that I come from a place of intense creative trauma, and have spent most of my adult life so far recuperating my senses of play and joy. Books have helped me so much along this journey! They give me a boost every time I worry that I might alone, and remind me that other artists struggle with the same weird complexes that I do.
In my own non-writing time, I mostly read fiction and graphic novels to decompress from writing a memoir. So most of my book recommendations fall into those two genres. My first issue, for example, is about Noah van Sciver's Fante Bukowski series, and tackles fears around pretension, imposter syndrome, and the myth of the Artist's Lifestyle.
Writing this newsletter has honestly been so much fun! I've found that alongside working on my own book, it brings me lots of joy to create something of definite value for other creatives... to provide people with a solid and helpful service. And because I read at the speed of light - and am such a huge psychology/psychoanalysis nerd to boot - this feels like exactly what I can bring to the table.
If you're at all interested, you can subscribe to my newsletter here! You'll get an email directly in your inbox, every time I write a new post. I don't have any real plans re: frequency yet - but a good estimate is say, one dispatch every three or four weeks.
Other updates - I'm currently attending Grub Street's Muse & the Marketplace digital conference, which has been such a stellar experience. I might write more about it in a future blog post. But the long and short of it is that I have learned so many new things about publishing a book - particularly about the nuts and bolts of coming out of the writer's cave, and taking an actual product into the world. I would highly, highly recommend this conference to anyone else who's trying to make it in the industry (and who is maybe, like me, also slightly intimidated by the business side of the whole process!)
I felt like doing a blog post this evening, to share an incredible writing resource that I recently discovered. It's The Creative Independent - a giant treasure trove of candid interviews, where people talk through their personal creative journeys, and also share the workarounds that helped them at various points in their careers.
I've said somewhere on here before that it can often feel difficult to access emotional - as opposed to practical - resources for artists... especially if you're like me, with a fixed bandwidth for social interaction. This website is perfect because it delivers genuine, deep, and personal insight, but via a medium that lets you read and digest in your own space/time. I honestly love it, and come back to it whenever I feel the need for nourishment.
As a side note, I particularly loved this recent interview with the writer Rebecca van Laer, where she talks about trusting the work to grow into its own perfect shape, in its own time - instead of constantly trying to hurry it out into the world. This is a quote that really resonated with me:
As soon as I read this, I thought - Damn, I've been there too! When I first started working on the essays in my manuscript, all the way back in 2018, this was pretty much what I did with everything I wrote. I really struggled to access validation from within myself; but I was also in a huge, career-driven rush to get published and noticed. As a result, I was constantly Whatsapping bits and pieces of my writing - half-essays! paragraphs! sometimes even single sentences! - to other people, and begging them to tell me that they were okay.
I assumed that if I heard the word "okay" enough times, I would feel justified in shoving all these bits I didn't feel good about into the rough, hasty shape of a product. Of course, what I've discovered in the years since is that it doesn't work this way. At all! Other people's feedback has its own important place in the creative process. But it isn't a workable replacement for the voice inside your own head, that needs to fire up first before you put things out into the world. The one that says: This is finished now. It's everything it should be.
My husband - one of the most patient people I have ever met - often reminds me that good things take time. And it helps me to remember that, whenever I feel the pressure to achieve more and faster. When it comes to creativity, it can take a lot of time to feel out the true, inherent shape of the product that you're making. And there's no substitute for that time; it's crucial to the whole. Personally, it took me three years and a half years of waiting to understand what my book wanted to be. And now that I know it, I no longer feel such a constant urge to keep asking for validation. Increasingly I feel strong, and clear, and grounded when I write.
Anyway, hope that you enjoy reading The Creative Independent! There are lots of other great interviews there besides Rebecca van Laer's, on all kinds of topics and hangups and personal journeys... there's bound to be a piece of advice in there for everyone. If any of the interviews speak to you at all I'd love to know.