A tale of Jesus, jellyfish, and suffering. Oh, and Choco-Tacos.

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Photo by Jessica Delp on Unsplash

I didn’t know I was going to Bible Camp. My parents, who literally chose and signed me up for said camp, didn’t know either.

To be fair, the brochure was pretty vague, but…the signs were there. My mom and dad just didn’t bother to read the whole thing. The attitude was more: “It has great safety ratings, and the bayside setting looks gorgeous. Let’s sign you up, kid!”

Thus began a very unwanted 2–week-long spiritual journey that not only caused me to renounce Christianity forever, but also made me gain at least 4 pounds in pure, Christian-Hippie-Counselor-fueled stress.

Oh, and there were jellyfish. A lot of them. I f***ing hate jellyfish. …


Do you know what niches are? Made up. Probably by robots, and that’s bad, in my opinion.

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Photo by Максим Власенко on Unsplash

Fun fact: I read a lot. As in, like, five books a week or more. A large number of those books are about being a writer — what can I say? I’m a Self-Help and Career genre junkie. There’s no rehab for that, so for now I’ll just let it be.

A lot of these books seem preoccupied with a mysterious concept known as “choosing a niche.” Being the chaotic, borderline Lovecraftian horror that I am, I find this idea terrifying.

Choose? A — as in one, singular — niche? What the f***?

It sounds fake, if you ask me. Which you didn’t, but I don’t care. Anyway, I don’t have a niche, because the idea of picking one thing to write about makes me viscerally nauseous and gives me anxiety sh*ts. …

If God meant for you to do 8 things at once, you’d be an octopus. Don’t try to be something you’re not!

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Photo by Andrés Gómez on Unsplash

I tried to juggle once. I was one of those rare kids who actually had an (over)abundance of self-esteem — it wasn’t a mere front to protect my tender soul — and having seen some dude effortlessly tossing around bowling pins I naturally assumed I could do the same.

I was wrong. My efforts to juggle assorted lunchroom items and impress the squad instantly became a disaster of epic proportions. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the juggling part that really got me…I didn’t even get to that part.

Apparently, you’re supposed to make sure a yogurt carton is closed before you try to juggle it. I can still smell the acrid odor of calcium-imbued failure all these years later. …

High Fantasy is known as the granddaddy of every Fantasy novel we see today. So, what makes this category the undisputed King? As usual, it’s all about the tropes!

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Photo by Andres Iga on Unsplash

If you think High Fantasy belongs to the annals of pretentious book history, think again. It’s still alive and well despite the genre’s reputation for being, well, a bit of a senior citizen. Pretty much everyone outside of the genre just squints at it and mutters “hmmm….Tolkein…” before dismissing the whole thing, but those of us on *the inside* know better.

The High Fantasy world has fully embraced the indie era, and books in this category are still being regularly bought and published by traditional houses. Big names like Holly Black, Sabaa Tahir, and George R.R. …

The odds were always against them, but these women persevered and left us a powerful reminder of what it means to create and endure.

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Esther Before Ahasuerus, by Artemisia Gentileschi

Creativity is its own kind of magic. Creative minds can elevate humanity to heights it never knew were possible. It lifts us up past our narrow definitions of what can and can’t be done. When creativity is used to create art and inspire beauty, we as a species become better for it.

But what if humanity’s inherent creativity was stifled? What if all of that beauty, all the incredible innovation we’re capable of, was locked away and kept from us?

Unfortunately, this has been the case more often than not. All of us have the potential to be creative, but for most of our collective history it is only the privileged few who were given the right to exercise that creativity in any meaningful way. …

Some might argue it also made me a better PERSON, but whatever. Mostly it just sucked.

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Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

When people talk fondly about the “adventures of their youth,” they’re usually thinking about late nights and unexpected fun. Or sex. Sometimes they’re just talking about sex.

In my case, the adventures could be a little…unconventional. Like the time I went ass-over-head off a cliff, then proceeded to backpack for ten days with ankles the size of really big plums (confession: I forgot the actual size of plums and am therefore unqualified to make this comparison).

Ah, yes, I remember it like it was yesterday. I bounded joyfully into my mom’s office, summer camp brochure in hand, and eagerly asked if I could go on a “wilderness survival skills expedition” in North Carolina. I was a 13-year-old girl. …

Stress and productivity are rarely friends, despite what the type As might think. Here’s how you can tell what’s really holding you back— no matter how murky your stress might seem.

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Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

If you’ve ever gone about your day with a tight-backed sense of stress with no discernable cause, you know how debilitating such an experience can be. When the feeling persists for weeks or even months, you’re liable to see your productivity plummet right along with your health.

Feeling overwhelmed is nothing new for the average person. More of us are busier than ever before — so many of us are self-starters, entrepreneurs, and creators, and all of those paths involve a plethora of moving parts. The self-employed are the world’s newest industry, and many of us are experiencing growing pains.

Most of us tend to underestimate the impact overwhelm has on us simply because it’s so common. By the time it gets to dangerous levels, we’re so caught up in our anxieties that they seem totally nebulous. …

Human beings live in realities of their own making — what happens when those realities lose their anchors? Hint: it’s not freedom.

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Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

We are inhabitants of a world that never has enough. Whether it’s in terms of emotional fulfillment, money, political power, consumer goods, resources, or anything else that impacts our day to day reality, our existence seems more and more contingent on the sensation of wanting without end.

In simpler terms? We’ve lost our ability to experience true fulfillment, and it’s killing us.

Being the irreverent bastard that I am, I’ll use a poignant lyric from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton to illustrate the modern experience many of us have as, well, ourselves.

“You’re like me, I’m never satisfied…
Is that right? …

Here’s why baring all is the greatest gift you can give to your art, your life, and your future happiness.

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Photo by Stavrialena Gontzou on Unsplash

I remember the first time I saw a streaker. Not the last time, mind you, because historically I’ve seen more of them than most people probably do. Lucky me.

Anyway, it was a chilly day at one of my high school’s depressing football games, and I was busy pondering some hormonal mystery that has long since faded into the mists of time.

There, just beyond the bleachers, a form was barrelling through the normalcy of our 0–10 score and igniting cheers as it was chased down by security guards. …

We leave the fistfights to other industries — but writers still have to face some important truths.

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Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

I’m not competitive. Team sports give me indigestion and I’d rather lose my left nipple than deal with corporate politics.

I respect that competitive people have their reasons, and without them, the world would kind of suck. You know, it fuels innovation and all that economic woo-hoo stuff.

I’ll still never be a competitive person. It’s not in my nature.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s in the nature of most writers — we’re simultaneously an extremely neurotic and intensely laid-back bunch who’re too busy having existential crises to compete with each other.

Our industry occasionally gets looked at through the eyes of confused economists and “industry experts,” and it’s pretty fun to watch them get flustered as they attempt to find reasons for us to “compete for our share of the market.” …


Emily Sinclair Montague

Emily Sinclair Montague is a professional writer, author, and content strategist. Connect with her at www.wordsofafeather.net or on Twitter (@EmilytheMontag1)!

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