#FreshStart - Jessica Gilmore
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!
Jessica Gilmore tells us how she is centering kindness at the heart of 2019, whilst she juggles working a full-time job and writing.
Although I’m not a huge one for New Year resolutions, I do look forward to the stark simplicity of those early January weeks. There’s something very cleansing about a new year, just like a book will never be more perfect than when you type the first, optimistic ‘Chapter One’, all mistakes yet to be made. And with that feeling of optimism, I will admit to one huge hope for 2019, for myself and for the wider romance-writing world – kindness.
2018 was a difficult year for many reasons and for me personally, the most challenging year I’ve experienced since becoming a writer. There were some real highlights, especially when my first book for Tule, Baking for Keeps, was made into a Hallmark move, Falling for You—not that I’ve been able to see it, thanks to Hallmark territory not including the UK—but I struggled with confidence and creativity throughout most of the year. This was mostly because I returned to full time work at the end of 2017. Lots of authors successfully juggle careers, family and writing, and I had been working part time so I didn’t think the impact would be too drastic. I woefully miscalculated.
What I lost, and what I am still struggling to find, is the thinking time. The time to be creative, to look for the new angle, the unexpected turn. The time to dream and plan and plot. That time has been lost to daily word counts and constant deadlines, to evenings at the computer after a day in the office, to weekends writing after a long week working. There is little time for long country walks or city wanders, watching television is an indulgence, even reading is reserved for the bath or before bed. Sometimes it feels like all I do is work—and I feel guilty when I’m not. No wonder I rounded 2018 off with a nasty bout of flu which meant I was confined to bed for five days. The irony was I felt too poorly to enjoy the leisure time, too ill to read or watch TV and spent most of the time stressing about the edits I need to do. It’s clear, my system is broken.
So next year I am going to be kinder to myself. I’m going to give myself time away from the keyboard, time to dream and plot and create. I am going to try and rediscover the joy writing usually gives me so I don’t feel like I am constantly working. I’m going to give myself the benefit of the doubt a little more often, acknowledge I’m doing the best I can right now and stop comparing myself to my (amazing) peers with their more prolific outputs, better marketing strategies, award nominations and wonderful books.
And that’s what I’d like to see a little more of in the wider community. An understanding that most of us are doing the best we can, an acknowledgement that a mistake is not the end of the world, that one misjudged comment doesn’t deserve a mob response. Because 2018 seems to have been the year of Twitter outrage. Of piles-on and public indignation and pillorying people in the new stocks of social media. So I’d like to see a few more deep breaths, a lot more kindness and a pledge that all that really matters, is writing the very best books we can.
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