2022, Halfway Through (I)

This is the long-form, more image-driven, less literary version of the semi-annual update to my “life stakeholders.”

Erica Zendell


For the semi-annual update that feels more like a first draft of a potential epilogue to a book, go here.

Pro tip: click into the links throughout this post for newsletter recaps by month, links to other writing, and miscellaneous easter eggs.

If you want to read more “in-the-moment” writing from the first half of the year, check out Patreon (note: some of it is paywalled, but unlock-able for as little as $1/month) and my writing-oriented Instagram (widely accessible).

January + February

[January newsletter/February newsletter]

A few weeks into the New Year, my boyfriend had a tough love conversation with me that I was procrastinating and making excuses when it came to putting adequate time and word count on paper. Ashamed to admit that he was right, I proceeded to put down $$$ to go to a conference as a forcing function to get something substantial written (else risking embarrassment). From the end of January into mid-February, I went into a frenzied, full-court press to get to a full, working draft of my book proposal ahead of attending my first writing conference: the Southern California Writers’ Conference.

My writing life in Smiski figurines

If January marked the big transition from “living the story” to “writing the story,” February was the first big pressure test of whether the story I was writing had market potential and would be interesting to people who have never met me/had no obvious reason to be invested in my story.

I passed that test, and the conference ended up being a valuable experience for a number of reasons:

Preparing for the conference by writing the book proposal forced me to learn how to speak about my creative project in the language of business (a necessary evil if you want to actually have a book published and read). Agents, editors, and publishers need to see that you’ve thought about your target audience, potential marketing, books to which your work could be compared, and so on. It’s a straightforward exercise, but it’s still hard to look at your creative baby through business…



Erica Zendell

Quitter of the corporate grind in favor of the open road, a writing career, and a whole lot of jiu-jitsu. Currently writing from San Diego.