We took life as it came this year. Oh, a funeral in Virginia? Pack up and hit the road, kids. Oh, they want me to go to the hospital because my blood pressure went up again? Okay, let me send the hubs home for the bag. Oh, emergency c-section? You’re not giving me time to properly freak out about it and for that, I’m grateful. Two more funerals before my preemie baby is six months old? Get the black clothes out of the closet and find someone to watch the kiddo, because I’m not taking my baby into the funeral home. Last time someone coughed and then shook hands with my husband. He turned up with a cold a few days later.
I’ve had one or two people remark to me that we’ve had a crazy year, and as they said it, I was dimly shaking my head. Like, no it’s not a big deal.
With less than three weeks left in 2017, I’m looking back on all that happened this year and feeling slightly dizzy. Three funerals and a baby. Ba-dum dum. Sounds like it should be a punchline to a joke. My life still feels crazy at times, but I don’t have time to get bent out of shape about it. I’m too busy washing bottles, changing diapers, making sure the coffee pot is clean for the next day, and trying to write. One day, one week at a time. I even did NaNoWriMo this year, only to fail horrendously. But that fall was the best ride I’ve had in a while.
I’m not the same person I was a year ago. Likely it’s a combination of becoming a mom and losing three grandparents (four if you count the VA funeral) in the last 13 months, but I feel fundamentally different from the person I used to be. And because I’m a writer with a blog, you get to read all about it. Don’t you feel lucky.
I’ve said before that something’s changed for me as a writer. I worked on a draft for almost seven months this year, and finished it. What’s more than that, I started a second draft of another story for NaNoWriMo that I’m still working on and hope to be done with by the end of January. I’ve got plans forming in the back of my mind, and an eye for world domination. Or, at least domination of my corner of the Internet.
2018 is going to be MY year. The year of AUTHOR Stephanie Braxton. I’ve always called myself a writer but never an author, because in my mind authors are published, and I’m not published. (shhh, shadows rising, you don’t exist anymore) But 2018 is going to be the year I “get serious” and change that. With my current tentative timeline, I’m planning to prepare a story for self-publication sometime in January of 2019. I’m going to spend this next year writing, editing, and building my author empire…I mean platform.
Building an author platform means a complete overhaul of my entire public Internet presence, and I think it’s going to mean a new website. One with my name actually in the address. That was a hard decision to come to because through blogspot and wordpress, I’ve always been Carolina Kel. It’s my Twitter and Instagram handles. It’s the name on my current “writer” Facebook page (which will probably be removed in favor of a new one). Making a new website, probably with a blog, has made me wonder what I will do with carolinakel and wordstomidnight. I don’t want to remove them, but the fact is keeping up three blogs is kind of silly. Not to mention difficult.
My current plan is to build my author platform one social media outlet at a time. I’m going to start in the first quarter of 2018 with Instagram and then Twitter. I’ve come to have a bit of a love affair with Instagram. I’ve often thought about starting a YouTube channel, but I do not have a fancy camera, nor proper editing software to make quality videos. So I’m going to do Instagram and use the Stories feature instead.
I’ve been watching a ton of Kristen Martin videos on YouTube and she is giving me all kinds of insight and ideas for how to get started and make 2018 a great year. I know it’s not going to get any easier once my daughter finds her legs (and her voice), but it’s a challenge long overdue. I’ll be 27 in April, and before my daughter turns 5, I want to be able to say I’m a published author. By then I’ll be 31. I’ve got four and a half years to establish myself as a author. Even if I never make a living from it (like many writers don’t), I still want to have made the effort and see the beginnings of an empire. It may be a small empire, but it will be mine.
2017 was a year of vast change in my corner of the universe. Some of it great, some of it sad, but I know one thing. My family and I are going into 2018 with our heads held high and the sparkle of opportunity glistening in our eyes. We made it through this year in one piece, we can do anything. More than that, I want to teach by example to Jelly Bean that she can do anything she sets her mind to. Even if I don’t owe taking this chance to myself, I owe it to her, because she is everything to Bear and I, and she is the reason I got my bear face on, always.
Bring it, 2018.