This year's main accomplishment is finishing the first draft of my work in progress. I wrote almost 70k words in that work alone, which is a lot. In addition, I wrote 53 blog posts (not including this one) and self-published a short story collection. Overall, I’m proud of my accomplishments this year.
My biggest challenge this year came at the end of it. October had been rough, and deciding to publish my book despite the madness around me was difficult. I’m glad I did, though. At some point, my partner pointed out that everything was ready, so why not publish it? I realised then that I was stalling because I was petrified. It’s not just this collection and its reception. It’s about announcing to the world that this is what I do. It’s taking the plunge into this dark, deep pool called “The Publishing Industry”. Moreover, I’m not entirely sure yet that I can swim.
Time Well Spent
It's still morning pages but also rowing. I started rowing late last year, and I love my Hydrow. I row three times a week (on weeks I’m home). It’s a full-body, low-impact workout, and I never felt stronger. My joint issues are under control, and I feel good in my body for the first time since I was eleven.
In the summer, I realised I was waiting for the right time. I was waiting for the conditions to be “just so” to be able to launch my writing career. And, as Andy says, as soon as I noticed that, I let it go. I stopped waiting. I started to prioritise my writing, which means I do that first thing in the morning, no matter what. I began setting deadlines and goals for myself and sticking to them.
As always, while travelling. It’s hard to pick. Is it walking around the Marrakech Souk? Hiking to the top of a still-a-little-snowy mountain in Italy? Watching zebras and cheetahs in Tanzania? Touring the Paris Opera house? Going on a reindeer-pulled sleigh into a frozen, snowy winter wonderland in the dark? We’ve been fortunate this year to do a lot of travelling to exciting places.
The habit I’m working on now is reading after I write. I write new words for an hour, read for half an hour, and then have time for everything else. I found that, no matter what I tell myself in the morning, I simply cannot read after lunch. This way, I get my reading done before lunch, and after that, I can do all the other stuff.
Out of my Comfort Zone
Publishing a book on Amazon. Sure, it’s free and self-published and all that. But I’m an author now. That’s so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t even see the comfort zone anymore. Still, if there’s anything I learned over the last few years, it is that I can, apparently, handle anything–even this.
What have I learned?
I learned several things from publishing my short story collection. I also got a taste of what an empty nest would look like. I learned that I need to balance my productivity with my creativity. I learned that things I don’t make time for don’t happen. I learned that a group of flamingos is called a flamboyance. And I learned that I’m stronger than I thought.
Theme for 2024
Confidence. I thought about that a lot. A few years ago, confidence, for me, was the equivalent of arrogance. I’ve done a lot of work in the past years, and I no longer equate the two. I know what I need and what my priorities are. I know what works for me and what doesn’t–and how to tell the difference. I know how to move forward. That’s not arrogance. It’s confidence.
Over the next few months, I’ll be working on edits to The Mommy Manual to make it fit for public consumption and publishing it (probably with a lot of help). Then, I’ll need to figure out whether the world is ready for my novel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or if I want to start working on a new long story. While all that is happening, I intend to work on creating a relationship with my readers: that’s you :) I’m not entirely sure what that will look like yet, and I’d like to figure it out with you. So, pop me a line and let me know what you’d like to see from me: questions answered, old writing, characters backstory–just let me know.