Y’all, we’re two weeks into the new year. How is it treating you? Are you still in the midst of holiday chaos, or finally getting time to recover? I’ve been given some unexpected and blessed days off work to just be home these past couple of weeks and it has been a truly rejuvenating experience! Time to rest is an underrated and far too underutilized aspect of self-care we should implement back into our routines—we’re human, after all! Living creatures made in the image God, who Himself set the example of work and rest in turn.
But I won’t wax much on that subject (maybe another time?)
Last post I’d mentioned a yearly wrap-up that was delayed in favor of another topic, so today I’d like to take the opportunity to remember the miles and markers of last year as well as share the dreams/goals for this coming year. Won’t you join me?
If you’ll recall, last year got off to a rocky start in the Writing Corner and Beyond. Life threw us a curveball with my brother’s family getting into a car accident on their way home from spending Christmas with us. Praise God their daughter (my wee acorn, then nine months old) was unscathed and my sister-in-law only lightly battered and sore. My brother got the brunt of the damage, with gashes and shattered bones that required rods and plates to be installed (not the kind of one-upmanship we approve of around here, bro😏). He spent New Years in the hospital, and their too-brief Christmas visit extended for another month and a half as he recovered in our livingroom.
That season was altogether stressful, exhausting, and so, so wonderful! I cannot express how precious it was to come home from work and be greeted by my wee acorn and her sunshine smile. That time with my family was a gift from God, even if the circumstances were less than great. We played together, watched movies together, caught a stomach bug together . . . Good times.😂
This was also about the time I rediscovered manga as reading material. It was easier to read with my frazzled brain than regular novels, and through that I’ve been able to step into a new community and meet wonderful folks who share a love for that unique style of storytelling!
By the end of May I became the sole Me at work after a colleague graduated to a bigger and better position elsewhere. I took on more hours, and really struggled with juggling all the hats I like to wear.
Then come July was Realm Makers! The previous year I had attended virtually, which was a fantastic experience in and of itself, but from that weekend I knew for absolute certain that next time I had to go in person—and what a weekend! The conference was held just next door in New Jersey, so a friend and I packed up and made a road trip of it [thank you Mom & Aunt Kim for agreeing to help us out. You’re lifesavers!]
In short: I learned SO MUCH, was able to meet a slue of A-mazing authors, ate dinner next to Mando, and froze during the biggest heatwave of the summer. Connections were made, dreams came true, and too many books were purchased.
Other highlights of the year:
🍗Went to the Renaissance Faire (always fun) and came back with some new favorite pottery!
🍎Crafted a few new bookish jam flavors for NovelTea (can never help myself).
👩🍳Participated in some awesome cooking challenges courtesy of Just One Cookbook (even won once! Huzzah!)
🚗Drove into the city for the first time (small wins, people. It’s the little things)
📙Celebrated cover reveals and releases to some great stories over on Instagram!
🪶Lived to see the premier of The Wingfeather Saga Animated Series—Y’all, this show, this story, is absolutely incredible. The first three episodes are out and available for free, with more to come in February!
This past year had a plethora of ups and downs, wins and losses, joys and sorrows, and if I had to put words to the most notable thing I learned, I’d have to repeat what I mentioned in this post’s first paragraph: I am human. Amazingly—yet only—human, and I cannot do everything I want to do all at the same time. Some folks may be able to juggle many hats at once, and if you’re one of them, I commend you and am in awe, for I am not that folk. I cannot handle my day job + pursue NovelTea Kitchen’s market business + write + have a life without getting exhausted. I should have learned this a couple years ago when I ran into a mild case of burnout, but hey—better late than never.
I am learning my limits (which is not always fun and is usually frustrating, if I’m being honest), and now I have to learn how to work within them in order to move forward in a healthier and more wholesome manner. So what does that mean for this next year? Well . . .
Some of that ‘learning to work within my limits’ is the name of the game. If I can’t juggle all the hats at the same time, then I need to put some of them down and focus on fewer of them for now—which is hard! I’m still in that stage in life where if I don’t do/accomplish it NOW I won’t get to it EVER (anyone else out there with me? The impatience, the inexplicable need to hurry, is real. It’s also a lie. Just because you can’t manage it now, doesn’t mean you can’t in a year or two. Life is the longest thing you do, after all, so there’s no need to rush through it!)
Anyhoo, in light of this I decided to put down the market business for the time being and focus on writing. I’ve been working on Falconsbane since the latter half of 2017, and while I have learned a bucket load about the story and the craft of storytelling over those years, I’m also well aware that if I don’t crack at it, I’ll be working on it until I’m eighty-seven. And that’s not fair to anybody—me, you beautiful readers, the story, the other stories waiting to be written, or the Lord who gave me this gift and commission.
So this year’s focus is on getting the trilogy of Falconsbane (working title) done, and if that bleeds into next year, so be it. I want to write this, y’all. I still get excited when I think about it. I want to share this story of courage, restoration, and family with you, and to do that I need to divert all the energy I can toward that end.
At the same time, however, I aim to get this website here a bit of an update, as well as work on putting together a quarterly newsletter. These things may seen nonconsequential, but in the long run of building an author business and presence, they’re actually pretty important! I’m hopeful that this year will be a season of growth for myself as a writer, and I am so looking forward to sharing this journey with you!
How about you, friends? What are some highlights/milestones/lessons learned from the past year? What are you looking forward to in 2023? What’s something you want to work toward?
Here’s to a year of friendships forged and tempered, new experiences, and great stories!