My Writing Journey

Why 2017 Will Be My Year of Gratitude

2017 will be a year of gratitude.

I’ve purposely decided this before knowing what this year will bring. It’s not a resolution or a way to set myself up for failure. Rather, it’s a way for me to ensure that this year will be different to the last one. That this year I will choose to be healthier – physically, emotionally and mentally.

2017 will be the year I start to take better care of myself.

A review I got for The Tycoon’s Reluctant Cinderella sparked this decision. It wasn’t a good review, and I spent a lot of time thinking about it. Not because I was upset that the reviewer didn’t like my book – not everyone will, and I’m working on accepting that ­– but because I kept making excuses for the reasons they didn’t like it. Not to them, but to myself. For myself.

I’m a perfectionist. It’s hard for me to accept anything other than perfection from myself. This is absolutely unrealistic. No-one’s perfect. And no-one – including me, not matter what my mind tells me – will ever be perfect. Yet still, time and time again, I berate myself for not being perfect. And in this instance, for not writing a book perfect enough for everyone to like it.

The two days I spent thinking about it affected me. It affected the way I felt about myself and my book. And I hated that effect because up until that point, I had been proud of it.

My debut book was only the second book I had ever written from start to finish. I got my publishing contract my second year out of university. The Tycoon’s Reluctant Cinderella’s release represents so much of my personal and writing growth. It represents a dream come true for a young woman of colour in a country with a difficult history. A dream of a woman whose parents could never think being an author was a possibility for themselves or for their child because of that history.

It represents a victory. And for all of it I am grateful.

I realised that dwelling on this thing – this very simple thing – meant that I wasn’t taking proper care of myself. If I had been, I would never have let negativity eclipse my gratitude and positive feelings about literally, my dream coming true.

I decided then that I would not let anything taint my happiness or gratitude about my writing. And then, I decided I would apply this not only to my writing, but to my whole life as well. I will guard positive feelings in my heart fiercely, letting nothing and no-one take them from me. It doesn’t mean I’ll ignore those who inspire negativity in me. Like this experience, I believe they are there to teach me and help me to grow. But this decision has made it easier, less scary, to face those experiences.

And honestly, there’s so much to be grateful for.

Have you learnt anything in 2016 that you’ll be using for 2017? How will you apply those lessons in your writing and in life? Let me know in the comments! You can also get in touch through Facebook and Twitter.

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