I rely on writing in my head. It’s something I’ve always done. If you see me space out, there’s a 98% chance I’m planning Josh’s opening line or Nicole’s next move or what Lizzie’s going to say to Connor or exactly how Ariana’s going to discover Caleb’s dirty secret. That’s what my head looks like an incredible amount of the time.

And I love it that way. I love my characters and my dialogue and my situations and thinking about what comes after. I spend a lot of time thinking about what comes after. Many a night I’ve lain in bed mentally writing the non-existent epilogue of MY NAME IS EVERETT, or the undocumented history between Emily and Jake.

For me, it’s really important to write in my head; I don’t get a ton of time to write things down on paper, so when I sit down, I maximize my time by having mentally planned what scene will be happening that day. So my headspace time? Kind of important.

I imagine I’m not alone in this.

So you know what’s irritating? Having my headspace filled up by stupid crap that does not matter. And in publishing? You can bump up against a whole lot of stupid crap that does not matter.

It manifests itself in negativity, in competition, in judgment and bitterness and bad advice. And so many of us take it all in, but why? Why do we let other people make us feel bad about ourselves? Why do other people have that power, and why are they so anxious to exercise it?

In the last year alone, I’ve had a million people hurt me in a million different ways. And maybe they’re jerks, or maybe I’m sensitive, or maybe it’s a combination of the two. But you know that really brilliant Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”? She was on to something.

I am a tremendous advocate of research and making good, informed, educated decisions that require you to be very honest with yourself about what you want. That said, once you’ve made that decision, own it. Be proud of it. The time you’ll spend fighting with people who don’t believe in you, or who don’t respect you, even if it’s just time in your own head, is time better spent plotting. The emotional energy it requires to deal with the tremendous amount of crap is emotional energy that’s far better spent being infused into your writing.

You possess the power to ignore the things that hurt you or confuse you or break you. You really, really do. And you will come up against those things time and time again. You really, really will.

And you will want to shut down. And you will want to stop. And you will want to devote brain space and mental energy to the people hurting you.

Stop. Breathe.

Wouldn’t you rather work on that explosion and/or kissing scene instead?