For the past 2 years, I've been on auto-pilot.
It'd be naive to suggest the ongoing global pandemic has nothing to do with that, but it'd also be naive to think it's that simple. I entered 2020 with a job that caused too much stress for my salary to justify, I was writing but had lost my focus on the end goal, and I'd adjusted to living in London in a sort of neither here nor there kind of way. In short, I was living a life that was comfortable enough, but at 23, comfortable felt like surrender.
Then, Covid-19 hit, I lost my job, and I suddenly felt like I was back to fresh-out-of-uni square one.
2021 was my mourning period. Not intentionally so, but in hindsight, I hit pause on a lot of things. I got a new, steady (significantly less stress-free) job, but not in an area I see my future in, I queried an upmarket/literary project I quickly shelved and I wrote my second romcom, but never really took any proactive steps in achieving my writing goals. I beat myself up over this a lot at the time, but you know what? The world was burning and I needed time to breathe.
Then, in 2022, I woke up.
It's the most bizarre thing because I've never been the type to scream new year, new me into the void. I didn't consciously set any new years resolutions, or make any silent promises to myself about how to spend my 2022. For some intangible reason, though, something has recently clicked in my head.
I don't want to be on auto-pilot anymore.
It feels like the world is inexplicably aware of this because while I do not want to jinx myself, the 2 weeks of 2022 I've experienced so far have tipped suspiciously in my favour. Since January 1st, I've:
Been offered a place to study an MA in Creative Writing & Publishing in London
Sent a small batch of queries (& received a full manuscript request)
Received a small promotion and salary uplift
Read 3 (and a half) books (my usual total at this time of year is 0)
In hindsight, I maybe shouldn't underestimate my 2021 self. That's when I started applying for MA programmes, decided I'd give querying a shot in the new year, and the 2022 promotion is a result of work I did in 2021. However, it now feels like I'm actively chasing these things, whereas it felt like I was primarily going through the motions in 2021.
I want to make things happen now. I want to pursue my writing career, I want to land a literary agent, I want a book deal. I want to study and work in a field I love, but simultaneously not let my career become my life. I want to read and read and read. Don't get me wrong; I've always wanted these things, but the difference is that I'm not sleeping on them anymore.
Am I going to achieve everything I want? Maybe not, but for the first time in 2 years, I'm going to do everything in my power to make it happen.