three years

Here in New York, public school students just started their summer vacay on Monday. That means it’s been three years since I resigned from teaching to become a full-time author. Which is really hard to believe. It seems like my old life was much longer ago. Maybe it’s because a lot has happened in the last three years. Some things are better and some things are worse, but I am an eternal optimist. So let’s focus on the good things! On the first day of my new life…

1. I had one book published. Now I have four.

2. I was just about to start this blog. I realize that three years is on the younger side for a blog, but I wasn’t even online until five years ago. That’s how I managed to write two books while I was teaching, by the way – no Internet, TV, or DVDs.

3. Getting up at an inhumane hour was no longer necessary. Did I really used to get up at 4:45? In the morning?! That’s crazy! I get up way later now, when the sun is shining. Much better.

4. All of my work was done on an iBook. Now that I have an iMac, I could never go back to working on a laptop. I went from sitting on a bad chair at my table to my sexy iMac at a grownup desk. This is improvement.

5. This one is hard to admit, but I didn’t even know who Meg Cabot was. Well, maybe that was more like four or five years ago. But I definitely didn’t know who most of the bestselling YA authors were when I started. Which is so wild! Because now they’re so important to me. I worship their books, they are my mentors, and I am constantly learning from them. I even get to be friends with some of them, which totally blows my mind. It’s amazing how much can change in three years.

It took me a while to adjust to working at home. And by a while, I don’t mean a few days. I mean a few months. That first day was strange. I’d been used to lots of people around, always needing to take care of a hundred things before my next class, dealing with last-minute emergencies on a daily basis, and maybe getting a bathroom and/or lunch break if I was lucky. But then I was working at home and suddenly it was calm. I was just me, my iBook, and music or NPR.

The most dramatic difference was being alone. My teaching days required so much energy that I needed alone time on nights and weekends to recharge. Now I have hours of alone time every day. I’m my own boss and I set my own work schedule. This actually works well for me, since I’m an organization freak. Some authors like to write in coffeehouses. I’ve tried that a few times. While I enjoy absorbing the creative energy, I much prefer working at home. It’s more comfortable and I have everything I need here. Plus, I don’t feel so alone anymore. I have you guys to thank for that. All I have to do is check in at Facebook or Twitter or read your email to know that you are out there. So a big thank you for connecting with me! It means more than you know.

Here’s something else I want to tell you. Never give up on your dreams. No matter how many people say it’s impossible, no matter how difficult your journey is, you can create your ideal life. Your heart’s desires can become reality. Take steps every day to get closer to the life you want. And never, ever give up.

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12 thoughts on “three years

  1. Wow! Three years is pretty impressive. I love your books so much and I look forward to seeing what comes from you in the future! πŸ™‚
    ~Christina~

  2. I have been reading your blog for awhile but this is my first comment. Wow, what a truly motivational last paragraph. It makes me not want to give up striving to learn all that I can about the writing industry. I’ve graduated with a degree in communication/public relations, but the only real passion I have is writing. Some days I feel like I know nothing about agents, getting published, etc. and as I research, I feel like I’m drowning in information. In my weaker moments I feel like it’s too much. But you’re a success story and “your heart’s desires can become reality” made me smile and believe it! Thanks for that.

    • What a wonderful first comment πŸ˜€
      I totally know what you mean about it feeling like it’s all too much. That’s how I felt when my first book was about to be published. Even though there’s so much information floating around, you’ll learn the important things. Determination is fuel. If I had given up, I’d have zero books published right now. So keep on moving forward!

  3. Congrats again! You totally deserve everything you’ve got πŸ™‚
    And thanks for that positive energy! I really needed it this week!
    You also reminded me that I have an Intro to Fiction class to look forward to this upcoming semester! Thanks for that πŸ™‚
    I hope you have a good 4th of July!

  4. I’ve admired you ever since I purchased When It Happens a few years ago, not only for your writing, but because you made the switch from teaching full-time to writing full-time, which isn’t something that I’ve known many people to succeed at. Plus, you’re well-educated and down-to-earth. I always feel reinspired to try my best whenever I read your LiveJournal posts–thank you for always uplifting your readers!
    P.S. I’m going to reread When It Happens soon, since it’s still one of my favorite teen fiction books. πŸ™‚

  5. Congratulations!! It definitely feels like you’ve been a full time author longer than that. Your ‘new life’ sounds genuinely amazing. πŸ™‚
    Also, I left my last comment before I read this, and everything you say here makes me feel a LOT better about missing really obvious pop culture things. =D In fact, ever since I graduated in May, I’ve been reading all the especially well known YA authors to catch up on what’s happening out there. It feels good.

    • I know, it feels like we’ve been communicating for so long. Thank you for being such a dedicated reader ❀
      Dude, I’m still catching up on who’s who and what’s what in the YA world. There are so many awesome books out now that it’s sometimes hard to know what I should read next. I’m thankful for the inside info!

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