good news about the Very Big Thing
The Good Mother Myth + recs for Barnes & Noble's pre-order sale!
Welcome to Write More! This is the your mid-month pop-in, which comes with ideas, encouragement, and writing prompts to keep you going. I also send out a monthly intentions email on the last Sunday before a new month starts that aims to help you think through your goals and intentions for your writing practice in the coming month and to reflect on your progress in the previous month.
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You guys? The Very Big Thing I mentioned in the last newsletter? It happened.
To put it more simply: I sold my book!!!
(I was going to play it cool and tuck a little note down at the bottom, but I am really not feeling chill about this. And I do believe in celebrating everything.)
As I wrote when I shared the news on instagram, this has been a really long journey. I began this book in 2018, when my kids were 3 and 5, and I was just beginning to emerge from the haze of early motherhood enough to try to figure out what had happened to me. Why was motherhood, supposedly the most natural thing in the world, so intensely hard for me? How it could be possible to love my kids so much and also feel totally unhinged by the actual labor of caring for them?
I’ve learned so much in my years of research, but one key takeaway is this: if motherhood feels impossible, it’s not because you’re doing something wrong. And you probably need more help.
When I was in the early stage of querying agents, I got a (very kind) rejection that said in part, that because motherhood is a very crowded space in publishing, “any material on this topic really needs to transcend what’s out there.” That stung, I’ll admit, but it’s absolutely not wrong. I wrote it on an index card, taped it to the wall where I’d put my big book outline, and kept going.
If there’s anything generalizable about this story, it’s a) the sheer amount of absolute stubbornness needed to get through any big project and b) the importance of finding the right people at the right time. When I finally signed with my agent, I actually had three offers, and I chose Maggie because she was the one asking me to do the most work with the proposal. I trusted her vision for the book, and I trusted her to help me get there. We worked together for nearly a year before going out on submission. In that time, I completely restructured the book and refined both the argument and the tone. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Brigitte, whose background in history and engaged editorial approach I know will benefit the book so much.
I’m planning on sharing more about the process as I write, and I’d love to know what questions you have. What do you want to know? What parts of the writing process interest you?
more good things
I loved this from Emily Stoddard, which asks “how do things open up if writing is done as a kind of place-making?”
For Romper, inspired and informed by Virginia Sole-Smith’s knockout new book, Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture, I wrote about how to handle fatphobic comments in front of your kids. One of my favorite ideas, from a mom I talked to? When her dad praises her kid for choosing strawberries as a snack because they’re “tasty and low-cal” (yikes!), she cuts that off with a zippy, “no thank you!”
And don’t forget about Barnes & Noble’s 25% off pre-order sale, which ends today! I’m ordering Minna Dubin’s Mom Rage: The Everyday Crisis of Modern Motherhood, Amanda Montei’s Touched Out: Motherhood, Misogyny, Consent, and Control, and Camille Dungy’s Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden. (Happy Mother’s Day to me!) What forthcoming books are you excited about?
I’ll be back on Sunday with the monthly intentions email for May!
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