The Twenty-Something Series: How I've changed in the year since #TKBmovie came out

In this post I talked about how the last year since The Kissing Booth movie came out on Netflix has changed my life and how I approach things.

Earlier this week I talked about how the last year has changed my career as an author, with it being a year since the movie adaptation of my first novel, The Kissing Booth, came out on Netflix. That post focused mainly on how it’s impacted my work and writing, so in this post, I wanted to talk about how my career as an author has impacted the rest of my life.

The ultimate confidence boost

I credit a lot of my confidence to my career as an author. I’ve done interviews for major publications, radio and TV shows. I’ve built a presence online. I’ve given talks and participated in panels to hundreds of people. The last year was less a case of giving me confidence, but enhancing the confidence I already had. 

I mean, hell, how many people have a Netflix movie based on their best-selling novel by the age of 23?  When I put things in that kind of context, sending an email to my manager or setting up a meeting with someone is suddenly a piece of cake.

Reaffirming my belief in myself

I never used to believe in myself as a writer. I was just doing it for fun. Wattpad was the first place I’d really shared my writing and had people respond in a way that made me think maybe I wasn’t so bad at writing. I still have times where I’m quite harsh on myself and don’t believe in myself, but this is something so solid – and, it’s safe to say, reasonably successful (what with being the most rewatched film on the platform in 2018!) – that it’s really helped to reaffirm my belief in myself as a writer. 

It’s also helped me to reach a much wider audience, and the number of messages from people I get saying they loved the story, or that finding out where I started has inspired them to write, has been overwhelming – and honestly, each one makes me so damn happy.

I’ve got to travel!

I’ve mentioned my trips to New York and Sao Paulo on my blog plenty of times before, I know. I never think of myself as a ‘traveller’. If I see a bio on Tinder or Bumble and the guy says he ‘likes to travel’ I think, ‘oh, that’s not me’. But then I realise I’ve been to Cape Town, Canada, Brazil, New York. I’ve actually travelled a lot. I’ve always wanted to go to New York and loved loved loved that trip so much. 

It’s helped me become more independent, too. Before, when I used to go back and forth London to see my publisher or agent, I’d usually go on my own, and I know that did a lot for my independence. Things like travelling alone (even just by train), figuring out the Tube, eating a meal in a restaurant by myself… Those were great and helpful experiences. The last year – more trips to London and one out to Sao Paulo – really reinforced that.

I’m great at prioritising and managing my time

FACT. I’m not about to be humble about this one. These have always been skills my writing has helped with, but things really ramped up over the last year. I’d rock up at the office having done a Twitter chat 1am-2am, or go home from a busy day of work and then be working on my social media and responding to interviews for five hours. Things got very intense over the past year and I had so much going on – outside of the movie stuff, I started writing one new book and edited another. 

This is the first time I’ve really managed to get into a rhythm balancing everything – especially now I live by myself and also have things like chores and grocery shopping and cooking meals to throw into the mix. The last year has really honed my skills at priorising everything that’s going on, juggling different projects, managing my time to get everything done, and meeting my deadlines. All great skills to apply to the workplace, too – and skills that are helping me work on six different book projects throughout 2019.

I understand so much more about how I work, when I’m productive, and when I’m in danger of burning out

I burnt out a fair few times over the last year. Especially in those weeks when the film came out, and the summer afterwards. There was so much going on and to keep on top of – and I moved twice last year, too. But like I just mentioned my ability to prioritise my time and work on all of this stuff, I’ve also understood a lot more about how I work, and when I’m risking burning out – and how to deal with that.

‘Self-care’ has become my favourite thing

Something else I’ve learnt about myself, linked to the times I burnt out, is how much I need self-care. Now, I know what that looks like for me (face masks, podcasts, an early night with a magazine, and taking the time to cook something really good). I’ve realised how important it is for me to take time for myself, and not to be annoyed at myself for not being ‘more productive’ instead. I’ve also figured out ways of making time for myself even when I do feel crazy busy, which is coming in incredibly handy. 

It's been, frankly, a fucking crazy year but I've learned so much about myself, and done so much cool stuff. If there's something you want to hear me talk more about here on the blog, let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter, where you can find me @Reekles.

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