Welcome to 2019! If you follow me on social media, then you’ve got a bit of an idea about what’s coming. But if not, let me catch you up. 2018 was a tough, tough year for me. It started off with a diagnosis of a chronic illness in February, followed by eight months of recovering, changing my nutrition, and basically transforming my life.
After going through all of that, I’ve been compelled to start sharing the things I’ve learned with everyone I can. Now, don’t fret. If you’re just here for book news, I promise to share that first and foremost. My posts and newsletter will now be divided into a Book News section and a Mighty Friends section. Sound good?
Obviously, the biggest book news of 2019 is that Shadow & Flame is out this year, on June 4th! That’s only 154 days away! That might sound like a lot, but it’ll be here so soon. Sadly, there won’t be any arcs for it, but I do have some fun and easy activities planned as we get closer to release. If you want exclusive, early content, be sure to sign up to be a Relay Rider.
In other book news, I have to give a shoutout to some of my favorite reads of 2018. My absolute fav was Spinning Silver by Naomi Novick. I also loved The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon, and Pacifica by Kristen Simmons.
As mentioned above, 2018 was a heckuva year. There’s so much I want to tell you about, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Instead, I’ve decided to start by explaining what the acronym Be M.I.G.H.T.Y. means. This is my personal mission statement, the principles that I aspire toward everyday. As part of my journey of change this year, I’ve learned the importance of living a value (or principle) based life. My core values include my family, my health (physical, mental, and spiritual), my communities (church, Crossfit, horses), my career, and my creative life. If you want to know more about value-centered living, then I highly recommend reading The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey. I’m sure I’ll do a segment on this on a later date as well.
But for now, you’ll find a quick summation of the acronym for my personal mission statement below, followed by detailed explanations.
- Be Meek
- Be Informed
- Be Grateful
- Be Humble
- Be Tenacious
- Be Yourself
Now, I don’t mean weak or even gentle here, but meekness in the biblical sense. This has to do with how we handle a conflict or situation in which we have no ability to control or influence. According to biblestudytools.com, meekness is “an active and deliberate acceptance of undesirable circumstances that are wisely seen by the individual as only part of a larger picture.” It is “the patient and hopeful endurance of undesirable circumstances.” As any writer will tell you, writers have little to no ability to influence what happens to our books what we’ve written/sold them, and for me, this reality was a huge source of strife in my life these past few years, leading to depression, anxiety, and ultimately playing a huge part in my diagnosis with Meniere’s Disease. Of course, the need for me to be meek goes way beyond the books and into all avenues of my life.
After being diagnosed with an incurable disease, I was at first devastated. It felt like the end. For days and months and weeks everything seemed hopeless. Especially after all the doctor did for me was to “diagnose and dose.” They put me on some medication and told me to wish for the best. Instead, I said screw to that and dove headfirst into educating myself about the disease, which is considered an autoimmune issue. This led me to learn about the crucial role of nutrition in inflammation. I realized I had taken for granted that the foods available for purchase in the US were, if not healthy, at least not harmful. WRONG. I was so so wrong. So uniformed and naive. Never again will I embrace such things without question. I’ve come to realize that if I want to protect my health and wellbeing, and that of my family, that I have to actively seek out information in an attempt to learn the truth. I have to question all the paradigms I’ve long held, such as the ability of modern medicine to cure disease, the accuracy of the food pyramid, the safety of mutual funds, and so on. It’s overwhelming at times, but empowering. G.I. Joe was right–knowing is half the battle.
Every day, every waking moment, I want to express my gratitude for the life I’ve been given. Even when it’s hard, when it’s bad–and sometimes with this disease it gets real bad, like I-would-rather-die-than-go-through–but even still, I am blessed and loved. And I want to pay that love and blessing forward.
One of my friends and I regularly joke about how the publishing business is a daily practice in eating humble pie. And while that is true in a cynical sense, it’s not what I mean by humility. Instead, I’ve come to realize that humility is a choice, an acknowledgment and acceptance in my heart that I’m no better than anyone else, and that I am in fact, probably worse than most, if only for all the times I believed otherwise. Even more than that, humility is realizing how much I don’t know and how much I still have to learn. Every day, every encounter with every human being, is a chance to grow and serve and become more.
Never give up. It’s that simple. I could’ve given up many times, especially after that diagnosis, but I decided to holdfast instead. To fight. To move forward despite the odds. To be honest, This is a core value I’ve always had. It’s probably the number one quality you need if you want to publish a book. But I’ve never had my tenacity challenged more greatly than in this last year. I have to be tenacious in everything I believe am and chasing. For me, this value is about pursuing excellence in all things.
I know this one sounds cheesy, but I’m being sincere. I spent a lot of years not knowing myself. Not examining my choices, my dreams, my desires. Instead, I lived my life by walking the path set before me. Go to school, get a degree, get a job, get married, have kids. I never once stopped to question those decisions. I just did what was expected without ever stopping to get to know myself first. Have you ever known someone whose personality and interests would change based on who they started dating or hanging around with? Well…that was me. I’m ashamed to admit it. Truly ashamed, but it’s true. It was never intentional. I didn’t consciously try and change myself to match someone’s ideal version, but I did. It’s one of my biggest regrets. But again, never again. I want to be myself, and that starts with spending time getting to knowing myself, through deep and intentional introspection.
And there you have it. Sorry for the length of this one, but I had to share. I promise, shorter, more focused segments in the future. The most important thing I’ve learned so far is that change is possible. True change. The kind that impacts the lives of others and the world at large. But that change starts from within, not without. If you want change in your life, you have to go first. You have to lead the way. Do that, and the rest will follow. I promise.