As a person, I sometimes read an article or see a picture and think, ‘So and so would like that.’ As an author, the same thing happens with my characters. Case in point, this lovely article making the rounds in the New York Times.
Grab the Kleenex (don’t say I didn’t warn you).
One of those weeks where I feel like I did everything and nothing…
23,048 number of words for The Queen of England 3: Rogue Nation (working title that I don’t particularly care for). I debated what to work on (The Queen of England #1 is more or less done, except I keep fiddling with parts of it because it doesn’t feel 100% complete, and the Queen #2’s first draft is also complete, so I kind of needed to work on something…)
- 1, number of Top 5 chefs in the world I met this week (now I just need to watch his episode of Chef’s Table).
- 1, boat show attended (well, really just the VIP section with free warm prosecco).
- 6, days in a row I’ve logged with MyFitnessPal (it was well past time to get serious about knocking off a few kgs).
- 15, days until I turn…
- 37, years of age (by the way, that sounds crazy old to me).
Off to Fujairah tomorrow while Hubs finished his next diving certificate. I’m ready for a chill, but am still epically behind on reviews from Bangkok, so I think it will be a matter of blogging from bed.
So, in my never-ending quest to promote and involve my books in various places, I signed up for Pronoun. The service tracks the rise of your books and the rank within your dedicated categories (something I really haven’t given additional thought to). In this instance, while I understand the service is trying to be helpful by suggesting alternate categories, the results gave me a reason to laugh.
The year is over, as is the wait.
I am out of Amazon jail and hope to remain that way (at least I can get the Queen published).
I don’t have super high hopes for what my inclusion back into KDP Select means or how it’s going to completely impact my sales, but I am glad that more readers will now have access to my books.
And on that note, I feel the correct celebration is one for my most recent protagonist, Liz, and the opening of the Museum of Ice Cream — a location she definitely would’ve visited in Los Angeles (well, when she wasn’t so comfortable tucked away at the Winchester).
If you want to know what I’ve been up to this week, I’ve been furiously formatting. It is definitely not as fun as it sounds. So. Much. Tab. Anyway, with the first draft 99% there, I’m happy with the changes between the rough draft and this one. I know some additional changes will need to take place, but at least the manuscript is now in a place where I can confidently share it with others.
- 2, invented countries in the Queen 2.
- 72,734, words. I came in more or less exactly where I thought this draft would finish. Yay goals!
- 10, years, since my first book was published. I look back fondly at the motivation levels I had for The Line. There was literally no avenue I wouldn’t try to promote it. Although I stopped counting, between sales and giveaways, I think in its lifetime that more then 10,000 copies are out in the world. That makes me happy.
- 5, dinners I have lined up next week in Bangkok. My liver might actually die. I’m not sure yet. I’m hopeful the clothes I’m packing will be forgiving.
So, it’s been a year since I left the corporate world and entered whatever world I am in now (which is weird and strange, but mostly awesome). In the past 365 days (give or take), I’ve accomplished quite a bit, but not without some frustrations and realizations along the way.
So, here, in no particular order, are some of the lessons I’ve learned:
- Be open to new friendships. With leaving a traditional office environment (and the various friends that came with it), other than Elena, I didn’t really have someone who was in the same ‘space’ that I was. Fortunately, in early April, I connected with Zoe, and haven’t looked back. We both tell each other (constantly) how different our lives would have been had our paths not crossed. It’s funny the impact one person can make in your life. (Of course, I’m still super bummed that potential friends Lindsey and Nate left before we could really spend time with them). There are plenty of other new pals, of course, and I never know where the next relationship is going to start.
- Keep up with old friends! Fortunately for me, covering new restaurants has allowed me a great excuse to take friends out to eat in Abu Dhabi. Not only that, the trip home last summer allowed me to catch up with some old friends. In today’s uncertain times, I value seeing others in my life who have many of the same values that I do, and are willing to stand up for them.
- Value time off. Honestly, it could be my inner introvert, but (usually) my most favorite days of the week are the ones where I don’t have any reason to leave the house, set the alarm, or put on makeup. It’s days like these when I get the most work done and I feel a bit stressed if I don’t include at least one ‘at home’ day during the week to keep up, catch up, and look ahead.
- There are going to be down times. I’ve gone through periods where I was in a reading slump, or an exercise slump (aka, not doing any), as well as a ‘why is everyone doing things and getting invited places but me’ slump. For the most part they didn’t last long, or I was able to just power through them. However, I recognize I can’t be firing on all cylinders all the time. Some days require a bit of mental health or self-care and that’s totes okay.
- Routines can be a good thing. For the most part, my week starts by doing food prep over the weekends with Hubs (so there’s at least some healthy food in the house), on Sundays, I’m off volunteering at K9 Friends. Mondays are usually my at home day and then I filter in reviews and appointments accordingly.
- Achievements are great, but not the only thing. While I have completed a book, I’m still not ready for it to be out in the world. Late in 2016, this fact was super bumming me out. I felt like I had let my past self down — the one who had all these ideas and thought she was going to be a bestseller by now — the one who hasn’t published a book since the summer of 2015. While it’s still a work in progress, every day I make peace with the fact that I’m at least moving forward on projects and that is enough for now.
- Always be hustling. While I had times where it felt like nothing was moving, I’ve been trying to get in the habit of researching and pitching restaurants and other venues I want to visit. Sometimes they pay off, and some never get a response. I’m hoping to translate some of this energy back to the Queen, once she comes along.
- Always drink water before going to bed (I really need to get on that train, especially when coming home in the 2AM hour).
Anyway, I’m looking forward to what lessons the next year will yield. I also need to figure out how to get paid more regularly…