Here’s a toast to you — the reader. Without you there would be no me.

When I write, I let the characters speak through me—I am but an anxious vessel for their words. I shut out all distractions and silence my phone, because I definitely don’t worry that if I take too long to text people back they’ll decide they hate me and never text me again. As you may have noticed, a running theme in my process is that I am not afraid to be alone with my thoughts. Not at all.

Of course, some days the muses in the vessel may not visit me. When this happens, I accept the situation with poise and give myself permission to write one or two clumsy first drafts and vigorously edit it later. This approach is possible because I understand that my intrinsic self-worth is separate from my talent and my productivity, and because I know that I am deserving of love even if my writing is not very good. This gives me the freedom to take risks, which, in turn, actually makes my writing pretty good. Funny, isn’t it?

It’s all about repetition, really—doing the same thing every single day. No one else in the world cares at all, yet I still do it! Because I, a human being, have the self-control to maintain this routine in a complete vacuum of social interaction or any positive reinforcement.

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