A few days ago, I found myself saying that 2019 was a good year for me. But was it really? Thinking back on it from the silence of my writing cave, I need to revise that statement. 2019 was a challenging year. Professionally, creatively and personally. Here and there I took a beating, I learned from my mistakes, got back on my feet and grew as a person. And went straight ahead, making new mistakes.
Let me tell you about my year.
My Professional 2019
2019 should have to start with a bang; a huge change that would influence the entire year. And it did, but not in the way I thought it would.
In January, I was supposed to move to Portugal. I’ve been studying in a cooperative Master’s program between a German and a Portuguese university. I would have been there for at least 6 months but wanted to stay for a year. The plan was to bring my partner and our dog with me and build a new life there.
Things rarely go as planned, and my partner canceled the project. I was left with a decision to make: break up and go, or stay.
I took my time to really question why I had started to study again. I had suffered through my Bachelor’s, and it took way longer than it should have because I was focused on my work as a Capoeira coach.
The business hadn’t worked out the way I had imagined. I got scared and went back to university. I knew that I wanted to stay a coach to work with the kids who had been with me for almost 4 years at that point. And I didn’t want to leave my partner.
So I dropped out of the program and didn’t make the flight on January 17th. I decided to focus on my work as a coach and give it everything I had. I managed to cut a better deal with the studio I was working at and also found a new place to teach.
Still, the first half of 2019 was a rough time for us financially. We had to apply for welfare. The process alone was humiliating. At best, we were an inconvenience to the official in charge. At worst, they saw us as losers who had lost their right to speak their mind.
The support we ended up getting was minor. Earlier this month, we got a letter telling us that we messed up a formality, and we have to pay every cent back. Great news.
In the second half of 2019, work was excellent. I earned more than ever before. But my situation had barely changed. I made minimum wage without having insurance, sick days, or any other benefits. My job could support me only as long as nothing unforeseen would happen. And that doesn’t sound like a solid plan going forward.
So I talked to my then employer, a studio where I had brought all my students the year before when they opened. They couldn’t or didn’t want to help me. Plus we had more issues that we didn’t find a compromise for.
So I made my decision to part ways with them. It meant organizing a new gym, mobilizing people to come with me and preparing everything else until the end of December.
Only next month I’ll see if it works out and I can pay my bills. But I was stuck in an unhealthy situation that wouldn’t change by itself. And I did something.
Regardless of the eventual outcome, I’m proud of my decision.
My Creative 2019
Of course, all this up and down influenced my creative life immensely.
In the first half of the year, I was focused on the first draft of my very first attempt to write a novel. I finished it in June and started editing around August. But I put the project on ice as of now.
I picked up writing in the middle of 2018, and working on that project taught me a lot about myself and my process. Unfortunately, I know that the draft would consume a lot of time and energy to make it right, and I wanted to get more experience in writing different things.
As a consequence, I started this blog in August. I wanted to create a place to share my writing and my thoughts with others. Starting with some short stories and poems, the idea for my 501 Prompt series came in October. I figured if I wanted to become a better writer, I needed to write a lot. The more different ideas and concepts, the better.
I hit the ground running with 3 prompts per week. Still, it took too much of my time to have this kind of output (especially considering my work situation), and I settled for 1 per week.
I took my short stories and poems down again because I want to revise and try to get them published in 2020.
In November and December, I took another shot at writing two different longer stories — one sci/fi, the other fantasy. I hope I get my motivation up to edit them in 2020.
A Special Place In My Heart
Writing is a lonely business. For the most time, I’m okay with that. I like my alone time. Always did. Humans are social, though, and I started looking for like-minded people.
During NaNoWriMo 2018, I joined a local writing group, but we didn’t really hit it off the right way. In March 2019 I joined Twitter because I had read about the writing community there. I had the account for a few years and never knew what do with it. I decided to give it a go. Honestly, I didn’t expect much.
And I was overwhelmed. There are so many smart, creative, and passionate people working on their craft in the writing community. So many offered my support and helped me through the darker day of the year. Finally, I’ve found my people.
I’m grateful to have the chance to get to know every single one of them, and I wouldn’t want to miss them. Thank you for all the fun and inspiration, tears, and hardship we went through!
So… was 2019 a good year?
To come back to the initial question: was 2019 a good year?
It was a tough and challenging year. But I haven’t been that productive creatively and professionally ever before. It’s like I woke up from a long slumber, finally knowing what I want to do with my life.
There are a lot of questions and insecurities ahead of me starting into 2020. I’m afraid of the days to come but I also want to trust in my abilities to overcome any challenge along my way.