Saturday, January 5, 2013

My year in review: 2012

Shannon Messenger recently posted her year in review. Check it out here. Seeing the magnitude of writing activity in a published author’s year was oddly inspiring. Her year was pretty crazy and I got to thinking, if she can do ALL of that…what can I do? Should I be doing more?

I couldn’t stop at 2012. I devoured her 2011 and 2010 recaps before setting out to evaluate my own activity over the last year.

Here is my writing recap of 2012:

January: A lot of change
Finish my first full Marathon (26.2 miles). A huge achievement and I still feel all gooey about it. If I can run 26.2 miles I can do anything.

Receive big promotion at Day Job (be careful what you wish for…). Too much is changing to really work on anything but the Day Job.

February: Fall in love with WIP again
Travel for work takes a lot of time but I also have a major break through. Alone in the hotel after a long day I finally find my way out of a plot hole. It will require a substantial rewrite so I buckle down and start draft 8.

I also participate in Brenda Drake’s Pitch Workshop. I receive great feedback from Brenda and her blog followers and make adjustments to my pitch and query letter.

March: #amediting
I finish draft 8 and feel confident that I need detailed feedback. Hire editor to review draft 8 and learn a lot. There are some plausibility issues and some pacing issues that need to be addressed. I chew on the edits for a while, allowing the full weight of the suggestions time to take hold.

While taking a break from writing I volunteer to beta read for a writer friend. Very cool experience. I felt like I was seeing behind the curtain and really helping someone else on the crazy road to publication.

April: Moving
Commute to Day Job is now, officially, killing me. I'm spending 1.5-2.5 hrs in the car each day. Stress is impacting all aspects of my life and relationships are suffering. Husband and I decide to start looking for a new place. This means renting out the house we own while finding a decent house to rent for ourselves. Seems risky and we prepare for the worst.

With very little available writing time I’m able to implement a few of the edits suggested in March. Still stewing on others…

May: Settling in
Husband graduates from grad school. *throws confetti* He's worked so hard and I've missed him. Homework took up a lot of his time over the last two years.

Also, we move into a new house. *Woo Hoo* Did I mention that I hate moving? I bang out a few edits/revisions….but not much.

June: Epic family adventures, part 1
Sister moves in for the summer. This is the first time since 1999 that my sister and I have lived together. Epic family adventures ensue.

July: Epic family adventures, part 2
Visit to family in St. Louis. Epic family unites. I’ve got the writing-withdrawal-sweats so I decide to start my blog. First few posts are very clumsy but it’s a start.

Aug: Conference and beta reading
My sister gets engaged before moving back to STL (now I’ve got the sister-withdrawal-sweats).

Participate in my first conference: WriteOnCon – so amazing! Learn a ton. And through WriteOnCon I get my first official CP’s!!! We start swapping pages and getting to know each other.

I complete two Beta reads: one for pre-agented author who reads some of my pages as well. She gives great insight, and another for a published author (Amazing! She offers to read my pages in exchange, OMG). Oh yeah, and I finished draft 8.

Sept: Running, wedding dresses, and webinars
Fly to Cali to run the Disneyland Half Marathon. Had a blast on the west coast. My first time at Disneyland.

Traveled to St. Louis to go dress shopping with my little sister. She found her wedding dress and everyone cried.

When I wasn’t traveling I put what I learned from WriteOnCon into action and start draft 9. Attend a Writer’s Digest Webinar re query letter writing. Use what I learn to polish query letter.

October – Validation, aka my first big writing 'moment'
I take a class, taught by an amazing editor. Seriously, if you haven’t visiting LitReactor yet – you should. It’s a wonderful community with a lot of resources for writers. The class I took involved a workshop and critique. I got terrific, constructive feedback from my classmates and teacher.

But most importantly, October was a monumental month for me because an agent asked for more pages!!! *throws glitter* I may have cried. It was a wonderful moment in my journey not because I got an agent (I didn’t – that’s not the point). It was a wonderful moment for me because a professional agent thought highly enough about my work to ask for MORE. *uses all caps* It’s the validation that all querying writers long to receive and I got it.

Start draft 10 using what I learned through the LitReactor class. Big changes but necessary.

Reach goal of getting 100 followers on Twitter! Woo hoo. The writing community on Twitter is an endless source of entertainment and inspiration for me. I’m humbled and thrilled to have followers. I’m also happy to be part of such an amazing community.

November: Nano craze
My first NaNoWriMo and am thrilled to start a secret project. It’s been a while since I’d written anything new so this was overdue.

I definitely bit off more than I could chew because November had a lot going on. I traveled to St. Louis for wedding stuff and family Thanksgiving number one.

Ran another Half Marathon and had Thanksgiving number two with my in-laws.

I don't finish Nano but I have 17k in a new project and that’s huge. Feel refreshed and recharged.

December: Recharge
Travel for the holidays and get back to rewrites on WIP. Get about 50% of the way through draft 10.

As a background note, I've been toiling over this WIP for a few years. I just can't stay away from this project. Even though I've spent a lot of time on this project over a few years it was sporadic. I'd never typed ‘The end’ on a draft until 2011.

Looking back over 2012, even though I’m not agented, and even though I’m not published, I’ve worked hard on my writing career. Harder this year than previous years. It’s something to be proud of and this is the perfect time of year to reflect on these achievements.

Looking at what I’ve accomplished makes me want to do more. I’m working on a list of 2013 writing goals (to be posted later - so stay tuned).

What were your major writing achievements of 2012?


  1. This is a great post. And I'm totally stealing this idea. As writers, we forget how much work we actually do. It's so rewarding to see a year's worth of achievment. The personal mentions are interesting too. It shows what influences are strongest.

    Cheers and good luck with your writing.

    1. Thanks Bethany, You are absolutely correct. We have a tendency to forget all the good things. I felt very empowered when I saw just how much work I'd done in 2012.

      I hope you have the same feeling of accomplishment when you reflect on your 2012.


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