There are many people who hold the belief that 2016 was a garbage-fire of a year. I have to say, for the most part, I agree. 2016 was rough for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. But as I look back on the past year, on a personal level, I’ve had a pretty good year. 2016 was a year of growth and discovery for me and I will always be grateful for the lessons I learned.
What lessons you may ask?
I’ll break it down:
I started off 2016 strong. My main resolution was to finish my first novel-an idea I had been toying around about a zombie retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I love zombies and fairy tales, so I figured, what could be better? I drafted my outline and got to work. When I wasn’t writing, I was training and at the end of January I competed in a 15k obstacle race – the Wadi Adventure. I lost, but I finished the race, which I consider a definite win. Off to a good start.
After about a month of solid writing, I connected with a girl at my work who was also a writer. We decided to buddy up and started meeting each other for weekly writing/coffee meetings. This sparks a few things – I find a great writing accountability friend, I get into a great stride on Alice, and last but definitely not least, my coffee addiction is born.
March was a tough month for me. My husband and babies all went home for a month to visit my stepson and other family over Spring Break (I was stuck at work) so I rode solo for a month. The one benefit of this was I had LOTS of downtime to work on Alice. I end the month only a few chapters shy of a novel.
I finish the first draft of Alice! This is the first novel I have drafted that I end up finalizing (I have shelved a few other projects), and I am feeling very accomplished. I also get my babies back in the middle of the month, and my house (that has been SPOTLESS for a month) is promptly destroyed. After hours of discussion with my writing buddy I decide to start my publishing journey. I am absolutely clueless as how to proceed. I decide to start a Publishizer campaign. To promote my campaign, I take the plunge and open a Twitter account.
While my Publishizer campaign is wrapping up, I jump straight into revisions. My campaign ends with a good chunk of preorders, and I get several offers from self-publishing companies, but ultimately decide that isn’t the route I want to go. I realize the best thing I could have done was open a Twitter account. The writing resources and support I have access to through the Twitter writing community is unbelievable. I’m starting to believe I can really make this publishing dream a reality.
I start the querying process. After lots of research and cursing, I have a decent query letter built. I get my very first rejection, followed by many more. My husband is super supportive and cheers for me every time I get a rejection. It becomes a tradition. We celebrate our five year anniversary together and I finish my very first year teaching abroad. Summer is here!
While spending time with family, I continue the querying process. I realize EXACTLY how impatient I am (very). More rejection letters are coming in, but I busy myself by participating in several different Twitter Pitch Parties. These go very well for me. At the end of Pit2Pub and SFFPit, I have over ten Query requests from different publishing houses, and from those I receive 5 full manuscript requests. Happy dances ensue.
I am presented with a problem, but it’s a problem I’m more than happy to deal with. I’ve received offers from THREE separate publishing houses. Husband and I proceed to do copious amounts of research to find the best fit for Alice (and me :D) I develop a new appreciation for the internet as I go home for a few weeks and all correspondence between my family, friends, and said publishing companies are done almost entirely online. After a week of deliberation, I choose the company I want to sign with. Contract is sent, and I have representation! More happy dances.
Working with my new publisher, Pen Name Publishing, I start working on building my author platform. Social media gets revamped (Twitter, FB, Instagram, Blog) and I start working hard to build relationships and realize this is quite possibly one of my favorite things about being an author. In between the beginning of my 2nd school year abroad, and a mini-vacation for EID, I start drafting an idea for another novel, a Sci-Fi retelling of Peter Pan.
This was my garbage-fire month of the year. It seemed like my family was hit by a crapbus going full speed ahead. We had a major car accident/insurance issues, sickness, and had some close friends go through some really hard stuff. Writing was where I found my calm. After reading an interesting question posed on Twitter, I bet an idea for another project, and begin a new short story series for my blog called Days After I Died.
On a wild hair, I decide to try my hand at NaNoWriMo for the first time. I begin working on Neverland. Somewhere in the month, I turn 30. Mostly I keep writing. I end NaNo with just over 50,000 words, and am declared a winner. I feel very accomplished, but realize I’m only halfway done with the draft (blasted SciFi word counts!)
Now that I have survived NaNo, I take a break from Peter. I don’t get a writing break yet because my editor sends me my first round of edits for Alice. I agonize over the edits (i am SO slow at editing it’s not even funny) and ultimately end up rewriting the ending for the story! Once my edits are submitted, I go on a short vacation. I still enjoy building my social media and get 1500 followers on Twitter! As a last hurrah to 2016, I write this post and realize that yes, I had an awesome year.
So, while 2016 was a whirlwind, I have to admit, my year was more good than bad. I am so grateful for everything that I’ve gotten to experience this year and more determined than ever to keep the momentum going. It started with resolutions, and I am going to end it with resolutions.
So what can you expect from me in 2017? Well, if I have anything to say about it; this:
- Successful Debut (The Wanderland Chronicles: June 2017)
- Finish NaNo Novel (Neverland)
- Draft sequel to Wanderland Chronicles
- Yoga & Running 5x/week
- No hair cutting
We shall see! Either way, I hope you have a happy New Year, and I wish you the very best for 2017!