Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Oh-So-Close: 2011 in Review

    In March, my family and I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Loaded down with 30-pound backpacks, we hiked for four hours, winding around wind-blasted outcrops, uneven terrain, and narrow trails (especially when the mule trains passed). Hiking out two days later was even more arduous. It snowed. Ice covered the last mile of trail. That 30-pound pack felt like someone had loaded it down with granite cobbles. It was hard, physically the hardest feat I've ever accomplished, but I made it.
   Similar to hiking the Canyon, my writing life has been a challenge. It's filled with valleys and summits. Not so much a Point A-to-Point B journey, but more of a mixed-up alphabet soup of highs and lows and in-betweens. I've accomplished much this year but as always, there's room for self-improvement in my writing life. Looking back, here's what I see:

 The Good:
  1.  First and foremost, I found an agent! Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger called in May after reading my middle-grade manuscript, THE UPSIDE OF DOWN. I was beyond thrilled and love working with her.
  2. I started this blog. Through it, I've met some amazing writers, improved my craft, and added dozens of books to my reading list. 
  3. Two writing projects (actually three, but it's just an idea at this point) continue to inspire and excite me.   
      The Bad:
  1. A first draft. I have one at present which is REALLY BAD. On the bright side, it is a COMPLETED first draft. I just haven't had time (insert: too many good ideas to get down before I work on revising). Okay, so a completed first draft is good news, but its so bad the stench is almost unbearable. 
  2. My Toshiba laptop died a slow, agonizing death. I nursed it as long I could because I Don't. Like. Change. I bought it in 2006, so it was a dinosaur in tech years. My shiny new Mac is still showing me the ropes. It's a patient teacher. I think we will be great friends someday. 
One inch at a time...
    The Oh-So-Close:
  1. Once again I signed up for NaNoWriMo and once again, I fell short. Maybe next year...
  2. A manuscript that had been at a house for two years which I'd revised per an editorial letter was left in limbo when the editor left. 
  3. The 'I really love this story, but - ' letters. There were a good share. However, since I'm a glass-half-full kind of person, I have to look for the positive: those 'buts' came with a detailed amount of feedback.
      Looking back, 2011 was a productive year. Maybe I didn't accomplish everything that I'd set out to do. Maybe it will take another year or two or even three to conquer those hills. It's all about moving forward, moving up, whether it's by small steps or giant leaps.


  1. It sounds like a pretty good year to me. My Goods: I signed with my agent in February of 2011, had three PBs come out, got a two-book deal with Spencer Hill Press. My Bad: Still struggling to make enough money writing and editing. (Though it's getting better.) I've gotten those Oh-so-close rejections, too. They are bittersweet, aren't they.

    Wishing you much success in 2012!

  2. We all have our 'list,' only I'd rather not make mine. Maybe because on any given day it would seem amazingly good or pathetically bad, depending. Perception accounts for the difference.
    But yours sounds good today, and I think you'll have a wonderful year ahead.

  3. Sounds like a good year overall! Good luck to you and congratulations on attaining an agent.

  4. Hi Dawn,

    Actually a very good year for you. Congrats. You should feel proud. We're going to be putting up an Accountability 2012 post on Swagger and two other blogs on New Year's Eve to try and get focused on the coming year. The idea is we'll revisit it mid-year to see how we're coming along. We'll see how that works to motivate us to achieve our writing goals in 2012!

  5. Love that idea, Kim! I'll be sure to stop by over the weekend.

  6. Dawn,

    I like your breakdown. It almost makes me want to break down my own journey this year into the same categories. Almost. I'm just afraid the bad may outweigh the good and that would be really depressing to see down on paper.
    Congrats on what sounds like a great 2011 and wishing you an even better 2012!

  7. Wow....I am in awe of you! You hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. One of my proudest moments was flying in a helicopter (with out my husband) over the Grand Canyon a couple years ago, but your physical feat is fantastic! You should write an article for Highlight's or something. Very cool!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading my article that Hilary posted about. She's the best!

    Congratulations on signing with Sara this year.

    I hope 2012 brings you multiple book contracts. :)

  8. Hi, Dawn! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas! And I wish you a wonderful New Year!

    Those oh-so-close moments are good but frustrating, I know. I've been there before, and it's such a mixed feeling.

    Good luck as you start a new year of writing! And thanks for your well-wishes on my blog earlier this month! It's great to see you!

  9. Dawn, it sounds like it was a good productive year and your writing must be coming along well with an agent and all those oh-so-close letters! I'm sure great things are ahead for 2012! :)

  10. Congrats on the agent! Like you, I suffered the slow death of a computer this year, also a 2006 model. I got a new one (desktop) and later a laptop for Christmas, which means now I have 2 new computers, and in 5 years I'll have...uh-oh.


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