A manuscript in the drawer?

I remember going to a conference and one of the presenters talking about how she wrote her novel, and then put it away for nearly a decade, until picking it back up to start editing it. She was saying that this was positive for her, that it allowed her to give the manuscript fresh eyes and new influence and impact. She even said she took herself on a long vacation to completely get away from the setting that she wrote the book, and allow her editing to feel like a whole new process. I remember being horrified at this concept!

At the time, I was writing The Goddess Twins, and felt frustrated that I wasn’t yet done with the manuscript. I felt so deeply that my novel needed to be in the world. I was writing my novel for 6 years, and throughout that time, anytime I discussed that I was writing a black femme fantasy, people’s eyes would bulge and they’d say, “I want to read that book.” So I knew, I felt, that there was an urgency around my book being completed and published. I knew this story had work to do in the world, and I, as the author, was tasked with getting it ready and out to do the light-work it was meant to do.

There was no room for me putting the manuscript away for a decade! I don’t know, maybe in an ideal creative world where time has no ending, a writer can take all the time they want with developing one single project. But for me, I had a vision of completing my novel and getting it out to readers, so there was no space for there to be a manuscript in the drawer. I’m so very grateful that The Goddess Twins has been released. I had NO IDEA it would land in the world in the middle of a global pandemic, but I have heard from readers that this story was entertaining and a bright spot in their darkness, and that is precisely why I am glad I allowed my self to feel it’s publication was an urgent life matter.

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Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70% Jedi, 30% Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award winning performing storyteller, alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and creator of the podcast ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’, Yodassa (Yoda) launched ‘Writers Emerging' in 2019, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color. In 2020, Yodassa's debut YA Fantasy, The Goddess Twins, will be published by Spark Press. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in the Bay Area.

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