I Wrote a Book Last Year, and This is How it Happened

Happy 2019, everyone!

2018 was a hell of a year for me. I left my full-time job and ventured out to find greater joys in life. In doing so, I learned so much about the importance of taking risks for the sake of your own happiness.

pen calendar to do checklist
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In my blog post about a year ago, My secret for a successful 2018, I wrote about my goals for 2018. This was my way of truly committing to my goals. I wrote them down, said them out loud, told my friends and family. Anything that I thought would make my goals feel more real. And you know what I thought about every time I wanted to give up? That blog post I published for the whole internet to see (regardless of the small number of people who actually read it, but that’s beside the point). In my mind, I set it in stone. I locked it in.

Guess what? I accomplished BOTH goals I declared in that blog post. I attended the writing workshop I wrote about in November, and I wrote the damn book.

And my God, does it feel awesome.

These two goals were not easy. They challenged me more than I could have imagined. The writing workshop was the first goal I started by signing up in February. When I arrived home after the workshop in November, I was so happy I did it! I learned a LOT and even made a friend. I learned more about what it means to surround myself with other writers.

abstract black and white blur book
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Now, the draft of this manuscript–the bane of my existence the entire year. I started writing it in February, which began the emotional roller coaster relationship it turned into. When I left my full-time job in April and began full-time waitressing while simultaneously job searching, I felt like I was actually working two full-time jobs. This put my book on the back burner. In doing so, I lost focus of my 2018 goal I was so excited and passionate about four months prior. Every now and then I would come back to it and write a couple hundred words as an escape from the job searching and a break from work. But as the year went on and the interview rejections continued to come at me full force, I spiraled into full panic mode as I continued my job search. This was a bad time for me.

I met my friend, also a fellow writer, for lunch in early July. I told her about my stress with the job search and how I had completely fallen off of my track to writing my book. As a friend and a writer, she instilled the confidence in me that I could still make it happen, that I still had six months left of the year to finish it. That it was important and not some silly goal I had made up earlier that year. I am forever grateful for that lunch date.

So, I circled back to my deserted manuscript. Amid the job applications, interviews, networking, late nights waiting tables….I wrote. I was tired, SO tired. Physically, mentally, spiritually. I was frustrated, depressed even. This job search thing is no joke. But through it all, I kept pushing out all the words I could get myself to write as often as I could. Every little bit counted.

It was early November that I did some simple math to learn that I needed to write around 35,000 more words to complete my manuscript. This was not going to be easy. For extra motivation, I made a bet with my boyfriend. He had a goal to build a kitchen island, and I had my goal of finishing my manuscript. Challenge accepted.

book tweetWe both accomplished our goal on New Year’s Eve.

How did I do it? What is the secret? I just wrote. Every day I wrote at the same time in the morning, about an hour and a half, until I hit 1000 words. I just focused on getting words on the page. No minding grammar, sentence structure, or editing anything. Just. Getting. Words. On. The. Page.

Writing a book is very possible. If this is something you want to do, you can do it. If it’s something you really want to do, you will find a way to do it, and it will feel AWESOME. We may feel like life gets in the way, that we are too busy–ugh, I hate that word. We’re not too busy to give attention to things we care about, whether it’s visiting friends, calling a family member, or yes, writing. You can do it.

Now for 2019. I am now working in my new role I accepted in November and I am laser-focused on my new goals. To carry on the tradition of publicly declaring my goals, here they are:

  1. Begin the second round of edits of my manuscript.
  2. Write another book.
  3. Read the entire Harry Potter series.
art business close up decor
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I’m embarrassed to say that I never made it past the fourth Harry Potter book, but this year, I finally will! This year will be dedicated to all of the writing and reading that I can possibly do. I am confident now that I can also complete another manuscript draft–I became much better at a daily 1,000 word count by December, so I know I can knock out another one in at least two to three months.

My goals this year will not be easy to accomplish. But that’s the point; I’m not looking for easy. I’m looking to grow.

I will leave you with one quote from Rachel Hollis in her book, Girl, Wash Your Face, that I read in 2018 that served as one major source of inspiration:

“And on the days that seem the hardest, you’ll remember that–by an inch or a mile–forward momentum is the only requirement.”

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