Taking Up Space

I am, by nature, a people pleaser. I think it’s a trait that a lot of women struggle with, whether they learned it or, like me, came with it. Being a people pleaser wasn’t taught to me. In fact, my parents actively discouraged this trait, and yet, at my core, my driving force is to please others.

It’s a trait that makes it harder to be a woman in publishing, and in the world, and it’s something I am constantly aware of. I will happily continue to spend a lot of my time giving back to my writing community in the form of reading for others when I can, mentoring, and yelling about people’s books on the internet.

But a friend of mine said something to me recently that stopped me cold, and I am going to adopt it as my mantra.

“Never be afraid to ask for anything a mediocre white man would feel entitled to.”

And she’s so fucking right. Women have, historically, been taught to fade into the background, to be helpmeets rather than leaders, and I’m done. My resolution, going into the rest of my publishing career, is that I will ask for what I need, and I’m going to work on not feeling bad about it. I’ll ask for honorariums that actually compensate me for my time. I’ll ask for the time, the money, and the space to do the kind of work I want to do.

I won’t be afraid anymore. Or at least, I’ll try not to be. Because until I start taking up space, there won’t be space for me. I invite you to do the same.

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Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

Kaitlyn Sage Patterson grew up with her nose in a book outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After completing her M.F.A., she moved to South Korea, where she taught English and started writing her debut novel. THE DIMINISHED will be published by HarlequinTEEN in April 2018, followed by its sequel in 2019. When she's not staring off into space and trying to untangle some particularly troublesome plot point, she can be found in her kitchen, perfecting the most difficult recipe she can find; or at the barn, where she rides and trains dressage horses; or with her husband, spoiling their sweet rescue dogs.

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