The New Year CAN!

agnetta

Normally, I tend to shy away from New Year’s resolutions, but I saw a friend’s post recently about how she goes about them and how great they’ve been for her personally. Every year she chooses one word to focus on and then examines how that word affected her life, or others, in a positive way. The results have changed her life way more than she could have ever imagined. I paused and thought about what a great idea that was and decided to choose the word CAN for 2018. So far, I’m super happy with my word, and it’s brought in so much positivity that I’m not only smiling more, but getting a lot accomplished.

In the creative business, it can often feel difficult because as much as you want to make a career out of what you love, you have to spend an incredible about of time (usually several decades, less if you’re lucky) working for free so you can develop your craft. It takes time and mentorship and dedication to become the very best you can be and have it grow into a fruitful career. And did I also mention working through the mountains of rejections?

When I started this journey back in 2003, I was nearly picked up by a large publisher straight away to develop board books, but quickly learned about the business and how easy it is to see projects dissolve. Since then, I joined the SCBWI, and began a journey I’ll forever hold onto. I mentored under Ellen Hopkins and Suzanne Hart Lindquist, and spent long nights in writing rooms with authors like Holly Black and Heather Petty, who freely gave their time to see other writers grow too. The children’s book industry is so incredible that the publishing professionals I’ve met along the way have been just as warm and kind, and have also become lifelong friends. I’m very lucky to have found an agent who loves my work, and I have a wonderful group of friends I’ve found along the way that do too—they’ve all become family!

2017 was a tough year since I had to make such a big move across the U.S. for my husband’s job. I’ve only always known the Western U.S., so it was a big adjustment and I found myself saying can’t a lot when it came to my work, especially since I was receiving several rejections on a project I love. But now that I’ve embraced the word CAN, I’ve been seeing a big difference. I’ve written every day, and I’m illustrating more. I even decided to challenge myself by writing one short story a month on top of working on my longer works.

It’s amazing what a positive mind set CAN do!

If you could pick a word for the year, what would yours be?

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