It’s the beginning of a whole new year; what time could possibly be better to become more motivated and inspired? You have a whole 365 days ahead of you, and now is the time to start making them count, so we're asking authors what they've got planned for the year ahead!
Amy Ruttan talks about working through grief and how her 2019 prep started early.
A fresh start. I like that concept. 2018 was not a particularly shining year for me. Actually, it hasn’t been all that great since my mother started chemo in 2015. It got progressively worse as I slogged through deadlines, trying to stay afloat while being a caregiver to a terminally ill parent. It’s called anticipatory grief and it was eating me alive. When she passed in the summer of 2018 it took me a long time to even think about work. The Surgeon’s Convenient Husband, which is coming out in May 2019, is the first book I wrote after my Mom died. It was a hard, hard book to write.
After I finished that book at beginning of September 2018, I knew I had to do something so I could start 2019 off right. To get myself back on track both in my career and mentally. Plans for my fresh start began then. The only way I could write is if my mental and physical health was on the upwards tick, so to have a successful 2019 I had to get on the ball and I had to do it now!
I started by taking R.L. Syme’s Write Better Faster to learn how to best work with my personality after doing the Meyers Brigg Personality Test and the Gallup StrengthsFinder. This course was eye opening and my one-on-one with R.L. Syme over Skype made me cry—in a good way though! She’s a delightful person and in no way mean, but the tears came because she knew me. It was amazing.
After taking that course I knew I had to get my mental health right. I had a lot of emotions swirling around inside in regards to my grief and I wasn’t going to eat those emotions away, like I have in the past. I was unhealthy and inactive.
I was stuck.
My mother struggled her whole life and right before her cancer diagnosis she started to get better. When she lost a bunch of weight, the cancer struck and she was paralyzed. She didn’t get to enjoy much.
I didn’t want to end up like that. I was staring down the barrel of now being forty and I knew a change had to happen. So I signed up for a Firestarter program at a boot camp. I walked in those doors at the end of September, saw what they expected me to do and was like, ‘Yeah right!’. You honestly want me to do burpees, flip a loader tire and do deadlifts… Okay then. I could lift two-pound barbells at the start, but they were crazy if they thought I could do any of those other things.
The old me would’ve walked out, but then I thought of my mother. I thought of my kids and I thought about how hard I’ve been slogging since 2015 when my Mom first got really sick. My mental health was precarious. How could I write romance when I was so sad, so anxious, so angry all the time. I didn’t sleep. I just existed. I didn’t want another year like that. A change had to come.
I was nervous as I attended my first boot camp class and met my favourite coach, Candice. Instantly we connected. She’d lost a parent, she knew the pain and with that she coached me to work through all those emotions. Every class I went to, my mood lifted. My husband saw a change in my mental health as well as physical. The focus was not on the scale, but strength, endurance and inches. I’m now close to three months in at FitClub Bootcamps and I’ve lost 19.7 inches and yes I can flip that loader tire! Yes, I can deadlift 65 lbs and back squat the same. And I now lift a 12-15 lb barbell.
As for weighted sled pushing, I can do that too.
I still hate burpees, but I found an outlet to improve my mental health and with that came the writing. It began to flow again. I was getting stuff done and I noticed my stamina overall had improved.
There are moments I grieve still. It’s inevitable, but I’m setting myself up for a great new start in 2019 and a productive year!
I’ve learned how I write best, which is in time intervals and competitions with myself. I dangle small carrots and I get stuff done.
I’ve learned I write best when I’m not struggling mentally or physically. If I go three days without a boot camp, my mood plummets, especially in winter when it’s dark and cold.
I also start every day with gratitude. With The Five Minute Journal I reflect morning and night about all the good things and that reflection has caused an effect of positivity I can’t quite explain.
I’ve decided to cut drama from my life and just live to be positive to everyone around me. And for 2019 my words of the year are Strength, Empowerment and Gratitude.
I plan to make 2019 a stellar year to outshine all those dark years, to make my mother proud. I may not have her here with me any more, but she’s still there in my heart and I’m not going to let her down.
Amy's latest release, NY Doc Under the Northern Lights, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.