I am determined to have an uplifting and fulfilling year.

So many times at the end of the year, I write out my goals for moving forward, but forget to reflect on the positives from the exiting year. Whether it be special memories made with the family, business accomplishments or finding more peace in a more freeing schedule, I overlook them in my race to dive into the next.

So while there was definitely much to be anxious about in 2020, there was also much to be thankful for. I savored the downtime and slower pace with the family as our schedule cleared. We enjoyed even more time outdoors and had room and time to decompress. We found joy in the simple. Fulfillment in the still. Small moments, Big memories.

This year, my mentality is centered around positivity. To be completely vulnerable, what sparked it was accidentally stumbling across an extremely harsh review of Becoming American. It. was. harsh. My biggest fear in publishing was exposing myself to criticism, but I knew it would always be there. It always is when you’re going for something outside of your comfort zone. But that’s where success lives.

This was my first book and I poured my heart into it. The review said it was like a first draft. This was probably my 20 to 30th draft. I tried to make it as authentic as possible and wanted to educate young adults on the events surrounding the time period of World War II and the social climate in the United States during that time. I read somewhere between 8-12 books and several credible websites in researching. I visited with the Japanese Cultural Society, the 100th Battalion Veteran’s Club and the 442nd, along with Pearl Harbor. I sought out and listened to stories of people whose family had gone through the experience of internment, relocation, war. People whose fathers fought for our country while their families were imprisoned within the country they fought for. I read real stories. Real journals. Real letters to home from the war.

Could the book have been better? Of course it could have. I haven’t read it since turning in my final draft in fear of the urge to correct everything. I reminded myself to be thick-skinned and thin-skulled. I have been plugging in to some amazing writing Zooms and am grateful and excited for how much they have helped in crafting evocative stories and prose. I have sought the advice and support of fellow authors.

Having negative reviews was my worst fear. But you know what? It happened. And after catching up with some of my writing mentors, family and friends, found that I am still inspired to write. You won’t please everyone. Some of the best NYT Bestselling books don’t “grab” me while some of my favorite ones are those I’ve found in little free libraries by obscure authors. My son likes graphic novels. My middle daughter likes horror stories. The oldest likes well-researched books. That’s what makes reading and writing fun and relatable and accessible to everyone.

So in effort of inspiring other writers while supporting fellow authors, I am going to be posting short interviews promoting great books and inspirational writers. Because after talking with and hearing from several authors, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there is no one way to write. Or to be successful.

My goal is to share many stories and strive to provide inspiration to those who might be worried about doing the “right thing” or “writing the right way.” This is not a business model. It is an artistic craft of imagination. Which means there is freedom in how you want to do it. That’s what makes it awesome!