10 Lessons for Living

Here’s 10 Things I learned through writing my book, Innards. You know it’s coming out next May right? Yup 💃🏾💃🏾😝 Your Gurrrl is mad proud and stupid excited and feeling all the flutters of a big hairy thing you’ve worked on just about your whole life. 

Anyways. Here’s 10 Things:

  1. I have opinions about serial commas. LOTS of them. Don’t know what a serial comma is? Ahhh, you blessed soul. Pls! For the love of Gawwwd, stay untouched by the heretic claws of English grammar. 
  1. Publishing is hellaaaa white. Like 85% of all books on our bookshelves are by white authors. Which makes diverse voices heard all the more critical. This project–What Publishing Paid Me–gets mad props in my book. Started by black woman! 🔥💪🏿 Go on L.L.McKinney! 👑
  1. Creativity is a spiritual practice. At least for me. Writing saved me. And remains my gateway drug to staying alive. I 💯 get all deep on this theme in my Sunday newsletter devoted to helping you Write, Get Paid & Published Sign up here
  1. Big things take tribe-level work. Seriously. I got an agent. Two editors. A copyeditor who fact-checked the bejezzzus out of my fiction 👀😝, besides a whole sales, graphic design, marketing and publicity team at Norton! Whew—And that’s not even counting all the people you’ll need to support you before you get in the room with Norton. Which is why I wanna share what I know with misfit creatives often overlooked by publishing.  
  1. Good Work (can) Take Yeeaars. At least the kind of book I’ll stamp my name on. The kind of book you’ll be proud of. Imma quote King James here—and butcher said quote. It’s about the process. You have to love the process. 
  1. Do It for its Own Validation. If you’re serious about your project, and get that the ride is a marathon, the thing that keeps you going has to come from within. Like any space, there’s a lot of noise and happy gas in writing circles. But that shit don’t turn out pages. And can be an endless game of chasing outside validation. 
  1. Your Story Matters. Especially if you’re writing from the margins. Especially if you don’t see yourself in most books on any shelf. Write. Only you can tell your story. And there’s a whole lot of Creative Misfits outchea trynna support you!
  1. Reading is Muscle-work for Writing. Not every writer grew up reading, I get that. But every working writer reads. And reads as widely as possible to challenge both their ideas and to expand their craft. Pick up something strange. Read a book by someone as far from your identity as possible.
  1. To MFA or not to MFA. I did MFA. Cause school is my happy place. And cause as a black woman, fancy degrees are part of my armor. It shouldn’t have to be this way, but it is. I also know writing school cannot teach you how to write. And that everything they do not teach you in an MFA is what you actually need to get published. Join this newsletter if you wanna know what I now know, without spending 2 years combing craft outta corn fields🤪😂
  1. You’re Gonna Need Backup. Ever notice how many people ask writers if they write long hand or on a computer? God bless those ppl, cause I’ve never understood how that info would improve their own creative practice. The big questions more aspiring writers should be asking? What’s your support system? Who’s your first reader? Who knocks down your self doubt? And then start thinking: how can I replicate that for myself! In one of my first Sunday newsletters, I dove into how I got started and how you can replicate that model today.

That’s a wrap for 10. Can’t wait to share Innards with you soon. Meanwhile, if you want more in depth and behind the scenes notes from me on writing, getting paid and published, get this newsletter. Drops Every Sunday. And I’ll answer any question you got!