I've been quieter this year than in years past, but I'm still around. Observing, reading a ton, and writing things with my whole heart, not trying to work as quickly as possible to turn out release after release as I've done in the past. Not to say that I'm not proud of every single book I've written, I am, but we all know the indie market is a little wacky right now.
I have a ton of thoughts and opinions on the saturation, type of work, etc... that is filling the indie romance market right now, but this post isn't about all that and in the words of my (anonymous) friend, who summed it up perfectly:
"I feel like the Emperor is stark-raving naked, but no one dares mention that he's not wearing clothes for fear of being cast out of the cool kids club."
When things feel so loud, and so forced and just...so...phony, it doesn't make you want to be a part of it, you know? Even if it's just stepping away for short term breaks here and there in favor of more face-to-face interaction, more organic relationships, more authenticity. I realized that I could in no way change the way the market is, the way other authors are behaving, etc., I could only change my way of doing things. For me, that meant stepping away from social media so that I didn't scroll through my newsfeed and roll my eyes so hard that they'd fall out of my head someday. (Ha. Kidding. Sort of.) But truly, sometimes when things are just too loud, I need to step away for a while.
So I guess that's where I've been. 2015 was a year of re-grounding myself and getting back to basics. The whole, "remember why you started" bit. It was a happy year! Just a quieter one. :)
Here's what 2015 looked like for me:
I only attended one signing in 2015, but it was fantastic! I loved being close to home (it was in New Orleans) and it was the week of my 15th wedding anniversary, so the hubs and I got to spend a weekend in a city that is very near and dear to our hearts. (Our youngest, Britta had open heart surgery at Children's Hospital of New Orleans so we lived in the city for a couple of months during that time.) I was finally able to meet Autumn Doughton and Melissa Perea, and so many others. It was a great trip full of great food (as always) and great company!
|Me & Autumn!|
|Melissa & I|
My kiddos and I spent a couple of months in California, where I'm from. My best, Liz Reinhardt and her daughter even flew out for a couple of weeks and we took the kids to the Sequoias, to the Getty, ate too much and laughed all night long. It was exactly what a summer should be for us all. :)
My husband and I flew to Chicago for a night to see my all-time fav, Damien Rice. He was phenomenal and it was so worth the trip. We had dinner at Girl & the Goat and it was legit one of the best meals of my life. If you're ever in Chicago, definitely add it to your list.
|My hubs gives good beard.|
|He barely tolerates me. ;)|
I took a solo road trip to Georgia to visit my best, Liz. I listened to music too loud and audio books and drank too much Red Bull. It was a perfect drive, and just what I needed to clear my head. I hung with Liz and her fam for a few days, then dragged her along for a secondary trip to Washington, DC. Luckily, she's a good sport! :) (We visited the National Gallery, cause we can't go to any city without a museum trip!)
I also took a trip to New York City. The trip was twofold. One part, was to research for a book I had been outlining/dreaming of writing for over two years. A large portion of the book takes place in a museum, so, once again, Liz and I did what we do best together and hit up another museum. ;) This time, The Met.
The second part of my NYC trip was to visit with other close author friends, and attend a once-in-a-lifetime event, a private screening of Fifty Shades generously put together by our friend, Erika.
|(L-R) Elizabeth Hunter, Elizabeth Reyes, Me, Liz Reinhart|
Me, Tracey Garvis-Graves, Michelle Scott
Me, Tracey Garvis-Graves
Me, Liz Reinhardt, Tina Reber
|(L-R) E.L. James,|
E.L. James + me
Me, Tracey Garvis-Graves, Michelle Scott + Elizabeth Reyes
Liz Reinhardt, Me
I worked on other things that will likely never see the light of day, but it was important to work through them anyway. I wrote nonsense. I wrote out of genre. I just wrote for the joy of writing again. I can honestly say that I am in a better place writing wise than I have been in a long time. :)
I was social in ways that felt true to me.
Mostly on Instagram, and also on Wattpad, where I put 3 of my books up in their entirety this year. (side note: My Fate for Yours has nearly 2.5 million reads so far! Very thankful for readers taking the time to read The Crawford series!)
I read. (obviously)
Here's some of my favs from the year:
I binge watched:
and this was my fav movie of the year:
I hung with my gorgeous kiddos,
I home schooled them, traveled with them, laughed with them (and the hubs, too) ;) We went to concerts, National Parks, (my oldest son had an emergency appendectomy, that wasn't so fun). My husband's company transferred us and we moved to a new state...
This year was all about reflection.
About starting fresh.
About finding my true, authentic self again.
There were a couple of years there where I was afraid to leave my office because I felt like I needed to be working, to be writing round the clock. And writing is important and I'll never stop doing it, but all of these experiences are important, too.
As writers, finding your true voice, experiencing new things so that you can bring them to your writing--those things are invaluable. Those things make you a better writer. Not how often you blog, how many Facebook "friends" you have, or how many selfies you put on Insta. So if you feel like those things are forced, maybe it's time to step back. Do what feels true to you.
The point of all of this is that in 2015, I LIVED.
I got out from behind my computer and really lived. I soaked up all of the moments--the stressful ones, the ones where I laughed so hard I cried, the ones where I was scared and wasn't sure what to do to fix things, the ones where I felt so much love my heart felt strained. I allowed myself to write slowly, with more care and heart than ever before.
I was fully present and felt things wholly and acutely.
I did normal things. Nothing newsworthy, but no less important.
So, no, I didn't release a new book this year; I didn't attend a pile of signings or voice my every thought on social media.
I just lived.
I hope you are too.