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2018 Review

Rachel Saylor

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It’s important to look back on your year and celebrate your successes as well as reflect on what went wrong or didn’t work out as planned. I know for myself I can feel as if I didn’t accomplish enough in the past year, that I messed it up and didn’t see through all of the projects I set out for myself. However, I am here today to discover the good things I did and hopefully surprise myself. This is my attempt to convince you to do the same, so here’s hoping it works.

In 2018, even though I didn’t publish my short memoir, Fire Diaries, (a long time coming), or edit one of my books to completion, there are things I did accomplish. I did finish writing my first YA modern realistic novel and I sent it out to a large group of beta readers and got great feedback from them. I also joined my first critique group and learned some valuable editing and storytelling techniques that have enriched my craft. I found opportunities to put myself out of my comfort zone by going to writer meet-ups where you write prompts and read aloud to others. I met and connected with many writers throughout the year. I attended one of my first writer specific conferences and by chance met two great ladies. We bonded quickly and formed a critique and accountability group which has pushed my writing in the best way.

Although I’ve put my first novel, Jasper’s Mountain, to the side, for now, I did spend time rewriting the book a couple of times over this year. I feel as if I have more questions than when I started out with it, but I worked my little butt off diving deeper into that world.

I wrote twenty-five chapters in my new Chick-literature humor novel, Late Bloomer. This book is  light-hearted and funny, and I’ve had so much fun writing it. I plan to finish the first draft of this book early this new year.

After almost completing my third book, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t stick to one genre and I am 100% OK with that, in fact, it gives me clarity and freedom to not feel confined to one particular genre, which has always stressed me out.

I read forty-six books—some of which really helped me stretch my mind and gave me fresh and new perspectives. (I’m going to do a post about the top books of my 2018 reading list soon).

There were ups and downs throughout the year—when is there not? And before I wrote all of these successes of enriching my craft and carving away at it, I felt as if the year was mostly made up of non-accomplishments than accomplishments. This reflection is the boost I needed in order to shape and imagine all of the positive steps this new year will bring.

My wish for you this new year is that you have the courage to embrace the positive possibilities out there for you to grasp onto. Hit reply to this email and tell me one thing you are proud of accomplishing last year in 2018. We need to celebrate our successes more often and I want to cheer you on!

Cheers to this next fantastic year,
Rachel



You Need Inspiration

Rachel Saylor

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You know who can be your biggest inspiration? Yourself. I know you're thinking, Yeah, but when I'm feeling down and uninspired, I really need the help of someone else to pull me out of it and get me jazzed again about my craft, life, circumstance etc. 

But I want you to think of the best version of yourself. When you feel on top of the world like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. When you know it's mindset and drive over your current place and situation. In a way, that is someone else or at least a different mindset that's being overshadowed by your current self. Sit down (or stand), channel your best self and write the inspiration and motivation your current self needs to hear. 

It works. And I'm speaking from experience here. My most thought-provoking, inspiring material comes during times of distress. It's like I'm being the friend on the other side, reaching a helping hand out to myself to get back up and dust the dirt off my butt. In fact - to get real meta with you - it's why I'm currently writing this. I didn't wake up feeling amped with creative juices and excitement this morning. Instead, I felt lazy justified by the creeping thoughts of self-doubt. 
I don't want it to get the best of me, so I'm placing a supportive hand on my shoulder and whispering the words that I have deep within myself: 

"You have a unique gift to share with the world. There are stories within you that need to be told. Your specific life experiences and perspective work to create this particular viewpoint, and it is a beautiful thing. Now go, create, and get lost in the creation. You've got what it takes." 

I believe these words for you too. 

I'd like to challenge you to inspire yourself with your own words. Take as little or as much time to write it out. No need to be modest. And let me know how it goes for you. 

Cheers to being your own biggest supporter. 

P.S. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a link to an interview I did with my writer buddy, Cameron Frank, on his weekly digest where he highlights authors around the 🌎.  

Book Review: Call Me By Your Name

Rachel Saylor

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When a love story pulls at your heart and makes you root for the two lovers to end up together, happily living their days as one, it is something to hold onto and cherish. When a story can enrapture you and procure emotions such as sorrow, anger, and ecstasy, it is a story that should be talked about and shared. 

Call Me By Your Name is a story about discovering your first love and the sorrow and joy that accompanies it. It’s about feeling vulnerable when first exploring sex while you are still awkward and unsure of your footing, yet eager and ecstatic to have such a strong connection with someone. It also shows the beauty in having a deep, intimate connection with your parents. How a relationship with them in which you can discuss vast topics and feel free to be open and honest with them brings about the possibility of loving acceptance without conditions. It will make you want to kiss your mom and dad on the cheek or pull them into a hug more often with passion, sending vibrations of your love for them through your touch. 

The story takes place in 1983, so when a romantic relationship with two guys is etched with the discomfort of being taboo, you as the reader are not that surprised. However, comparing that to today’s standards, can we truly say we have come that much farther even 35 years later? Don’t some people still push themselves to fight their natural urges and desires or hide part of what makes them them because they fear being thrown as an outcast in their family, or from their communities or just because it doesn't fall into the majority? The way the parents, even back in 1983, were so accepting of their son with whom he chose to love was so beautiful and makes my heart ache for parent-child relationships that suffer because there isn’t this same open acceptance and love. 

I look forward to engaging in stories, such as Call Me By Your Name, that send tears streaming down my cheeks and that leaves a lasting impression on my heart. Stories that represent marginalized groups that have been largely ostracized by so many throughout history. Stories that I get lost in and feel apart of. Stories that evoke such strong emotions that it moves people to change their mindsets to be a more understanding, loving individual. It’s what I hope to do for my readers as a writer. 

*Side note about the film adaptation: 

The chemistry between the two actors, Timothée and Armie is electric and reels you into their romance. Coupled with the long shots of Northern Italy’s landscape and the characters basking in the slow paced summer sun, it’s a film that makes you feel as if you are taking part of the entire summer spent in Italy, living in a villa, surrounded by fruit trees, on the outskirts of a sleepy Italian town just a pleasant bike ride away. 

Both the book and the film are the sorts to be read and watched many times over.