Editor’s Desk – Week of March 4, 2016

March 4, 2016

Dear Intrepid Reader,

This week, we’ve released two more issues of NonBinary Review online for your approval. Check out Issue #4 Bulfinch’s Mythology and Issue #5 The King in Yellow. Go! Read! Share! Love!
Last week, I was pretty sure my hands were going to fall off from transcribing all the great things that have been happening for both the press and for our authors.

Quick recap:
We released a new build of the Litho Reader app, and launched the Litho Reader store. We published our first two Zoetic Press books. We’re reading full length manuscripts, as well as reading for the next two issues of NonBinary Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet. We’re constructing physical books for AWP, so you can take our writers home and leave coffee stains on the pages (you know a book is legit by the number of coffee or tea stains.) We’ve got artistic inspiration delivery devices to sell you at AWP (or as the laymen call them, shot glasses.) We’re midway through the migration of all of our Nonbinary Review issues online, so that reader access isn’t limited by a type of device or platform (though that said, we encourage you to explore the Litho Reader App, and experience NBR in the richness we intended for readers.) We’re winding down the last few Alphanumeric features for NBR #7 and gearing up to drop NBR #8, as well as launching the new series of Alphanumerics. So we encourage you to sign up for our email list if you’d like to get updates on this, and other news from our press. (We promise we won’t spam you. No, seriously. We won’t.)

So now that you’re all up to speed on good news, I’d like to talk about slowing down and self-care. But this is a lit mag, Allie, can’t I read that kind of touchy-feely stuff on HuffPo or Upworthy? Well, sure. There are about a million places on the internet that can provide you with articles about self-care (and LOL cats, which to many, are themselves a form of self-care.)

kitty depression
Take 2 and call us in the morning. Side effects may include hairballs and intermittent yowling over absolutely nothing.

So though it’s true, there are no shortage of places on the internet dedicated to self-care, I’m writing about it here because none of the established websites writing about self-care address a question that’s really specific to the people most likely to be reading this editor’s letter: What does self-care look like for a working writer? An editor? An adjunct professor who’s also running a lit mag or small press in their free time (with whatever small amount of money they have) AND still trying to produce their own work, while juggling family, friends, and literary citizenship?
Yeah, didn’t think so. Elephant Journal doesn’t have a listicle for that very specific set of circumstances. And the truth of it is, there aren’t 5 or 10 easy points to post that are going to solve the problem that most working writers find themselves faced with at some point: burnout. Writer burnout comes in many forms. It can be as simple as a general sense of peevishness from being stretched in too many directions, or being spread too thin. It can look like writer’s block, or an inability to complete our own writing projects. Some writers disguise burnout as productivity, and throw themselves into whatever aspect of their writing life where they can be measurably successful. Burnout might look like a writer holing up in their house and avoiding literary events, ignoring invitations and attempts at connection from their peers. It might manifest in exactly the opposite way—some writers or editors might throw themselves so deeply into the literary community that there’s no time left for their own writing. The long and short of it is this: there’s no one way to identify burnout, because its outward indicators are specific to the individual and their personality. Which is why self-care is crucial for the working writer.
As a whole, writing is a very solitary endeavor. Most writers work completely alone. Editing is much the same. Teaching, while a group experience, is deceptive in its solitary nature—though the act of teaching happens in a group, the planning of lessons and the grading are tedious, lonely endeavors. So this weekend, as you plan your literary activities, sit down to a monster stack of papers to grade, making a date for yourself and a new book you picked up, or are trying to figure out when you’re going to finish that story/ submit to that journal before the deadline closes/ transcribe that thing you wrote on a napkin last week while you were having coffee/ finally update the author website that you bought the domain for last year—I want to remind you to breathe.
If you’re looking to relax, we’ve got you covered with some great ways to pass a relaxing, pressure-free hour or two. If you haven’t, download Lithomobilus for iPhone or iPad and enjoy NonBinary Review for free. Our Pinterest boards  are always available for your browsing pleasure, and it’s a relaxing way to connect with us and our followers, find new reads and spark your creativity. On Facebook, you can connect with us (Zoetic Press, Lithomobilus) and with your favorite NonBinary Review authors in the Zoetic Press Facebook group. Every Tuesday, we’ve got a new Alphanumeric feature. If you’re in the mood for letter writing, you can connect with our editors and staff — we love mail! We’re also on Twitter (@ZoeticPress and @Lithomobilus), if you find Facebook too anxiety-inducing. Check out our YouTube channel if you’d like to relax with a delightful beverage and listen to authors read to you. Maybe tomorrow, you’d like to sit down with our blog Rhizomatic Ideas. If you’re inspired and would like to write a post for us, send us a pitch. 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,


Allie Marini
Managing Editor