Wednesday, January 16, 2013

To Stop Being Being Downright Awful to Myself: Andrea Hannah's 2013 Resolution + How to Keep Yours This Year

Confession time, lovelies.

Ready? Because it's about to get real up in here. 

I have been nothing but sick for the past month. I'm sick of being sick. I'm miserable to the point of being heartbroken, because I know I did this to myself. 

I thought it started during the three-day revision marathon from hell that I put myself through before Christmas (30+ hours of revising in 2.5 days). I swear, I got the flu within an hour of sending my newest manuscript to my agent. But if I'm being honest with myself, it really started back in August. 

This is me, dying. Only with less fur.

See, August was a turning point for me as a writer. I went back to work after four months off with my new baby. I spent the entirety of that four months sicker than a dog: a crazy emergency birth, multiple trips to the hospital to treat infections, on top of caring for a preemie and my first child. I obviously did not write a single word from April until August. 

But at the end of the summer, I went back to work, life started to normalize a bit and I was struck with this enormous urgency to actually complete something. All of my writer friends who were on submission with one novel had already finished another or were close to finishing. They had a back-up plan incase the first didn't sell. They were actually being professionals.

And I realized this: If I'm going to be a professional writer, I actually have to write things. I didn't cut myself any slack for my illnesses or my new role as a parent. Nope. I was a hardass. And I'm freaking paying for it. 

It's January now, and yes, I have completed another manuscript, revised it, gotten feedback, revised it again, and have sent it off to my agent. I'd be lying if that didn't feel pretty spectacular. But, at what cost? 

I'll tell you at what cost: I was struck with a massive flu, followed by an infection, followed by a list of ridiculous things that haven't happened to me since I was, like, ten (Hives?! Really??). I'm still paying for the months of intense pressure I put on myself. 

So, I only have one resolution this year and it looks a little bit like this:
To honor myself. To include fun and rest as an important part of my life. To treat myself with the same respect that I tell others to do for themselves.

This includes basic functions like sleeping, eating and peeing (instead of telling myself things like "I'm only allowed to pee after I finish writing this scene"). But it also includes snowboarding with my family, going on runs with my sister-in-law, allowing myself to nap in bed with the baby, watching actual TV shows, reading actual books, being an actual freaking human. And you know what? If it takes me a few months longer to finish this draft, or if I miss a blog post this week, then so be it. It's not the end of the world. 

(takes deep breath) It's not the end of the world. 

But, while I'm over here trying to chill out, I know a lot of you out there have big, big plans for your writing and your lives this year, which is excellent! I also know that some of you are worried that you'll give up on your resolutions pretty quickly, or that you're not sure where to start on achieving something that huge, like snagging agent or finishing x amount of books, etc. So I'm going to share with you a few tools that have really helped me out in the past. 

1) The 2013 Goal Planner: I'm not just talking about a regular ol' planner, although those are helpful too. I'm talking about a planner that's specifically set up to help you envision your entire year, asks you to explore what you really want, and then helps you break apart those goals into smaller chunks. And then helps you to plug those chunks into your calendar. Before you know it, you're already there. I've used Leonie Dawson's art journal before, which I love. You can check that out here. But if you're not into the whole artsy thing, there's another great one over on Amazon here

2) The Manifestation Journal: This often has a kind of New Age, spiritual connotation to it, but it doesn't have to be all about The Secret and blah blah blah. What I'm talking about is just a plain journal. I keep a notebook, and I make a list of everything I want for myself in the coming year, even if some of them seem unrealistic. Then I go back through the journal throughout the year and "check my progress." I spend a little time with each thing, see how I'm doing with them all. It's funny because sometimes I write things in there that I forget about and then when I go back through them at the end of the year, I'm surprised by what has popped up in my life. If anything, the journal is just a good reminder of your goals, and it's also really cool to look back at all you've accomplished in a year, or what you've at least gotten closer to. 

Okay, that's all for now! We're going to take a break from our regularly scheduled program tomorrow to give you the deets on our very own Stefanie's BOOK DEAL, right here on the blog!!

Until then, happy goal planning! 


Andrea Hannah is a YA writer represented by Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider. She writes stories about criminals, crazy people, and creatures that may or may not exist. When she's not writing, Andrea teaches special education, runs, spends time with her family, and tries to figure out a way to prevent her pug from opening the refrigerator (still unsuccessful). Oh, and she tweets a bajillion times a day, mostly about inappropriate things.

You can find her on Twitter @
Drop her an email @:
And visit her website @:

3 secret replies:

  1. YES. I've had very similar realizations in the past year - I was absolutely disgusting by the time I finished my draft of my last manuscript, just... like, not even clean. Hadn't spoken to anyone who didn't live on the Internet in forever. Just, bad news.

    Then came Pitch Wars, which sucked the life out of me, and after that I was sick for a month and I knewww, and then came another ms and I'm *still* having a hard time telling myself, "Stop. Sleep. It'll get done at some point and you'll be fine." But those things are VERY important, and I hope I treat myself a lot better this year!

  2. I'm so sorry to hear things have been so rough! Good luck with pulling back. Sometimes I think it's just as hard to make time for ourselves as it is to use every available second DOING something and being productive.

  3. I'm glad you're taking time to care for yourself. Hope you recover fully soon!