WOW. 2020 was something. Definitely wouldn’t have thought that things would have panned out the way that they did...but here we are. It had its ups and downs, and during some of my down moments, I decided to start a journal where I documented what I was most proud of that month. When I get in my feelings about not doing enough to move the needle further, I wanted to turn to something that’d remind myself of how far I’ve come. Reflecting on what has come to pass helps me to keep going and is a gentle reminder that my life’s work is not being done in vain. Here’s a snapshot of my 2020:
We started 2020 celebrating my grandmother’s 100th birthday. I helped her put out her first book, a collection of 100 sayings that were passed down from her parents. She was also featured on Spectrum News1!
I was booked to read “I Am Unique!” to the kids at the Ronald McDonald House in the Inland Empire. They also bulk ordered some books to pass out to the kids who couldn’t attend.
My birthday month! I spoke at Altitude Summit, an annual conference held in Palm Springs, CA for women in creative fields. I received such positive feedback from the attendees. Here’s what a few of them had to say.
Instead of booking a hotel, I stayed with my godmother, who lives nearby. It was the first time I got to spend one on one time with her as an adult, and it was truly the best time ever. I’m forever grateful for the quality time and conversation we had.
My birthday came shortly after that visit, and then a few days later, we were on lock down due to the global pandemic.
I wanted to do more TV work and be more comfortable on camera, so I invested in a media coach. I also enrolled in a 6-week marketing accelerator to learn the skill of marketing via paid advertising (i.g., Facebook and Instagram ads).
I was on a live segment for Good Morning San Diego, where I gave tips on how to keep kids engaged in reading while at home.
I facilitated a workshop for Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators (SCWBI). The feedback was amazing. Here's a clip of what folks resonated the most with.
I finished book #2 of the “I Am Unique!” book series.
I also joined Lunchclub, an AI tool that pairs you with people who share similar interests as you and you can video chat with them. I joined because I wanted to build the muscle of talking to strangers. Lunchclub is referral-based. You can use my link to join.
I published an article listing 100 children’s books featuring Black characters written my Black authors. It was my most liked, shared, and saved post on social media in 2020, as well as the most viewed blog post.
I got accepted into a 9-week group mentorship program powered by Women in Animation. Met some amazingly talented women and learned about the development process.
We dropped our IAU product line! We now have mugs, tees, and other merch available for purchase.
“I Am Unique!” was featured in Popsugar, where we were included in a roundup of books to help diversify kids’ bookshelves.
My segment reading “I Am Unique!” aired on WHRO, an education network who broadcasts in the Virginia commonwealth area, as well as Washington, DC.
I added “contributing writer” to my resume. I wrote a piece for PBS SoCal sharing tips to help kids embrace their uniqueness.
I also enrolled in a screenwriting class to learn the art of adapting source material to film and television.
We secured our first international distribution client! A woman in France ordered a bulk order of “Je Suis Unique!” (the french version of “I Am Unique!”)
Our animator finished the artwork for our show bible. Looking forward to writing the script and pitching the animated series to streaming platforms this year.
We secured the Spanish translator to translate “I Am Unique!” into Spanish. Keep a look out for the announcement later this year.
“I Am Unique!” was featured on Good Day LA! We were included in a roundup of children’s books by minority-owned businesses to gift during the holiday season (and beyond).
I’m going to continue this this year. Another exercise I do is at the top of the year, I write a vision statement as if it is already the last day of that year and reflect on all that has happened. On the actual day, I go back to it and read what I wrote to see what all has come to pass. I’m a firm believer in declaring our deepest desires, writing them down, and doing the work required to make it happen. It’s what keeps me going.
May 2021 (and beyond) bring you much clarity, good health, joy, and prosperity.
What are some of your new year traditions?