A cover with my name on it. A real, book-shaped book. Making my dream into my full-time job. Seeing my book on shelves. A launch party. An 8-city tour with kindred spirits. A starred review. Emails and tweets from readers who love my book, who spend all afternoon reading it or stay up too late or want to know how soon the next one will be out and will Finn and Cate end up together?
It’s all amazing. It all happened in the last year. And yet–
I fret. Am I meeting publisher expectations? What do these Bookscan numbers mean? I’m not a crazy breakout NYT bestseller. Only one starred review. 1-star reviews. Is the new book good? Will I get to go on tour again? Will the new cover be pretty? The next book. The next book. The next book.
I am full of wanting, and always have been. I’m happy — but rarely content, exactly. I feel that radio-static chatter of anxiety, the constant craving drumbeat of ambition.
Which is why it’s important, sometimes, to stop. To look at where I am now and where I was a year ago. To be grateful, and note what I have accomplished, instead of all that is yet to come. Birthdays are good for that.
Last week I did two book-talks at my old high school and saw five former teachers. I did a reading and signing at my hometown library, and half a dozen high school classmates came, and lots of family. There was a write-up in the local paper. People threw around words like proud and successful and made your dreams come true and it was both wonderful and strange because: yes. And still no. My dreams are a moving target, it seems.
Today I am 32. I’m sitting here in my green and yellow office, wearing a Princess Sparkle T-shirt, drinking strawberry tea and noodling around on Twitter and daydreaming about the next-next-next book. Later, I’m going out with friends and The Playwright for cocktails.
I am grateful.
And to celebrate, I’m going to have a contest! You could win some of my favorite books this year:
A signed copy of BORN WICKED
A signed copy of UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi
A copy of THE WICKED AND THE JUST by J. Anderson Coats, with swag
A signed ARC of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund
All you have to do is leave a comment below, telling me something awesome YOU accomplished in the last year. Contest open until Thursday, May 10 at noon. International entries are fine.