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2019: A Year in Review

Today is the last day of 2019, and as exciting as it is to hail in a new decade (depending on which side of the Decade Debate you’re on) it’s also a little bittersweet. The past year has been full of memories, and although it had its ups and downs, all-in-all it was much calmer than 2018, and I think I’ll miss it.

Personally speaking, years that end in even numbers tend to be much more exciting than years that end in odd numbers. For a few examples: on even years, I was born, graduated from high school, received my bachelor’s degree, left for an epic road trip, broke my leg, applied for grad school, received my master’s degree, and married my husband. So, I’m hoping that 2020 will bring some of that even-year-magic with it.

But before I get lost in my goals for the new year, I’d love to share the two biggest milestones I accomplished in 2019.

1. I quit my job and started working from home.

While earning my M.A.T. in English Education, I confirmed a suspicion that I had been harboring since I applied to grad school: I don’t like teaching.

I know you’re asking, “Then why the hell did you get a Master of Arts in Teaching?”

Honestly, I don’t have a great answer for you. All I know is that I was working in my parents’ pizza shop, and was so lonely that I took up playing roller derby. Roller derby led to a gnarly broken ankle, which took three surgeries and four months on the couch to heal. And while I was laying in my apartment staring up at the ceiling, I thought grad school would be a great way to steer my life in a new direction (and meet a few like-minded people).

Fortunately, it worked. I met my husband and we frolicked off into the sunset together after graduation. The only problem? I was back at the pizza shop, and I needed a new job. Of course, it couldn’t be any job. I needed a job that allowed me to crawl out of bed at whatever time I damn-well pleased, to work in my pajamas, and to never leave the house.

Naturally, writing came to mind, but you can’t just make writing your job if no one’s paying you, so I branched out and found something that tied in with my ability to type at 100 wpm with 100% accuracy: I became a transcriptionist.

2. I decided to become an indie author.

Of course, setting my own schedule and working from home finally gave me the time I needed to dust off the old manuscript for Pieces of Pink (and my stack of rejection letters along with it). After reading through the handful of rejections that had been personalized, I noticed a common theme: “We love your writing and style, but the story’s a bit much for us to handle right now.”

When you write a dystopian novel about prostitutes, it’s not entirely surprising that agents are a little hesitant to pick it up. Let’s be real, “post-apocalyptic hookers” isn’t exactly the kind of tagline that sells on the commercial market.

But for me, the story isn’t just about prostitutes. It’s about a group of people who are being crushed under the weight of their government, desperate for a way to free themselves. And even though I began the initial draft five years ago today (for more on that, check out this post) and completed it a few months later, the characters kept whispering to me, and I wasn’t willing to let them go.

So, this year, I dusted off the old manuscript, harvested it for plot points, and threw it in the trash. Without going into too much detail, a total re-write was completely necessary (let’s just say, the first draft was written in the first person, present tense) and I don’t regret starting from scratch.

Goals for 2020

But since tomorrow is the new year, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my hopes, dreams, and resolutions for 2020.

  1. Even though this goal is almost complete, I’m so excited to be releasing my first novel on March 8th, 2020. I just hope it finds its way to the people who need it most.
  2. I plan to finish the sequel, and once I’m more comfortable with the brave new world of self-publishing, I’ll be able to provide a release date by the end of 2020.
  3. Finally, I would like to do yoga every day this year, even if it’s only for five minutes. I’m a shamefully sedentary person, and while I am fiercely unwilling to run, I am more than happy to stick my butt up in the air in the comfort of my own living room. (Plus, I haven’t done a split since I was 13, and I think it would be kind of fun.)

Ultimately, my goal is to make 2020 as cozy and wonderful as 2019, and I can’t wait to bring you all along for the ride!

So, what are your hopes and dreams for 2020? Feel free to comment below!

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