As this year comes to a close, I have been taking the month to reflect on how life has changed and what I want out of new goals in 2019. With a lot of consideration, journaling, talk and thought...I'm ready to journey into a whole new direction!
Been A Long Time Coming
After five great years of pushing myself as a romance author in the published world online, I have come to see that my ultimate goal for this part of my journey has been accomplished.
I was able to create a work that was commercially viable to the public, was offered worldwide and was purchased by total strangers I did not know and enjoyed. Yes, crazy enough, I did not get into this to become rich and famous. I wanted to show myself that I could write something solid that had value to a person - without me coercing them in any way to purchase it or read it.
I dusted off 'The Early Bird Cafe' as my son was a newborn and I was challenged with my identity evolving. I wanted this to be a part of my day that was for me, so that I could keep my multi-faceted self going. Too many shut down and turn into 'just' one facet of themselves at times...and I did NOT want that.
And boy did that debut novel keep me busy!
Just landing a publisher helped me gain the inner-confidence to present my work to the world - a huge accomplishment in and of itself. No matter what others had said to me in the past, I proved to myself that it was possible for me to make a difference in the world with my art. Maybe not make a difference throughout the ENTIRE world, but the entire world was not my goal.
I enjoyed radio interviews, I was on my local TV station, I gained a supportive Twitter following, I won writing contests and was featured in over 80 articles through various publications. My book sold, got heartfelt reviews from strangers and I developed a new network of writers around me who helped me hone my craft.
The past five years have truly been amazing.
Now, as motherhood approaches again, I reflect on the year ending and see that, this time, I really want to take my creative self in a new direction. (Boy, is March fast approaching our family!)
After an honest talk with myself, I see that my efforts in the published world are now not going to deliver what I need. And, when it comes to the world of romance writing, friends of mine like Dani Collins, who can crank out 6-9 winning titles a YEAR are always going to be more attractive to a hungry market that this mom is.
And that is okay!
So, how did I get so caught up in feeling compelled to make such an effort to turn my hobby into a 'side gig'? Originally, all I wanted to do was have fun and make a personal point for my own sake. But with the versatility of the internet, learning about my options in the published arena opened too many possibilities to resist.
Before I knew it, I was years deep into newsletter schedules, interviews, giveaways, and monitoring SEO and analytics - more than I thought possible! It was fun, yet exhausting. Monitoring the marketing of a brand was a lot more than my creative spirit had bargained for.
Seems that, in today's world, it's not as fashionable to 'play' as an adult as it is to become an entrepreneur who has found a way to make money at their passion.
Look at artists that branch out into fashion or makeup. Look at movie stars that start foundations or businesses helping their community. Politicians find all sorts of ways to cultivate their talents into a benefit with definite structure.
Kids play. Adults hustle.
And the hustle no longer aligns with my new creative goals...
Declaration To Myself
My new goal going forward is to create stories for me, as a hobby, because it makes me happy.
I see how the stressing over keywords and SEO and ROI and schedules and deadlines and submissions has taken all of the joy out of my creative outlet.
I see how important it is for me, as a person, to have a creative outlet that is free to flow. With all I have proven to myself, I now want to expand and build on the confidence that my two romances have brought to me.
I want to write blogs for me filled with inspiration that I need to hear and convey as I continue on this path of growth. If those blogs touch your heart and help you along the way, then I'm excited to see that happen!
I want to write the stories that are burning inside of me, regardless of genre. I have characters, such as the upcoming Mr. Marcus Statler, who have quite the story to tell! And I need to stay true to myself on that and remember that it is okay to venture away from the formula of 'romance writer' to remain creatively true to myself.
To stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and make my creative self a priority is thrilling. It is ingrained in me to make everyone proud, yet I see that, in putting myself first as a priority will accomplish that. It is a change I'm excited to make.
I want to build this growing confidence in my self so that both my babies will be able to see it shining forth, and see that I am embracing it proudly. Too many go on being ashamed or embarrassed with who they are, and I did that to myself for many years.
I am a quirky creative, young in spirit, who loves having fun. And whether that is coloring, writing, creating websites or jewelry, I want to be doing more of it. And that involves permission.
This 2019 goal is granting me that permission!
Declare A New Direction For Yourself
What are you looking for, creatively, in the coming year?
Do you wish you would allow yourself more time to sit and play? Build with legos? Write with colored pencils? Mold with play-doh? Is it really all that silly to think those things off limits just because we have grown biologically?
Consider freeing yourself this year and aligning the biological with the spirit inside. We only get to live this life once. Dishes and laundry will always need attention at some point. Bills and work are always there.
So is a person inside of you wanting to create and have fun!
If you are secretly craving this yet afraid to take the leap, at least stop back to the blog and pick up the newsletter in the new year and peek in on me as I embark on this new direction. I hope to inspire you and keep you excited about future possibilities!
What are your resolutions?
Do they align with who you truly are inside?
How can you honor your true inner self more today?
I hope you will share - tweet me @aully1.