First, a few announcements. October will be our last “regular” Word Lab of the year—we’ve got plans to help you get through NaNoWriMo and take a break at the end of the year, but we’ll wait to tell you about those later. In the meantime, we hope you join us in October! Remember, you have the option for one or two sessions per week!
(Please note: the first Sunday will not have a Word Lab, and the price has been adjusted to account for the missing day.)
Cristin and Beth have been hard at work coming up with ideas for next year, and top of that list is more retreats in person! We have a really fun idea for future retreats, and we’re coming up with plans now on where to go and when.
We hope you can join us in the future! This newsletter is the best bet to get signed up in our rapid-sell-out retreats—we always let you guys know first!
And finally, if you’d like to be among the first to see Beth’s newest book cover, make sure you subscribe to her newsletter, too!
Candles and Books!
Just like last month, we wanted to reserve a spot in our newsletter for some of the cool, bookish things our members have been doing!
This month, we’re casting a light (pun!) on Ranee Stemman, founder and creator at Wicking It Up!
Recently, Ranee launched a brand new and fun candle collaboration with Hallie Bertling (an artist and also user of Wordsmith Services!). The Bookish Collection is full of great scented candles all themed with bookish ideas and decorate with beautiful labels made from original paintings!
(Personally, Death by TBR is currently burning in my office, jsjs.)
We sat down with Ranee to chat about this business, and keep reading to the end—we have a special coupon code for you!
Why did you start the Wicking it Up? What was your main goal and inspiration?
I started Wicking It Up at a time when I was really struggling to write and needed a way to release my creative energy. In the spring of 2020, I was selected for a mentorship program to revise one of my manuscripts. I spent that entire summer rewriting my novel. I began to query agents in the fall and received over ten full requests. I was so excited. I thought this was the manuscript that was finally going to land me an agent. Unfortunately, as the pandemic dragged on and on, responses to those full requests trickled in. A couple were very basic form rejections, but most of what I received was this: love your writing, love the premise, but it’s too dark of a novel for these dark times.
I’d queried plenty of manuscripts in the past so I was used to rejection, but something about the rejections this time sent me into a very dark place where I could not write to save my life. I couldn’t even read books. It’s like my brain said you’re done with this whole book thing for now. I’m sure it was due, in part, to the whole pandemic of it all, but I’m no spring chicken and it felt like time was closing in on me. And without that outlet for my creative energy, I felt like I was drowning. By November, I was searching for ways to unleash my creativity and remembered that I had always liked to pour candles. So, I bought a kit, made some candles, and it was such a therapeutic experience that I decided to make it a permanent part of my life by turning it into a business. My main goal started out as something very personal but shifted into this venture of helping other creatives and general candle lovers find a sense of peace and self-care through candles.
How have you been able to inject your love of writing into developing these candles?
I knew from the start that I wanted to launch with a line of candles for writers and other creatives. There were so many candles on the market for that target audience already, so I wanted to come up with something a little different. I began by focusing on my insecurities as a writer: imposter syndrome, my tendency to procrastinate when it comes to writing, the never-ending search for a muse, and so on. I decided to couple those insecurities with crystals focused on combatting them. Each candle comes with a large clear quartz crystal, which is one of the best crystals for creatives, along with 2-7 smaller crystals focused on a particular insecurity. In an effort to channel even more positive energy, I’ve since changed some of the names with negative connotations, such as Imposter Syndrome to First Draft.
What do you hope writers will love about your candles?
I hope writers find inspiration and a sense of camaraderie. From the soothing crackle of the wood wicks and the carefully curated fragrances to the crystals targeting the insecurities we all have, I hope they find peace in knowing they’re not alone, that we’re all in the trenches together, and that I’m rooting for them to achieve their dreams.
Use code WORDSMITH15 for a discount exclusive only to you subscribers!
Just want to say that I LOVE my Wicking it Up candle. The Muse scent is incredible.