Sooo, how about that hiatus?
It has been SO long since I last updated. Like no-post-since-February long, which is super embarrassing considering how that last post was all about my productive 2017 goals which was then followed by a massive, impromptu silence.
But as the year is coming to a close (literally…in an hour), it had me thinking of 2017 as a whole. In so many ways, it was a most challenging year (and for sooo many other people, understandably), but it was also the most surprising and rewarding in many ways. It can be so easy to get hung up on all the lows that we often forget to remember the good that also happened.
And clearly, I have not been doing absolutely nothing since February, so to reorient myself back to this blog-o-sphere, here are some wonderful things that have happened in 2017:
- Earlier this year, I traveled to Jordan! Usually I’m not big on travel (I’m honestly the BIGGEST homebody you’ll ever meet and I am not ashamed of it), but I went with my dad to visit my sister who was conducting research there at the time. It was my second time going, and to be honest, it was the best trip of the two. I saw so many more places, ate lots of good food, and was able to savor the experience far more than the last time.
- I went to ALA in Chicago with my writing group, and witnessed my dear Axie Oh’s first signing of Rebel Seoul ARCS! (Unsurprisingly, I cried.)
- While I was there, I got to be in the Room Where It Happens and watched Hamilton! A few months later, I also got to watch The Phantom of the Opera for the first time which was also incredible. (Unsurprisingly, I cried again. At both shows.)
- Over the summer, I finally got a full-time job in publishing! This, honestly, has been the biggest life-changer for me. It took me so long to find it, and for so long, I was in despair that all the jobs I thought were for me would continue passing me by. But after countless rejections and interviews that ended up going nowhere, I applied to a company that for once wanted me back, this time. It still doesn’t feel real, and I know I’m enormously lucky to be where I am. Publishing, like many businesses, is a hard as hell industry to break into from that other side of the desk; but just like with writing, all it takes is one yes from the right person/place.
- As a result, I also learned to restructure my writing routine around aforementioned job. This was truly no easy task (especially in the beginning months…boy, those were rough), but there’s no other way around it. I’m thankful that even though my writing time is more limited now, the ability to still prioritize it in whatever chunk of time I can carve out during the day remains.
- I went to Disney World! After just getting my Very Adult Job, there’s no better way to celebrate than to go to the place where you turn into an absolute child again.
- For the first time in a long time, I actually completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve failed so badly on this front over the past few years, but I found the joy in reading again. The commute to my job allows for prime reading time, so I’m hoping to continue crushing it book-wise in the new year!
- I finished revisions with Pirate Fantasy. No exaggeration, this is perhaps one of my biggest life accomplishments ever, and maybe I’ll write about it when I’m brave enough to tell that story in full. For now, I’m just grateful for what that long period of revising has taught me, and am happy with how the story has ended 🙂
- I finished drafting Phantom Fantasy. I clocked in the first draft at 140k words, and honestly don’t know where half of them came from. But all that matters is that I love this book so much, the first draft is done, and there’s SO much work ahead of me—but I am excited for it all.
- Most importantly, I rediscovered the joy in writing. I think 2017 was a creatively-difficult year for most people, which made even getting ten words on the page an enormous struggle sometimes. And as a writer, to feel like you can’t write anymore is just the most crushing feeling ever. It still almost feels like a miracle that I was able to finish Pirate Fantasy revisions and the first draft of Phantom Fantasy, but they did not come easy at all. It took a lot of forcing myself to sit at a computer, early wake up calls, and less hours of sleep to get back into the habit—but then, gradually, forced habit became the need to write again. I found joy in what I was writing again during a time where it felt like all the joy was sucked out of the world, and that I count as my proudest achievement of 2017.
Whew, that was a lot. Now that the obligatory where-was-I-in-2017 recap is over, time to start setting my sights on resolutions for 2018! Normally, I have very similar resolutions from the years before, but this time, I think some may be a bit different.
Goal #1: Be a better CP. While this year was super loaded for me, I am not proud of the way I’ve let CP-ing fall to the wayside as a result. I was able to read two AMAZING manuscripts from two of my friends this year (shout out to Erin and Amanda), but I wish I could’ve offered more. Not because it’s a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” sort of deal (though these relationships should NEVER at all be one-sided/one person is left doing all the work), but because there is no greater joy than to see my CPs/friends growing as writers before my eyes, and to read the evidence of that. I feel like my CPs only make me a better writer, and that the act of being a CP adds to that as well.
Goal #2: Writing is priority, but so is being there for the ones you love. I’m usually the kind of writer who can magically shut out everything and just hunker down to work for hours/weeks on end. However, this doesn’t bode well for times when I’m with my family or hanging out with friends. This year, I want to find a better balance, to be able to work when I have time but also enjoy that time by being there for the people who matter most to me. To focus on my work, but not be consumed by it.
Goal #3: Read more, read widely, and recommend frequently. I’m always aiming to read more with each passing year, and to read widely at that. But this time, I truly want to do all of that on top of boosting books/authors I love. Especially diverse books and voices. Our voices are needed now more than ever, and it’s imperative to shine as much light and raise each other up as often as we can.
Goal #4: Embrace every low as you do every high. My go-to motto is “Failure is the best teacher” which I’ve firmly believed in even before Yoda said it. As such, I know that lows feel a little less low when you glean the lessons from them, and that everything happens for a reason. To make it in this business, we all have to be prepared for every step. Might as well meet each one with the willingness to learn what they have to teach us.
Goal #5: Whatever you do, keep writing. I took lots of breaks this year as a result of burn out and just not feeling up to it due to the darkness that seemed to consume the world, but the best thing I ever did for myself was to keep returning to writing and never stopping. Even if the words don’t flow, I feel much more like myself writing than if I weren’t. So this is not to say that I’m going to literally write every single day because even I don’t possess that sort of magic—but to never stop/give up, because I know I’m my best self when I have stories to tell.
Happy New Years y’all, and wishing everyone the best in 2018 ❤