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    How to Have a Better Relationship, According to Your Enneagram

    Let’s be real: Relationships can be complicated. The good news? They don’t have to be. Thanks to the Enneagram, we can show up as our best and most authentic selves in our relationships while better understanding ourselves and our other halves, no matter how different they are. And the result is deeper connection, mutual respect, and empathy. Grab your partner and read on to learn the strengths, differences, and motivations of each Enneagram type and find out where you fit. 

    Type Ones are great in relationships because they always have a sense of their priorities. It’s rare you’ll meet a Type One who doesn’t have a grasp on what it is they want in a relationship and where you fall in line with their other duties and identities. They’re also known for being faithful, helpful, and dedicated in relationships, meaning you can expect them to be all-in. 
    On the other side, Ones are known for being perfectionists, which can mean they’re critical and have overly high expectations of a partner. Type Ones should be aware of their expectations and work on finding a medium with their partner. Instead of expecting your partner to have the dishes done when you get home (without asking first) or wondering why they haven’t asked about your weekend plans yet, ask for what you want. I know, this goes against basically everything in your nature as a Type One, but unless your partner can read minds (we’re all jealous), there’s no way for them to know what you want and, in turn, meet your expectations. 

    The Helper is all about doing what they can for their loved ones. They know how to make you feel loved and appreciated, and they’re great at validating the feelings of others (even if it means doubting their own). 
    Because Type Twos are so focused on what the other person wants or needs, they often struggle to get their own needs met in a relationship. Instead of worrying about what your partner wants for dinner or how they’re feeling after a fight, ask for what you need. If your feelings were hurt or you feel like they’re not taking your ideas into consideration, this is your chance to tell them how you feel and exactly how they can support you too. A relationship goes both ways, and because a Two is so focused on their partner, they often forget to prioritize their needs too. 
    Twos can also be possessive at times, causing them to show an excess of love to their partner in an attempt to woo them or keep them in their lives. Talk to your partner about how they personally want to feel love (might we suggest the Love Languages test?) so you can give them exactly what they want too.

    If you’re familiar with Love Languages, Threes almost always feel loved through words of affirmation. They like knowing their partner is proud of their achievements, whether it’s something big, such as a promotion at work, or small, like finding the best new restaurant for date nights. Threes love to feel appreciated, and because of this, they enjoy giving to their partner too. 
    Because Threes put so much of their worth into their career, they often bring that into relationships. Talking about work over dinner, being absentminded when you’re together, and putting your work-related stress onto your partner can make your partner feel like they’re not as important to you as your career. To combat this, create work-free times with your partner. Much like some of us are with our cell phones (guilty), Threes can often be that way about their career. Give yourself two hours when you’re out to dinner or just catching up on Bridgerton where you occupy yourself with your partner. No work, all play. 

    Fours are known for being creative, but in relationships, they are playful, fun, and spirited. They are open to new experiences and love getting to share their creativity and passion with someone else. They are typically emotional and have a strong idea of who they are. In relationships, this means they’re romantic and intuitive. They love sending love notes, cards, and gifts to their loved ones, and they feel loved when their partner understands and compliments their self-expression (such as their art!). 
    In a relationship, a Four can be a little overbearing at times. They can be moody and have a hard time separating their emotions from their day-to-day lives. As a Four, it is important to remind your partner that they aren’t to blame for your emotions. Fours do not like being called overdramatic or being told they’re overreacting in a situation; therefore, it’s important to talk with your partner about your emotions instead of closing them off. You don’t have to be alone with your feelings!

    Fives love to approach situations with data on hand. They’re natural teachers who observe their surroundings and analyze situations deeply before committing or speaking up. Unlike Fours, they take time alone to process and understand their emotions before acting on them, which can make a partner think they’re uninterested or uninterrupted by a conflict (which isn’t usually the case). They have a thirst for knowledge and love to learn, making them a great companion for intellectual dates, such as going to new exhibitions, museums, libraries, and events in your city. 
    In their quest for knowledge, Fives can seem somewhat withdrawn or even contentious or irritated with a partner. While they are generally introverted and prefer to stay in, they can get frustrated when a partner always wants to pull them out of their comfort zone. Similar to Type Three, create times with your partner to discuss your lives without judgment. Your partner wants to know what you’re learning and what is interesting to you at the moment, so don’t be afraid to geek out about your latest project. They love that side of you too!

    We all know Sixes are all about commitment, making them perfect for long-term relationships. They’re loyal and feel content knowing their relationships are safe and secure. They can be introverted and extroverted, so they’re easy to open up to but also to have fun with. Helping others is important to a Six, and they feel irresponsible when they think they haven’t fulfilled that duty. They are also independent, so they’re able to do their own thing once in a while without worrying about their partner.
    Sixes are some of the most trustworthy people; however, they’re not quick to trust others themselves. This can make them seem self-conscious, nervous, and even defensive in relationships where the other person doesn’t feel trusted or accepted. Trusting another person is hard at first, but it takes being confident in yourself and your relationship to get you there. Spend some time every day focusing on building up your own self-confidence. You can’t be the best version of yourself with a partner if you’re constantly worrying about how you look or if they still like you (you look great, and, yes, they do!). Then, start building trust by allowing yourself to be vulnerable at times. Open up to your partner about your insecurities in the relationship, and discuss from there.

    The adventurers of the Enneagram, Sevens are all about a party. They’re upbeat and positive, knowing how to find the good in most situations. They almost always seem happy and carefree, which can sometimes seem stressful to a partner who’s another type. 
    Although Sevens are the life of the party, they can also seem narcissistic and distracted in relationships. They have a short attention span, which is great for having fun but stressful for discussing issues in a relationship. We know it’s hard, but Sevens, you have to slow down. Allow your partner to get serious every once in a while. Being an optimist doesn’t have to mean you never discuss negativity or the stress and anxiety each other goes through. However, make sure you’re letting your partner speak up. While they certainly love your center-of-attention personality, they also want to feel understood and heard too.

    Eights are confident and outgoing, but this can also manifest itself as arrogance and competition. They are natural leaders who view life’s challenges as exciting, and they’re never afraid of conflict. When issues arise in a relationship, they’re the first to be honest and ready to discuss what’s going on with their partner. 
    A reminder to Eights: It’s OK to show your vulnerable side. Eights feel like they have to have everything together all the time, and they can’t share the tender side of themselves without getting angry or frustrated first. To make this easier, practice active listening with your partner. No more trying to come up with a response before the other person is even finished (as an Eight, I totally understand this!). Listen to your partner as they speak, and empathize with whatever they’re going through, no matter how big or small it may seem to you. You’ll be able to relate to them on a deeper level while also prioritizing some quality time.

    Nines can often be mistyped as Twos because they are overly accommodating in relationships and can be people-pleasers. However, what makes them different from Twos is their drive to keep harmony and peace in their relationships. Known as the peacemakers, they are active listeners and sensitive to other people’s emotions. 
    Nines will do anything to avoid conflict, which can sometimes cause situations to never reach a solution (the opposite of Eights!). Instead of your usual, speak up about what’s going on with you and your partner. Whether it’s about your sex life, someone forgetting to take out the trash, or something bigger, be honest with your partner about how you’re feeling and what’s going on. Remember that not all conflict has to be disruptive; there is such a thing as productive conflict. 

    The Enneagram Type You Should Date
    (based on your own Enneagram) More

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    What You Should Manifest This Year, Based on Your Enneagram

    Manifestation isn’t anything new (nor is it magic!). In a very practical sense, manifesting is about living a life of intention because the more energy and intention you direct toward your desires, the more results you see. I keep a manifestation journal where I envision the specific changes I want to see in my life in great detail that I often revisit and use to intentionally make those outcomes a reality. And to help with manifestation, you can turn to your Enneagram, which can tell you about your deepest desires, fears, and core motivations. As a Four, it’s how I realized that creativity was important to me in my career. To make this your best year yet, read on to find out what you should manifest and where to focus your manifestation powers, according to your Enneagram.

    For the ambitious and hardworking Ones, this year’s manifestation is all about self-acceptance. Envision the version of yourself outside of what you think others expect of you and give yourself your own stamp of approval. Ones are loved and worthy, regardless of whether or not they fall short of their goals. Choose to be happy now, not just when the next goal is met. Repeat an affirmation like “my value goes beyond my achievements” and be intentional about infusing joy into your life wherever and whenever you can.

    As selfless caregivers, Twos are ready to manifest a caring relationship because they are always giving. Intentionally seek out relationships that are about a balanced give and take, like a partner who will always check on you or ask about how you feel. Think about what relationships with people who support, encourage, and inspire you would feel and look like, and define what the boundaries around your time and energy mean to you. Manifesting balanced relationships will help you create the connections that leave you feeling appreciated.

    For Threes who put a lot of pressure on themselves, this is the year to manifest peace. Focus on the things in your life that prioritize relaxation and soothe you. Recall a memory or visualize a place that makes you feel the calmest. For me, it’s the sounds of rain falling outside my window or waves crashing on the beach. Close your eyes and take yourself to the place that lets you relax any tension in your body.

    As a Type Four, you are always finding new creative outlets and are only fulfilled if you’re truly imaginative. Manifest greater inspiration and a career opportunity that will allow you to be more creative. Picture exactly what it would feel like to get up every day and do work that excites you and allows you to express yourself creatively, learn a new skill that gets you closer to that goal, and look up your dream company that encourages individual creativity and see if there are any opportunities available. Feel a little underqualified? Fight the career FOMO and apply anyway.

    If you’re a Type Five, 2022 is your year to manifest abundance. This can be an abundance of new information to learn in a career that challenges your critical thinking or more income to feel more freedom and indulge in the things that make you happy. As the minimalist of the Enneagrams, Fives often believe that they have more than enough. Picture life without the feeling of scarcity and the steps you can take, like practicing gratitude. Start a gratitude journal and pick one to three things every day that you’re grateful for in your life. This will help you have a more positive outlook and manifest more abundance in your life.

    Sixes are acutely aware of all the things that might go wrong. This Enneagram type would benefit from manifesting all good things because Type Sixes are motivated by their need for security. Try drowning out the worst-case scenarios that can play out in your head and replace them with positive ones. Believe that good things are coming and picture what the feeling of safety feels like. Be intentional about not creating self-fulfilling prophecies and make decisions based on the feeling of safety, not fear. Focus on trusting that you’ve done all that you could to create safety and that you can handle anything that comes your way. 

    For the Enneagram that loves fun and exploration, manifesting the trip of their dreams is what this year is all about. Take little steps to bring you closer to ziplining in the Caribbean or dinner overlooking Santorini, Greece: research how much flights would cost, look up where you would stay, or just make a vision board of the destination you want to visit most. Even the tiniest acts can help you move toward your goal and manifest an exciting new place to discover. Even if your dream destination isn’t a reality for 2022, you’ll be manifesting more adventure, whether it’s a weekend trip every month or spending your Saturdays exploring places in your own city you’ve never been.

    Eights are natural-born leaders who love making an impact. Since Eights can sometimes feel disconnected from others, try manifesting community this year. You’re already passionate, so why not find a group of people who also care about the causes that matter, and use your assertiveness and influence more intentionally. Envision what it would feel like to be a part of something bigger and what a supportive, collaborative community looks like for you. Search for local opportunities to volunteer or take the lead by organizing a food drive.

    Nines use their communication skills to bring peace amongst their loved ones, often at the cost of their own. Nines can step into their power when they not only think of others but also think of themselves. Manifest main-character energy to make yourself a priority, and shift your perspective to consider that it’s OK (and necessary) to sometimes be the center of attention or romanticize your life. What would it look and feel like if you said how you felt, regardless of any potential conflict? Journal about situations where future you put yourself first.

    How You Need to Recharge, According to Your Enneagram More

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    How You Need to Recharge, According to Your Enneagram

    I first found my Enneagram type with my husband during an at-home date night while our son slept, and it immediately made us understand each other better. Suddenly, all those little quirks and pet peeves had us going, ah, I get it now. Not only did it leave us with more compassion (and patience!) with each other but with ourselves too. The Enneagram gives insight into understanding who you are by shedding light on your needs, what drives you, what frightens you, and how you experience or perceive life, which means it also helps you care for yourself.
    How we care for ourselves can also mean how we provide our mind, body, and spirit with rest. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine physician and work-life integration researcher, defines “rest” in seven different types, ranging from mental rest to sensory rest. While each individual often needs every kind of rest during a lifetime, they can also be applied to the nine enneagram types to identify what you truly need and the type of rest you may need to focus on more.
    A brief disclosure: Regardless of your Enneagram, what’s most important is to listen to what you need and take time for yourself, so discover and create a routine that works for and feels good to you. But if you need a little help identifying why you’re feeling so drained or how to best care for yourself, the Enneagram is an amazing tool to gain insight. Read on for what type of rest you need and how to best care for yourself, based on your Enneagram type.

    For Ones who place a lot of emphasis on getting everything “just right,” the pressure to continuously perform at such high internal standards can be a lot. Ones need to care for themselves by implementing Dr. Dalton-Smith’s creative rest. You don’t have to identify as “creative” or work in a creative field to benefit from creative rest. Creative rest involves taking a moment to appreciate beauty in all forms, from music and art to nature’s beauty like trees and beaches. Taking a break for creativity is good for Ones because it’s no-pressure, carefree fun where there really is no such thing as “failing” or making a mistake. They can get lost in an activity that doesn’t have an objective or something that has to be checked off a list, which is good balance to recharge.

    Twos are the empathetic caregivers who don’t think twice about putting others’ needs above their own. This Enneagram can care for themselves by implementing Dr. Dalton-Smith’s social rest. Social rest encourages taking a moment for yourself and being alone, which is a way for Twos to set a dedicated “me time” to combat their selflessness and refill their cup before pouring into others. Avoid overextending and start saying “yes” to yourself and prioritizing your own needs. This can look like designated alone time once a week or setting boundaries and asking for help when you need it.

    Threes are often workaholics whose identities are wrapped in their success, and any failure can leave them thinking that they’re a failure. Dr. Dalton-Smith’s mental rest is perfect for the energetic Threes. Mental rest involves quieting their busy brains and staying present and in the moment. Threes can care for themselves by setting scheduled breaks during their workday and eating their meals away from screens. A mindfulness practice—anything from yoga, meditation, or adult coloring—can be beneficial to keep Threes in the present moment. Also, setting boundaries on your availability outside of working hours can give you the space to understand who you are outside of the identity you’ve created for yourself. Indulge your curiosity and try something that you’re not the best at (you’ll find that your self-worth is not tied up to others’ perceptions of you—promise!). 

    Fours would greatly benefit from Dr. Dalton-Smith’s physical (passive) rest because of their tendency to over-identify their flaws and worry that something is missing in their lives compared to others. The passive component of physical rest involves getting high-quality sleep and naps, so focus all your attention on physically recharging. Create a bedroom oasis that you can retreat to, have a go-to evening routine to calm you down, prioritize getting to bed at a decent hour, and move your body during the day to help improve your sleep at night.

    Often found enjoying their independence and seeking knowledge, Fives are energized in their alone time. To cope with their fear of being overwhelmed by the needs of others and the dull aspects of life, introverted Fives protect themselves by setting clear boundaries and retreating into the internal worlds they’ve created. As a result, they can benefit from Dr. Dalton-Smith’s physical (active) rest. This type of physical rest is more focused on using movement and exercise to recharge the body and get you out of your head. A HIIT session or spin class not your thing? Incorporate any activities that get you moving, like yoga or even stretching, to help you unwind and reconnect with your body.

    Sixes use their logic and vigilance to anticipate worst-case scenarios to cope with their fear of being unprepared. To prevent feeling anxious and overwhelmed by always staying a few steps ahead, Sixes can implement Dr. Dalton-Smith’s sensory rest. This can look like reducing the sensory inputs in your day-to-day, like pausing notifications and dimming lights. Dedicate time to unplug and close your eyes to visualize places that evoke feelings of peace. Try a soothing daily affirmation like, “I take it one day at a time” or “I let go of what I can’t change.” The important thing is that you own your power by honoring and naming your fears but create space in your life to not sweat the small stuff. 

    Because Sevens often fear and repress negative emotions, Dr. Dalton-Smith’s emotional rest is perfect for Sevens. While finding the positive in any situation is a good skill, habitual escapism prevents individuals from being their authentic selves and sharing how they’re really feeling beyond the automatic “I’m fine” response. Allow yourself the opportunity to spend some time alone and address your feelings. Create a daily routine to journal your thoughts and be genuine about how you actually feel, or find a therapist to help you do the work if it feels particularly difficult. Sometimes, the glass will actually feel half empty, and it’s important for you to resist the urge to push that down.

    Dr. Dalton-Smith’s spiritual rest is perfect for Eights because they can feel disconnected from others due to their competitive and intimidating nature. Remind yourself that you are a part of humanity and consider channeling your desire to take action by volunteering for a cause that’s important to you (even if you’re not in charge!). Try writing thank-you notes to your colleagues and loved ones or set days to catch up with friends to allow yourself to give and receive love from others. Remember that vulnerability isn’t a weakness; it’s a strength to be nurtured—especially in leadership. 

    Nines are willing to go the extra mile to avoid rocking the boat, but don’t get it twisted—Nines resist control, which might show up as passive aggression. Like Twos, Nines can benefit from Dr. Dalton-Smith’s social rest to establish boundaries that allow them to put their needs at the top of their list. Say how you feel and declare what you want, take up space, set boundaries, “decline” calls or invites when you’re not feeling it, and resist the urge to stick to the auto-pilot routine and plan a spontaneous trip with your friends or partner. 

    The Type of Journaling You Should Do
    Based on Your Enneagram More

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    I’ve Always Wanted To Publish a Novel—Here’s How I Finally Did It

    I spent the majority of my 20s doing what I think a lot of young professionals do: I woke up early, went to work every morning, and dutifully put in nine hours at my cubicle—then, every evening, I came home, cooked dinner, and tried to relax while facing a crushing sense of dread at the thought of doing that again, every single day, for the rest of my life.
    Alright, that feels dramatic—but it’s how I felt, and I’m willing to bet that’s how some of you feel, too. I tried to find meaning in my work by switching industries (several times), investing in professional development, and writing freelance for various magazines, but at the end of the day, I was never satisfied, and I knew why. It was because I knew what I wanted to be doing with my life and I hadn’t yet figured out how to do it.
    I wanted to be an author.
    I’ve been obsessed with writing ever since I was six years old. I grew up writing short stories and screenplays and started trying to write my first novel at age 22, immediately after I graduated college. I’ll never forget typing out that very first sentence, feeling nervous and excited about taking one step closer to my dream—but for some reason, I kept that dream a secret from pretty much everyone in my life. I think it’s because it felt too unattainable and too embarrassing, and I didn’t want to admit to wanting something that I might never actually get. But at the same time, I felt like I owed it to myself to try.
    So, unbeknownst to most of my family, friends, and coworkers, I spent seven years of my life cranking out draft after draft after draft, pitching agents, getting rejected, and trying to break into an industry that is notoriously tough to break into. I was stumbling most of the time, trying to figure it all out as I went. I failed significantly more than I succeeded and I thought about quitting multiple times, but I never did.
    Today, almost a decade after I wrote that first sentence, my debut novel A Flicker in the Dark is an instant New York Times bestseller. It’s been out for a little over one month now and has been optioned by Emma Stone and A24 to be made into a television series on HBO Max. It was chosen as a December Book of the Month Club pick and is currently being translated into 26 foreign languages.
    These are all sentences I never thought I would write.
    If you have a similar dream, I’d like to share how I did it because I know first hand how daunting it can be and how unattainable it can feel. Below, I’ve compiled the book publishing tips that helped my dream come true in the hopes that, one day, yours can, too.

    Signing with your agent is a surreal and exciting experience. Little did I know that exactly two years from this moment, I would be seeing my debut novel on the shelves for the very first time. All photos courtesy of Stacy Willingham

    Set a firm deadline
    Maybe it’s the former journalist in me, but I am deadline driven. When I was 22 years old, I told myself that I would do whatever it took to have a book published by the age of 30. At the time, eight years felt like a lifetime, but now that I’m 31, I realize it went by fast! There’s something about the passage of time that makes life feel very urgent to me, so whether your deadlines are daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, make sure you’re committing to accomplish a specific thing by a specific date—otherwise, it becomes incredibly easy to put it off.
    PS: I hit that deadline, but damn, it was close. I sold A Flicker in the Dark at age 29 and it was published two weeks before my 31st birthday.

    Show yourself the same dedication you show your boss
    If I could give every aspiring author one piece of advice, it would be this: Prioritize and protect your dreams with the same vigor that you prioritize and protect the dreams of your boss. You show up for work every morning, don’t you? You get your work done by your due dates, right? I bet you also stay late sometimes, work weekends, and begrudgingly do tasks that feel monotonous and miserable.
    You do those things at work because you have to—there are consequences, like getting fired, if you don’t. And while it can be really hard to find the time to write a novel while still working a full-time job, going to school, maintaining a social life, and doing all of the other things that life requires us to do, try to think of the consequences if you don’t do it.
    For me, it was the thought of spending the rest of my life helping someone else achieve their dreams because I never made the time for my own.

    First pass pages are the first typeset draft of your book—or, the very first time you’re reading it not as a Word doc, but as it’ll actually look once it’s published! In this stage, the book has already been edited and proofread; now, you’re simply looking out for errors before it’s sent to the printer.

    Now, “making the time” looks different for everybody. Some writers set a weekly word goal and force themselves to meet it; others allot one hour a day every day to write as much as they can. For me, personally, I tried all of those tricks and none of them ever worked. What did work, though, was giving myself the flexibility to write when I could as often as I could and simply trusting myself to get it done the same way my boss trusted me at work—after all, I never liked a micromanager, so I didn’t micromanage myself. Instead, for about seven years, my life looked like this: On most mornings, I spent about an hour writing before work, and if I was running late, I would bring my laptop with me and write during my lunch break instead. A few nights a week, I would write for several hours after dinner until pretty late into the evening, and I spent at least one Saturday or Sunday each weekend in a coffee shop.
    It wasn’t always fun and I missed out on a lot, but then again, I figured that if I made those kinds of sacrifices for my boss, I should be making them for myself, too.

    Learn everything you can about publishing before trying to enter it
    There are so many different avenues to getting published: You can self-publish, go hybrid, work with a small press, publish digital-only, or go traditional. For me, I wanted to try to go traditional, which means I knew that in order to get in front of one of the Big Five publishing houses, I was going to need an agent.
    Literary agents are like the gatekeepers to traditional publishing: They read your book first, and if they love it enough, they’ll represent you, and it, for a commission. You catch their attention with a query letter, which is a basic synopsis of your book that is ideally personalized to each agent and will pique their interest enough to want to read more.

    Before a book looks like a book, it looks something like this. This is an ARC (advance reader copy) that was printed before the cover was finalized; there is also a later version of the ARC with the cover design. An ARC is a mostly-finished manuscript that is sent to bloggers, reviewers and other influential readers to generate buzz leading up to publication.

    First impressions are everything in life, and introducing yourself to an agent is no exception. You only have a few sentences to catch their attention, so once I finished my manuscript, I made a list of every single literary agency in New York City. Then, I went to every single website, chose one agent per agency, and entered them into a spreadsheet with their name, email address, and query guidelines. I chose each agent by reading their Publishers Marketplace profile and Twitter profile to see who they already represented, what genres they liked, and what they were looking for. I also read the Acknowledgements pages of some of my favorite authors to see who their agents were, knowing that my plot and writing style might be similar.
    At this stage in the process, the biggest mistake you can make is querying too soon. Take your time learning about the industry and how it works. Be strategic when targeting agents and really perfect your query letter and synopsis before you send it out.
    Your perfect agent is out there—but you only have one chance to convince them of that. Don’t rush it.

    About a month before publication, you get to see your hardback for the very first time. It’s an emotion that’s hard to describe, and in many ways, it feels like the long-awaited reward after years of hard work.

    Learn not to take rejection personally
    Remember when I said that I thought about quitting multiple times? That’s because when I hit the querying stage, I almost did.
    I spent three years writing my first novel, squeaking out sentences and full chapters whenever I could find the time. Once I had a manuscript that I was proud of, I spent another two years meticulously selecting agents, perfecting my query letter, and sending them out—only to get rejected by over 100 of them.
    I never found an agent for my first novel, which means that A Flicker in the Dark, while it is my debut, is technically my second book.
    The idea of starting over from scratch—of literally filing away an entire novel, opening a blank Word document, and writing another 100,000-word manuscript from the beginning—kind of made me want to burst into tears. But at the same time, this is where the importance of deadlines comes in again: At that point, I was 27 years old. Thirty felt like it was looming, so I knew that if I had any shot of meeting that deadline, I needed to just buckle up and try again.
    In the beginning, those 100 rejections hurt like hell, and the idea of putting myself through that again was incredibly daunting, but here’s the thing: After a while, the rejections kind of lose their bite. A writer’s worst nightmare is pouring their heart and soul into a story, sharing it with others, and having them not like it—and that happened to me over and over again, day after day, for two entire years. By the time I decided to abandon my first book and start another one, I had already lived my worst nightmare—being rejected—and I realized that it hadn’t killed me.

    A few weeks before publication, boxes of books start arriving at your door. These books were all signed and sent to bookstores around the country so they would be ready to be displayed on publication day.

    I still loved to write. I still felt creative. I still wanted to try.
    I signed with my current agent less than two weeks after finishing A Flicker in the Dark, a stark contrast to my first attempt. But while I was celebrating the idea of not having to face another agent rejection again, what I didn’t realize is this: The rejection never stops.
    Now that A Flicker in the Dark is out in the world, I’ve experienced a whole different type of rejection. It isn’t gone just because I’m published; if anything, it feels louder and more personal than ever. Before, “a rejection” meant getting a polite email from an agent saying “thanks but no thanks,” which I could simply file away in my inbox and never look at again. But now, “a rejection” comes in the form of a very public one-star rating from a reader with 10,000 followers. It comes in the form of a less-than-flattering Instagram post with hundreds of likes that magically appears in my newsfeed (thanks, algorithm). My point is: Even after “succeeding,” I still get rejected by people multiple times a day every day, over and over again, so I’m actually glad I got those 100 rejections before because now I feel prepared. Now, I’m able to look at these rejections with more of a clear head. I’m able to let the positive reviews and enriching conversations drown out the negative ones, and in the end, I remind myself that everything in life is subjective, so it’s a waste of time trying to please everyone.
    You will experience a lot of rejection on this journey, and if you’re anything like me, it might tempt you to quit. But please, please remember: One person’s opinion cannot invalidate an entire work of art. It’s a battle you’ll be fighting daily and one that still knocks me down sometimes—but as long as you get back up, you’ll be stronger for it.

    While all of this is happening, you’re also working on your next book! About five months before publication, I sent the first draft of my second book over to my editor. It’s now in production and slated for publication in January 2023.

    Ask for (and accept) help.
    In the beginning, writing a book feels like you’re doing it alone—and for a while, you are. But slowly, you’re going to need to start getting comfortable asking for and accepting some help.
    At first, asking for help looks like letting a few people you trust read and critique your story—for me, that was my sister and my parents (who still to this day are the only people I let read my first drafts). Once you’re agented, asking for help means listening to and taking their professional advice. The same goes for your eventual editor, marketing team, publicity team, copy editors, proofreaders, and so on.
    You’re the expert on your story, but remember that they are the experts on the industry in which you now work. The first few years are a solo sport; once you’re in, you’re a part of a team.

    5 Signs It’s Time for a New Job in 2022 More

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    The Productivity Tip You Need To Hear, Based on Your Enneagram

    If you’re wondering what your enneagram has to do with productivity, it turns out: a lot. When it comes to productivity, you may think of hustle culture where the grind never stops. Productivity is often tied to the idea of more: more work, more action, more money, more results. But what if we’ve been looking at productivity all wrong? While there are many viral tips on how to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently, perhaps the biggest key to success has been overlooked: you. By understanding your core motivation, mental blocks, and roadmap to the highest version of yourself, you can adjust your workflow to create less stress and more ease. 
    The Enneagram helps you gain a clear understanding of yourself and what you need to tap into your genius zone. The truth is, everyone requires different things when it comes to getting into their flow state: What method or structure works for one person might not resonate the same with another. If you’re struggling to sharpen your focus during the workday or feeling a general lack of inspiration, read on for the productivity tips most aligned to your Enneagram type.

    Learn when things can be “good enough”
    Ones are naturally hardworking and disciplined. Just as much as their eye for detail and strive for excellence can be a strength, it can also be a weakness when it interferes with knowing when a project is finished. In the eyes of a One, nothing is ever quite good enough, which can cause a great deal of stress and tension. A good tip for Ones is knowing the difference between “perfect” and “good enough.” Decide which tasks are worth your time and energy and which ones don’t require your full capacity. For example, you probably don’t need to reread that email you wrote to your boss 10 times before hitting send. This will free up more time for things that actually matter, so you can become more focused on goals that matter.

    Prioritize and set boundaries 
    Twos are the types of workers who love to stay connected and pitch in wherever they can. In fact, they feed off of being seen as helpful and appreciated, which may contribute to them taking on too much. While Twos often don’t mind bearing the burden for others, this can harbor deep resentment over time. It’s good practice for Twos to create a list of the biggest tasks they need to prioritize each week so they can work through those first before chipping in to help others. It’s also important for Twos to set healthy boundaries when it comes to their work. For example, try turning off your notifications when you’re focusing on a task and only offer to take on more when you’ve finished everything on your plate. 

    Check in with your goals
    Threes are known as “The Achiever” for a reason: They have a clear vision of their goals and what they need to accomplish them. But sometimes, Threes can fall into the trap of working from the outside-in rather than the inside-out. This can mean shifting their image to be whoever they think they need to be to fit the mold of success. For this reason, it’s important for Threes to check in with their goals often so they work toward the things that are right for them and don’t waste their energy on what’s not. If you’re a Three, try vision boarding or working with a coach so you can identify your long-term goals, and then create micro-goals to get to where you want to go. When Threes are clearly rooted in who they are, their productivity soars and their capacity for greatness expands.

    Create a morning routine
    As the Individualist, chances are, you don’t take a liking to tried-and-true formulas of productivity because you’ve always felt a little different. However, having a routine can greatly benefit both your productivity and well-being. Because you can get swept away by your emotions, it’s important to start your day in a clear and grounded headspace. Setting daily intentions can allow you to take control over any negative emotions and change the tone of how you approach your day. Intentions are a powerful visualization technique that helps guide your energy to focus on the areas that matter. This can help you work through creative blockages and empower you with the energy you need to reach your goals. 

    Take breaks to get out of your head
    When it comes to productivity for Fives, their head is in the game—sometimes too much in the game. They can become so engrossed in a task that time passes and they haven’t moved or taken a single sip of water. Or maybe they will make a whole strategy to be productive yet struggle to actually complete things. You may think that productivity is all mental, but a lot of it depends on the integration of our three brains: the head, the heart, and the body. Fives are in the head center, so they naturally resort to analytical thinking. But for Fives to fully reach their potential, they need to “wake up” their body center. If you’re a Five, try taking walks or stretch breaks whenever you feel yourself getting stuck or over-analytical. This will help reshuffle all of those great ideas you’re sitting on. 

    Create a comforting environment
    Sixes benefit from familiarity and routine, meaning their work setup can have a profound impact on their productivity. It’s important for them to feel safe and secure so they can fully relax and let their strengths shine through. If you’re a Six, consider what you need to thrive in a work environment. For example, if you work from home, you may need a comfy chair and the right tools on hand. If you work in an office, perhaps you bring cozy elements to your workspace where you can make it feel more like home (think: hanging photos of friends, family, or pets or decorating your space with candles, plants, and art prints). This way, you’ll be at ease and fully equipped to take on any challenge with courage and confidence. 

    Slow down and work in time blocks
    A Seven’s curiosity and hunger for new opportunities make them work quickly and tenaciously. While this can be a strength, it can also cause them to rush through tasks, become scattered, or focus on future opportunities rather than the tasks at hand. If you’re a Seven who finds it hard to stay present at work or you’re working so fast that you get exhausted or miss little details, take that as an indicator to pause and take some deep breaths. Then, restructure your day to create more flexibility and room to breathe. Try working in time blocks where you dedicate a specific amount of time to a specific task. This will help you streamline your focus, take breaks in between, and then approach another task with fresh energy.

    Put your problem-solving hat on
    Eights love to feel in control of their tasks and move things along efficiently. Decisive and strong-willed, they are also great problem-solvers who aren’t afraid of a challenge. They are quick to find flaws or gaps in a plan and come up with a better solution. When Eights rely on these strengths, they can not only get more done but also inspire others to take action too. Since Eights can act on impulse, approaching their tasks from a problem-solving lens can help them reflect on the bigger picture. If you’re an Eight, practice approaching your work by identifying a problem and brainstorming several workarounds to it. If you can, it might also help to talk things out with your colleagues or someone you trust so you work through your ideas. 

    Choose your daily tasks
    Peacemaking Nines own their power when they take action on their goals. The secret to their productivity is feeling like they are the ones in the driver’s seat. While they can get carried away fantasizing about their dreams, one thing Nines can take ownership of is what they do each day. Because Nines crave harmony and connection with the people around them, sometimes they struggle to separate what’s important to them versus what’s important to others. Nines can regain control by choosing small, daily tasks to accomplish. Of course, there may be obligatory tasks as part of your day-to-day, but choosing to do things like cleaning out your inbox or educating yourself about a new industry trend can be rewarding and motivating—both in the short term and the long term.

    The Career Advice You Need to Hear Based on Your Enneagram More

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    10 Books To Read if You Want To Improve Yourself

    The cliche of “finding yourself” always made no sense to me until I actually did. But finding out who you are and what makes you unique just skims the surface. Discovering what makes me truly happy, the kind of people I want to surround myself with, and what motivates me to work hard has shaped who I am and what I will become. A huge part of this has been self-improvement books. I mean, we gotta learn how to be our best selves from someone else, right? It can be difficult to find the best self-improvement books for you, as every self-discovery journey is pretty tailored. We’ve made it just a little easier by rounding up some of our favorites to get you started.

    Cara Alwill Leyba
    Style Your Mind
    This read made me finally understand what I was missing in order to be successful: KNOW YOURSELF *cue Drake voice*. This workbook forces you to contemplate your goals and desires, and because the book is so gorgeous, I focused on including more than just scribbles and half-thought out responses. After working through this, I have a stronger understanding of what I want out of my life and how I’m going to get there.

    Eckhart Tolle
    A New Earth
    To no one’s surprise, Oprah was right. I was really apprehensive of this book at first – the entire concept of an “ego” just seemed a little weird. Boy was I wrong! This book is perfect for anyone who struggles to let things go. I have a tendency to get obsessive about things; I always want to be better! Tolle addresses this through his explanations of the ego while providing some actually pretty common sense resolutions to that stress in your daily life. Reading this finally allowed me to realize what causes stress and anxiety in my life and encouraged me to change those things.

    Maureen Johnson
    How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation
    Finding my voice in my activism has been difficult. I am a privileged woman and can sometimes feel like I don’t have any experiences or insight to bring to the table. Regardless of where you stand politically, this book discusses more about how you can fight for change and the hope that comes along with that. This is really aimed at a teen audience, but I took away a hope and excitement for the future as an adult. Not to mention the incredible list of contributors on this makes it a necessary read.

    Jolene Hart
    Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out
    This is not your typical recipe book. Eat Pretty simplifies the whole idea of “holistic nutrition” and makes food easy. I’ve always had a negative relationship with food, and this book has reminded me over and over again (I’ve read it a few times!) the ways in which food can nourish and support my skin, hair and bones and the energy it gives me to go through my day. Now I’m not saying I didn’t have a donut for breakfast this morning, but if you’re looking for a new way to look at food and improve that relationship, this is the read for you.

    Brené Brown
    Daring Greatly
    If you’ve ever seen Brené Brown’s amazing podcast about shame and vulnerability, this is basically its mom. I’ve always been a pretty open person, but this book took it to another level. One of the hardest things to learn is being vulnerable, and this book does an incredible job at explaining why it is so difficult and provides the little steps we can take to learn how. Brown includes several anecdotes to share just how she struggles with this same thing even though researching and discussing shame is her job. I might be biased as this is one of my favorite self-development reads, but this is one I would most certainly pick up if I were you.

    Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls
    Sleeveless tops, shorts, bathing suits – summer can be rough if you have any issues with body images, and unfortunately, that is something many women experience. This book is not only a fun read, but everything Jes Baker says is backed up by research, making her advice feel even more credible. Don’t struggle with body image issues? (Woohoo!) Baker gives tons of advice on just living unapologetically yourself, which I think everyone could really benefit from.

    Shannon Kaiser
    The Self-Love Experiment
    As a self-proclaimed perfectionist and atychiphobic (fear of failure!), I can get pretty hung up on every little mistake I make. The Self Love Experiment is that bit of encouragement to get me out of those thoughts and remember just how much good my failures can do. Kaiser takes you on her journey to self-love and acceptance, and through her true testimony, I started to realize more about my own journey as well. She’s candid and real and doesn’t lead you on that self-love is a quick fix. Also, having a little reminder that you’re more than a sum of your failures is pretty powerful.

    Dan Harris
    10% Happier
    As a journalist, I already knew I’d identify with Dan Harris. As I read through his struggles with anxiety and panic attacks, though, I began to realize just how relatable he is to so many of us. 10% Happier chronicles his experience working on ABC News, what it was like having a panic attack on the air and how meditation and mindfulness helped him get a handle on his anxiety. Anyone who’s even slightly curious about meditation but doesn’t know where to start, look no further.

    Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
    The Confidence Code
    For those who are more left brained, this is the one for you. The Confidence Code utilizes research and science to discuss confidence: why we want it and why it’s so hard to get. Both authors are journalists and do a great job of making the neuroscience understandable for someone who knows nothing about DNA. This book showed me a new way to look at being confident in myself all while providing the tools and stories I needed to actually start my own journey toward it.

    Gabby Bernstein
    Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
    No matter your experience level with the Law of Attraction, Gabby Bernstein makes it simple and effective. The Law of Attraction is about more than manifesting sports cars and diamond jewelry, and this book shows that it can be as simple as changing your mindset for a positive one. This dives pretty deep, so expect to take lots of notes.

    15 Books to Read if You Need a Mental Health Boost More

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    The Career Advice You Need to Hear Based on Your Enneagram

    Our careers make up a large part of our lives. We go to college to get a job, we spend time (and money!) to perfect our resumes to land our dream job in our field, spend 40+ hours a week trying to build our portfolios and make a name for ourselves, devour all the career advice we can—and we still have more than 30 years to go before retirement. So we might as well make it as good as it can be, right?
    Career advice is some of the most sought after here at The Everygirl, but it’s not one-size-fits-all. Not all of us struggle with the same issues, and what some of us have figured out keeps others up at night. But we found the best way to give targeted career advice to a large audience: the enneagram! Our favorite personality test might be the best way to learn how you can boost your career, improve your productivity, and reach all of your goals. 

    Ones are all about improving themselves. They’re called The Perfectionists because they want everything around them to be good and done correctly. They’re responsible and detail-oriented, making them strong candidates for jobs that require precision and accuracy. As an employee, you can count on them to turn in quality work.
    With their perfectionist nature, they are their biggest inner critic. They worry that their work isn’t good unless it’s perfect, which can disrupt deadlines or cause issues when working with a team. Understand what makes you a strong employee and leader and own it. Growing your confidence in the workplace will improve your quality and quantity of work. 

    10 Ways to Be More Confident at Work

    Relationship-oriented, caring, and supportive, twos are all about helping others. They make amazing coworkers and team members because they’re all about being there for every member of the group.
    When you’re creating friendships at work, make sure you set boundaries. Is this person just a work friend? Are you going to talk about work outside of the office, or is your friendship and work relationship separate? Keep these questions (and answers) in mind for a seamless relationship that is beneficial at work and at happy hour. 

    How to Set Friendship Boundaries at Work

    I’m sure there are a lot of threes reading this right now. They love leadership development and being the best employee or manager they can be. They’re always trying to level up their career, and they take a lot of pride in being career-focused. They’re goal-oriented and feel accomplished when they are appreciated and praised at work.
    Focus on building your career by finding your niche—where do you fit in your company? Are you the one who’s known for amazing customer service and personality? Or do you excel at following data leads and executing projects? 

    5 Habits That Make You Stand Out at Work

    The Romantic is idealistic and seeks meaningful experiences, especially in their careers. They long to create and show their artistic expression through their career, which makes them perfect for roles that require thinking outside of the box and discovering unique ideas and solutions for problems.
    Find ways to keep your productivity up to tackle your biggest goals, especially if a side hustle is on that list. Fours struggle with balancing their emotions with their logic mind, so focusing on your overall career goals instead of your goals within your current company will allow you to broaden your horizons. 

    9 Productivity Hacks That Will Help You Impress Your Boss

    If you’ve ever sat in your office and thought about how much more productive and efficient you’d be if you were at home, odds are, you’re a five. Fives are analytical and enjoy having time and space to themselves to work.
    Focus on building up your home office space (whether it’s a room with a view or your bed). This will give you the privacy and energy you crave to accomplish tasks and complete projects on your own time. 

    How to Make Your Daily Work-From-Home Routine Feel Fresh Again

    If you’re in an industry with a lot of competition, you’ll want a six on your team. They are trustworthy and loyal and will work hard to discover the strategies to accomplish team goals.
    Sixes are hyper-aware of what’s going on around them, so they have a sense of perception that others might not understand. However, this can also make them quite pessimistic and anxious, often causing them to focus so intently on their main goals while forgetting the small ones necessary to get them to the end. Look at your goals closely to discover the small steps you need to achieve them. 

    How to Turn Jealousy Into Productivity

    Sevens are amazing at staying in the moment, which allows them to be optimistic and adventurous. They’re the employees who will gladly take up new opportunities to travel to another office or try out that new productivity app that everyone is buzzing about.
    They love thinking ahead to future plans while keeping a fast-paced mindset on achieving and setting new goals consistently. All this can lead to burnout quickly, and the last thing a seven wants is to feel unmotivated and bored at work. To combat this, delegate tasks that bore you as much as possible and work on new, interesting projects as much as you can to get you excited again. 

    Why Your Work Burnout Might Really Be Loneliness

    Competition is a daily source of motivation and drive for an eight. In the workplace, they’re leaders who take charge and ask the necessary questions to propel their careers further. They’re always looking for the next opportunity, whether it’s a raise, a promotion, or a new leadership role.
    Keep your career thriving by asking for more duties at work. This initiative will certainly impress your boss when it comes time to discuss raises and promotions later in the year.

    How to Ask for More Responsibility at Work

    Nines are all about going with the flow, and when it comes to their career, they seek to harmonize and work with others as much as possible. They are easygoing and empathetic, so they understand and see all sides and possibilities of a conflict.
    While twos are typically considered the people-pleasing type, nines can often get caught up in trying to keep the peace in situations that actually call for a little productive conflict. Your relationships won’t suffer if you speak up about something that is bothering you—remember that, and you’ll start to feel more respected and confident in the workplace.

    How to Finally Stop Being a People-Pleaser

    How to Have a Better Relationship According to Your Enneagram

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    I’m a Vegetarian and My Boyfriend Isn’t. Here’s What I Make in a Week

    Cooking is my love language. Some people give gifts and some people write love letters, but I cook. Though my boyfriend knows a thing or two about roasting veggies and makes a mean pasta sauce, I like to do the cooking because it’s the way I take care of the people I love. It’s an activity I look forward to all day long, and let’s be honest, I’m just way better than he is (he’s better at doing the dishes, so win-win!). However, every meal I make is vegetarian. I’ve never eaten meat in my life (nope, not once!), so I wouldn’t even know what to do with a chicken breast, and I couldn’t tell you the difference between an oyster and a clam. My boyfriend grew up on chicken wings and steak, so I knew his adjustment to my plant-based lifestyle would not necessarily be seamless. 
    While every relationship is different, having dinner is something we like to do together. Eating together is our special ritual; I like to cook for him, and we hang out in the kitchen to catch up on our days. While many couples prefer to eat separate meals (especially when they have different dietary needs), I’ve found ways to make my cooking style work for both of our preferences, so I recorded my meals through an entire week of dinners from Sunday to Thursday (you best believe Friday is reserved for sushi takeout!). Read on for my tips, tricks, and recipes for cooking dinner as a vegetarian for my meat-loving boyfriend. 

    Sunday: Pasta Night

    My boyfriend and I are both Italian, so pasta is the natural go-to in our house. Seriously, there have been weeks where we have same kind of pasta every single night. It’s a good Sunday meal because it’s easy, simple, and delicious. Plus, whether or not you eat meat, everybody loves pasta, right? For plant-based options, I use quinoa, brown rice, or chickpea pasta, or I’ll make spaghetti squash. As for sauce, I love a homemade pesto or quick marinara, but I’ve also been known to get adventurous by adding avocado or hearts of palm to make a vegan “pasta alfredo” (at this point, my boyfriend has stopped asking what’s in the sauce). Don’t forget a simple side salad!  

    Monday: Korean Savory Pancakes

    The secret to getting your significant other to eat less meat? Get adventurous. Since I love to cook and try new foods, I make sure to experiment with different flavors and learn about different diets I would not otherwise be exposed to. In other words, my boyfriend is never bored. I was inspired by a recipe from Bonberi of bin dae tteok, or savory mung bean pancakes, which is a traditional Korean dish. Due to lack of time, I replaced mung beans with chickpea flour (very untraditional) and put together these delicious and dip-able pancakes in under 20 minutes. Trust me, he’s not missing his steak dinners. 

    Tuesday: Fried Egg Tacos

    Pro tip: If you live with someone who has totally different dietary preferences, taco night is the way to go. They’re easily customizable, and all you have to do is prepare a few different toppings and a couple of different fillers. I’ll fill mine with veggies and beans, but my boyfriend can add any kind of meat to his if he’s craving some extra protein. Another favorite hack is to top quesadillas or tacos with a fried egg for extra flavor and protein. I love using eggs for dinner as a protein we both can eat. 

    Wednesday: Blue Apron Meal for Two

    And now for my best cooking-for-two-different-diets hack: Blue Apron. Let’s be honest, yes, I love cooking, but I don’t always have time to meal plan, grocery shop, and DIY an entire meal from scratch. I think of Blue Apron as an investment in our relationship because we both can get what we want. Sometimes the vegetarian option is so delicious and filling that my boyfriend doesn’t even realize there wasn’t any meat. But when he is craving some chicken, steak, or seafood, Blue Apron offers the ability to have two separate proteins for the same recipe, so I’ll add tofu and he’ll add pork—no separate meal required. 
    Sign up for Blue Apron to get up to 14 free meals!

    Thursday: Asparagus Soup

    Some nights, I cook something that may not be filling enough for my boyfriend, so he’ll plan ahead to make his own meat if he wants something extra. Tonight, I was craving soup (it was a rare occurrence, I swear), so I prepared a thick asparagus soup and topped it off with pumpkin seeds and toasted baguette. Bonus life hack: Throw any soup into the blender, and it’ll immediately taste richer and creamier, even if it’s totally vegan. While that was enough for me, my boyfriend roasted some chicken for himself to eat with the soup. Bottom line is, if you have a meat-loving significant other or your roommate is fully plant-based while you can’t give up bacon, any vegetarian main meal can be turned into a side dish for a meat-lover. 

    Super Simple Vegetarian Trader Joe’s Recipes
    that anyone can make!

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More