What an incredible year. From the start, doors were flung wide open, and I was swarmed with opportunities.
- Feb 14: I received an acceptance letter to the University of British Columbia and accepted the offer of admission to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Creative Writing.
- Mar 19: I finished drafting my YA dystopian high fantasy The Negotiation War at 65,000 words! (Idea in July 2021, began drafting October 2021)
- Mar 24: I won a Silver Medal with Distinction from Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for a writing portfolio I’d submitted! I was invited to the award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York! I was in the top 1% of 100,000 entries, and of the 29 who received the same award as I did, myself and two others had works included in The Best Teen Writing 2022 anthology!!
- Apr 14: Brett Harris offered me a full scholarship for the Author Conservatory. I still sometimes think am I really here? It must be a dream. I’d considered joining before, but kept hesitating, wanting go to post-secondary. In the end, I found a way to balance both, and here I am. Thank you!! Thank you for making this possible, Brett. I am grateful beyond what any words can express for your generosity and support.
- Apr 21: I attended the Story Embers Resonant Themes summit organized by Josiah DeGraaf and the incredible Story Embers team!! This is where I learned about thematic questions, brought my earliest Fabrication concept to a group critique, and found the core of my story.
- Apr 24: I presented my grade 12 capstone project! Big hugs and thank yous to everyone who was there, and everyone who has supported me throughout my life so far– I cannot possibly name you all– parents, sisters, family, friends, classmates, teachers, and mentors.
- April-May: I edited Legend of My People and reached the second draft with that novel.
- May 10: I finished my grade 12 schoolwork!!
- June 9: This date holds so much importance to me. In 2019 it was the day I started drafting my novel Awake, Awoke. In 2020 it was the day I received developmental edits for Awake, Awoke back from a professional editor. And this year, it was the day I stood in my grad dress in Carnegie Hall to be recognized for my writing.
- June 13: I attended my homeschool grad virtually over Zoom, and tossed my cap in the backyard (it crash-landed on my mom’s flowers)
- June 23: I attended the grad celebration of the private Christian school I attended K-9 as my best friend’s plus one.
- May/June: I joined the Conservatory in May, but didn’t start into it until June after New York and grad events. But wow!! I absolutely loved critique calls with Katie Phillips, who worked alongside me through the process of weaving Fabrication from concept to outline. The synopsis stage was difficult, as I worked through four drafts, but looking back, I learned so much about patience, endurance, perseverance, and flexibility to let the story breathe and expand and change. Katie… you are my hero. You are so caring, inspiring, and an incredible editor. I love your Coffee With Katie emails, and raise my cup of tea to you. Thank you.
- July: REALM MAKERS!!!!! Aka the greatest week of my life! I met my tribe! I practice pitched to Steve Laube during his continuing session! I met so many amazing people!! Wayne Thomas Batson signed my copy of The Door Within, the book that got me into Christian fantasy. Just… everything. I knew on the very first day of the conference that I would be going back again in 2023.
- Sept 3: First week of my first semester of university! I took 2 Creative Writing courses, 2 English courses, and a Theater course… and really enjoyed each of them.
- Sept 29: AHHHH Katie Phillips tugged on every possible loose string of the complex magic and Jal’s journey and graduated Fabrication to drafting!!! During the synopsis stage I felt like I was trying to pull ahead and jump into writing even though the story wasn’t ready yet, and by this point in outlining, I had reigned myself in and expected to need to bring the outline back to another call, ready to revise, eager to improve. So when I was graduated, it was such an unexpected blessing, and it’s the most incredible feeling to be told “You are ready”. Thank you again Katie!! I worked with you the most, and I am so blessed and grateful for everything you’ve done for me and my writing — and I’m only halfway through my first year.
- Dec 5: Brett graduated my cartography business to elevator pitch and key distinctions! The business side has been slower since I didn’t want to jump in while navigating my first semester of university, but my goal for the coming year is to dedicate more time into this side of the Conservatory. My business ideas changed a few times, and some market research hit a dead end, but I’m glad to be moving forward.
- Dec 10: I reached the midpoint in Fabrication!! I LOVE this project and am taking longer while drafting to focus on quality over quantity. Exciting to hit these milestones!
- Slow. Down. Don’t rush any part of the process. You are right where you are supposed to be. Frustration and impatience might come, but staying in those earlier stages until you are ready makes the story that unbelievably stronger.
- God walked beside me through it all. I was so blessed this year that I felt like I was drowning as my cup overflowed. He reached down and pulled me up to walk on the water beside Him.
- Writing doesn’t have to be a solidary art. Brainstorming pods, calls, groups, snippet readers, giving and receiving peer and professional feedback — I AM NOT ALONE when I’m writing. I have this community of writers all around me, and constant encouragement and support from my family.
- Take opportunities as they come, even if it means changing your plans.
- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
One giant thank you to Brooklyn, Jenna, and Eliana — love you all!! Thank you for brainstorming, role playing, reading my work, supporting me, and being my friends. *hugs *
So, in recap… I had a crazy year. God poured so many blessings over me, including you, whoever reads all the way down to the bottom of this post. Thank you for everything that you bring to this community, and may you have a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year ahead of you!!