I’m back! I would say like I never left but no, I have gone through quite a transition.
“What kind of transition, Andee?” the reader managed to ask, eyes wide with wonder and curiosity.
A significant one. One that has impacted my personal life, creativity, and professional life in monumental ways.
But first, I hope everyone’s holiday season was amazing. I hope you spent time with loved ones and happily gave and joyously received all you could ever wish for and more.
I hope your entrance into the year 2020 was epic. I drank with my mother then went home and retired to my wonderful bed. I watched the clock on the screen of my phone strike midnight then turned over and drifted off to sleep. You might find it boring, but I was just glad to be comfortable and at peace in the space I would be waking up in the morning to pay rent for.
And if you didn’t know, I’m a Capricorn and everything that embodies a Capricorn woman. My date of birth is January 7th and I spent the day back in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Working. Told you – Capricorn.
I was in Cleveland for three great weeks in January. A little for pleasure, but mostly for work. Which brings us to a huge reason for this transitional period in my life:
I started a new job!
With an amazing organization and wonderful human beings as co-workers and… I get to work from home full-time. A dream come true for someone like me. But we’ll come back to this later.
After my time in Cleveland, I was fortunate enough to go on my first vacation in five whole years. A 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera which included three ports: Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We’ll also come back to this.
Basically, your girl was all over the place. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. Going through a few downs to balance the ups, some left turns to lead me back right, and now getting settled into a completely new routine from what I had previously grown used to. My mind has grown, my perspective has changed when it comes to many things, and I’m ready to get back to creating works of art that embody those changes.
Let’s talk about it.
The 3 Things I Realized During My Time Away From Writing
There are three areas of my life that have endured major contemplation and thus have undergone positive updates/realizations in the past three months of my life:
1. Querying is on HOLD until further notice
2. “Ask and you shall receive” is TOO real
3. I’ve been bitten my a MEAN travel bug
1. Querying is on HOLD until further notice
The main reason I have decided to pause querying is due to a new idea that has come to me for the novel I was reaching out to agents for. So no more reaching out to agents and hoping someone takes interest in what I have to offer. At least for now. Instead, I’ll be getting back to work.
And I’m really looking forward to that.
Because querying is all business and hardly any fun. To be honest, to me, it’s no fun at all. But a new idea for my novel and planning it out and jumping back into writing and creating something always excites and makes me all googly inside. I get to take a break from the business and get back into what I love. What really matters.
Don’t get me wrong… You don’t exactly lose track of what matters while focusing heavily on querying. In fact, one could argue you’re going through the querying process ultimately for the love of the work and what you do. You want to get an agent, get a publishing deal, and share your masterpieces with as many wonderful readers as possible. It just takes time away from creating because you’re putting a lot of it into reaching out to folks and tracking your progress, or lack thereof, in that arena.
Speaking of time, while I was querying I noticed one thing I really grew to appreciate: my poetry IG page!
Sharing my poems on Instagram (@fragile.too) has been a super convenient and highly cherished outlet for me. Allowing me to put work out there that is meaningful while still handling business behind the scenes. The only time I ever shared my poetry with the “public” was through Fragile. That was 2017. The poems I post on IG come from daily journaling. They’re much more recent pieces of myself and it’s still scary putting myself out there in that way when I haven’t in so long. But I love the therapy it has provided me and the connections I have built from doing so, all from creating and sharing a post in a matter of five minutes of my day.
2. “Ask and you shall receive” is TOO real
I had been praying and obsessing over the concept of freedom heavily since May 2019. By the end of June 2019, I was free in a way I didn’t see coming. Then, January 2020 came along and my freedom was gifted an indefinite extension in another way I didn’t see coming. Not at the level I ultimately put in work for, but a level higher than where I’ve been in the past:
For the first time ever, I work from home full-time!
And this is honestly the best possible scenario for me. It’s a huge blessing that I give thanks for every single day. Having the ability to be in a comfortable environment where I set the tone as well as actually appreciating the important work I do is amazing for me. And it’s not the typical “I can wear sweats every day and don’t have to deal with rush hour” surface-level benefits that make this opportunity such a blessing.
It’s that it is truly a major positive influence on my mental health.
I’ve always felt stuck and confined working in offices for upwards of eight hours a day. Also, being surrounded by so many different moods and having many different personalities forced on you all day for five days a week. Not really being able to be yourself (codeswitching) and not being able to cope on your ‘not so great’ days in a healthy manner due to the requirement to be a robot and show zero emotion.
While I was forced, like many others in the corporate world, to keep a smile on my face, be upbeat and fun when I don’t really want to be, and hold in discomfort felt toward constant microaggressions, I’m not someone who handled that well, internally. It would bring me down often. Drain me. Even when I reached a point where I would go into each day with high hopes and a positive attitude, not letting the issues of the past come into a new day at the office, something would manage to remind me that everything about that setup was just not for me. I wasn’t where I should be and wasn’t doing the best thing for myself.
So I prayed and meditated hard. I focused on what I needed in the day-to-day to successfully do the work I needed to pay my bills. When the negatives tried to get to me, I did my best to shift my focus toward the great things I was planning for the future. And boy, did my God, my angels, my ancestors, and the universe deliver in the most special way.
Now, problems of the past that would burden me every day are no longer here. And my art will be healthier paired with a much more mentally healthy me.
3. I’ve Been Bitten by a MEAN Travel Bug
I’m not sure what started the obsession. But the cruise did nothing but strengthen it.
Before this year, I hadn’t been on a real vacation since January 2015. All I would do is work and take occasional small trips on weekends or to visit family in Ohio. And honestly, for a while that was sufficient.
But something has shifted in my brain, love. I NEED to book as many trips as possible.
I NEED new experiences, I NEED to place my feet upon new soil and feel the workings of buildings I’ve never been to on my fingertips and share conversations with locals I’ve never met and will probably never meet again.
I can be and do so much more. I can be more spontaneous, adventurous, free. I’ve grown way more comfortable with doing things alone. Starting to prefer it actually. My only major concern has trickled down to safety, but as long as I stay aware, follow my gut, and don’t make stupid decisions I know I’ll be fine. So, there’s no longer the matter of needing to wait on other people as it has been in the past. That would always hold me back from doing so much before, and I love that I’ve reached a point now where it has no effect on my plans. If I want to do something, I’m doing it regardless.
Traveling will improve me as a person, as well as my writing. I know opening up my state of mind and my vision and seeing more of the world will freshen up my art in beautiful, unimaginable ways. Because I write about what surrounds me, feelings portrayed in my stories are inspired by feelings I’ve experienced in real life, all descriptions of the senses come from going through them and managing to put what was and is felt into words. So my senses connecting with fresh places and activities and people and connecting with so much more than what I’ve currently been connected to will certainly freshen what I find myself creating.
Overall, taking time away from writing and the goals I had before allowed me to open my eyes and see things more clearly. The opportunity for new goals are set in my mind, new ideas were able to come in when I gave myself time apart from the old ones, and I’m ready to continue brightening my mind and my space to continue improving my quality of life and in turn, the quality of my art.
What are some changes you’ve made for 2020 (and beyond)? Feel free to reach out and share how some events may have so strongly influenced you to improve and go for new things in your life. I want to talk to you!