The Yearly Wheel Keeps Turning: Bring in 2022

It's that time of year again, when I sit down and look at everything that I had set out to do for 2021 and assess what I can do to influence my successes in the coming year. More often than not, I'm reminded of something that was a massive step forward that I had completely forgotten about in the wake of all the negative.

Between COVID-Delta and the constant stream of lockdowns, the crazy of copyright laws, the push for increasing diversity, and all crazy that has ensued in my personal life, there is only one thing that I can do: focus on what I can control and breathe. (Okay, that's two things.)

And my biggest lesson in 2021 is that I need to learn how to say "No."

Today's post is long, but it is what it is.

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A Mindset Shift for 2021

2020 has been a year that many of us would like to forget. So many bad things have happened throughout the year on the global stage and for many people, it was a struggle to see the positive, even though we were hunting for it. But when I look back at 2020, I don't see the total doom and gloom that others might see. I see opportunity to change things for the better, and I worked hard to snag those opportunities.

Sure, COVID-19 has a lot to answer for, but we saw SpaceX Falcon 9 send a manned Dragon into space! And I'm still in awe over those spacesuits. They were definitely something right out of science fiction.

The internet world became more connected on a global level. Because of it, for the first time, I was able to attend some amazing international conferences—including one on cybersecurity—from the comfort of my home office chair.

On the personal front, I lost my mother this year, due to a rare side effect from a common drug. But I've been forced to slow down—thank you, lockdowns—and I've been able to reflect on life around me. And there is mom's voice in the deep reaches of my mind telling me to reach for my dreams. "Turn Can't into Watch Me!"

2020 might have been a shit year globally, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm on my true path.

If you will indulge me for a bit, I'll share with you how the crazy has led to clarity.

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Social Media Realignment Experiment 2.0

The first step in dealing with any addiction is to recognize that you have a problem. So…

"Hi, my name is Judy, and I'm addicted to social media."

Social media and I have weird relationship, and yes, addiction is part of that. I'm obsessed with understanding how security works on the platforms, but the moment I'm in there…

"Oh, look… Some useless post about red carpet fashion disasters… or the latest chaos among the British royal family… or how the children of stars look like their parents."

I'm a sucker for the meaningless and boring… and there just went my precious writing time.

Back in July 2020, I posted about the Social Media Realignment Experiment. It was an attempt to realign my social media usage to my professional goals. Quitting all social media wasn't an option for me, but my everyday usage was out of control.

However, in the original experiment, I was too vague on what I wanted to achieve. So, it's time to kick the Social Media Realignment Experiment into Version 2.0.

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Focusing on What I Can Control

Every year, at this time of the year, I sit down and examine my journey into the publishing industry. I look at the little goals that I had set for myself and how I progressed towards those goal. When I do this, it’s about reminding myself of what I have achieved, and not focusing on what I haven’t achieved.

It’s about celebrating the little wins, and sometimes, it’s about reminding myself of the things that are out of my control.

There are external factors involved at every step along my personal publication journey. I’m getting better at identifying what those external factors are and shaping my goals, so that when I do these annual reviews, I’m able to be proud of my accomplishments.

Last year, I had set six objectives. One, in particular, was fully out of my control, 100% reliant on others. The other five... Well, I need to learn to get a little bit more specific in my goal setting

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Traditional vs Self-Publication: The argument has flipped.

There was a time when the world at large looked down their noses at anyone who self-published, like the writing was sub-par. In many ways, it was. In those early days of Amazon and Kindle, self-publishing was so easy. Getting your book out into the world was just a matter of uploading your file to the internet and clicking on a few buttons. You didn’t even need to pay a dime if you didn’t want to. As such, everyone from the dog to the neighbor was self-publishing — and the world became flooded with books, many of which should have never been published when they were.

The market is still flooded with sub-par self-published books, but things have moved on. With the changes that have occurred within the industry as a whole, the quality of the self-published works has gone up and the ability to get traditional publication contracts has dramatically become harder. And the attitudes about self-publication have now flipped, and the stigma is now attached to the traditional roads.

For someone like myself, it is exciting times to see these transformations within the publishing industry. However, the shift in attitudes actually make my blood boil — but not because of where the stigma now lies, but because of the way people treat me when they discover that I’m determined to go down the traditional route with my fiction.

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