Hello my dearest friends and Happy New Year! It’s not only the start of a new year which means fresh starts, new beginnings, and continuations of good habits (or stopping bad ones), but it’s also the start of a new decade. And! It’s the 20’s all over again! Which, as I reflect, this new era of the 20’s is already looking a lot like the 1920’s version: “The 1920s was the first decade to have a nickname: “Roaring 20s" or "Jazz Age." It was a decade of prosperity and dissipation, and of jazz bands, bootleggers, raccoon coats, bathtub gin, flappers, flagpole sitters, and marathon dancers. It was, in the popular view, when the younger generation rebelled against traditional taboos while their elders engaged in an orgy of speculation. But the 1920s was also a decade of bitter cultural conflicts, pitting religious liberals against fundamentalists, nativists against immigrants, and rural provincials against urban cosmopolitans.” - Digital History
This gives me pause, and cause for reflection. Not just at a societal level but also on a personal one. This year, I too am rebelling against the “traditional taboo” and will be self-publishing my next fantasy series, and not because I think it’s unworthy of a traditional publishing house, but because I DO think it’s worthy. I DO love my story, and I don’t want to wait years and years for someone else’s validation in order to release it. Traditionally publishing is marvelous, or it can be, but it’s also so focused on market trends, of what’s easiest for someone to sell, or who had the money to hire a writing coach in order to perfect that query letter so an intern would pass it on to their boss. That came out more bitter than I intended, I’m honestly not, I am merely stating a reality. But self-publishing is a monumental step for me personally, because it is something that terrifies me, and not because of all the hard work it’ll be (which it will, but it’s worth it) but because this year I need to start seeing my own self-worth.
As I look back at the last year, and the last ten, I have done some pretty incredible things: I switched jobs and careers (twice), I got married, I moved cross country (twice), I bought and sold a house, I adopted 3 adorable fur babies, I welcomed two new family members into the world, I graduated college AND got my Master's degree, I traveled to some incredible places around the US and the world, I attended the wedding of my good friends, and my completed first series was published alongside 3 short stories. But I didn’t give myself permission to celebrate my personal accomplishments within those experiences. I made excuses as to why it wasn’t a big deal. I offered apologies when someone gave me praise, never excepting that what I did was good, or good enough. I’ve been working hard on fixing that, and looking back on my year and decade (the last year alone I published 2 books and 2 short stories) and how little permission I gave myself to be proud of what I built… it makes me genuinely sad.
I am always surprised when people say they like my books, my characters, my worlds, and I am going to stop that. I always want to remain humble, because it’s utterly magical when a reader messages me to yell at me for breaking their heart, or doing a thing that made their night when reading my words, but I am going to try harder to believe that praise, to accept it, and to embrace the idea that I am, indeed, worthy of it. That I should fight and protect the space I occupy, and demand that I be allowed as much room as I need. That my body, my face, my talent, my humor, and my inability to go more than two sentences without swearing is, in fact, good enough. It’s hard, it won’t happen overnight or maybe even this year, but this decade, certainly. That’s why my goal of self-publishing this year is such a personal one for me. I am taking up my space, I am not waiting for someone else to tell me I am worthy of being heard. I am going to be the master of my own prosperity.
I hope you, too, feel no shame in taking up your space. I hope you live boldly and courageously this year and beyond. I hope you stick with me as I bring you new worlds and characters to explore and meet. I am still floored that people like (and love) what I create, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that support. I can’t wait to share more with you for many, many years to come!