Greetings, lovely readers!
I don't know about you, but 2019 was the toughest year in my adult life. It was huge and hard in so many ways, both personally and professionally. While the personal stuff is very personal, but feels like it's on the mend (thanks to a wonderful therapist, my husband, and sister to help me through it), the professional stuff is still a rush of exhilaration and unbridled fear. And if I'm honest, it feels like I'm still wading through the throes of uncertainty.
But let me back up a smidgen.
Like too many people's childhoods, mine was unhealthy and riddled with instabilities, and I've been working my freaking butt off since I was sixteen years old to create a life I'm both proud of and that makes me happy. Of course, there are always ups and downs, tears and fears, and as many moments of absolute happiness as there are moments of face-paling panic. Overall, though, my life is what I've always wanted it to be: I have a home and life with a man I love so much it hurts (and it took me finding a couple of weasels before I found him), a crazy-ass but wonderful family, and amazing friends I couldn't imagine my life without.
I've gotten to travel a bit more this past year, and was able to meet up with author friends, which always makes the author journey a little less lonely.
After eight years in our home, we got our pool working, one of the never-ending pains in my ass since becoming a homeowner. Now, the deck is rotted and needs to be completely removed, one of many large projects in dire need of being done. But hey, there are always cocktails and cuddles by the fire after a long day of pulling up dry rot, right?
The hubs and I even ventured into tandem bike riding to do more things together, and surprisingly, we're really good at it. And it's REALLY fun.
So, along with the shitty-shit that's been sprinkled in throughout the year, there have been some really great moments of 2019, and as always, I'm so grateful for all of them. But that's not really what this post is about. It's about being an author, and about you, readers. It's about this big transition in my life that I wanted to share with you.
Making the shift.
As I mentioned before, I've spent my entire life working my butt off to ensure my stability. So when did I decide leaving my day job to pursue my dream full-time with zero guarantees was a good idea? It's been a chaos of emotions that feel amazingly wonderful and bluntly put, fucking terrifying (a little-too-late disclaimer: I curse like a sailor in real life, I don't mean to offend anyone, but it's just #realife).
Let's break it down a little...
➔ I've published 14 books (if I'm counting correctly) since the fated day in 2013 when my co-author, Lindsey Fairleigh, and I put After The Ending out into the world.
➔ I have some of the most loyal and amazing readers that bring me so much joy.
➔ Each story I write feels better than the last
➔ I have AMAZING author friends in the writing community
➔ And I can say with certainty that I know what I'm doing. I'm a pro at this in the grand scheme of things.
So, what's so scary about this new path I've taken? Everything.
I want to preface the following with this statement: I am not complaining.
Amidst all of the craziness I'm wading through right now, I am loving the freedom to be me, and embrace this part of myself 100% for the first time ever. I get write!!!! I get to lose myself in a story whenever I want to; I don't have to work a 12-hour day unless I want to. I don't have to go to pointless meetings anymore or sit in commute traffic. Simply put, I am LOVING this.
But loving it doesn't mean it's not terrifying. Especially for someone like me who is impatient, gets distracted easily, is a control freak, and feels like it's "never enough". I'm an independent woman, and not in the "I want to prove I'm as good as or better than a man" sort of way. I have always supported myself and always been my own fallback person. When I left my job and guaranteed paycheck in August 2019, it was something I never thought I would have the guts to do. Self-sufficiency is a mindset. A survival instinct. Taking care of "me" is what I've always done, and now, I'm letting the cards fall where they may while I build my business and rely on my fluctuating income (and my husband, which is such a big change for me).
I promise, I'm almost finished...
Being an independent author is so much more than meets the eye. While writing is and should always be the priority, it's not always as easy as that. Being an indie author is a marketing and a publishing business - it's an author brand. It's a name and a face and a feeling you want readers to know. It is ads and curb appeal and consistency. It's my income. It's my writing, which makes me vulnerable to every person who reads my work. My business is me and my livelihood. It is endless hours with the tax guy and the finance people telling me I need to make more so I can protect myself moving forward.
It's sooo much more than just sitting down in the mornings before the world wakes up to write, and with so much going on behind-the-scenes, it makes my dyslexic brain hurt sometimes.
BUT!!! All of that being said, I feel like I might finally have found a groove, which is why I'm so excited for 2020. It's a new year, and a new chapter.
I love my readers so much, and interacting with all of you feeds my soul like nothing else ever could. It makes me feel like all the business stuff that scares the shit out of me is 10000% worth it. And when I let the dust of my own insecurities settle, and I take a step back (most likely with a cocktail in hand), I smile from ear to ear and feel so proud of myself.
Despite my fears, I know failure is not a thing. It's a word that only gives us as much power as we give it. Transition is life, and with every lesson we grow. I'm going to cling to that nugget of truth and pep talk the crap out of myself so that I don't forget it.
I'm not just lucky, I've worked for this, and I deserve this. So, it wouldn't be a year-end reflection without a celebration of what I accomplished in 2019 and look ahead at 2020.
My accomplishments in 2019
➔ The Darkest Winter, Savage North Chronicles, book one (the length of two standard novels) ➔ The Longest Night, A Savage North Prequel
➔ Words published: 180,000 approx. ➔ Words written: 400,000+
➔ Left my favorite job ever of 10+ years, filled with people I love to work for myself - August
➔ Have a better, stronger relationship with my husband than ever before
➔ Started spending more time with my family
My Confirmed Projects for 2020 and Goals:
➔ Midnight Sun, Savage North Chronicles, book two (January) ➔ Fading Shadows, A Savage North Adventure novella (March) ➔ Untamed, Savage North Chronicles, book three (May-June) ➔ Cursed, A Cursed By The Gods Mythology Retelling ➔ World After, An Ending World Novel
➔ Sci-Fi anthology project
➔ Goal - better self-care: girls nights, reading for pleasure, baths, and more nature
➔ More time with my friends, my family, and my husband
(Romance readers: I have a romance project that I'm STOKED to get started on, but I need to finish up some projects before I can announce it.)
So, yes, I'm happy 2019 is over, but I'm SUPER looking forward to 2020. Regardless of the outcome, I know it's going to be a year of epic-ness. Of freedom, learning, and losing myself to the worlds I've been wanting to write about for so, so long. I hope all of you will join me :)
I'm going into 2020 like, let'd do this!