Midyear Self-Review: 2018
A note from Lauren Layne:
An abbreviated version of this post was displayed on my Instagram account on June 30, 2018
Today marks the halfway point through 2018. When I do goal settings at the start of the year, I always intend to do at least quarterly check-ins, and at least a half-yearly check-in, to make sure I'm on target for the things I wanted to accomplish.
This, um ... doesn't always happen. The end of Q1 came and went with a passing, "oh yeah, I should check in, oh look, another deadline!"
A few weeks ago, I had the passing thought that the halfway mark was coming up, and I should set aside a day or two to do some self-reflection with the hubby, but we were in the middle of moving, and that too fell by the wayside. No juicy "program" or questions or prompts or workbook this time!
But as I was writing in my bullet journal yesterday, realizing that it was June 30th, I did pause for a moment, and in a small, quiet way, asked myself how it was going.
My mind kept returning to this Albert Einstein quote I saw on Pinterest a few days earlier:
The quote resonated with me because If I had to sum up 2018 so far, it’s been absurd.
And I mean that in the way Webster defines the word:
absurd :: ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous.
As in, I’ve made some ABSURD decisions this year.
So far in 2018, I've parted ways with my lovely, longtime publisher (for now!). Not because they weren’t GREAT, but because they’re e-book only, and I couldn’t get the longterm vision of seeing my books on a physical bookshelf out of my head. Getting a print deal in publishing is increasingly difficult these days, and yet when I close my eyes and picture my dream career, I picture the glamorous book launch parties. The heels. The champagne. The cute dress that matches my book cover. So I decided to chase that dream, even if it meant saying no to some financially lucrative e-book only opportunities.
And in saying no, I walked away from 80+% of my known income. I'll still get royalties from my past releases, but most of what I've lived on the past few years has come from new releases from that publisher. Walking away without having a known income-replacement? Nuts. But in the same way it was nuts to quit my cushy day job to pursue my writing career, sometimes it's the crazy that leads to something bigger.
I also quit Twitter and Facebook. Twitter's not such a big deal, but leaving Facebook felt, well ... bold. While I've never personally used Facebook, statistics show that most people are on it constantly. And publishing data and my own observations support that romance readers are definitely in this "heavy Facebook use" group. For that reason, most romance authors are leaning more into Facebook (parties, groups, etc). I went the absolute opposite direction and quit Facebook.
Leaving Twitter and Facebook meant I risked losing connection with the 10,000+ followers I’d amassed on those platforms (though I’m so grateful to those of you that followed me over to Instagram). Once again, absurd. Once again, instict told me it was necessary.
I declined all signing invitations in 2018, including the romance “biggies” of RT and RWA, so that I could focus on why I started this dream in the first place: writing.
I said no to book offers and collaboration/networking opportunities that were AMAZING on paper, but didn’t feel right.
In other words, I went against pretty much EVERY bit of advice given to authors, both new and established.
It’s been risky, irrational, and yes, a little bit absurd.
Now, I'll be honest.
Do I occasionally have flickers of doubt that I’ve permanently damaged all the momentum/success I’ve built over the past few years by breaking all the rules, doing something different from almost everyone else? Yes.
Do I worry that I’ve sabotaged everything? Sometimes.
But when I stop thinking what others think, and start focusing on I feel, I realize that I feel light. Free. Bold. Clear. Happy.
When I told people I was quitting Facebook, a lot of well-meaning people thought it was a "time thing," and immediately suggested ways I could stay on Facebook, but decrease the amount of time spent there. Have my assistant post on my behalf. Prescehdule posts. Limit posts. Automate posting from my blog/Instagram, etc. The same goes for those e-book only releases. I was told that I could find a way to do both, to keep the money-making digital releases and pursue the paperback dream on the side.
But here's my secret: it was never about the time.
I stopped spending much time on Twitter/Facebook months ago. I'm a fast writer, and can easily write e-book only releases AND print releases in a year.
My absurdity this year had nothing to do with making more time, and everything to do with making more room in my brain/imagination for something else. Something newer. Bigger. Fresher.
And it's working! Something pretty cool happened when I started clearing out those things that weren't working for me emotionally. I started thinking outside the box, almost without trying. I have more book ideas/promo ideas/brand ideas. I wake up every morning at 5am, without an alarm, literally bursting with everything I want to accomplish, things that light me up from the inside out.
I know in my gut that I’m onto something—that maybe I needed to blow everything up from the inside out in order to build something new, special, and me, even if it takes a little bit longer. I want to be a trendsetter, a game-changer.
Which is what the latter half of the year is going to be about.
If the year so far has been all about the absurd, I’m so excited for the second-half of the year, because it leads me to the second half of Einstein quote—doing the impossible.
As far as what that looks like …
Stay tuned 💕☺️💕