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Goodbye 2015 It's Been Great!

Happy New Year!!
2015 has been amazing for me in so many ways.



Mostly because I have put everything on hold and spent thousands, literally around $16,000 on SCBWI events, conferences, workshops, the Highlights Foundation, plane tickets, hotel expenses, online writing classes with top people in the industry, all to make my goal of getting traditionally published in YA.

With that came working literally every single day on my novel-writing every single day without exception. That sounds easier than it is when you work full time, have a boyfriend, and a dog, and go to the gym, etc., but I did it!

This year and giving up so much time and money, was/is scary as hell, as I have basically only paid min payments to bills, and not saved a dime for taxes because every extra cent I have is going to my young adult writing.

When I decided to stop acting and go into animation, this is what I did. Yes I was offered a job by Disney at an audition from doodling on my call sheet-this is true, but I turned that down. I stomped out of the room, "I'm an actress!" ala Miss Piggy-style and forgot about it for two years. Then back in Los Angeles fearful I'd never make it in anything and a friend said, "didn't Disney offer you a job?" I drove over to Disney, and they turned me down flat, but told me how to get in. For almost two years I gave up everything to get in there. I took tons of drawing classes at the animation guild, and animation classes, and I didn't pay any bills. When you are in your twenties, this is way less scary than in your forties. It's like in your twenties people expect it, but in your forties, you get the "why don't you own property?" "You can't pay your taxes?" "get your shit together" and it's a bit harder to give up everything to reach a goal. That said, it's working.

I know it is. I am such a better writer than I have been in the past, not saying that I'm perfect in any way-just like any creative career we are always learning, but I'm so much stronger because I have sacrificed so much and I will continue to do this forever because it's who I am.

The plan is to pay off everything someday-hopefully sooner than later, and, of course, continue to grow as a writer.

Some of you know me and have known me for years since I was writing chick-lit under a pen name and pandering to the "trends" instead of following my heart, which has always been for teen novels. Some of you know me from TV and film writing-which I love both and haven't given that up, but now I'm just concentrating on my novels. I love writing novels, I always have. It's in my body and soul like being alive is.

I also spent a great deal of 2015 giving back by donating to a different charity every month, and also going to galas, events, dinners, etc. to help raise money for charities. I have donated time, writing and illustrations, and that felt great!

I don't believe in resolutions in any way-they just set us up to fail, but I do believe in goals, so I am going to share my 2016 goals, and or plans, and themes for the next year.

1) Continue to go to workshops, retreats and take online classes to become a stronger storyteller
2) Sign with a new agent (yes I'm finally sending out this year to only a few because I want the right agent this time)
3) Sell my first YA
4) Make my next YA stronger and better
5) Work on my personal business plans
6) Continue to give back, and maybe start something myself towards the end of the year
7) Keep drawing and working on my own art projects as well as get more work as the job I'm currently on is ending this summer.

These are general plans, ideas, hopes, dreams, etc.

I also plan to KEEP DREAMING! KEEP REACHING! KEEP BEING BRAVE!!!

On this page on my website, I have listed great resources for writing and drawing
http://www.stepholivieri.com/#!resources/c1558

And I will say this. If you are writing for kids (any age) join SCBWI http://www.scbwi.org/
For YA writing, I recommend (in addition to SCBWI events, workshops, conferences)

A PATH TO PUBLISHING
SARAH ARONSON
THE HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION




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