At the end of November 2019, I moved from São Paulo, Brazil, to Extremadura, Spain, to build a new, better life.
In March, when the quarantine started, I was one month into my Spanish classes, looking for a driving instructor, and dreaming about the Spanish Summer and its countless festivals. Apart from that–since I was now in Europe–I was also making plans and raking in the money I’d need to fulfill two old dreams. To start my master’s in scriptwriting and visit the Book Fair in Frankfurt.
2020, I told myself, would be the year everything would change for me.
And, well, I was right… but I never, in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined how much.
The first thing I did when the stores and schools closed–and when Frankfurt announced we wouldn’t have a book fair–was to go back to the drawing board and plan my year again. I made time to study Spanish on my own at home, selected online writing courses I wanted to take, devised a plan to increase my income, and studied the scary numbers in my bank account, wondering if I’d be able to survive and for how long. Needless to say, most of my plans and attempts failed or were abandoned along the year, but I managed to fulfill three of them:
- Study Spanish
- Work on my first Visual Novel (A mix of writing, illustration, and programming–three things I absolutely adore)
- Study Writing (My list was composed of character arc, story structure, and English grammar–I study this last one all the time since English is not my first language)
People now say my Spanish is good, and my first Visual Novel, “Love the Guard, be the King,” is published, free, and ready to be played. By the way, it now has more than 11,5k views and an average 5/5 star review, so if you’d like to play it too, here’s the link!
As for my writing…
I don’t want this to become another “diary of the quarantine” kind of thing, so allow me to say just one thing before moving on. On January 1st, while I defined my goals for 2020, I wrote in my notebook, “Win a Watty Award and become a Wattpad Star.”
Well, kids, let me tell you something–that’s exactly what I did.
And Goddess, what a feeling it was to see my book (link for the free version!) showing up in that glorious live-streamed event announcing the winners. What a feeling it was to receive the invitation to the Wattpad Stars afterward. What a dream it was to wake up a week, a month, two months after that and to see that it had indeed happened!
I, who always studied thanks to scholarships and the generosity of others. I, underpaid and overworked from 14 to 28 (yes, years old). I, in the same measure lucky and hard-working. *I* am now the first Brazilian who won the English version of the Watty Awards, one of the biggest worldwide writing contests online.
This is not to say everything is amazing here, because it’s definitely not–in fact, I’d say it’s quite the opposite mentally, physically, and financially, but…
Holy shit, I’m proud of myself.
I’m now 29 (still underpaid and overworked, but hey… nothing changes overnight), and I don’t have much to my name except my books and my bills, but this gives me hope and energy. If I managed to catch the attention of one of the biggest reading platforms on the web, and if people are liking both my book my game so much, maybe I can get there.
And no matter who or where you are, I just hope this can inspire you to think positive too and to look kindly at this new year before us. Sometimes life doesn’t help. Sometimes, the weight is too much to keep smiling… but let’s do it together, all right? I’ll be cheering for you. Maybe we’ll make it this year.
Kids, listen. This is for 2021:
I will make it. We will.
See you all in my next post 😉
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