As the year comes to a close, it’s an opportune time to reflect back on the year; to magnify the wins and take the losses on the chin.
I started off with the intention to broaden my client base. 2015 was my year to expand; to spread my wings and explore other fields of writing.
I attracted some new corporate clients through LinkedIn, which then translated into word of mouth referral for more clients. I had a steady income stream which complemented my freelance feature writing. I was making headway, finally!
I braved cold-calling editors, and had one editor kindly pick up multiple stories. I was largely ignored by the other editors I approached.
There was a job offer from the UK that although exciting, couldn’t offer competitive rates so alas I turned it down.
A NOVEL PATH
I was “discovered” and approached by a large publishing house and followed an unexpected road to the world of fiction writing. I was going to be a novelist! Until I wasn’t. The dream was big, the obstacles were bigger. For this year, anyway.
Temporarily discouraged by rejection, I bunkered down and licked my wounded ego.
There were many lessons from 2015.
Being brave was the first. Jumping in the deep end of an icy cold pool, headfirst was never going to be inviting but it was definitely invigorating. Approaching industry colleagues and confidently presenting my case was well-received by those who chose to respond. And I had to just accept the ones who didn’t were the ones losing out.
Dreaming big had its perils. Letting myself think the big kahuna – my novel being published – could actually happen, put a buoyant skip in my step. When it didn’t go to plan, I dragged my feet.
You can’t dream big, be brave and be noticed unless you are willing to offer something unique. I confirmed to myself that I could be anything as long as it wasn’t beige.
And to be original meant I had to play my own game and be confident that my voice was strong enough to stand out. Throughout that process, I realised I was overthinking everything and it was time to get out of my own way.
I learnt there is value in setting the bar high, for myself and for my clients. Achieving excellence doesn’t come for free, yet within an industry that is notoriously undervalued, where I am often approached to write for nothing, I took a stand and said no. “Freelance” doesn’t mean I write for free.
Most of all, I learnt to be thankful for the opportunities, even if they didn’t follow the route I was expecting, leading me to the land of Oz (where my dream home stands atop a plateau with a view to die for, surrounded by lots of flat land for my children to kick a ball).
It will be the first year all my children are at school. I will have five days to write, if I so choose. So shall I plan, set goals and work like a dog until I achieve them? Or will I sleep off the accumulated exhaustion of the first 12 years of parenting in preparation for the next 12 that will no doubt serve up their own challenges? Maybe I shall meander through the dandelions until I hear my next opportunity quietly whistling in the wind (all the while feeding my family on 2-minute noodles).
All I know is that I WILL finish the damn novel. Then I’ll go about the skin-toughening task of making someone believe in it as much as I do.
Merry Christmas to all. May you reflect on your own year, retrospective wins and losses, and recharge over the new year.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I also found my dream advent calendar through Hachette Aus Books @HachetteAus. Maybe my book will be in their 2016 list to unwrap?