I think it’s safe to say that 2017 has been a hell of a year for so many of us. In both grandiose, historic ways and more personal, close-to-home ways, this was a year of unpredictability, wild fluctuation, and seemingly endless frustration. Sure, there were some amazing highlights, but it was so hard to grasp where things stood from one moment to the next. Just when you felt you had a handle on things, they’d slip away and change again. It was exhausting keeping up with 2017.
But I don’t really want to talk about any of that stuff.
I will remember 2017 as the year I published my first book. That’s what I want to talk about. Because wow is that something I never could have imagined myself saying. Ever.
Here’s something else I never thought I’d say: I’m proud of what I accomplished. Trust me, those words do not come easy. I’m wrestling with my inner critic right now as I type them. (“C’mon, it wasn’t that great,” my critic is saying. “It’s not like you even tried to get it traditionally published. You were too afraid of the inevitable rejection letters.”) Shut up, Inner Critic.
If I’m being totally honest, I guess, deep down, I did think I could write a book. I mean, I wouldn’t have started if I couldn’t imagine finishing. In the beginning it was a lark, something fun to break up the monotony of freelance writing. And it was fun for a while. Then it wasn’t. Then it was again. Around the middle of the year I gave myself a deadline and aimed to have a completed first draft by then. Somehow I did it. And in the process, I found that I loved the book more than I thought I would. It was just going to be this throwaway thing, a learning experience, an exercise in creativity and following through. But by the time I was finished the story had gotten under my skin. I had an inkling I could write a book, but I didn’t know I could write a decent one. Sales have been steady and reviews have been generally positive. Not that I need outside validation.
Just kidding. I can’t even type that with a straight face. I rely on it way too much. It’s something I plan to work on in 2018.
Anyway, that one accomplishment led to many more. I mastered Scrivener. I taught myself how to edit critically and thoughtfully (though you wouldn’t think so with those conspicuous adverbs there). I designed my own cover. I wrestled with, and eventually conquered, formatting. I delved into social media, started a Twitter account, created a page on Facebook, started this blog. All of this in the last half of the year, and nearly all of it starting from square one. Through promoting the book I’ve had some amazing experiences and met some wonderful, supportive people. It’s served as a nice balance to the outside noise, and a reminder that while there will always be trolls out there, we human beings are capable of boundless kindness and generosity.
And so, my main resolution for 2018 (other than trying to give up refined sugar–wish me luck!) is to keep up the momentum and continue doing what I’ve been doing. I’m working on another romance to follow Buzzworthy, so that’s my immediate goal. Beyond that, I’m not making any predictions. After all, I couldn’t have predicted at the end of last year how this one would turn out. So I’m just going to take it as it comes.
If you’re reading this I wish you a happy and safe new year. May you accomplish everything you set out to do in 2018!