Hey everyone! While I hope you’ve been doing well, I gotta be honest and say, I’ve had a lot of things working against me.
It’s fine, I know it’s just time to level up and hit my stride with the next era of my life. And I’m feeling overall good about it. But what no one tells you in the aftermath of a breakup or losing a writing gig (as both of those things happened to me recently) is that it’s perfectly normal for emotions to fluctuate.
Meaning, some days I feel great like I want to take on the world, pouring myself into my new blonde attitude and motivating myself to meet my goals. Other days, I’d rather just sit around and scroll through Instagram. If you relate to that feeling, I wanted to take a moment and share what I’ve been doing to combat that sluggish, icky, “why me?” energy that does more harm than good.
Get out and about more! For me, that meant joining a gym. The way I see it, this has two, very crucial components to it: both feeling good and meeting new people.
Refocusing my short- and long-term goals. Kinda hard to make progress in any one direction when you don’t even know where you’re going, isn’t it? That’s why investing even a little bit of time in knowing exactly what you want out of your life is going to pay dividends. Or, if you’re not sure yet, that’s totally okay. Just think about the general direction of where you want to end up, and take concrete steps to get that momentum going.
Changing up my look. Now I’m not asking you to go crazy and pierce your whole face or something radical, but if you’ve been craving a particular new sparkle, I say go for it! I’ve had my nose pierced for a couple years now and it’s pretty much my favorite decision I’ve ever made. That plus changing my hair color gave me a much-needed new perspective on life and all the messiness that it brings.
While these ideas aren’t guaranteed to change your mood permanently, they’ll certainly help you find your stride again, so I highly recommend giving them a try.
I also believe that once you look at challenges at opportunities to grow and better yourself, your whole outlook changes. Suddenly, the things that snuck up on you out of nowhere don’t feel so bad. Once you learn that you control the mindsets you move into, you’ll be unstoppable.
As for the concept of leveling up, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about…
… for a while as I wrote the second book in my virtual reality coming-of-age duology, Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change, a couple years ago. While Vera quite literally has to survive the game to get out alive, she’s also got to level up her mindset to make her life better. I’m so proud of this book, and if you liked Maze Runner, Sword Art Online, or Jumanji, it’s safe to say you’ll love it too.
This year didn’t completely suck! Here’s a brief run-down of the bright side of the whole thing.
It’s safe to say this year was collectively a turd sandwich for just about everyone, at least in one way or another. So I was thinking back on my year as we’re about to welcome in 2021 later this week, and along with it, a fresh start. And I realized something interesting, that I honestly didn’t expect: this year was actually pretty lucrative for me.
Sure, all my in-person book signings and concerts were cancelled (of course) and I do really miss all those things. But something I didn’t expect was how the creativity in my mind didn’t stop moving – not at all! It just leaked out in new and innovative ways that I probably wouldn’t have discovered had 2020 not happened the way it did.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m upset and frustrated at the craziness of the world right now, and praying that it improves soon, but through it all, I realized I still have so much to be grateful for. So, as we move into 2021 which is hopefully a significantly better year than the preceding one, I’ve outlined below some cool things that happened to me this year. My hope is that by reading the good things that happened to me, you’ll be able to reflect on your own year too, and get pumped for what’s up next!
1. My social media following grew.
Seeing as how everyone has been stuck at home on their TV and devices, I’ve been able to capitalize on my reach. The biggest example of this might be my Boston Sports Desk music article gig, which has seen a good handful of my article get like 80k views (seriously, I’m shocked too). My Instagram page @ angelinasingerauthor also just hit 900 followers today, so I’m pretty psyched about that! Additionally, this blog is pushing almost 100 followers, not even counting my Facebook and Twitter following. I’m so grateful for everyone who’s taken an interest in my work! I’ve also met more amazing new friends through social media, and I’m so grateful for them as well.
I also published my sixth novel, the sequel of which will be available for purchase hopefully mid-2021. In the meantime though, you can read the first book, Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember available on Amazon HERE.
2. Freelancing became my main hustle.
And I’ve never been happier. I spent the majority of the year and a half or so since graduating from college looking for corporate jobs, padding my resume, and just generally pulling my hair out trying to figure out what the heck I was supposed to be doing. But as it turns out, I’ve been doing the thing I’m meant to do all along. And that thing is: writing. Through this gig, I’ve connected with some pretty high-profile people, like Tree Paine (Taylor Swift’s general manager) since I provided some media coverage on her latest two surprise albums Folklore and Evermore.
3. My diet got healthier.
Despite the temptation to binge on sugary carbs all the time since I’m home and there isn’t much else to do, I’m determined to cut down on my intake because I feel better when I eat more proteins and healthy fats. Don’t get me wrong – I still love a good late night bag of chips, but I try to only do that occasionally at most. Taking care of yourself, including amping up on vitamins, was critical to get through this year without getting sick. I’ll definitely be carrying those habits into 2021 too!
I guess this wasn’t really part of the diet thing, but I also got my nose pierced this year finally! I’ve been wanting to since high school honestly and I feel so much more confident with it than I did without it. And most importantly, it’s a promise to myself to be happier with my appearance and love myself a lot more than I used to. Overall, a win-win. Still figuring out why it’s taking months to heal, but I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles!
4. My faith in Jesus got stronger.
When everything is crashing down around you, turning to Jesus is the only thing that truly brings me comfort. He even helped me with frustrations about the pacing of my life, and how I worry that I’m so far behind everyone else. I’m 23, but it literally took most of my life to realize that it actually doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. The only thing that matters is doing what God has for you the best you can. I know for a fact that I’m meant to write, and that’s exactly what God has me doing – and I’ve never been happier!
5. My author association voted me onto the board!
This is very possibly one of the coolest things on this list, but I was so humbled and blessed by the opportunity! My main responsibility as a board member in the Association of Rhode Island Authors is to recruit more young adult authors to join up, so if you live in or around Rhode Island, reach out to me for more info! I’ll be setting up an Instagram (and possibly Twitter) account for them too so that everything will be more accessible to younger writers as well.
6. Landed a weekly blogging gig.
Semi-related to the author’s association above, one of my good friends invited me to join her writing team for the Inkitt Writer’s Blog. It’s a really cool platform where writers can share stories and ideas about writing. It’s a nice little paid gig, and I love doing it! Stuff like this is super productive and helps me fill my time post-grad. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone looking for something similar.
7. My music journalism expanded into a magazine.
Yet another plug through my author association, I met someone at an expo event a year or two ago who manages Rhode Island-based Motif Magazine. Then earlier this August, I reached out to them to ask if they had any writing positions open, and they said yes – freelancing. So now I do the bulk of their music critiquing for local artists and bands. It’s super fun to network this way, and I love that I get paid for my articles to be included in a printed magazine!
8. Finally met a long-distance friend in person!
This one, was probably the most incredible of the whole year. Still not over it, to be honest. When his family went on vacation within driving distance of where I live, he invited me to spend a few days with them. So I did, and it was just so surreal and amazing. I’m grateful for the time we got to spend together, and hopefully it’ll happen again sometime in the near future.
9. Got out of my music learning funk.
As the pandemic wore on, my music teacher wasn’t as available for lessons, so I lost my rhythm (no pun intended, LOL). But that time away from more structured lessons gave me time to reflect and take a little breather from my in-depth music theory studies and guitar training. I’ve been learning guitar for over 12 years, and now I’m training to teach part time. Although it was a bit uncertain switching to an instructor who was more available (as I really admired my other teacher), I’m actually excited about a fresh perspective and new ideas. Very 2020 of me to say that, right? Like how life surprises us sometimes, but it’s what we do with it that matters. And I’m absolutely making the most of the opportunities I’ve been given to learn all I can!
10. Enjoyed more family time.
With nothing to do outside of the house, my parents and I found ourselves hanging out with the small group of just my aunt, uncle, and their two kids (my cousins) on weekends. We’re all feeling totally fine, and spending time together in a safe, home environment every week. We play games, eat a big dinner, and laugh a lot. It’s made my 2020 a lot brighter, and I’m so grateful for them.
I hope this little list of things I actually enjoyed in 2020 brought you to some of your own realizations. That maybe after all, this tough year had some good lessons in it. And that after we get through 2021 and everything turns back around, you’ll see that you’re more resilient than ever before. And in some ways, that makes the struggles (almost) worth it!
Happy new year, my friends! Here’s to a bigger and even better 2021.
P.S. – Keep an eye out for my next book, Forgiving What I Couldn’t Change, coming in (hopefully) mid-2021!!!