Take a deep breath. Relax your shoulders. Close your eyes.
I'm saying this to myself as much as anyone, okay? 2020 was a train wreck in so many ways, and I'll be honest, I want everyone to walk into 2021 VERY SLOWLY, and DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING, okay? Okay.
Despite the trials and sorrows humanity had to endure, 2020 did bring me some good things too. It brought me the confidence to decide to publish my own work, which will come out this fall. It gave me new friends to help me learn new things, and it taught me things about myself that I wouldn't have learned any other way than through quarantine.
Looking into 2021, I've still got big dreams. I always have, and I probably always will. The future is undefined, and I try to look into it with the highest hopes possible, and then do my best to break those hopes down into actionable goals I can accomplish. Those can be anything from "eat better" to "earn more money" to "read 35 books I've never read before."
I've talked elsewhere before about my vision board, and I'm hoping to do a vlog on it in the first few weeks of the year just to show how I make it. But here, I'll say that I usually try to break it down into categories for myself. Family, Finances, Writing, Reading, etc. Then above all that, is my focus word.
I've spoken about this too, and I have to say that this year it was a tough decision for me. My 2020 word was Breathe, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. Any time I felt stressed or worried, I would remember that word, close my eyes, and take a deep breath. There were a lot of moments like that this year.
In 2021, I'm going to release my debut YA Fantasy novel, and I kept leaning toward other gentle words, like Calm or Focus or Stretch. But my husband--and my brain--reminded me over and over that I needed more of an action word. I'm doing a big thing this year, and I need a word to reflect that. It took weeks of thinking, going through the thesaurus website, making lists and deleting them, until one day while my kids were playing at the park, a simple word entered my brain and struck straight to my center.
I've been writing with the goal to publish for ten years. I've considered indie publishing before now, particularly when it was the new big thing and making huge waves in the marketplace. But it never felt right. I always thought that was because it wasn't the right path for me, that I was meant to go the traditional route entirely.
But recently, I've learned more about the indie pub scene and my inclinations have changed. I would still love to publish traditionally and have a hybrid career, but the fact is I feel like I've reached a place in my writing journey where I want to put my work out there. And i no longer require the approval or validation of anyone but me.
I still have moments of doubt, of course. What am I thinking? There's no way this will work. How did I think I could do this... but the overall emotion in my heart, is that I really am ready.
It's a pretty cool feeling, ngl.
So here's to 2021, let's go in quietly and carefully and hope for the best. May your coming year bring you all the success and wonder you can handle, and may you find joy in it.