A lot can change in a year

A lot can change in a year. One year ago today, I wrote a tweet that changed my life.

#pitmad#A When a man's wife is kidnapped he must avenge her and blow whistle on human experimentation project he covered up for 50 years.

— A. Suiter Clarke (@asuiterclarke) March 11, 2015

You can read about how I signed with my literary agent here if you so desire. This blog won't really about the "how" so much as "wow, looking back on the last year, I can't believe how much has changed."

Just right now, as I write, I can think of the following great things that have changed in the past 12 months:

  • My husband and I moved into our own house together for the first time

  • I got promoted from part-time to full-time in my job and was given a new title

  • I got my fitness back on track and am now enthusiastically working out 4-5 times a week

  • I signed with a literary agent and received some incredible feedback on my first novel from people I truly respect

  • I wrote more than 50,000 words on a second novel in one month and am now busily revising it

  • I've made some truly awesome friends both in Australia and online through writing communities

There's a lot more. This is just what I can think of.

But as someone who dreams of soon being a published author, getting a literary agent is one of the most significant accomplishments that I've ever made in my life, and it was really that signal from Sharon one year ago today, that "favoriting" of my tweet, that let me know I had written something special and got the ball rolling towards (hopefully) publication in the next couple of years (yes, traditional publishing takes a long time).

It's been a year of ups and downs, edits and rewrites of paragraphs and sentences that had already been edited and rewritten many times before. It's true what they say that you have to write a book you want to read, because I have probably read my novel at least 20 times.

But it's been a good year.

When I was younger, I used to think ahead and wonder where my life would be a year from then, two years, five years. I couldn't imagine as an 18-year-old what I would be like at 23. I certainly would never have guessed then that I would go live in London on my own for two years and do a Master's degree. At 16, I never would have believed that I'd still be unmarried at 25 and pretty happy about it, thank you very much.

At 22 I never would have guessed that in five years, I would have a literary agent, be deep into writing a second novel, working full-time in an office managing the words that come out of a highly respected company, and living in Melbourne with an Aussie husband.

So much can change in a year. Life is funny that way, and I love it.

Sometimes, even now, I think about where I'll be in a few years. Whether I'll have a book published and another on the way, whether I'll still be working in marketing or doing freelance and writing fiction. Maybe I'll be teaching at a university. Maybe I'll have a kid.

But more often, now, I like to look back. I like to think about my life a year ago, two years ago, five years ago.

What was I doing? What was I crying about? What made me unbelievably happy? What stressed me out?

The answer to all of those questions was completely different in 2011 than it is now.

In March 2011, I accepted my offer to study a MA in Creative Writing at Kingston University in London. I scrambled for several months to get my money together, secure housing, apply for loans, get my visa in order, etc.

In March 2012, I applied to continue my studies and do a Master of Fine Arts, which would mean another year of more intensive study focusing on my novel (which would eventually become the novel that my agent signed up).

In March 2013, I met the man I would one day marry, although I didn't know it then. He walked up to me in a storm trooper t-shirt and introduced himself in a huge crowd of people at Hillsong in London. He got my number, and after months of back and forth and me not realizing he was asking me out and therefore accidentally rejecting him, we started dating.

In March 2014, I had just gotten engaged and was trying to throw together a wedding in four months. It ended up being so beautiful, I think we fooled everyone into not realizing it had been planned so quickly.

change year

change year

In March 2015, I sent a tweet out into the ether with a pitch for a novel, and got the attention of a few agents. One of them ended up making an offer, and I haven't looked back once. She's got a great head on her shoulders and makes me laugh with her gifs, but she also encourages me to write and stick to my guns when someone suggests a change to my book that I don't agree with.

In March 2016, I'm working on a new novel. I'm reading a lot about the justice system in the US. I'm busy every day, and loving it (for the most part. Sometimes, I Netflix just like everyone else.)

Who knows what March 2017 will look like? I'll let you know in a year.