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On Embracing Small Joys
Last time, I talked about how I’d share a newsletter regarding the importance of small (or as I like to call them... SMOL joys), and today I’m making good on that promise.
I’ve been very lucky, this summer, to be so incredibly busy and active outdoors. Just the other day, the temperature dropped twenty degrees and it has warmed up yet. For the first time in many months, I’m wearing socks indoors and know if I don’t scour my pad now, all too soon it’ll be dark before dinner and I’ll be unable to air it out.
Today is also the very first day that I finally feel as if my fingers are typing in the right direction. That whiteboard I mentioned? It’s been gratifying to know I already need to update it. Today is also the first day I feel like I can breathe, as if I’ve been holding my breath for a very, very long time and finally I can see over the top of a giant mountain.
Along the way, however, small joys kept me grounded and hopeful. Sometimes, that small joy comes from a mantra. For a long while, that mantra was “the only way out is through.” I have a new mantra now, and marking that change was a small joy, too, because it was a means of moving forward.
For me, when there’s a problem to resolve it can be hard to take a break and focus on anything else. I am the type of person who enjoys her pasta cooked al dente, needs excellent shoes, but can be just fine living in sweats and hugging giant plushies while wearing questionably-knitted hats the entire winter. Some of my small joys include my fandoms—I can’t tell you how excited I am to rewatch David Tennant’s Doctor Who stint and enjoy the Doctor-Donna’s return. And, thanks to a dear friend, I now have Genshin Impact to enjoy as well.
The longer I listen to people’s stories, the more I realize just how unique and incredibly different we all are as writers, creators, and human beings. We all want and need very different things to thrive and our complex and, often heartbreaking, world can be challenging to navigate. This is the reason why I find value and meaning in what’s small and present—because what’s here, right now, changes tomorrow. But for now, that small joy is something I can revel and indulge in, because today is what I have.
A few years ago, I started tackling month-long challenges to help me with my craft. I find that something small and manageable really helps keep me going. They’ve helped me find meaning in my work even when the big picture had yet to come into focus. Surprisingly, this It’has supported my love of small joys, too. I love drawing from a place of joy to write (or draw) rather than leaning into anger or spite, and a mini-challenge is one way of finding it. I wanted to do something small this month, too, because I need art just as much as I need writing. So, I decided on something simple—a toad a day! You can follow along @booksofm on Ko-Fi where I’ll be posting the entire month.
I’ve also sent out October rewards for @booksofm on Patreon. Looking ahead, I’ll be announcing a year-long project in December. No, I have no idea what the outcome will be, but this has also triggered another mantra: Do the thing. Release the outcome. It’s a project I dearly love, and right now that’s what matters most—especially after 20-odd years in an industry where most of my efforts have been for other people.
I hope this newsletter finds you well and inspires you to find, remember, and relish the small joys in your own life. Be well! I’m off to attack the army of dust bunnies and cluttered counters that have gathered rather unexpectedly… Oof. Wish me luck!
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