THE LAST WEEK IN DECEMBER provides a quiet pause before stepping into the new year. The gifts have been given and opened, and we’re back home after five days in Dallas. For me, it feels like a free week, time to mold like Play-doh, to shape however I like.
I use some of my time during this last week in December to review my prior year. I think about the high points and begin to plan for 2019. I compile a few statistics. Without looking back, it’s impossible to know where I am. And this process helps me let go of what’s not working and move forward.
Something I’ve learned as a creative—I have to be willing to take a long hard look at myself, cheer for myself, and push myself into uncomfortable territory… AND, it’s about my entire body of work. Every word, every sentence, every story creates the whole of what I’m trying to do—to be a better writer and speak to a larger audience.
- I read 71 books. (You can check out my Goodreads Challenge HERE.) As a writer, I consider reading to be the best sort of homework.
- I spoke at 17 events (book clubs, libraries, conferences, etc.).
- I won 2nd place in the Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition and was published in Fourth River Literary Journal.
- I submitted 7 other pieces for publication, received five declinations, and have two still active. (I fell short on my submissions goals and hope to do better in 2019.)
- I finished my draft of Book Two and submitted the manuscript to my editor. (Deep breath.)
- I attended two writer conferences and one publishing conference.
- I published 11 freelance articles in two local magazines—Delta Crossroads and Front Porch.
- Gracie Lee was featured on NPR’s Arts & Letters and ended up being the #2 show of the year! (Producing this show involved several hours of studio recording time and forced me way out of my comfort zone.)
- I wrote my first play and heard it read at the Writer’s Colony in Eureka Springs.
- I wrote 107 new blog posts.
- I spent way too much time on Facebook and Twitter.
A few personal family highlights:
- Trips to Denver, Austin, Alabama, Kansas, Florida, the Lake, the Farm.
- John and I became official Arkansas Master Naturalists.
- My niece and nephew graduated from high school and started college.
- I helped Momma move from her Texas apartment back to Arkansas.
- John went back to college at age 60.
- We renovated our rental property.
- Our daughter is engaged!
See? This is why looking back is a good thing.
Before I did this quick glance in the rearview mirror, I thought I’d accomplished a whole lot of nothing during the year. Now during this last week in December, I’m feeling wowed. And much better about everything.
And I understand why I am bone tired.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. I’m taking a few days off. See you in the new year!