Foreground is yellow grasses and gray green bushes. Middle ground is blue water. Background are reddish brown hills dotted with green trees. Hills are reflected on the water.

Letter from Sandra

August 2022

Dear Readers,

I’ve tried to find a single metaphor to use in describing my experience of the past month, but the problem is that I did not have a single experience, but rather a cluster of varying things all tumbled together in a terribly unorganized fashion. In no particular order, there was: a cross-country road trip (22 hours of driving each direction), having my adult kids as booth crew, our first large scale event of the ongoing pandemic era, trying to juggle work commitments to two organizations that aren’t Tayler Corp, hundreds of small conversations with people at our booth, observations about safety protocols and mask wearing, eating in instead of eating out with friends, noticing what is different and what is familiar after pandemic time and shifts, realizations about the importance of in person events in our lives, reflections on how event choices always both include and exclude, watching everything with the eyes of an event organizer and being surprised that I acquired those eyes somehow, returning home and trying to transition from triage working to maintenance working, pivoting to help with a local fundraising event, and dozens more tumbled experiences both personal and professional.
 
I suppose my mind right now resembles my house, which is currently littered with odd piles of things we’ve halfway unpacked but haven’t yet managed to actually put away.
 
On the whole our adventure was a good one. We’ve returned from Gen Con covid free and with a new enthusiasm for the work ahead because we’ve managed to reconnect with why that work matters. We have exciting prospects for partnering with Backerkit on their new crowdfunding platform. I had a brilliant conversation with a community organizer which will help with my community building and event organization work.
 
This space, just post Gen Con and before the Writing Excuses Retreat, feels transitional. I’m closing off some projects: XDM2e shipping is nearly complete, the reprint for Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance is stacked in my warehouse only waiting for me to pay a bill. Gen Con is done except for a few clean up chores.  And I’m ready to pick up new projects: crowdfunding via Backerkit, the last organizational run up to WXR, fully engaging with preparations for Teen Author Boot Camp and the satellite programs for tweens, Teen Reader’s Choice Awards, and a Gala.
 
Among all of that, as the dust settles, I want to be carving out space for writing. With all of the admin work I’ve undertaken, I need writing as a counterbalance in my life. My admin self must schedule space where my writer self can stretch and grow. I must make time to be inefficient, to (for example) pause in writing my newsletter to go and get peanuts for the blue jay who yelled at me through my window. Then to sit outside to watch the jay collect the nuts and hide them in my lawn with careful coverings of leaves. To breathe the morning air which is still damp from last night’s rain. To watch the dueling humming birds circling my mimosa trees who try to pick a fight with the jay. It is these moments of inefficiency which help me find my center and find my words through the haze of tasks. Just like attending Gen Con guided me to reconnect with the point of the work we do. Just like those long hours in the car gave Howard an I a chance to re-envision what comes next.
 
I don’t know what transitions you have ahead of you as the seasons begin to shift, but I hope that you are able to have a sense of completion on some of your things paired with the excitement of launching into new possibilities.
 
All the best,
Sandra
Progress Updates
 

Engaging writer brain/ filling the well: An ongoing effort to make space to recharge is that I'm trying to have weekends rather than letting freelance work slop over into all the days. On Saturday and Sunday I am supposed to ignore my regular work and spend time however I choose. Saturdays tend to go to house things. Sundays are church, napping, and watching things on streaming services. The key is to deliberately rest my task brain and switch modes. I don't always succeed, but the effort helps.

XDM2e: There are only 211 packages left to ship. They all have sketched books in them, so I'm waiting on Howard to get the sketching done. These will go out in small batches over the next several weeks. I'd love to get them all done and mailed before the Writing Excuses retreat, but we'll have to see. That will just leave the audiobook recording to manage.

House in the Hollow: I'm inching toward picking this one back up. Hopefully I can spend some significant time working on it during the Writing Excuses retreat.

Structuring Life to Support Creativity Workbook: I did a little bit of work on this during the week prior to Gen Con, I'm hopeful that I can start working on it again this week.

Community Building: While I was at Gen Con I met with Maurice Broaddus who is a community builder extraordinare. I want to pin him down and have him map out his overlapping communities, and ask him how he manages to maintain all those connections without feeling overwhelmed or entangled by him. I came away with thoughts pertinent to the work I'm doing with event organization, my own creative community, my church communities, and the discord community we're running. Gen Con itself was an exercise in remembering why our creative work matters, because I could see people's faces and realize that our existence as creators changes the world. I really should try to catch more of these thoughts into a blog post.

Fernweh story: This is an epistolary story about a disabled woman who longs to travel and revisit a place in her childhood both physically and emotionally, but she can't, so she learns how to summon the place to her instead. I've finished round one of feedback. Round two is only about a week away, so I need to complete this and revise.
 
 Patreon: I'm sadly behind on all of my commitments here. This does seem to be a regular occurrence that makes me extremely grateful to those who stick around. You're all supporting everything in this project list. I just want to do better at doing some work that is specifically for you. If you'd like to become a patron click that link.
 
Schlock work: So far no covid post Gen Con. Yay! Up next is meeting with the Backerkit folks to talk about launching a crowdfunding project for Schlock book 17. Howard needs to put in time to finish and release the Shafters Shifters novellas. I need to clean up the XDM2e shipping mess and the post-Gen Con mess over at the warehouse.

House:  Right now I need to get the piles of unpacked stuff from Gen Con out of our living space and catch up on laundry. After that, I'll look at more gardening and home improvement work.

Short form writing: I hope to write between 12-20 short stories (or poems or essays) this year. Current count is Zero, which is a discouraging number, but it is what it is.  

 One Cobble blog: 3 posts in July. Will try, but August and September have so many other things in them, I think I'm unlikely to hit my six-posts-per-month goal. You can read posts at onecobble.com

 Newsletter: You're reading it!

Online Lectures/setting up for freelance consulting: There is a tentative plan for me to do some online lectures in the next few months. One of my tasks for this week is to get these scheduled.
   
Back Burner

The Mads: idling, but possibly will be worked on as I work on other picture books.

Old Fashioned Irma: In rough draft stage.

Anxiety Boy picture book: Excited for the possibilities with this one, but it is idling too.

Additional Picture books: I have fragments for another 2-3 picture books. I want to get them drafted.

Crafting: Picked up crocheting this month, but I don't have a fixed project. I'm just noodleing.

Picture book about Amy's mommy:  It needs tweaking, but probably not massive revision. Mostly this one is resting while I'm saving up money to hire an artist then run a Kickstarter.

 Herding Wild Horses: Serious doubts about my qualifications for writing a parenting book. But my doubts don't matter much right now since this project is far back in line behind other things.
Plant growing out of a pink pot, blooming with a yellow brain. arround the brain flower are a calendar, gears, a paper airplane, and some stars.

Appearances

I will be on the Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat in September. Find out more about this event here.

In October and November I may be teaching some online classes, but details on that are TBD

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Book cover for Hold on to Your Horses by Sandra Tayler Illustrated by Angela Call. Young red-headed girl holds tight to the back of a smiling white horse.

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