The Bright Side

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So…it’s been awhile.

I know at the beginning of January, I had all of the intentions of posting weekly, but I started a new position at my job that quickly deterred me from a lot in life (and ate up almost all of my free time). It’s not glamorous in any way, and more often than not, I’m left exhausted and angry at the end of the night.

Let’s just say that 2019 isn’t exactly turning out to be the year of my dreams.

If anything, I’m quickly realizing that this might be the year that challenges me, that will continuously ask me how far I’m willing to go and how much I’m willing to sacrifice to achieve these dreams.

I’ve been holding onto a lot of rejection lately, which has led to a lot of dissatisfaction about my current place in life. After feeling incredible about the interview I had with a publishing house in New York, I ultimately didn’t land the job. The last agent who had the full draft of my last book didn’t want it. These were two things that could have changed the trajectory of my life. (I should be clear to point out that all I really want right now is some form of stability, which only one of these could have truly offered. I’m well aware of how competitive the publishing field is and I’m so grateful for these opportunities.)

Anyway, it felt very much like the publishing world wanted nothing I had to offer.

Admittedly, there was a lot of anger and frustration and many tears because these are things I’ve wanted since I was a child. Things that I have spent more money than I will ever have in order to be educated to increase my chances, to have internships, to have spent time writing, to buy books. Things I had romanticized as an escape from this very present stuck feeling that I cannot shake no matter how hard I try.

I am ridiculously hard on myself. Failure is a word that makes me deeply uncomfortable, but I have always gotten back up. Sometimes, I just power through it and suppress any and all emotions until fate brings them rising to the surface and I have no choice but to confront them.

So, this time, I tried to deal with it. I felt it all. I spent the Friday evening that both rejections landed in my inbox at home alone. I read my book, pretended it didn’t hurt, dug the knife in deeper by telling myself I’d never get my foot in the publishing world door and that I wasn’t good enough to be an editorial assistant or an author anyway. I watched too many episodes of Bob’s Burgers and cried through the funny parts (because losing out on both opportunities felt like going through a break up), and then I took a bath and went to bed.

It’s been about a week now, and I feel a little better. I talked to a friend about it, someone who has always been upfront with me, whether it was about my manuscript or life. She told me about a friend of hers that made her realize writing/publishing could be a career. But this friend ended up taking every rejection very personally and just gave up.

That’s something I refuse to do. Even when I feel I’m at my worst, at my lowest, I will always try to stand back up. It might take some time, but I’ve learned through the years of rejections arriving in my inbox that this is proof that I’m trying. And, yes, it’s extremely hard to look on the bright side when you feel further from achieving your dreams than ever before. But isn’t it worse to just walk away? To not keep trying?

Because in the publishing world, all it really takes is one yes.

And it was that alone that made me sit back up. Yesterday marked the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve been sitting on a third of a draft for some time, but have hardly written anything in months. But I woke up yesterday morning with one thing on my mind:

it is time to begin again.

Hi, Hello, Happy 2019

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At the end of every year, I like to sit down and make lists: one for the lessons I learned that year, and the goals I’d like to accomplish in the following. It’s a great moment of reflection for me. In the making of the lists, I tend to uncover something I hadn’t noticed during the year. Like the changes I went through, the way I see myself now, the friends I lost along the way, how necessary almost all things are.

This year had a lot to do with rejection. In my personal life and in my creative life, I faced rejection. I began 2018 letting things hurt, really focusing too hard on things I couldn’t change when it came to partners and love and myself. I learned that I couldn’t make anyone stay. And it wasn’t worth changing myself to do so.

Creatively, I did a lot. I wrote ten drafts of a book I wrote for myself. I read more widely than other years. I studied the market. I let my closest friends read my book. I queried when I was afraid to. I applied for Pitch Wars. Out of the handful of agents I queried, two asked for the full. It was one of the most vulnerable things I’d ever done. And, in the end, being rejected stung. It hurt more than I can really put into words, but it’s all part of the process, of becoming a better writer.

None of those moments were fun. Sometimes, reflecting isn’t either. It’s so easy to get lost in nostalgia, and that often leads to acknowledging the uncomfortable, painful moments that led to the realization. Growth is never easy, that much I know for sure.

So, this year, when I sat down to do my yearly reflection, I wasn’t sure what I’d find. In many ways, 2018 was a quiet year. Quiet but overwhelming. Loud and painful. There were so many moments I dreaded before they ever began, and so many I still wish would have never ended. In the end, I’m thankful for the good and the bad, because I grew due to both.

Here we are, the beginning of 2019. I have big hopes and dreams, but also broad goals that don’t necessarily require accomplishment. They simply require my effort. I’m still learning to not be so hard on myself, for the inevitable times when I will not live up to my own expectations, when perfection cannot fit into my vocabulary.

In 2019, I don’t want to simply be more productive. I want to thrive in creativity. I want to enjoy the process of drafting again. I want to fall back in love with writing. And that’s why I’ve been so absent on my little corner of the internet. I haven’t enjoyed writing in a a long time. Heck, these days, even writing an Instagram caption is too stressful.

I know that January 1st is just another day. For the most part, we’re all still the same person as we were before the clock struck midnight. But I can’t deny that I love the idea of a clean slate. Of the opportunity to continuously reinvent myself, my craft, this life of mine.

So here’s to a year of creativity, to falling in love with whatever and whoever, to pushing myself, and to practicing more self-care when necessary. I hope that you thrive in 2019, that you aren’t too hard on yourself and that you spend your days doing what you love.

What are your goals for 2019?