About Jackie Lea Sommers

Minneapolis YA author who rather enjoys Jesus, stories, cute nerds, and cranky teenagers. Jackie blogs about OCD, faith, and creativity at www.jackieleasommers.com.

39

Tomorrow I turn 39 (three perfect 13s, if you’re in the know) and while yesterday I reflected bitterly on the year that brought me here, today I will honor it.

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Because while it was a year of devastating loss and grief, it was also a time of tremendous personal growth for me.

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I revised and submitted a manuscript to my agent, and my agent submitted it to publishers. I began this story in 2013, before Truest was published, before I experienced such fear and panic and emptiness around writing that I couldn’t open up a manuscript for all of 2018 and half of 2019. To reclaim writing in such a powerful way in 2020 was like rediscovering my soul in an archelogical dig.

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Most of my appointments with students and families were virtual, but I did my very best to listen carefully and thoughtfully to each student and see them not as recruits but complicated, multi-dimensional young people making huge life decisions. I wasted no opportunity to tell them I was proud.

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My family gained a glorious, chatty, adorable new member in my niece Aurora/Rory Roo/The Roo. She has softened the hard edges of us all, and the joy of watching my brother and sister in law as parents, my parents as Grammy and Grumpa, and my sister as Auntie makes my heart so full. Rory is so beloved.

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I cleaned my bedroom. Most of it. This is a bigger deal than most of you realize.

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I viewed myself as brave. For a while there, I viewed myself as abandoned.

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I pursued truth in all things.

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I used my words on behalf of justice. I voted. I watched hard hearts melts and some open like flowers. It’s been the most beautiful thing.

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I was spontaneous at least twice. Maybe even three times. Pretty sure they were all for @asherinley & the Bear.

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I read poetry while the world lamented, which is both terribly hopeful while also joining in lamentation.

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I wrote letters. Not a lot, but some, mostly to my beloved aunt and to @cam.kreye, and it was so good to let my heart pour out through the pen.

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I planned. I broke plans. I did not lose hope ever. I knew and still know the light will come. Amen.

Vine

Was talking to @asherinley tonight about how long story ideas “percolate” in my mind and realized I’ve been thinking about these sisters since I was in high school, maybe even junior high. Let’s say 25 years ago.

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The idea is just a seed for the longest time. In the back of my head. With enough watering (curiosity, creativity, literature, wonder), the seed grows. After months (or years, in this case), the vines creep forward, slowly picking up details, until it is at the forefront of my mind, and those sisters have names, motivations, interests, and conflicts.

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And here I thought I couldn’t keep a plant alive!!

πŸ“Έ: @coffeewithjoshua via @unsplash

Story-Souls

I feel creative but exhausted, which means I’m spending my time being curious. For me, this means reading articles about intriguing facts, phenomena, and philosophies. I’m looking for little story-souls. Although I have lots of characters and major plot lines in my head, I need more. So I’m soul-searching in a different way.

πŸ“Έ: Christian Dubovan via @unsplash

Revision Syllabus

#BehindTheScenes of revising #YesNovel. Will I stay on track with this syllabus? Almost certainly no. πŸ˜‚ But it’s a guide, motivation, reminder, and gentle accountability. It also activates my 3 wing and moves me from my let’s-spend-ages-thinking-about-the-meaning-here 4 to my achiever 3. (#enneagram4w3 talk, if that just sounded like mumbo jumbo to you!) . . .

#blog #writer #writing #writinglife #author #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #courageovercomfort #courage #enneagram4 #enneagram4w3 #4w3 #cultivatewhatmatters #ambition #rebuild2021 #story #goals #revisions #revising #revisionplan #syllabus

Behind the Scenes

I’m reading a book that says to show my life behind-the-scenes. I already try to be very real and sometimes vulnerable on social media, but here’s my recommitment to it in 2021.

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So here are a few glimpses of me behind-the-scenes:

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I need A LOT of rest. A lot a lot. Once or twice a month, I will stay in bed all day. (Today was one of those days… Slept till 2 pm, though sometimes it’s 4 or 5. Oh, and I sleep all night then too.)

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I often have to revert to my student-brain to get work done. I make myself a syllabus for writing. I create to-do lists daily, weekly, monthly, and for most weekends.

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I’d prefer to surprise people with success than to admit failure, so I sometimes downplay my opportunities or mention them only casually. For example, my novel has been in the hands of six different publishers since October. Four rejections so far. I’d rather just shut up until I have good news, but then again, I hate it when others’ social media is just a greatest hits roll.

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There’s a view of the woman behind the curtain today! What questions do you have? What other behind-the-scenes things would you like me to post about?

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#bts #behindthescenes #inprocess #vulnerability #bereal #life #inspiration #truth #acceptance #selfcompassion #writersofinstagram #personalgrowth #motivation #emotionalintelligence #gratitude #poetry #meditation #depression #resilience #brenebrown #honesty #growthmindset #trust #therapy #community #wellness #awareness #happiness #empathy

Right Hook

This week was a right hook, wow. Monday took ALL my energy and I was able to make it through the next three days running on empty, but today my body said NO to spring semester orientation. I slept ridiculously late, but clearly needed it. I’ll use this weekend to find the hope I had before this week. I sense it’s not too far.

Dear Self

Dear self, remember this week, this first week of 2021 and all the freedom and responsibility it brought. All the hope and effort and motivation.

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It’s gonna get harder from here on out, returning to work, diving back into the busyness. But please remember sitting on the couches with Chelsea, the two of you ticking off your accomplishments, and Chel saying, “2021 is coming up US,” and how you both laughed but really believed it.

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Mistakes are coming. New writing rejections too, I’m sure. The stress of financial aid season at the university. The wait for my vaccine.

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Take a hot shower and a nap. Then make your bed and remember this week. Say a prayer and keep going.

Spaces

Focusing on healthy spaces. It was the Fab Five from @queereye who made me realize just how much my disordered spaces both represented and enforced my disordered insides. It has been a SLOW SLOG, hampered further by physical illness/limitations, but I’m getting there!

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I’ve learned a lot from @home.by.eleven (and wholeheartedly endorse her if you need help organizing your own disordered spaces– she’s a genius AND a maniac ❀️). I have this feeling that 2021 may be the year I actually catch up and correct some old habits.

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I’ll be 39 in a couple weeks, and I just want to feel calm. Ha!

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#organization #organized #declutter #getorganized #homeorganization #organizedhome #professionalorganizer #organize #home #organizer #organizing #organizedlife #storage #homedecor #homeorganizer #o #planner #organizingtips #interiordesign #decluttering #simplify #clutterfree #love #business #diy #design #productivity #personalorganizer #tidy https://www.instagram.com/p/CJj0–MnAnT/?igshid=b13bfzu3rsl2

twenty twenty-one

A weird, good start to the year: slammed with fatigue, I didn’t leave my room till 3:30 pm. But I finished a book and started a new one. I ate a salad and cleaned my room a little, including making the bed, which I almost never do. I watched a movie and started to figure out a revision plan for #YesNovel.

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Just like 2020, I’ll take 2021 one day at a time.

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