Inspired | February 2020

Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in February: making money as a YA author, planning, procrastination and burnout, and more.

How I make money as a YA author by Alexandra Sheppard: “Money is a touchy subject for pretty much everyone. But the fact is, money is hugely important for writers. We can’t dedicate significant time to writing if our bank accounts are empty. As I said to a friend recently, you can’t be creative if you can’t eat.

My Instagram by Dayna Tortorici: “By this time I had already been on Instagram for six years, long enough to have developed misgivings about it — but the platform was such a reprieve from the moment’s psychic turmoil that I didn’t dwell on them. To do so would be like to spend one’s vacation researching the detrimental effects of tourism: a wise, just, and morally superior choice, but objectively not the point.”

Is Your Planning Procrastination in Disguise?: “The lily pad theory is also a potential cure for procrastination or perfectionism-based planning: if you stay still for too long without taking a leap to a new lily pad, you will sink. “I don’t have to have the answer or endpoint in mind, but I know I won’t get anywhere if I just stand still,” explains Simpson.”

How to Recover After Burnout by Laura Entis

Along with endless forms of comparison, our modern-day life is built on the concept of continual productivity. No matter how much we’ve achieved, there’s always more to be done. 

This, unsurprisingly, fuels burnout. Recovering from an episode or, better yet, avoiding the condition altogether often requires a reset.

‘We were all a little bit punk’: Haring, Basquiat and the art that defined 80s New York by Meg Watson: ‘“This was a moment where the politics [in art] turned into a kind of social politics … [Haring] could express his difference or his fears – but it was kinda smiley.”’

He Was ‘Star Wars” Secret Weapon, So Why Was He Forgotten? by Scott Feinberg: Ashley Boone Jr., the first black president of a major Hollywood studio, helped make George Lucas’ quirky space opera a hit in the 1970’s — yet chances are you’ve never heard of him: “He was way ahead of his time.”

Fighting the tyranny of ‘niceness’: why we need difficult women by Helen Lewis

And there is another problem, unique to feminism. It is a movement run by women, for women. And what do we expect from women? Perfection. Selflessness. Care. Girls are instructed to be “ladylike” to keep them quiet and docile. Motherhood is championed as a journey of endless self-sacrifice. Random men tell us to “cheer up” in the street, because God forbid our own emotions should impinge on anyone else’s day. If we raise our voices, we are “shrill”. Our ambition is suspicious. Our anger is portrayed as unnatural, horrifying, disfiguring: who needs to listen to the “nag”, the “hysteric” or the “angry black woman”?

All this is extremely unhelpful if you want to go out and cause trouble – the kind of trouble that leads to legal and cultural change. 

How to Study: A Brief Guide by William J. Rapaport: More importantly, the way that you are studying right now might not be the best for you: How would you know? Easy: If your grades aren’t what you’d like them to be, then you probably need to change how you study!”

Be a Lady, They Said:

Be A Lady, They Said
Words: Camille Rainville | Narrator: Cynthia Nixon
Director: Paul McLean | Music: Louis Souyave | Producer: Claire Rothstein

What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?