Happy New Year!
Well, the year is over, and I can't say I'm sad. It feels strange to say after a lifelong dream came true, but 2022 was...HARD. Even aside from a few personal things that contributed, I found that navigating being a published author was much harder than I thought. As it turns out, it's very strange to be a person who wants their art to get attention, but also wants to be completely out of the spotlight themselves. As for the first part, being a debut meant managing my oversized expectations about my control over things like sales, publicity, and all the nitty gritty of publishing. As for the spotlight part...well, for an introvert, that can be terrifying! I think part of me hoped I could divert every ounce o light to Drew--to make her shine while I hid behind the curtain--but that's easier said than done.
For Drew, this has been a great year. She (DREW, not me ;P) got two starred reviews, a feature in the New York Times, and was even named one of the best books of 2022 by School Library Journal. This is just to name a few. Yes, my book baby has grown and done very well for herself! In just four months, we'll have some more Drew. Drew Leclair Crushes the Case, book two, will be released on April 18th of this year (along with the book 1 paperback). I just never get tired of writing this character! I will be doing school visits to promote the book, as well as appearing at the Bay Area Book Festival. Mark your calendars!
Some good things did come of this year other than Drew. One benefit to completely turning yourself into a stressball over social media is that, at some point, you will be so far gone that you HAVE to do something about it. I had a doomscrolling problem far before my book deal, but this year has been especially challenging. I'd find myself taking breaks from social media, only to come back on for promotion and get sucked back in. After a while, I realized something: Twitter was the primary culprit when it came to my anxieties. Whatever little dopamine hits I may have gotten from Twitter, it was FAR outweighed by the dread and anxiety I would feel on it. Ever since I summoned the willpower to keep it a promo-only page, my brain actually feels lighter and less crowded. I feel like I have room to think and react to the real world around me. It's a nice feeling.
This year, my wonderful and wise 7 year-old daughter said something to me. When I asked her if she had a New Year's resolution, she told me: "I think I need to be less hard on myself." Seriously, how do I deserve this magical kid? But, this year, I have a similar resolution. I don't want to push a completely unrealistic set of expectations on myself. As my agent told me a few months after my debut, I was moving the goalpost a LOT. When I achieved something, I would diminish the importance of it immediately. Then, everything would be about trying to get to the next thing. So, yeah. In 2023, I don't plan to live that way. In part because that kind of stress and pressure is about as good for me as five daily Big Macs. In part because I really do want to write more books.
In 2023, that's exactly what I plan to do.
Happy New Year, all!