5 Essential Lessons I Learned as an Author in 2017
There were no shortage of lessons to be learned in 2017. I did my best to gleam all I needed from every blessing, every heartache, and every single dream I postponed. From those critical experiences came some very important lessons. Here are a few that I carry with me into 2018
Self-care must come First.
I’m an author to my core. What I love above most other experiences is sitting down to write. Even when my fingers don’t dance over the keys in the ways that I want them too, I feel a sense of amazement at being able to do what I love and make a living. However, some times I go to far.
My work is important, but so is the family that I’ve been blessed to come to have. There is hardly if ever a dull day in my house, and not one day is completely empty. In my attempts to meet all the demands of my life, I sometimes take things to far.
On one such occasion what started as a three day break from all things writing and business related turned into a two week rest and recoup. From headaches to extreme exhaustion my body was on the verge of breakdown. My husband; had been asking that I take a few days off. When I took my weekend, he took a few days of his week and he made me sit down.
There are no words to explain how grateful I am for his insistence. Had he not, I likely would have pushed myself further and ended up needed more than just a little rest. My career is a driving force in my life, but that it is not the only force. If I am going to continue to be the mother that I’ve always wanted to be and have the life that I wanted to have, then I have to take care of my body. I have to eat well, sleep adequately, and work within reason. It means I will have to be more realistic with my deadlines, but I will be here and I will be healthy.
Get Organized, and then Get On With It.
I’m multi-passionate. That is to say that writing is my first love, but not my only love. I’m never working on just one thing.
Working on several passions at a time isn’t always a bad thing. It is always a balancing act. Deciding what is priority and what can be pushed aside is a daily battle. For years, I was the woman who would just wing it. There was always a running list of things I needed to do, but no plan as to how they would be addressed.
It only took my third child to realize I couldn’t live that way any longer.
Now, I plan everything. My to-do list is still nearly endless, but it is not as fluid as before. By organizing my needs, and planning I’ve taken the guess work out of what needs to be done and when. It fills me with pride to get through my daily list and removes some of the anxiety I have about not getting things “the right” things done.
It is a simple task to write to-do list or otherwise plan my week, but it is not a trivial one. The organization helps me to keep my life in order and ensures that I am making time for my needs.
One thing I regret from 2017 is that in the hustle of my life I lost the rhythm of keeping up with my blog and my Instagram posts. Several times I went back to the beginning and tried to pick up where I left off. After all, I knew I was taking time off for my darlings birth, but I had no idea how difficult it would be for me to get back to my norm. Life is fuller with three littles. It’s busier too. It’s more exhausting and definitely more expensive. I had to shift, but when it was time to come back I didn’t have the energy.
I needed to build a following, but found it even more difficult to connect. The introvert in me didn’t know where to start the conversation. The author in me obsessed over who was reading my books and how to reach out to them. I wanted to express my gratitude, but I didn’t know how to say thank you to people I couldn’t speak too.
Ultimately, I lost a few readers. I lost a lot of momentum, but I gained a new understanding of what it takes to get the job done. I’m learning to simplify. I’m narrowing down what platforms I use and how. I’ll be updating all of my social media accordingly and working harder to regain those connections.
With a new plan in place, It is already easier for me to reset. My littles are all a bit older now. They don’t like it that I steal away to work, but they tolerate it. I tolerate it too. If there was some way I could work with a little on each knee and the other strapped to me I would go for it. However, they’d never sit that long. 🙂
I remind myself I am a professional. Writing is not simply a hobby for me anymore. I have to stay diligent. I have to continue to work when I am tired and frustrated and emotionally spent. I work my balance, I schedule as much as I can, and I remain on task. I won’t let fluctuation in my day to day deter my plans for my career or my beloved family.
Do not wallow in mistakes made.
If you’ve been following along in my blog, you know that I have some major mistakes made in my publishing of The Alpha’s Dream. My biggest was with editing.
I have to admit, It’s a problem I still haven’t fixed.
The thing is, my nature is to become really influenced by problems I can’t resolve quickly. I hate that everyday more readers are exposed to the failings my debut work. I love the book. I hate that I didn’t do it justice with a great edit. I owe the characters at least that much.
That being said, I can’t continue to dwell on it. I will fix it. When I can, I will devote every minute it deserves to polishing it up perfectly. There are some things I know I need to tweak and now that I’ve found an editor I trust with the work I look forward to improving on it further. I can’t let every thought about it suffocate under the heaviness of what I should have done to begin with. There is a difference between taking ownership of my mistakes and being owned by my mistakes.
I do the best I can with what I have. The mistakes I make have to be addressed in a manner that doesn’t truncate the work that still has to be done. I in order to protect the balance, I have to remind myself to do what I can when I can.
Own your joy.
I am happy. I am not ignorance is bliss happy, but I am happy. I work hard. My darlings are thriving. My husband and I are still making it. Our needs are met. There are things I want to enrich our lives. Their are still moments I wish had gone differently, but what is true above all else is that I am happy.
I love this little life I live.
I love that no matter how rough the patches we get through it. We are thriving. It is sometimes hard to see that. There are days that I can’t see past the heartache in front of me. It is easiest to own the regret. The joy however takes a little work.
I’m vowing to do whatever it takes to keep the joy in the forefront of my mind. I have much to be thankful for and my gratitude is boundless. This is my happiness. I am living a life that I only dreamed possible. It is imperfect, but it is mine. I have to own that. The same way I own my failures, I have to won my joy.
What about you? What lessons did 2017 teach? comment below.