Children's author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year's resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity - what DIDN'T get done or achieved in the previous year. Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I've decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! This is my forth year of participating and I look forward to it every year.
For everyone, 2020 was a tough year on sooooo many levels. For me it was difficult because of major health challenges and NOT just the pandemic. Ahead is a snapshot of my year that was 2020.
I'm late with this post as I usually post it at the end of December. However, I'd been busy finishing off illustrating a picture book, My Princess Wears a Superhero Cape by Melissa Gijsbers. On the 4th of January, I woke to find I couldn't get out of bed for a couple of hours, my head was fuzzy and I felt awful. I thought it was just going to be a bad day health wise and went off with my daughter to Coles. Nausea snuck up on me and the pressure in my head built. As we were leaving, I had to sit on a bench near the door. And then promptly fainted. When I got home I realised what was happening and took myself to bed to ride it out. I knew what it was. It hit me in 2018 when I was misdiagnosed with a CFS/ME crash.
In February 2020 when I was finally starting to feel better from what I thought was a CFS Crash, I woke one morning and felt fuzzy in the head. Vertigo started and after a few days I started to faint. I felt unsteady on my feet. I still tried to continue to get the illustrations I'd been contracted for, working some days 15 minutes at a time with many hours of a break in between. And then I started fainting multiple times a day, it wasn't occasional anymore. I was crawling from the bed to the bathroom and back. My daughter had to walk beside me and catch me as I fainted several times in one trip. I couldn't walk out of the house and it wasn't safe for me to drive. This was way worse than 2018.
After a couple of months and a number of trips to ED and various doctors telling me it was it was CFS crash again, I decided to take myself to another doctor 30 minutes away. My daughter wheeled me in a wheelchair as I could barely walk. I fainted in the waiting room while sitting. It was here I was I diagnosed with Vestibular Migraines, and when I started Vestibular Rehab Therapy, my physio added Vestibular Neuritis. I was finally on the right track to get better. And of course, this was added to my ever lengthening list of other health issues.
Slowly, over 2020, I gradually improved. It was a tough year and yet I achieved a lot considering it all.
Here is my list for 2020.
1. I completed illustrating the picture book, My Princess Wears a Superhero Cape by Melissa Gijsbers, despite dealing with new chronic health issues and being very sick much of the year. I was also mentored through the thumbnails through to sketches of final artwork by Nina Rycroft which was a great experience.
2. My picture book, Raymund and the Fear Monster is being sold worldwide. I even found out that it is being sold in a gift shop in Luxembourg. How cool is that!
3. Late in the year, I launched my YouTube show, Megan Meets late in the year where I interview children's authors and illustrators.
4. I polished 3 and ½ chapters of my middle grade sci-fi novel, and a junior fiction story for the Creative Writing Awards and submitted them. I also scrapped old chapters which no longer worked, and wrote new chapters for the same middle grade sci-fi novel.
5. My illustrating has gotten better this year as I was painting most days of the week. I learned so much by doing the work.
6. Our writer’s group pivoted, and we continued to meet together once a month, many times on Zoom depending on restrictions. I continued to run the workshops for our writer’s group and all our writing got better.
7. Not writing or illustrating related, but I worked out what clothing personality styles I have, and my colours, and bought a heap of new clothes (mainly op shop) which I love and enjoy wearing.
8. I received a lot of fabulous reviews from parents whose kids love Raymund and the Fear Monster, and even started off the year with a brilliant one from Children's Book Council of Australia -- Reading Time.
9. I attended a lot of online workshops with people I couldn’t afford face-to-face. This was invaluable.
10. I had my first virtual school visit as a Books in Homes Role Model with a school I would probably never visit in real life. It was lots of fun and the student asked some great questions.
11. Schools continue to buying copies of Raymund and the Fear Monster for their Wellbeing Program, or they have been gifted a book for their school library by parents.
12. I totally overhauled my website myself and gave it a fresh now look.
13. I managed to take some brand new profile pictures myself. Yes! They are all selfies. I use a remote for my phone.
Phew! What a full year. And I haven't included everything.
You might be wondering how I'm doing now. Four weeks into this relapse of Vestibular Migraines and, according to my Vestibular Rehab Physio, I have apparently made four months worth of progress in four weeks. It's because I knew it was a relapse and I just started at the beginning of my VRT (Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy), and I'm on medication and just needed to add back a couple when I was at my worst last year. For me it's slow going as I had a bunch of interviews planned and some surprises. However, that's all on the backburner while I get better, again.
I'm nearly finished touching up my illustrations for My Princess Wears a Superhero Cape. And, as long as I don't have too many days in bed, I should have them finished and off to the publisher soon.
I'm excited to see what this year will bring. Life is never boring. I can't work like everyone else. I have to work to the the beat of my own drum. In amongst it all, life is good.
How was your year?
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