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Danielle Miceli

December 31st, 2019
 🥂 Happy New Year! 🥂


What’s New?

For me, December was a month of coming to terms with all the life changes 2019 threw at me. After a few rough patches in a row, I found myself lingering at a crossroads, wondering how I wanted to end the year. Part of me still clung to the idea that I could race through my self-edits and have my manuscript ready to send beta readers come January, and another part was so tired and disillusioned that I wanted to let go of all things writer-ly for a while and just exist.

I settled somewhere in between. I snuck in time to edit during the first half of the month, but decided to press pause at the end of December, fully immerse myself in the holidays with my family, and enjoy the precious few days left before my husband returns to work and I once again take on my full-time responsibilities. Instead of going out with a bang, my 2019 is wrapping up calmly and quietly. That’s okay (and I admit that I’m saying this as much to myself as I am to all of you). It’s been one heck of a year--one heck of a decade.
  1. The End of a Decade: I’m the type of person who gets extremely emotional at the end of each year. In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, I’ll alternate between surging with hope for a clean slate, a fresh start, a reset, and feeling like I’m running out of time, scrambling to grasp the last grains of sand in an hourglass. This year, I’m feeling the oscillation all the stronger; it’s the end of the decade, both for the world, and me personally. Next year I’ll turn 30. And yes, I’m freaking out about it.

    Not because I’m afraid to be 30. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this new chapter. But because I’m afraid of everything I didn’t do in my 20s. I wanted my book to be published by now. I had this strange, arbitrary obsession with becoming an author before I hit 30, and I’ve spent most of this year painstakingly breaking up with this deadline. I’m not going to meet it. Not unless I’m willing to sacrifice the final quality of my book, and I won’t sacrifice that for any deadline, if I’m being honest.

    Still, it’s been hard to swallow. I had set myself up for so much success in 2019. My 2018 was defined mostly by career advances. I finished the first draft of the novel I’d been pouring my soul into for 7 years. I founded my own publishing company: Bookwyrm Press, LLC. I launched an author platform, website, newsletter, and found my incomparable writing tribe on Instagram.

    But 2019 was a drastic detour from everything I’d built up to. It’s been a year of personal struggles and growth. In early March 2019, I gave birth to my baby boy, Caleb, and that defined (and continues to define) everything that came after. My career goals slowed to a crawl as I focused on the most difficult transition period of my life thus far: motherhood. Painful schisms within my family made this adjustment even harder on me. It’s been a while since I’ve endured such a long period of doubting myself on every single level.

    I wish I could tell you that I’m leaving all my doubts behind in 2019, but I know there are more on my horizon. I will still have days when I want to give up. Days when I feel like my story doesn’t matter or I don’t matter. But I can promise to fight them with everything in me. And I hope, if you ever feel bogged down by the weight of all you’ve yet to accomplish, you will fight it, too.

    Maybe 2019 wasn’t my greatest year. But it was still the year Nick and I became parents to the sweetest baby boy I ever could have imagined creating. And this past decade was defined by so much more than just 2019. I finished drafting my novel in 2018. The idea for my book was born way back in 2010, and I began writing it in 2011. In 2012, I graduated summa cum laude with a creative writing degree from a competitive honors college. I married my high school sweetheart in 2013 and got to watch my husband score his dream job. I traveled a ton throughout this decade, visiting 11 new countries and 2 new continents. Nick and I moved between apartments four times before we bought our first house in 2016. We adopted two crazy rescue cats. I mastered the art of baking scones. I met all of you.

    You might feel overwhelmed at first, considering this decade as a whole. I understand. There is always so much more we wish we’d done with our time when we look back on it. But use your fingers to tick off your accomplishments, personal victories, simple joys, and happy memories over the past 10 years. I guarantee you’ll run out of fingers fast. If you’re anxious about the new year just around the corner, try and remind yourself that all too soon, you’ll be reflecting on 2020 as just the first page to another chapter of life, growth, tears, and laughter--and running out of fingers to catalogue all the positive moments. 💕

Writing Update

As I mentioned, December was another slow writing month. I edited when I could but stopped pressuring myself.

  1. E.O.Y Novel Status report: I did cut another 3,000 words from my novel this month. The total word count currently clocks in at around 295k--still plenty of work left to be done, but it’s a far cry from the 355k+ words this behemoth started with. I shaved off over 30k words this year and reduced my manuscript from 630 to 560 pages. There's only 15 chapters left to edit before I can start seriously preparing for beta readers. 🤩
  2. January Plan of Attack: As Caleb gets older, yes, multitasking will become easier, but things will never quite be plain “easy” again. I know in my heart that despite my setbacks, all my waffling, and the pity parties I threw for myself this year, I will always want to publish this book. I need to do it, and I can do it; I just have to find a way to recapture that same mad hustle and grind that helped me finally finish the damn draft almost 2 years ago. 🙈

    Only now I have to balance that hustle with being a full time stay-at-home mom, so my January day-to-day is about to look a little crazy. My husband goes back to work and I will be taking care of the baby from 6AM until around 7PM. I’ll have an hour-ish long break in the mornings and in the afternoons while Caleb naps, which I will likely devote to keeping up with my critiquing commitments for other writers, maintaining my author platform, and household chores. Once Nick comes home, I’ll hand the baby off to him and edit my book until I have to sleep. We’ll try to eat dinners together, but sometimes, I may have to take mine alone in my office while I work. A decent chunk of my weekends will go to editing and critiquing as well.

    I know so many of you balance these sorts of schedules with your own full time jobs and I am IN AWE of how you manage it. But ever since becoming a mom, I’m tired all the time; physically, mentally, emotionally. No matter how I sleep, no matter what I do..and it’s made this type of routine way harder for me to tackle than it used to be. I’m exhausted just thinking about January. But I need to try it for at least a few weeks so I can see what my highest possible output looks like now. It’s the only way I can start anticipating realistic timelines, which is necessary in order to plan out things like beta reader deadlines, hire editors, reschedule my cover designer, etc.

    Because I have no idea how manageable this new schedule will be for me and my family, I’m avoiding charting out my 2020 road map for now. I aim to do more of that next month, based on how January feels. Hopefully then I’ll finally be able to create a realistic publication timeline for my book baby. 🤞 And when I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it!

December Reads

I’m going to be honest, this area of my writing life probably needs the most improvement. I’ve always believed that the best tools writers have to improve their craft are...books. Any and all books. In and out of your preferred genres, “good” or “bad” quality. Luckily, I did spend a lot of my precious free time this year reading and critiquing WIPs for fellow writers, which helped keep my brain from rusting over too much. But still, I should be able to squeeze in time to read already-published books too. Perhaps a potential New Year’s resolution? 🙃


I know this letter was a little more sentimental and less helpful/exciting than what I typically strive for, but as I mentioned earlier, the end of the year is an emotional period for me, and I wanted to represent that honestly. I hope, at the very least, this makes you feel less alone if you’re in a similar boat right now.

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read this email. I’ll probably never stop telling you how crazy it is to me that you’re here at all; I do not take it for granted. I hope you and your loved ones had an incredible end of the year. I hope you can look back on the 2010s with a wistful smile and raise a parting glass to the decade with no hard feelings. And I hope, most of all, that 2020 is the crisp, straight-out-of-the-bookstore, new page that you want it to be.


Caleb tax:
Caleb in Reindeer Onesie
Caleb with Dragon Light
Caleb Crawling at Christmas


Upcoming fantasy author, new mom, D&D addict, Gemini, Slytherclaw, lover of raw dough, wants to be your friend. 💕

Copyright © 2019 Danielle Miceli, All rights reserved.

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