Another year has come and gone. I swear the older I get, the faster time goes. Usually this is the time of year, I make a completely unrealistic list of my resolutions for the upcoming year and mentally berate myself for all of the ways I’ve failed.
This year, I’m not doing that. Instead, I’m taking a look back at 2018, reflecting on all of the beauty it held and setting some REALISTIC goals for 2019.
2018 was the year…
I saw my dream of being a published author come true. I had been on the verge of giving up on this dream when I found my publisher, Ant Colony Press. Bits & Pieces, my debut novel, entered the world on November 18, 2018. I can’t even begin to describe how this feels. I’m still shocked and surprised that there’s a book in the world with my name on it and that people actually pay money to read it. Like, what?! That’s crazy to me. And exciting. I’ve had enough people say how much they enjoyed the book that I’m actually starting to believe it a little bit. For anyone involved in writing or other creative pursuits, you probably understand exactly where I’m coming from with the self-doubt.
I worked with a voice-over actress to make Bits & Pieces available through Audible next year. This has been so much fun and a great experience. I can’t wait for people to be able to hear the phenomenal job that Diane Box-Worman did with bringing my book to life.
I’ve met so many new writer friends on Twitter — like more than 6,000! I had no idea there were so many people like me out in this world. It’s a bit scary but mostly comforting! I feel like I’ve found my tribe in the Writing Community on Twitter. My snarky 12 year old son continues to be baffled by why anyone would want to follow me on Twitter. He repeatedly asks me if my followers know what I’m “really like”. Good thing I love that boy!
I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I did my first ever podcast. I reached out and placed cold calls to bookstores about carrying Bits & Pieces or allowing me to host an author event. I held a launch party in my hometown. I’ve asked writer friends to review my book and give me their honest opinions. I’m learning more each day about marketing and how much I hate it. I let people inside my head by putting a book out into the world. I’d say that this year has been one of risk-taking for me.
On a more personal note, I’ve had to extend forgiveness and grace to people I love knowing that I’m not perfect and hope they’ll offer the same to me when I mess up. I’ve seen two of my children graduate from college and start their professional lives in different parts of the country, both way too far from home. My youngest son started middle school and has somehow grown taller than me in the last year. I’ve experienced heartbreak with losing a twenty-five year relationship with my best friend for which I still grieve almost daily. I’ve learned that I have so many people who love and care for me, who offer their support and kindness during my times of happiness and darkness.
My goals for 2019 are…
To say yes to every single thing that comes my way that can help further my writing career. I want to continue taking risks and ignoring my comfort zone so that it doesn’t become my prison. On this note, I have several things slated for the first couple of months of the year that fall into this goal: a video interview with Bookworms and Me, a book event at The Book Loft of German Village, releasing the audio version of my book, and many more phone calls to make to stores about Bits & Pieces.
To publish my second novel, The End of Echoes. It should be released mid year with Ant Colony Press. This is the first novel I wrote and the one closest to my heart so I while I can’t wait for it to make its way into the world, the idea also scares me.
To finish writing my third novel. I am about half-way through the first draft right now. This one has been so difficult to write though, for many reasons. Partly because my attention is divided amongst so many different projects right now which require my brain to function completely differently than what’s needed to be creative. After the holiday craziness ends, I want to establish a weekly routine that has writing time set aside each day along with several days devoted to editing and marketing.
To become healthier physically and emotionally. This past year has been hell for my body because of Crohn’s disease. I have been in pain more often than not and my energy has been so low. I have a new doctor and will be exploring new treatment options with her. I want to find an exercise routine I can stick with and would like to try yoga. I want to try an elimination diet and figure out what foods mess up my system. I want to grow spiritually by getting involved in my church again and spending more time talking with God. I want to relax more and stop trying to change things that are out of my control to change. I want to nurture my relationships with my family and friends and practice kindness more often.
I start each year with an empty mason jar. I write down the blessings in life on slips of paper, as they occur, and put them in the jar. Each New Year’s Eve, we read through the items as a family. This year, our jar is filled to the brim, as it usually is even when it hasn’t felt like a particularly great year. I can’t wait to read through all of the good things that have happened this year. I’m looking forward to starting an empty jar tomorrow because I know, without a doubt, that it too will be filled with more blessings and goodness than I deserve.