30 and Out

I hate when things feel bittersweet. I honestly think I would rather feel downright sad than have that tinge of bitter tainting what would otherwise be a pleasant emotion.

Today, the student’s last day of the school year, was a bittersweet day.

I’ve been a special education teacher for the past four years. During that time I’ve met some truly amazing people. I work with some of the most patient, compassionate, passionate professionals that I’ve ever known. Many of these people have become friends—some are like family. The students that I’ve worked with represent the definition of kindness. They are open minded, sweet, funny, loyal, hardworking, and positive, even in the face of enormous challenge. They humble me on a daily basis and I have loved being their teacher.

So it’s a bittersweet feeling to reach the end of the school year, the end of this school year, because I know I won’t be back with them in September. When fall rolls around, for the first time since I was five years old, I won’t be starting a new school year. I am so lucky to work for this amazing school district because they are allowing me to take a leave of absence to concentrate on writing for a year. Come fall, I will not be working as a teacher; after today I will officially be a full time writer.

A little more than a year ago, and a few months before our 29th birthday, a dear friend and I embarked on a crazy scheme. We were going to get serious about writing, publish our books, and make every effort to be where we wanted to be in our lives by the time we turned thirty. We even had a name for our plan: 30 and Out. It was a promise to ourselves, a mantra, a motivation to kick our own butts and get a move on. Our own personal revolution. 30 and Out.

I’ve done everything I could over the past year to try to make that promise come true. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words. I’ve researched my market and the publishing industry. I’ve given up free time and skipped social events. I’ve forced myself to sit and write even when I didn’t feel the slightest amount of creativity or motivation.  I put out four full-length books and pretty much worked my tail off, in addition to teaching. Some of the time that sucked, some of the time I felt tired and discouraged. Okay, a lot of the time I felt tired. Writing 30 hours a week in addition to working full time is no joke!

But it’s also been the most amazing year of my life. In the past year I’ve told stories that I’ve wanted to tell for ages. I’ve had the chance to work with some truly gifted professionals in this field. I’ve sold more than 45,000 books. Most importantly, I am satisfied and fulfilled in a way I never thought possible. Every day I feel a rush knowing that someone, somewhere, may be reading one of my books. There is no better feeling than that, honestly. The idea that I’ll get to do this thing full time is completely mind blowing. Exciting. Scary. Overwhelming.

For the next year I am sure I will miss teaching, but I am also certain I will wake up every day excited to write, excited to focus all my attention on this thing I love so much. I am positive I will miss my students and I will miss the people I work with, but at the same time I am so proud to say that I did what I set out to do a year ago: I changed my life.

I’m not totally sure what this new life will look like, but I’m excited to find out. And I’m excited to be able to continue to tell my stories. I promise I’ll let you know how it goes.

30 and out.

Advertisements

I can see clearly now…

Well, almost.

I got LASIK surgery on Saturday. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been in glasses for twenty years and I loathe them. Really, I do. I hate exercising in them, I hate that I can’t see in the shower, I hate that I can’t see when I’m swimming, I hate that I can’t see when Lucy wakes me up in the middle of the night with doggy kisses (At least, I think they’re doggy kisses. I can’t see. For all I know they’re monster kisses). I have contacts and I hate them too. I think they’re hard to put in and harder to take out and they generally give me a headache.

So the idea of not having to deal with contacts or glasses was incredibly tempting to me. I researched it a lot and finally decided to use some of my hard earned royalty money on fixing my eyes.

If anyone is considering it I suggest you do your research. There are pros and cons and lots of information to consider. Personally, I opted to get an insurance package with mine which would cover any “enhancements,” or corrections, that I might need. My doctor recommended this because my vision was so bad. The procedure itself was pretty simple. I won’t go into gory details but I will say it was incredibly fast and painless, though I did find it very uncomfortable and quite freaky. If they offer you Valium, take it. It helps. Love the lovely Valium!

Post surgery I had some issues. My eyes burned like mad for a good five hours, and they watered constantly that entire time. The constant feeling that something is poking your eye is hard to ignore. But I got through that stretch and noticed improvement right away. I have to say, I’ve been a little jealous of all those people who say they woke up the next day with perfect vision. Those people stink. I woke up the next day with improved vision, but not perfect. It still isn’t perfect. It seems to be great for a while then I slip back into blurry. I’m wearing reading glasses for using the computer and I have my kindle set to a pretty high font for reading. I did get to drive today, and that was awesome. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will continue to improve and maybe I won’t need corrections. If I do, I’ll have to wait four months. And four months of seeing like this would suck.

You know what doesn’t suck? My family. Particularly my mom, and dad, and my sister, Hannah. My parents took care of me all weekend, driving me to my appointments and to get my medicine. This was particularly nice of my dad as he is still suffering the painful effects of the Great Old-Man Trampoline Debacle of 2012. My mom made sure I took my eye drops and made me delicious food AND she even took Luce out for her walks. And when they both had to leave for the evening Hannah came over and took care of me. Seriously, how lucky am I?

(The answer is very, very lucky)

So here’s hoping my vision keeps getting better. It’s kind of important for me, being a writer and all. Even more so, I need to be able to read. The thought of having difficulty reading is one of the scariest things I can imagine. How would I get by without it? I love reading more than just about anything else on Earth (minus the people I love, of course. And Lucy). Before surgery I was in the waiting room reading a kind of crappy chick-lit. Before I went in I had a terrible thought–if something goes wrong and this is the last book I ever read, I’m gonna be pissed. Luckily I can already read somewhat with the bigger font on kindle. Thank God for that. But I promise here and now I will never take my ability to read whatever I want, whenever I want, for granted. It’s way too precious.

So what are you reading that you’re grateful for?

 

dilemma

I have a SERIOUS problem. I’m leaving for vacation in a few days and I have no idea what books I want to take with me!  I’m not sure if I want to read chicklit or YA or some kind of thriller. It’s a beach vacation so I definitely want it to be light and easy reading. I’m a pretty fast reader, and I plan to read pretty much all day, so my book list is essential! Does anyone have any suggestions?

Speaking of the vacation, I’m so pumped for it! Like, so SO pumped! I’m going on a cruise with some of my best friends and it’s going to be a blast. We’ll be hitting Key West and Cozumel. I’m hoping for hot weather and cold drinks for a blissful 4 days! Oh, and food. Man, there’s a lot of good food on a cruise ship. I’m drooling a little, just thinking about it.

While on this trip (the day we’re in Cozumel, which is also St. Patrick’s Day) I will be celebrating a pretty big birthday–30. How the heck did that happen? A few days ago one of my co-workers was telling me that after my birthday I should probably start getting regular mammograms. I looked at her in confusion and said, “They don’t recommend that for 25 year-olds.” Uh, yeah. Not so much 25 anymore. But I still feel like I am! Actually, I feel about 20. It still shocks me sometimes that I’m allowed to go into a bar and drink. Or that I own my own house. My friend Maddie had a baby a few weeks ago and I can’t wrap my mind around it. Kids our age don’t have houses and babies! Except they do. Because we’re not kids, we’re grown-ups. So weird!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset about getting older–just incredulous. I think 30 is going to be an AMAZING year.  I have plots hammered out for at least 5 books and I plan to publish my booty off in the coming year. I can’t wait!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! On the 17th, raise a green beer to me. I will be on a beach in Mexico doing the same:)

Today is the day I sit at home and write.

Seriously. I need to do this.

Now that I’m back at school it’s getting harder and harder to write during the week. I’m still making time but I really look forward to weekend days where I have nothing to do but stay in and write.

I was reading the blog of this super successful indie writer this morning. She has been able to make a living from her books and I find her blog posts really interesting and inspiring. Every time I read one I think, “I want to be a stay at home writer too! I need to be more like her. What the heck am I doing on the internet??” And then I go sit down and write. So that’s the plan for today.

Tomorrow there will not be much time for writing. Tomorrow I am going to participate in my first ever author’s event! I am really geeked about it. The event is at a very cool little store in Clawson, Mi, very close to where I grew up. It will feature lots and lots of local authors who will have the chance to meet people, sell and sign books, and, apparently, eat refreshments. How could that be anything but awesome?

I had business cards printed for the occasion. I can’t stop looking at them. Dork!

So if you happen to be in the metro Detroit area tomorrow, stop by Leon and Lulu’s in Clawson and see me. It should be a grand time! All the info can be found right here.

Hope everyone is enjoying nice weather today! 77 and sunny in Detroit on October 8th!