June Recap

It’s strange how things come and go in waves. Some months are busy and stressful and I get next to nothing written, barely meeting word count goals, struggling to find the inspiration to make the stories work and some months, while busy, are blessed with hours of racing to get the words down on the page at the same rate they’re going through my head.

On the personal front, June marks the end of the school year, but also the start of a new endeavor, one that thankfully doesn’t add too much to my already full plate. I’ve transferred branches within my Taekwondo Academy so I can take on the role of Assistant Instructor. My new ‘home’ is a small but growing group, a little rowdy perhaps, but fun.

The kiddos wrapped up school this year with a bang. My 7-year-old daughter did a Taekwondo pattern for her talent show and even broke a board in front of the whole school. My nine-year-old son’s class wrote books (they were 5-12 pages), many choosing to write comics or graphic novels, and did a book reading for the parents. Visitors could go around the room, from author to author, to hear the stories and ask questions. We had snacks and drinks, which is a necessity at any book launch event. My son is a perfectionist (not surprising since I’m more a ‘basher’ than a ‘swooper’) and wound up having to work on his book at home – a lot. The stress of meeting the deadline was hard on him but the finished product was worth it.

He did a comic in his sketchbook for fun, one about Supa Baby. It is heavily inspired by the fast-paced, silliness of Dogman. His comedic timing is shining through. I’ll be drawing up good copy frames for him so he can do up a clean version, and I hope to upload a sample page here, and to my Patreon.

This month hasn’t been all joy, I’m afraid. Early in June, a family friend lost her fight with cancer, and a few weeks later, one of my local author friends had a second stroke and did not bounce back. The older you get, the more funerals there are to attend, but it doesn’t get easier.

My husband and I are up to our eyeballs in this garage we’re building. We were lucky to get the cement pad poured before the rains started (the rains messed us up last summer, we couldn’t get the gravel to dry enough to pack it properly). We’ve got the frame and plywood up (walls and roof) so it’s time to get it okayed by the inspector again, then on to the siding.

As for writing, I finished the novella Cheyanne and the short story Fifty-Fifty which finishes out The Underground series. I finished Whispers in the Dark (Book 1 of the Chronicles of Zoedar series) and sent that off to the beta reader. I’m just over halfway done Darkness Falling (Book 2 in the Chronicles of Zoedar series). Book 2 is largely a rewrite so that has helped boost my word count numbers this month – a good thing, since the kids are out of school and will be underfoot for the next 8 weeks.

  • Cheyanne + Fifty-Fifty – complete at 25,000 words. They’ve been to the editor and come back. In July I need to do the edits and get the e-book pre-order set up.
  • Sunlight – complete back in the spring. Since I have to sit down and do the edits on Cheyanne, I’ll sit down and do the edits here too. e-book pre-order will be set up, as well as the pre-order for Turncoats.
  • Whispers in the Dark – I won’t get this back from the beta reader until August, most likely. We set end of August as the deadline, because summer vacation and all that, but we’ll see if I get lucky and get it back earlier.
  • Darkness Falling – over 60k written. I’m aiming for 90-120k finished so mid-to-late-July at this rate.
  • June’s total word count: 100,033 (A RECORD!!)
  • 2019 word count so far: 335,794 (184,000 words to go)
  • Chronicles of Zoedar: this is a 4-book series, with books 3 and 4 targeted at 100k, give or take 10k. I’m hoping to have book 1 done and polished in time for #pitmad this fall, with the others completed in quick succession (all first drafts done by the end of 2019). You can read more about this series here

And, we are now halfway through the year! I’m quite a bit past halfway on my word count goals but at this point, I don’t think I’d increase it for next year. Having old drafts of Zoedar kicking about, and Rose at the End exploding past its estimated word count helped boost my speed and productivity this year. Next year will be all new projects, and possibly a lot of marketing – we’ll see what happens!

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Breaking News & Important Updates

I know this is mid-month and I generally update at the end of each month, but this post isn’t about balancing writing and life, or word count goals, or project milestones. These are the big important updates about Patreon, release dates for The Underground books, and some updates on the new project.

PATREON

When I put Schreyer Ink on hiatus, I shut down the Patreon page. I didn’t feel it was right to charge people a monthly fee for a page that wasn’t producing the promised content. I have a new Patreon page set up under my own name, and things will be a little different this time. I am charging “per creation” instead of “monthly. What does this mean for you?

If you choose to support my creative endeavors through Patreon (and thank you if you do), you’ll be charged whatever you choose to commit each time I post exclusive content. I’ve decided not to post more than 2 exclusive posts per month so if you pledge $1/post the most you’ll ever spend in a month is $2. There will be some months with only 1 post and some months with none, but I’ll try not to go over 2 to keep costs reasonable for everyone.

Second thing, EVERYTHING I post on Patreon will be available to ALL Patrons regardless of pledge amount – $1 or $10 or $100, you’ll all see the same thing.

When you get there, you’ll find 6 exclusive posts waiting for you. (All Patrons can view ALL past exclusive posts as soon as they sign up to support the page for no extra charge) This is the only time I’ll be posting more than 2 posts in a month and it’s just to give everyone something to check out while they wait.

What’s going up? The new covers for The Underground books 6-8 and an excerpt from each book.

THE UNDERGROUND

In May I completed book 5 of The Rose Garden series, completing the series, the story, everything. It felt really good, but my work isn’t over yet. I have to finish the Underground Series too. As of June 11, Book 6 is done, Book 7 just needs the edits done, and Book 8 is over half written. Covers for 6 and 7 are done, cover for 8 is being done this week.

So, when will they be available?

I have 1 final show/event at the end of June. I suppose IF I worked like a madwoman and got Book 6 approved for print today and rushed the shipping I could have them here on time. I don’t have time to do that. I’m taking the summer off from most events to help my husband build our new garage.

Shows pick up again late in October so the plan is to have ALL THREE books done, edited, proofed, formatted, printed, and here by the end of August. MAYBE I will have a launch event at the Jake Epp Library, maybe I will do something with a few of the schools in September. Not sure yet. But the COMPLETE series will be available for the Christmas sale season. And here are the official titles:

Book 6: Turncoats

Book 7: Sunlight

Book 8: BONUS NOVELLA: Cheyanne (includes the short story Fifty-Fifty)

FUTURE PROJECTS

With both series wrapped up, what comes next? Andy and I are working on redoing the picture books and rereleasing them, but that’s mostly on him. I’m in talks with another artist to do the Underground Graphic Novels – we’ll probably get a start in the fall.

As for writing, I’m already working on a new series in a new world with new characters and plots and magic and intrigue. My plan is to have book 1 completely ready by the time Pitmad rolls around this fall/winter. I’d like to take this new project the traditional route, just to see if I can. I have a few places lined up for it and I’m feeling pretty excited about it.

If you’d like to see a bit of what I’m working on, you can hop over to the official page for that new world here. You can follow the Thelara blog for world-building posts as well as summaries and previews.

May Recap

May was not the easiest of months, that’s for sure. I pushed hard in April for Camp Nano, and after a push there’s always a lull as I fight through the exhaustion. I managed to start May with a steady pace but life got in the way.

I spent a week helping my husband with the foundation for our new garage but now the pad is poured and we can move at a more reasonable pace.

We also had the stomach flu go through the house, which meant one day dedicated to each kid, and one day spent in bed while I had it.

And, the quilt shop in Steinbach had to close their Main Street location which meant shutting down the book nook. As the liaison between the shop and the group that meant a few extra stops at the shop (no big deal, I love going to visit, but it was extra time spent) to organize the take down of the nook, contacting all the authors, retrieving abandoned books at the end of the month, picking up all the display material, etc. I’m more upset to see the space go than I am at having to do a bit of work. Driven 2 Sew was a huge supporter of local artists, writers, and crafters.

On the plus side, May was the book/series launch for The Rose Garden, and Keycon was this month. Both were amazing experiences.

The book launch was held on May 7th at the Jake Epp Library in Steinbach. Maddison did a beautiful job on the room and we had tea, punch, and dainties. I read from the books and talked about the writing of the series and answered questions. My biggest fear was not realized and the room was comfortably full.

Keycon is an annual sci-fi/fantasy convention here in Winnipeg. With Authors of Manitoba I have a table in the merchant room and I did two panels – one with Tanya Huff. Yes, I got her autograph, yes I’m still giddy about that. But, that was three full days of excitement and people and no writing.

Last big change, I’ve switched branches for Tae Kwon Do (not academies, I’m still with Spirit 1) so that I can assist the 3rd Dan Black Belt at this other branch with the instructing. Not only will I continue to learn but now I have the chance to teach.

I want to give a second shout out to Jake Epp Library as well because they hosted a local actor/director who organized a dramatic abridged reading of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The cast was wonderful, and it was fun to sit and listen to them read. It was like a radio play, but you got to see facial expressions. I’m looking forward to more of these events in the future.

Some stats for May:

  • May was a single-project month, with only Whispers in the Dark seeing new words
  • I wrote just over 30k this month
  • My total for the year, so far, is nearing 240k (260k will be halfway to my goal)
  • I had two days top 3000 words, but I had a lot of days with no words

 

What’s coming up? June 1 is a colour belt test. I’m just going as a black belt to show support. No test for me until April 2020. June 2 is the St Vital Pop Up Market at the St Vital Mustang’s building (200 Frobisher off St Mary’s) from 10-3. June 8 is the Steampunk convention and Grinder’s Market (Crescent Fort Rouge United Church – free public access to the market from 9-12, paid convention access 12-4). June 15 is the first Tae Kwon Do BBQ and Training in the Park. June 23rd is the Anola Family Fun Days event at the Anola Community Center (free access all day, demos from local groups, local crafters, bouncers, petting zoo …).

And, I will tell you all about it, and what the writing looks like, when we get to the end of June.

Keycon 2019

Last year was my first Keycon event and I really enjoyed it, even if I really only saw the vendor area and a few panels. I love the costumes and the silliness and the party elevator and just everything about it.

Sadly, it seems that this year has had more than its fair share of drama, but I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying the event.

Keycon will be held at the Radisson Hotel on Portage Ave (Winnipeg, MB), May 17-19. You can find them online at http://www.keycon.org.

Authors of Manitoba will have a spot in the vendor room. This room is located next to the restaurant and is free to visit (you don’t need a convention pass to visit the vendors). Last year there was a great assortment of authors, artists, and crafters – fantasy headgear, paintings, nerdy clothes and accessories, awesome jewelry, and of course LOTS of books in every genre.

I will also be sitting on 2 panels this year.

Friday May 17, 9pm in Terrace East: World Building – Join me and author Carrie Vaughn for an hour of Q&A and hands-on practice. This workshop is for novelists, game designers, and LARPers.

Saturday May 18, Noon in Ambassador G: So You’ve Written Your Novel, Now What – Join me and fellow authors Laurie Smith (publishing as Laurie Adler) and Tanya Huff for lunch as we discuss editing, querying, traditional publishing, and the whole messy indie publishing scene!

This event is taking place just 10 days after the Rose Garden Series Launch so if you’re not able to attend the launch in Steinbach, swing by the vendor room and pick up your own copy of the Rose Garden Series. You can even message ahead to reserve a set, or a copy of anything else I’ve written.

See you there!

 

February Recap

2 months done. 59 days gone. It’s going by quickly.

This month saw some real set-backs. My children were home 3 extra days because of snow and cold, and my daughter was home an additional day because of stomach flu. I was down for a day with that same stomach flu and now I have a head cold. Oh, and my daughter came home with lice. January was productive – February is trying to kill me.

I’ve gotten through all that, and still managed to achieve some milestones.

  1. I had a colour belt test at the beginning of February and got my red belt. Yay!
  2. I topped 100k words so far this year. I’m running roughly 23,000 words ahead of schedule on my total word count goals.
  3. I finished my last ghostwriting contract, and I finished it early, leaving me with 4 extra days to outline and plan for my next project.
  4. I finished the editing on Rose at the End and the cover is done. I’ll need to format everything and put in the ISBNs and it’s ready to go.
  5. I ordered my spring restock so I should have copies of Rose Alone before my first show of the year.
  6. I’m on schedule with Underground #6: Turncoats and I have a good sense of book 7 as well. In nine weeks the last 3 Underground books should be done and ready for editing.

This month I also took a big step for myself and my personal well-being. I’ve reached out for professional counseling help. I’m hoping this won’t set me behind on my projects, but my health is more important than the words I put down on the page.

I’m looking forward to wrapping up the Underground series and starting a brand new project in late April.

For those local in Manitoba: I have a show on April 14th with Crafted by Me. It will be at the St. Norbert Community Center. I also have a book launch coming up for the Rose Garden Series. That will be on May 7 at 7pm at the Jake Epp Library in Steinbach. Both are completely free to attend.

New Year, New Projects, New Goals

As we prepare to welcome 2019, it’s time to sit down and take stock of 2018, and look ahead to what the new year could hold.

2018 was full of turmoil for me. For those who don’t already know, I decided to close Schreyer Ink Publishing a the end of this year. All of our anthologies are going out of print. We will not be accepting anything new. The blog and email will close as well.

I took a chance on a lot of new shows and learned a lot about the market, and about different show organizers.

I learned a lot, about myself, about my desires, about running a business. I learned that I have a bad habit of undervaluing my time, my services, and my product. I learned that I have a few amazing friends who will come through for me every time and I hope that I can be there for them as consistently as they are for me. I learned that stretching myself too thin was a good way to fail at everything. I learned just how important my husband, marriage, and family are to me – and that my mental and emotional health, and the health of my family relationships, need to come first.

2019 is going to look very different. It has to, in the face of so many changes.

For one thing, I will not have to put aside time for reading submissions. Part of me is saddened by this as I really enjoyed all the stories that came my way. I don’t have to put aside time for layout, design, and marketing either, not for the anthologies. I can just focus on my own works.

I sadly underestimated my goals in 2018 so I’m upping the bar for 2019 and I hope I’ve landed on a good solid basis for my writing – one that challenges me without being so hard to achieve that I burn out.

This is my tentative schedule for 2019:

C4 Winnipeg Horror and Sci-Fi Convention in February – probably

Spring Craft Sales – I’ll only do 2 or 3 and only with a few trusted and liked organizers

C4 Winnipeg “Manitoba Comic Con” in April – maybe

KeyCon over May Long Weekend – already booked

Summer Street Fairs – Only doing 1 in Steinbach, and possibly 1 in Ste Pierre

C4 Winnipeg in October – probably

Christmas craft events – I’ll do half a dozen or so in November and early December, again, sticking to events with good organizers in good locations.

And, here are my writing goals for 2019:

Total Word Count Goal for the Year: 520,000 words (the equivalent of 10,000 words per week, or 2,000 words per day for 5 days each week)

Rose Garden: Book 4 is done. I need to finish book 5, get everything on the shelf, and host a massive series launch at the Jake Epp Library in the spring. (Approximately 65,000 words)

Underground: I need to write books 6 & 7 to finish off the series. There is also a spin-off book that needs to be written. (Approximately 24,000 words per book, or 72,000 words)

Underground Graphic Novels: I have an artist (I hope). Now I need to collect my thoughts for what I’m looking for in a graphic novel and sit down with the potential artist to get this project rolling.

Contract work: I have 56,000 words outstanding on a contract. When it’s done, I’m done. I will not be doing any further ghostwriting.

So far that’s 193,000 words, or roughly 19.5 weeks of work. (That only takes me to mid-May).

After that I will start on a massive 4-book project, my baby, my long-time backburner project, the one I’ve been dying to write for years. I’m looking at 350,000 words over four books (which takes me over my 520,000 word goal by about 25,000 words). My plan is to finish the four books by the end of January 2020 and then attempt to find an agent and a traditional publisher for them.

After that? Well, that’s 9 entire books in a single year (though I’ll only be publishing 4 of them) plus the graphic novels. I don’t think I want to plan past that point, or commit to anything past that point. But there are ideas. Lots and lots of ideas.

There will never be a shortage of things to write.

How Long to Stick Around

It’s a tough call to make. How much do you give? How hard do you try? How long are you going to stick it out? What are you willing to do before walking away?

I’m talking specifically about support groups, networking groups, writing groups and such. As creatives and entrepreneurs, we’re often invited to these types of groups. We join hoping to find like-minded people to discuss the trials and tribulations of our passions. We join looking for people to help us through the rough patches and support us in some way.

I’m a part of several writing groups. The ones I like best are groups for writers to just chum around in. We can ask for a bit of help with research or brainstorming, share neat stories and plot bunnies, and talk about the process of writing. These groups have zero focus on sales or promoting. It’s just writers hanging out. And it’s nice.

I’m in more promotion-focused groups too and I quickly lose interest. It devolves into “buy my book” and everyone shouting into the void. Everyone comes to sell and no one is there to buy. I don’t stay in groups long when they become sales groups.

I’m in handmade, craft, and local sell-stuff groups. Sometimes I’ll comment on a “looking for a gift” thread but most times people aren’t looking for books, even locally authored ones. They don’t equate books with crafts or with handmade. They don’t view books as good gifts. I like to hang around these groups anyways because I like to buy, and I like to support other local makers by tagging them in posts that might net them a sale.

The big question for me is how long do I stay in “networking groups”?

I joined a local networking group for local women who ran businesses or worked for themselves. Seemed like a great fit. I’m a writer. Not everyone is a reader, and not every reader enjoys the type of books I write. But I didn’t join the group looking to sell stuff. I went into this hoping to make connections that I needed. I need to connect with locally owned businesses in the small local towns who would be willing to stock some books. I need to connect with business owners who are looking for a proofreader or editor for their various materials. And yeah, I was hoping to connect with other people who understood the pains of marketing who would help me spread the word about some of my events.

I got none of that.

I’ve shown up for events, even events that cost me money to attend. I’ve bought from businesses promoted by the group. I’ve shared and liked posts. I’ve passed contact info back and forth. I held a contest and not a single member of the group entered. I have asked for help in promoting events and had zero shares.

So, when is it time for me to pull up stakes and leave? I mean, this obviously isn’t the community for me. None of the members actually care if I succeed or fail. I’ve done my bit, I gave and gave and tried and participated, but I see no returns. How long do I have to pay in? How much of my time and energy do I have to give to the group before the group will give back to me?

And this isn’t the only group. I’ve dedicated myself to multiple groups, over and over again, giving time and energy to wind up being the only one trying and everyone expecting everything of me. I’ve left critique groups because I was the only one actually reading and critiquing and I could never get a comment on my work. I’ve left promotion groups that were really about promoting the work of one or two people (who were not me) and the rest of us were only there to be the audience.

Maybe it’s time I leave this networking group too. Because I’ve asked for support. I’ve asked members to swing by my friend’s quilt shop but no one ever does. It has become a group run by a few for the benefit of their closest friends, and that’s fine, but then don’t advertise it as a group to help everyone. Because that’s not what you’re trying to do. It’s a group set up to help the in-crowd, and I’m not the in-crowd, I’m the awkward nerdy girl who gets stuck doing all the work for the in-crowd.

I’ve got my own projects that need my energy and if people aren’t going to help me, then I do not have the time and energy to help them either. Giving has to go both ways or givers end up burning out. And I would gladly help promote for these amazing women. I just don’t see anything in it for me except another drain on my time and energy.

It’s almost the end of the year. We all start talking about “next year’s goals”. My goal is to work on my priorities. Maybe it’s selfish, but I’m burning out. You want a piece of me this coming year? You want a piece of my time, my talents, my energy? Show up and help out. Otherwise, I won’t have the time or the energy to spend on you. And I won’t regret it one bit.

Toodles.

A Mother’s Pride

I am so proud of my daughter right now, but I am also hurting for her. She has come up against one of the hardest tests of the world, and she handled it amazingly well – unfortunately it cost her a lot.

On Friday at school a little girl, “T”, was poked in the eye by one of the known “mean boys”. My daughter was making paper snowflakes for her friends and decided to make one for “T” as well. Now, “T” is moderately high-needs, she has some pretty obvious symptoms like stimming, and she is 6, going on 7 (like my daughter). I know many of the kids, including my daughter, find “T” annoying. That didn’t stop my daughter from feeling mad that “T” had been bullied. My daughter knows what it feels like to be bullied so she was ready to cheer “T” up with a pretty paper snowflake.

Her friends were not impressed. They tried to talk her out of it, and even tried bribing her with a piece of gum. My daughter gave “T” the snowflake anyways.

On Monday her friends excluded her at recess and free play and sat at different tables from her. Same again on Tuesday.

On Tuesday my daughter did a nice thing for her friends, she sharpened pencil crayons for them. She then asked if she could borrow a marker and was told no. This resulted in an exchange of little notes. The one I saw said “I am never giving you gum again you are not my FRIEND”. On the back was a drawing of four girls, one on one side of a table, the other three on the other side. The lone girl was labelled with my daughter’s name, the other three were just labelled “us”. It was from the girl my daughter considered her best friend.

We were just making plans for my daughter’s birthday and this was the one girl my daughter wanted to invite to go out for a special day. This was the one girl my daughter has named her best friend since Kindergarten.

This afternoon my daughter exploded at me. She did not want to do her home reading. After an hour long temper tantrum she calmed enough I could do some prying and I got this story out of her. It turns out she was excluded again today.

I wrote a letter to her teacher explaining the chain of events. I’m all for children learning social interaction without major adult interference, and I think kids need the space and time to learn how to act towards each other on their own, but this concerned me deeply.

My daughter wrote a letter explaining how she was feeling. “I don’t want to go to school right now. I don’t want to be bullied anymore. I am afraid I won’t have any friends anymore.”

She was begging me to homeschool her. She said, “All the girls picked her side and I’m left with all the bullies” (she has a bit of a history with a few of the boys in her class).

I am so proud of her. She made the choice to do a compassionate and kind thing, even though her friends tried to talk her out of it. She’s had to learn the hard way that choosing the right thing can sadly cost you everything. These are the girls she desperately wants to be friends with, that she desperately wants to spend time with, and they’ve shunned her. I only hope when they dangle “friendship” in front of my daughter with some cruel or dangerous conditions (we’ll be your friends if…) that she’ll choose the right thing again.

Until then, all I can do is tell her I’m proud of her and help her build the emotional language to deal with the fall out.

Oh, and she grew up right before my eyes during dinner this evening. She said, “I know before I was yelling at you about my reading because I was mad but I want to apologize. I’m sorry for yelling. I was sad and I let it out as mad.”

She continues to amaze me and I think, road bumps aside, she’s on her way to becoming one heck of a young woman.

My Birthday Wish

As a lifelong reader and published author, there is a cause that is close to my heart. I’ve been an advocate for many things, but this is special to me. Literacy. Children’s literacy, community access to books, little free libraries, public libraries, authors in schools, authors in libraries, family literacy day, writing workshops, poetry slams … We feed the body, we defend against abuse and neglect on every front, and that’s all so important. Books feed the mind and the soul, they empower people with representation and with knowledge.

My birthday is on April 2, and this year it lands over Easter weekend. I won’t be doing anything special this year, just spending time with family for the holidays, and I’m content with that. I’ve been spending a lot of weekends doing sales and shows so a quiet weekend with my kids is a treat. I’ll be turning 31. I’ve long outgrown the need for birthday gifts, aside from the trinkets my kids buy me, or the next season of my TV show on DVD which my husband grabs me each year because birthdays are a good excuse for the little luxuries. Still, I am blessed with a large extended family and a large network of friends so I will make this one concession.

If you would like to celebrate my birthday, if you would like to get a little something to commemorate the day, please, buy a book. BUT there’s a catch. Buy a book and donate it somewhere – to a daycare center, a school library, your local public library, the local women’s shelter, foster child group home. Or give it as a gift to a friend or friend’s child who you feel would enjoy it. Maybe you know a family that is going through hard times and a new book in the house would be a real treat for the kids. (Feel free to read the book first, if you haven’t already, or buy a copy of one of your favourites to share)

If you are donating to a daycare or school please make sure the book is for the appropriate age group. If you are donating to the public library consider checking their website for a “wish list” or ask a librarian if there’s a new release they’d love to have an extra copy of. If you’re gifting to a friend or family member’s children, ask the parents first if there’s anything the child is interested in or refuses to read. (My son HATES Five Nights at Freddie’s or anything scary like Goosebumps, some families do not like books with monsters, even cute ones)

Consider buying from a local author – local to where you live. You’ll be helping to support local talent, and often a library’s budget gets eaten up keeping the big-demand books coming in and they can’t afford to support local as much as they would like to. Or support your favourite indie author. You can even grab one of my books to share with someone.

If you do any of the above, please, take a picture of the book and share with me where you’re sending it to (if gifting you don’t have to include the person’s name).

If you need shopping inspiration, here is a list of some of the Manitoba authors and indie authors whose books I’ve enjoyed (in no particular order):

Theo Ashford, Geralyn Wichers, Marianne Curtis, Alex McGilvery, C.A. King, Debbie Manber Kupfer, Steve LeBel, Jeffery Cook, Sherry Peters, Celesta Thiessen, Alyssa Thiessen, Christine Steendam

Empowerment

I am empowered to exist.

I give myself permission to take up space. I am allowed to stand my ground, stay the course, and let others move around me. I do not have to make myself smaller, not by losing weight, not by slouching, not by looking down, to make others feel more comfortable around me. I am allowed embrace my identity, whether it conforms to the current norms of society or not.

I am empowered to exist.

 

I am empowered to speak.

My voice is important. My story, opinions, and experiences are valid and have merit. I do not have to speak more softly, or more politely. I do not have to laugh more softly, or less often. I can share my story, in my own way and in my own time, even if it makes other people uncomfortable.

I am empowered to speak.

 

I am empowered to take care of myself.

Asking for help is not a weakness. I am allowed to close the doors and take quiet time to myself. I am allowed to go out and have fun, just for me. My physical and mental well-being are important. Self-care does not make me conceited.

I am empowered to take care of myself.

 

I am empowered to empower others.

I will stand with you and boost you up when others seek to push you down. I will listen, and demand others listen, when others seek to silence your voice. I will listen and respect your privacy when you open up to me in trust. I will support and validate your experiences, even if they are not the same as mine. I will help you, whatever you ask, whenever you ask, if it is in my power, I will help. I will do these things for you, no matter your gender at birth, the gender you identify as, who you love, where you or your ancestors come from, or what you believe in. Together we can change the world – but only together.

I am empowered to empower others.