WOW. What. A. Year. There’s really no way else I can put it. At the end of last year, I thought I’d take a gap year—because I had no idea what the hell I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I still don’t (aside from always, always wanting to make being a published author into a full-time career), but I’m not as panicked about it as I was then. So, I did. And I’m very glad I took this year (somewhat) off; it gave me the chance to take a step back, think, relax. During the year, though, I did have those moments where I thought, “What on earth am I doing with my life? Am I doing enough?” Then I thought about it, and hey, this year has been really, really productive when I put it all down on paper.
I signed a contract with Sourcebooks for my debut novel.
For me, this was The Thing of 2015—something that when I think about it, still doesn’t feel quite real. I’ve dreamed of having a novel I’ve written on shelves since I was eleven or so, and now it’s actually happening!? Crazy.
I revised said novel again and again until it was the best I could possibly make it.
FRAYED was a challenging novel for me to revise, largely due to the fact that despite my love for psychological mystery/thrillers, contemporaries are HARD for me to write. Fantasy and science fiction will forever be my one true love. In saying that, FRAYED went through many changes that made it a stronger, better novel. (For which I am very, VERY excited for people to read.)
I travelled over-freaking-seas to the UK for almost a month.
I saw things I’d been dreaming of seeing for so long. We travelled from England to Scotland to Wales—then back to London again before we left. Scotland was, hands down, my favourite, FAVOURITE place. Such gorgeous mountains and mist and the medieval-styled towns (and cities—Edinburgh was gorgeous) that were so novel-inspiring. (Especially Glencoe.)
I applied for university in 2016.
This was a scary, scary thing for me. I still don’t know if I’ll get accepted, but I’ve sent in my applications, chosen my units for the first semester . . . and if all goes well, I’ll start February of next year. I literally have NO idea where university will take me—but I’m looking forward to finding out.
I made an effort to do things for me.
My last year of school was stressful. I studied hard, did well, and in the end, I felt like I really did deserve some time for myself—without having to worry about handing in assignments and studying for exams, exams, and more exams. I read a lot, played some video games (which I’d been meaning to for ages), and let myself focus on me a little more.
On the blog…
Blogging-wise, I felt like I FAILED MISERABLY. Compared to last year I barely blogged, so next year I plan on making a pointed effort to draft, edit, and schedule posts beforehand to keep on top of everything. Also, THANK YOU SO, SO much to everyone who’s commented, liked, and followed my blog this year. In particular, these epic people who’ve been my most active commenters in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, my most popular post this year was when I announced FRAYED was being published; thank you, thank you thank you for your support.
BE A LITTLE BRAVER.
Talk to more people. Write more daringly. Do more things that scare me. Next year won’t be easy, that’s for sure, but the best things in life usually aren’t.
If you’d told me this time last year if a) I would have signed a publishing contract b) revised a novel c) applied for university and d) travelled overseas, I don’t think I would have believed you. So, yes, it might be difficult—but it’s not impossible. Anything, I think, is possible, if you don’t give up.
So next year, I want to keep up that attitude.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF.
This is a biiiig one for me. I put a lot of pressure on myself; I’m constantly pushing myself to be better, be more. That in itself isn’t a bad thing—but it is when it leads to self-hate and that feeling of never being good enough. So, yes, I’ll continue to push myself—both in my writing and my life in general—but I won’t hate myself if I don’t achieve the goals I feel like I should be achieving.
DON’T LET THAT SELF-DOUBT RULE YOU.
EVERY writer has self-doubt. Which, in a way, is a good thing. It means you care about your work. But then there are those times where self-doubt becomes so crippling you find yourself unable to write. You’ll start thinking, “What if I’m a terrible writer? Can I even really do this?” And soon enough you’ll start believing that—which is absolutely not true. FRAYED is coming out next year, and I’m absolutely filled with self-doubt and fear (I have a more in-depth post about this coming early next year), so whenever I feel the self-doubt beginning to rule me, I tell myself this:
- Take. A. Deep. Breath.
- You’ve done the best you can. FRAYED is the best you can make it.
- Whatever happens from now on out is completely out of my control. I literally have no idea how well—or not well—FRAYED will be received, and how much it’ll sell. That’s not up to me.
That’s what I’m aiming for in 2016. What are your goals for next year?