Looking Back & Looking Ahead

New Year's Eve 2015

This time of year is full of New Year resolutions that we start with such vigor and slowly watch them fade as the year drags us kicking and screaming along. My 2015 was full of transition and hard work. I worked my rear off (metaphorically, of course. Literally, it’s the same size it was last year). I worked a few different jobs trying to keep myself in the black, and trying to create opportunities where none existed before. I learned a lot. And now I find myself in a better position to take advantage of this yea of hard work, which is a really nice thing. A lot has happened.

  1. I finished my first novel, went through the editing process and pitched it to an agent who wanted to see the full manuscript. So far I’m not certain what will happen, but I’m cautiously optimistic and trying not to think too much about it as I know my success so far is a little atypical and I don’t want to get my hopes up.
  2. I completed 2.5 more semesters of college teaching and rediscovered my love of British literature and teaching in general. Even though I’ve absolutely needed the break for the holidays, I’m really enjoying my current teaching track and don’t want that to change!
  3. I’ve saved some money even though it’s been tight for us, and am grateful I’ve been able to do that. My husband started a new job that he really, really likes in September, but before that we were barely squeaking by. I may have contributed to that problem by leaving my soul sucking high school teaching job and teaching as an adjunct instead, but I’ve been working very hard to make up for it with my second job.
  4. I’ve come to better understand what I want out of life, and focused on how I can achieve it. In a vague way, I’ve always known what I’d like my life to look like, and most of my twenties involved a process of chipping away at other things to get to what I truly wanted. But now I’m clearer on the steps I need to take, and clearer on my ability to take them. I’m not letting anything stand in my way if I can figure out how to move it or go around it, and that is an empowering feeling.

So what’s next in 2016?

I have three goals tacked up on my bulletin board, and two of them I’m not quite ready to share. But the first one, the one I can start tackling immediately is this:

Focus on making writing (and writing related things) and teaching into full time jobs.

Each of these might end up being part time, but together would be full time, and because they feed into each other I see them as two halves of the whole career. I love the teaching I’m doing now, and I love the rush I get from working with students. But, I don’t know that I’d want to do it full time, and I don’t know that at this point I could anyway for reasons that aren’t really relevant.

As far as writing goes, it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do consistently, since I was about eight years old. Everything else has come and gone and writing has remained. So, I’m going to finally stop ignoring it and start giving it the focus it deserves. And in order to develop my marketability as a writer, I’m going to dive into learning about author platforms and how to use social media like I see some of my favorite authors doing. You might see a lot of that here in the next few months.

Because as a new writer I’ve been searching for someone to guide me, or show me how it’s done, I’m going to be keeping track of my social media progress on this blog, with tips from experts like Guy Kawasaki and others. I’ll explain what I get from their advice, and what my experience was like trying to implement it. I might screw up in embarrassing ways, but hopefully, I can be an example (good or bad!) for other new writers who are trying to learn their way in the deep waters of the web.

That’s all for me! Any resolutions or year end reflections you want to share? I’d love to know what went well or what you hope happens!

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