My Farewell Letter to 2018
You and I have had quite a time together.
Remember when we first met, back in January? I was so unhappy. I was at that job I didn’t like, and I felt stuck and hopeless. I wanted to do more, to contribute, to feel valued, but I just didn’t. The job was wrong for me on so many levels, and I knew it, but I didn’t know how to fix it.
Then, maybe three or so months into our relationship, I had that epiphany: rather than try to force the job to be something it wasn’t, perhaps I should forge my own path.
So, I took a deep breath and did that thing I said I always wanted to do: I wrote. I completed a short story. Then I wrote another. And then another.
And then I started blogging. Remember back in June when I published my very first post on Medium?
I had zero followers and I was so terrified to hit “publish” that it took days for me to even tell anyone my work was online.
But then I talked about it, and a few friends read it and they thought it was cute. So, I published another post. And then another. And then another...
And then Medium readers — people I didn’t personally know — began to say nice things. Some even started to follow my work! How crazy is that?
You and I had a great summer, too, 2018. First, celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels re-Tweeted that story I wrote about her.
And then I went to that amazing Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City.
Man, did I learn a lot. I walked away with some pretty specific long-term goals, too:
Revise finished pieces.
Craft new micro- and flash fiction.
Plot out a novel — no more trying to wing it as a “pantser.”
Pitch a personal essay to a reputable publication.
Be invited back to be a session speaker someday.
Submit the hell out of my work.
Oh, and then remember back in September when I finally quit my day job once and for all? I was so elated and terrified all at once. I knew it was the right decision, but I really didn’t know what to do with myself at first.
Like I said at the time:
It’s exciting. (It’s terrifying.) I cannot wait to cinch my first assignment. (I’m dreading the entire pitching process.) I know this is my life’s calling. (I don’t know what the eff I’m doing.)
I felt a little lost, given that I’d worked in an office setting for over 26 years, but I knew I had to keep moving ahead. So, I did the only thing I could think of: I kept writing. I kept publishing. I launched a website and created an email list. I began to send out newsletters, and I started posted to my author pages on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
And I had success with a few of my posts:
I started that webinar on writing for magazines and crafted a few personal essays, which I pitched to publications.
Then, in November, I got the insanely exciting news that one of my essays will be published in Boston Globe Magazine in the spring! My words are going to appear in my hometown paper!!
And to think, none of this would have happened if I hadn’t felt so stuck at work 12 months ago.
So, 2018, it’s been wild ride. I have a handful of stories floating around out in the world, looking for a home. I have more than 490 followers on Medium, where I’ve published nearly 40 blog posts. I’ve built a small (but growing!) and dedicated email list for my newsletter. I’ve made a number of online relationships with wonderful writers. And I’m going to receive my first official byline in the spring!
It’s time to part, though, and I’m kind of sad. Ours will be a relationship to remember. You’re right up there with 2007, the year I got married, and 2012, the year my son was born.
But, it’s time to bid adieu.
I see 2019 approaching, and I think he’s got even better things in store for me.