2017 was an unbelievable year, a self-induced jolt after a good 2016 and a rocky 2015.
Looking back, I spent most of 2015 heads down in work. I was acclimating to life in the Bay Area and processing a break-up. I had started a novel while living in New York and made the call that year to finish it. I hired a life coach to get organized, and together we created spreadsheets. Many, many spreadsheets – mostly to track my time and to measure my writing process.
I started taking better care of myself and built a stable base to operate from. Not that my life was in shambles before all of this happened, but it sure helped to get some focus.
In early 2016, my writing system was in place and running at full speed. I began dating someone with the unusual accessory of ten housemates. They all lived together in an old Victorian house in the heart of the Haight.
Despite my particularities I grew to be very happy spending time there, especially when I got laid off from my job that summer. A few months after that, my marketing consultancy was launched from the kitchen table of that San Francisco commune.
Starting with a bang
One of the best days of my life was the day of Women’s March 2017. I had been working on creating stronger relationships with other women and the march felt like the epitome of that bond. Of many things I am most grateful for female friendships, even if I am notoriously a low-maintenance friend or the lesser-seen INTJ of the bunch.
In February I joined an all-female accountability group and led a bi-weekly mastermind. I met my amazing boyfriend at a BBQ in the Mission, and we’ll be celebrating our one-year anniversary soon.
In March, thanks to the encouragement of my accountability group, I traveled to Japan. I lived in Tokyo’s Akasaka neighborhood for the month where I worked on my freelance business during the day and explored the city at night. I was still working on my novel, and at that point began to see the finish line.
After the novel
Three years after starting, I finally emerged holding an eighty-two thousand word tome high in my hands.
After finishing the last sentence, I walked to the local coffee shop and treated myself to a coconut-milk latte and sea salt popcorn. I was tired, as though I had been running a marathon for three years while simultaneously giving birth. Now I haven’t done either of those two things, but at least now I have a vague idea of how to write about them.
The book may or may not see the light of day. (I would hate to foist it upon any of you!) What I do understand now though is how to write fiction. It’s a wild and messy process, and for the most part one giant emotional train-wreck. I’m addicted.
When it came to the freelance business, I was either panicking about money or trying to find focused blocks of time in order to do the work. I was in hustle mode for most of the year – trying to make ends meet, taking on anything I could.
I wanted to generate enough income to split my time equally between client work and writing. It was stressful, so I was happy when in September one of my favorite clients offered me a full-time position.
I understand my mission as a baby fiction writer, and launching a writing career is tough. That is especially true here in the Bay Area where the cost of living is high.
The happy news is that company I’m working for fulfills another great passion of mine – energy conservation. We’re working hard to reduce waste heat, and that feels good.
The Journey continues
Last fall I went to Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Hong Kong for work. I would’ve made it to China, but didn’t know that I had to take my invitation letter to the embassy first. All in all, I spent over sixty-five hours in the air in November.
In December, I made it to two holiday parties before flying home to Ohio to close out the year with family. I was physically exhausted from all of the traveling, and mentally drained from the work.
I was uncomfortable for most of 2017 and pushed myself hard. The benefit was that I became more resilient, a trend I’ve observed the more that I do this. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that this sense of purpose – paired with an understanding of self – has made me happier than I’ve ever been.
The keyword for last year was magic. I’ve coined 2018 as the year of service. I’d like to be brave enough to consistently rock this brave little boat that I’m on, and a lot of that starts here.
We are going to be offering more on this blog in 2018. We’ll cover topics ranging from wellness to emergent technology and everything in-between. I hope that you’ll join us for the journey.