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  • Writer's pictureElora Cook

Year End Review + 2019 Goals

To sum up 2018 for me, it was a year of friendship, gratitude, and patience.

I've been on this publishing journey for two years publicly now and if you'd told 2016 Elora that the 2018 Elora still would be plugging away at her (second) book without any of the traditional successes she'd hoped for by now, she would have been very, very upset. However, the start of 2019 Elora is reflecting on what 2018 brought and though I didn't get an agent, book deal, or into any writing contests like a lot of my friends did, I'm grateful and fortunate for the friendships I've cultivated.

Oh, 2016 Elora. The journey you've yet to take!

The beginning of 2018 brought my beloved Toronto Writing Crew into fruition. These ladies are some of the kindest, most talented people I know and I don't know what happened for me to deserve them! Watching them over the past year work hard and see their talents be recognized either in getting an agent and/or a book deal truly makes my heart sing. Kelly, Fallon, June, Kess, Liselle, Deborah, Sarena & Sasha, and Joanna when you come back home, you ladies are some of the best people I know and I'll always be grateful to call you my crew!

I also finished the first draft of my beloved second story, THE GRAVEYARD KEEPER'S DAUGHTER, that I can thank for allowing me to meet many of the writers and community in 2018. I was heartbroken to shelve my first book after working on it for years, but I'll never regret doing so for the growth and friendships my second book brought me. I rewrote the story twice after finishing it at the end of January, once for myself and the second in anticipation of my second attempt at Pitch Wars, and before the year ended I started on my third rewrite. Hopefully it'll be my last! Since when I say rewrite, I literally mean rewrite almost the entire book.

(Shout out to some wonderful friends for reading and giving stellar feedback on those earlier drafts and for always being so supportive of my story: Fallon, Kelly, Aneeqah, June, Debra, & Alex. Heart eyes for days for all of you)

This story means so much to me now in ways my first doesn't. It started off as a letter to myself on healing, forgiveness and moving on from a past I wasn't ready to let go of, and it's blossoming into what it's been waiting to be. Even though I thought it would be The One to get me into contests like Pitch Wars or Author Mentor Match, for some reason the universe wants me to learn that isn't the case. I'm still waiting to understand why that was, I believe everything happens for a reason, but I know one day I'll know and it'll all have worked out the way it was supposed to. I got a great request rate from both contests even though I didn't make it in, so I know I'm on the right track. All I can control is making this story shine brighter until someone with the right "yes" will see it, too.

Gratitude and patience are some areas I've learned to embrace better, though I will admit some days are harder to remember than others. I saw so many friends see successes I was also reaching for, from contests to book deals, and some were honestly very fast for publishing standards. Those moments for others while you're cheering for them can be hard, when you've been pushing and pushing for your first yes after many no's and some get many yes's all at once. I know in publishing we're constantly reminded that it's a marathon experience, but I don't think we should pretend like that's always the case. When I see those writers and wonder, "why can't I finally get a yes like they got so quickly?" I try to remember that my journey is happening at the pace it's at for a reason and that other successes are coming to me in different ways (hence, the wonderful friendships above and many others on Twitter). Hopefully I can be at peace with these thoughts more in 2019.

Along the same lines of gratitude, I also recognized how blessed I am to have a space in my parent's home when I come back from the city to write, sleep, and dream. I spent the summer living at home to escape the overwhelming energy of the city and worked with children at a library. Though it was an exhausting job, I'm grateful for the little moments of joy I was given. One that stood out was the Amish home that sold gorgeous bunches of flowers to bring home with me after a long day at work to brighten my desk while I wrote. Another was being able to spend a couple hours every Thursday at the cafe that I loved so much, I wrote it into the setting of my story. I also got to spend more time with my senior dog, Buddy, who is 19 now. Cuddles with him even after all these years means the world to me. Sometimes the greatest joys are within the moments you least expect.

The end of 2018 was a difficult one when I didn't get into any contests, had some of the hardest courses to take in university, and didn't get to write hardly anything until it was all over. I did though make a detailed outline (12K!) once I licked my wounds long enough, got amazing beta reader feedback (shout out to the absolutely lovely Alechia) and had time here and there to decide where I wanted to take GRAVEYARD KEEPER'S from here. Hello, rewrite number 3!

Compared to others, 2018 for me wasn't full of flashy moments to post on Instagram or shout about on Twitter. But I've come to accept that that's okay. Not everyone can constantly be the Belle of the Ball and it brings me so much joy to celebrate loud and passionately those who get those moments when they come. I'm looking forward to all the debut moments I get to witness my friends have and can't wait to hold their stories in my hands or post all caps when others get agents and so on.

Now here are some of my 2019 goals (controllable and up to fate). Which ones will I accomplish this year?

* Finish revisions on THE GRAVEYARD KEEPER'S DAUGHTER and query it

* Get an agent with it

*Draft my #teenmafiaWIP YA contemporary I'm stoked for

* Attend BookCon in June and meet some of my American friends

*get a book deal (sprinkles fairy dust everywhere for good luck)

*get my dream internship this summer at a Big 5 publishing house

*enjoy more moments with my family

Here's to a wonderful 2019, friends.

#writer #writinglife #goals #yearendreview

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