2018 has *got* to be different.

I’ve been sitting on this post for about two weeks now, and I’m just gonna go ahead and release it.

Back in January 2016, after just birthing a baby, I came back to the blog in full force, released my debut novel a month later, and I’ve trucked on blogging and releasing new bits & bobs just about every week since.

I also wrote three novellas, totaling into one great story, along with releasing my first poetry chapbook.

While doing so, I’ve read copious amounts of ARCs, reviewed titles for other great authors, and shared numerous deals and writerly trade shenanigans.

In short, I’ve done a lot in a little bit of time.

And honestly, I’m burned out.

I started writing two other novels, both of which were stories I fell in love with… but my reason for pushing forward in writing them became “that’s how you get paid/you must follow this release schedule/you must build your backlist/you must/you must/you must/’every author must'” instead of “I love writing and making stories, and I really want to tell this one.”

This really took a toll, both on my writing and myself.

I was beating myself up for not writing, but for all the wrong reasons. (Is there a right reason to beat yourself up? Hmm.)

The stories became distant things that never gained clarity, despite me putting on 30 different pairs of glasses. Despite me sitting down and trying to give them attention. I knew what I needed to do, but my hands fumbled and the puppets never moved.

“If you wanna release this next year for (all these reasons), you better write it.”

I grew distant from writing at all. This distance and atrophy spilled over into other areas of my life, muddying the vision of an already-anxious mind. And after some pretty serious personal life shakeups, it all screeched to a halt. I was (am) ruthless and relentless to myself. Spiritually, mentally, physically.

This is my attempt at breaking chains of my own making.

And so, 2018 has got to be a different kind of year for me. I’m not really a “resolutions” person, as that cheapens the value of what your goals are (when lumped into millions of other meaningless statements, mind you, not those who mean what they say), but I’d like to make a few declarations for the New Year:

* Read books you actually want to read.

* Write because you love to tell stories– or don’t write at all, if that’s what your spirit needs.

* Don’t be afraid to take mental health breaks. You aren’t a machine. Your feelings are valid, and you need to take time off.

* At some point, you added the dollar to your altar of worship; stop it. Sales soar and sales swoop- they are not you, they are not your totality, they are not the end (or continuance) of your existence. They do not define your worth as a person.

* Listen to yourself more.

I need to let myself breathe, heal, and deal. I may or may not be around much- “I’m either gone in an instant, or here ’til the bitter end- I never know.” I didn’t want to disappear without a word, because that’s just not what I like to do.

Feel free to grab a mantra and share it with me. Here’s my wish for you in the New Year: may your wishes come true, may your heart be fulfilled, and may your head never bow.

I’ll see you when I see you.

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