New Year; New Author; New Me

Happy New Year

Once again, we have successfully managed to complete a full rotation around the sun commencing in the start of a “new year”.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the universe remains most likely oblivious to what a great and celebrated feat this event is for us lowly humans. But whatever – TOSS THAT CONFETTI!!

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A lot of people will make new year’s resolutions. A lot of people will set goals that they may or may not achieve. A lot of people will go about their days in an it’s-business-as-usual manner. The choice is absolutely up to you. This is your one and only life.

Live your best life.

Personally, I look at 2016 as a year of growth both mentally and emotionally (I’ve been the same height since I was 16 and weight fluctuations are now at a predictable range). And one thing I can say about growth is that it is not always pleasant. It can be downright difficult and uncomfortable, but who you became after the process is what matters and I wouldn’t change a single day of last year even though there were a few shattering experiences.

Looking at the year in review, I have decided to implement changes in two areas of my life.

New Author

I am embracing it.

I am an author!

I love it. I may not be Rowling or Martin (George call me, we need to talk about your character choices). But, I love penning down stories for hours at a time and bleeding my imagination on my computer screen even though my laptop is knocking on death’s door. I love that people read my books and reach out to tell me about it. I honestly think that if you have the creativity for it, this is the best vocation in the world!

I do tell people that I’m an author, but for the sake of my sanity I try not to:

(a) Engage in conversations that will result in snark from my side based on the most ridiculous questions I get asked or the snide comments about writers and artists

(b) Learn to read the room and see whether they want to know about the art of the business and reply in that fashion because people are weird, SO SO WEIRD, when having a conversation of which they have limited to no knowledge of.

Over and above being an author I am an independent publisher.

That part is A LOT of hard work. More work than I bargained for. Aside from the hundreds of hours writing, because that is the best part of it all, there’s still the nitty gritty. And if I knew back then half as much as I know now, then maybe I would still be tinkering with an incomplete manuscript.

I’ll just thank the universe for providing me my path (with all its pitfalls) and leave it at that because it introduced me to you all.

I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from and get to know other authors who work full time. These people are incredibly hard workers. They are nothing short of well-oiled machines that support their families and keep going despite any glitches and changes that hit their business – ala page flip and the closing down of All Romance eBooks sans full royalties in the last quarter of 2016. I’m mad about the issue because it shouldn’t have been an issue at all. These people were mad because their bread and butter and the welfare of their families were on the line.

There are a good number of authors who can afford to support themselves purely on writing.

There are even more authors that cannot and hold down a day jo or twos which means that their books take waaay too long to come out.

From the perspective of a reader, I just want to give them a call and say, “Hey, did you get any writing done today because I’ve been waiting for Signs and Secrets for the last 9 months”. But from an author’s point of view I know to ask whether they are okay, because life happens and discriminates fairly if the game is not rigged.

Which is why I need to keep in touch with you readers:

Mailing list

If you are anything like me (and I consider myself average) then your inbox is overflowing. I try not to bombard the people who have subscribed to my mailing list with unnecessary messages. However, I have found that towards the end of last year, the people who signed up to hear from ME weren’t getting anything at all.

I will start sending out emails that I think are of value (already have a couple of giveaways planned for Feb) twice a month just to let you know that:

(1) I have not forgotten you or the book that I promised and

(2) For all intents and purposes, I’m still alive.

Website

When I set up this website/blog, I wanted to post about my thought process when I was writing a new book and I also wanted to highlight key issues that I’m passionate about because they do form an integral part of my stories.

I have a list of posts sitting on my draft pile that I never published because the time flew past their relevance date. They sit there gathering digital dust. I blame this on my procrastination demon.

Procrastinators Unite – tomorrow!

Seriously though, there is no cure for procrastination other than just. getting. it. done. So, I’m back to the grind on this baby to realise the hive mind I envisioned at the beginning of last year.

Facebook

I swore up and down that the mailing list and website would be enough.

“Haha, Enough? Never!” said life.

I found that a number of people were searching for the Facebook page and there were already a couple of people on there named Kourtney King (it’s tough being original when the plannet is crammed with 7 billion people). So, I gave in and set up an author page and reinstalled the devious distraction of an app. Even if I just want to have a looksie at my notifications, I then find myself scrolling through stupid memes – how bow dah. (Appologies, I just couldn’t resist. Help, Im sick.)

I will give credit where credit is due though.

It’s convinient if you’re already on FB and you’re just not in the mood to hop on the internet and navigate to my site or drudge through that bursting inbox. All notifications will be put on the page as the last port of call. Definitely not as cool as this place or the snazzy newletter, but it’s there if you need it or use it as your preffered median of communication.

And lastly, the one area of my life I am solely responsible for:

NEW ME

A lot of people fall into the trap of not looking after themselves. They have partners and family and friends and pets and children all of which demand time and energy. I am no different.

Towards the second half of 2016 I was exhausted and I didn’t even say that because everyone is just as busy and dealing with their own pressures. Hush, don’t be a cry baby. Deal with it.

I became unhealthy. I was always working in a sedentary position over and above writing. Exercise? What exercise. The last four months of my gym subscription was practically a donation. Fuck that! Those money vacuums just debited my account even though I only went in ONCE and the only time I got a call from them was to find out if I would like to reknew my membership.

To that I say: chill the fuck out bud, you need to earn back my trust.

I also didn’t mind my diet. I was either not eating enough and skipping meals or shovelling unhealthy food when the cramps of hunger kicked in. It’s waaay easier to order take away than it is to stand over a stove and I gave in to the lazy cretin who is the procrastination demon’s twin. Every week, about a third of my trash was take out.

I started withdrawing from my friends. This wasn’t a conscious decision (I just didn’t have the energy to be sociable) and when the guilt kicked in because these are relationships I do want in my life, I was attending those gatherings where everyone had to be there and what do they serve? More bad food and alcohol.

Looking back at it, it’s no wonder I was sluggish and tired ALL THE TIME.

When I finished the Dark Desires Series, I kept going because who on earth takes a break in July? I didn’t realise that i was burning myself out until everything became a prority over typing what happened next in the current book. There were only so many times I could read a scene before the dishes started to look like a very good alternative.

It all came down to me pushing a pace that was not manageable long term.

Sometimes we push ourselves further than we’ve gone before and this is good if you have a solid goal in mind. However, I kept doing this consistently to the point that my body was starting to react. I remember telling my best friend after a disastrously hard night out, a night I pressured myself into, that “my body doesn’t respect me” simply because I wasn’t able to keep up with everyone else. And he very firmly refuted my claim and said, “No, you don’t respect your body.”

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That was when I had my AHA moment. That was when the penny dropped. That was when the universe revealed itself to me. He was right. I didn’t respect my body and I needed to start.

Eventually, I started telling myself it’s okay. I still have to chant it when I find myself up at 3AM trying to figure out how to piece research into a scene in a way that makes sense.

It’s okay to not want to bang the letters on my keyboard everyday. It’s okay to leave it alone for a few days when something is not working.

It’s okay to tell my friends, “You know what, I’m actually going to sleep tonight” instead of leaving my home at 10PM.

It’s okay to postpone a date (romantic or friendly) when I’m having an off day (because everybody has those days) and I know I’m not going to be the outrageous and comical company they know and love.

It’s okay to turn down alcohol and be the lame party goer because my body taps out at 3 shots or 3 glasses of wine.

It’s okay to turn back and run home after the 15 minute mark (still not paying for no gym) instead of the 25 minutes I initially had planned.

IT’s ABSOLUTELY OKAY to listen to your body because it knows it’s limits sometimes better than your conscious mind.

I’m going to live my best life this 2017.

If you’d like to share your 2016 reflections, then feel free to do so in the comment section below. You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back 🙂

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