Around this time I find myself in awe of the fact that another year is over. Weren’t we just starting 2015 and greeting each other an enthusiastic Happy New Year? Hadn’t we just finished writing our New Year’s resolutions? And then here we are, a few days away from the beginning of 2016.
As I look back on 2015, the word that comes to mind is transformative. Like a Camaro turning into a giant Bumblebee.
First of all, I completely lost the ability to write at the beginning of 2015. No one knew about this. Not even my critique partners. I actually managed to keep it to myself. Not even the Momager knew. I didn’t speak to anyone about it. No matter how many times I wanted to. I guess I was afraid that if I told someone about it would become true and I would never write again.
In my journey as a writer, I never knew I would go through a publishing experience so traumatizing that it came to a point where I thought I would never write a single word ever again. I compare this event in my life to a violation so personal, it messed with my psyche. And here I thought my experience with my first critique partner—who made it a point to murder my manuscripts—was the worst in my career.
I completely lost the will to write. It was frightening. Debilitating. I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. To this day I still get ugly flashbacks that render me anxious and unable to think straight. I get headaches. My stomach hurts. I can’t breathe. If there is such a thing as PTSD for writers, I would say I’m going through it now. Not as bad as before, but it’s still there.
In many ways, looking at what happened (which I will not write in detail here because it would be unfair to the parties involved) from the perspective of having pulled myself out of that mire, I’m glad for the experience. It made me the writer I am today. And hopefully, moving forward I will continue to grow because of it.
Of course, I still have my wobbly days. I still have moments when all I want is to curl up into a ball so small maybe I will disappear. But I made a deal with myself. Instead of writing a chapter a day, like I used to, I would write one scene. No more of the two thousand word requirement I’d placed on myself previously. Just one scene. From start to finish. No matter the word count. And I can honestly say that it’s been working very well for me. I’m slowly getting my groove and confidence back.
Another source of strength is the amazing people at Swoon Reads. My editor doesn’t know this, (maybe she will after this post goes live) but she pulled me out of a very deep despair caused by the trauma I suffered. She is so amazing that I slowly learned to trust in editors again. To trust that someone has the best interest of my work in mind. Someone who brings out the best in me as a writer. Who challenges and encourages me. And who isn’t afraid to tell me the truth. Someone who answers emails within a day or two after it’s sent no matter how busy life gets. That means so much to me.
So to say that being a writer for Swoon Reads saved my life is an understatement is actually an understatement. I don’t know where I would have ended up if No Love Allowed hadn’t been chosen as part of the third list. I’m proud to be a Swoon Reads author, and would continue to be as long as they would have me.
Another major change in my life was letting go of all my critique partners and beta readers. Like I mentioned above, I was in a very bad headspace creatively. I couldn’t stand reading someone else’s work when I couldn’t summon what used to come so naturally to me. Plus, I began to see that I couldn’t handle the pressure of having someone else read my work other than my editor. The trust issues I developed because of the trauma I suffered didn’t allow me to look at critiques objectively. So, as hard as it was to sever those connections, I did.
More than six months into 2015 I found myself adulting in a major way. I moved in to my own apartment. I became responsible for six cats. Sweetie came into my life at the right time. To say she saved me, made me a better person, is also an understatement. Really, I cannot express into proper words how dark a hole I was in.
Life started to get better in September. I was writing again. Editing my heart out. I started remembering once again why I love what I do. And I reaffirmed my commitment to bettering myself as a writer and as a person.
Currently, I’m finishing a new novel, which I’m super excited to start telling all of you about. I’m enjoying the simple things like cat kisses and catching up with my favorite TV shows. And I’ve finally embraced my body and my sense of worth.
With confidence I can report that I’m ending 2015 right and will definitely take 2016 by storm. I plan on hitting the ground running with two books coming out, the first of which will be in April. So no looking back. Forward and onward, my friends.
Thank you for your continued support. Not only of my work. Your presence in my life is a great comfort. Here’s to an amazing year to come!
Catch you on the flipside.
Happy New Year!