January 8, 2016
Dear Intrepid Readers,
So, how’s your first week of 2016 been?
Last week on Rhizomatic Ideas, Lise posted about broken New Year’s resolutions—so this week being the first full week of the New Year, we decided that our collective goal should be simple and easy to keep: Be better than we were last year. Sounds easy, right? The thing about New Year’s resolutions that makes them so appealing is the “tabula rasa” element—it’s a clean slate, a fresh new year, nothing’s been written yet. Except the thing that makes resolutions so easy to break is that they aren’t actually a tabula rasa at all—our slates aren’t ever completely clean. So the best kinds of resolutions are the ones that take the previous year (for all its good and bad) into account.
When I was a member of a support group, my group leader would always tell us to be gentle with ourselves: “Start where you are,” she’d say. That’s a tough thing to do, starting where you are. Because as Lise accurately pointed out in the blog, most of us want to start where we want to be, and regard anything less than that as a failure. Why do we self-sabotage like that? You don’t need me to tell you that it’s unrealistic to want to achieve your 2016 goal in the first month, or that if you DO manage to find a way, that it’s probably not a sustainable way of life. So why is it then, that we set ourselves up for failure, instead of starting where we are? I think the answer is as simple as this: Starting where you are is difficult, because it requires a certain amount of humility. To start where you are, you have to admit that where you are isn’t where you want to be. This could apply to anything you want to do in 2016: lose weight, keep the house neater, be a better friend, send more writing submissions out, finish that novel once and for all (and then leave it alone when you do), become the writer you know in your heart you can be. Here’s a secret about starting where you are: it’s easier because your goals are more modest. Realistic. Because you’re not focused on the 26.2 miles that are your goal down the road. When you start where you are, all you’re concerned with is that first, crucial, step. Take it. That’s where we’re starting this year at Zoetic.
Like most people, I am guilty of saying yes. A lot. Too much, in fact. We overextend ourselves saying yes to things that don’t frighten us—if they did, we wouldn’t agree to them so easily. It’s the saying yes to the big stuff that’s scary, that requires a little extra work, a more concentrated effort, or a deep breath you hold a beat longer than you probably need to. So start where you are—as a person, as a writer, as a person who translates their experiences into literature—and then go somewhere you’ve never been before. Go without a flashlight in the dark*. Go without a map into uncharted lands**. Then tell a story. (and you know, you could send that story to us)
Which leads me to remind you that we are winding down the last hours of the submissions window for the next issue of NonBinary Review, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. We’re also open for submissions for our upcoming Alice in Wonderland and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet themed issues. We opened these submissions portals well in advance of the deadlines to allow authors the maximum amount of time to put a polish on their submissions. So don’t panic—you have plenty of time to get to Wonderland or 221B Baker Street.
This week, we asked readers (via our Facebook group) for feedback on our blog posts and social media updates. We value your opinions, and we figured that one way to “start where we are” is to find out from you—our readers—where that is, exactly. We’ve taken all of your comments, suggestions, criticisms and questions into account and are planning a new postings schedule to give you more of what you want to read. Our social media maven, Kolleen Carney O’Brien, is eager to find the links that keep you buzzing and help you become a more productive human being…by wasting some of your time online. So if you want writing prompts, silly writer memes, inspirational quotes, or books that get us ready to curl up in a chair, follow one of our boards on Pinterest, and see what Kolleen’s been pinning for you. On Facebook, you can follow our pages (Zoetic Press, Lithomobilus) to keep up with the latest happenings, online features, blog posts and book reviews as well as the Zoetic Press Facebook group to find Alphanumeric features. We’re also on Twitter (@ZoeticPress and @Lithomobilus), and you can even see some of our authors reading their work on our YouTube channel.
If you’re interested in hearing more from us (and we hope you are!), sign up for our monthly newsletter. We’re serious about your privacy, and promise not to flood your inbox. Want to be a guest writer for Rhizomatic Ideas, or to profile one of our contributors? We’re always interested in hearing about the topics that interest you, or your responses to blogs we’ve published. We know that there are some topics that pique your interest more than others, and we want you to tell us what you want to see more of. Or if you want to grab the mic and tell us more, send us a pitch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re always interested in reviewers for book review swaps, so check out our submissions for reviews, or contact us to get in on the review swapping!
Until next week—
*You probably shouldn’t literally do this, because you could get eaten by a bear. I don’t want you to get eaten by a bear because of a metaphor.
**This is also not a great idea in the literal sense. You should at least have Google maps on your phone or something. You could get lost in the woods. Where BEARS are. Don’t get lost in the woods and eaten by a bear. Do something psychically scary, not physically dangerous.