Looking around my sad overlooked house, the layer of dust mocked me. "Dust me. Clean Me." The words repeated over and over in my brain. 2012 will not go down as the year of the guest-ready home. Dust became synonymous with Busy. In a sad way, I wear the dust as a badge of honor.
Let me explain. I was raised by clean freaks, loving and supportive clean freaks, but clean freaks none the less. The best story to prove my point... when I was a teenager, a major hurricane was threatening our town. Mom and Dad decided we should drive inland a couple of hours for safety. But we had to clean the house BEFORE we left. Clearly, the thought of a hurricane destroying a messy house was only adding insult to injury.
I rebelled during my college years... my dorm room should have been condemned. But, pride in owning my own home, brought out the cleaner in me. Then children came. Children, at least mine, seem most comfortable when surrounded by mess. Who knew?!
But back to dust being my badge of honor. Quite frankly, 2012 has been a year where other things were more important than keeping a pristine home. With the constant hurricane of life on the horizon, I decided the dust proved I was focusing on what really mattered. Right? But, don't worry, the cleaning panic hits every time family or friends come to visit. With the holidays quickly approaching, dust beware. I am onto you. I am proud to have ignored you, but it's time to pull on the yellow rubber gloves and get to business.
A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) has become the dust-acceptance cornerstone of my life. Thanks to the amazing participants and our leader, Kait Nolan, I am slowly beginning to accept that I am only human. Life (or Dust) always has its own plans, but goals and a support system have helped me with a flexible focus.
Instead of lamenting the things I didn't get done, something I do too often, I want to look at the things I accomplished this year.
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
I participated for the first time this year and survived. I loved it so much and will start planning for my next one in January. Writing ahead is the key, and something I didn't do enough of last year.
This was my second year, and just as sweet. Michelle Rafter is an amazing host. I have met some amazing bloggers and gained a lot of knowledge through this month-long challenge. (Even if it does require another month of daily blogging right after A to Z).
Author Blog Challenge
Loved the first year of this challenge. A lot of great information for authors and great prompts. I met some amazing new authors during June. (But yes, that was THREE months in a row of daily blogging). I hope Laura Orsini will bring it back in 2013.
Insecure Writer's Support Group
I joined this amazing group, led by the awesome Alex J Cavanaugh, in July. Although I grow every day as a writer, I still hit bumps along the road. This group offers the support I need when that happens.
A Round of Words in 80 Days
I completed all four rounds this year, and was a sponsor for two of them. I hope to sponsor again next year, but I will definitely be participating. ROW80 rocks! See you January 7th.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
I participated, and completed!, my first NaNo. 50,000 words in one month was quite the challenge for me, but I needed it. The idea for Chasing Memories came to me late last year, but I just never seemed to get around to it (especially since I was already writing the follow-up to Depression Cookies). NaNo stopped the excuses. I look forward to starting to edit it in January.
I am quite proud of the badge to the right.
(My goal for 2013 is to write Book 2 of this 3-part series during June's CampNaNo.)
- Mom and I attended the Readers Favorite Awards Ceremony in Miami, Florida in November to accept our Silver Medal for Realistic Fiction for Depression Cookies. Our novel was also a Finalist in Chick Lit.
- More than halfway on the Depression Cookies follow-up. Finishing it will be the major focus of Round 1 ROW80 2013.
- On a personal note, I finished my first Half Marathon in September in Virginia Beach. 13.1, baby!
My biggest disappointment in 2012 was not publishing. I plan to remedy that in 2013.
And something I have yet to share, my husband lost his job (thanks to yet another corporate merger) recently. He is looking, and we are blessed with a severance package (especially since it covers our medical insurance for 18 months), but this usually means another move. But, with our economy, I will be grateful for my husband to find a job, wherever it may be. I know I can get my girls, and myself, through another upheaval should we need to.
This year I'm grateful...
- That we finally found some answers for my daughter after years of medical tests and various doctors. It's meant a lot of changes for my family, but it's progress.
- My dear Uncle Theo survived a heart attack and is on the mend.
- For my family. Without them, I would be lost.
- My sisters (and their families) and parents have all gone through their own issues this year. I am grateful for the bonds we share... how we are always there for each other.
- For all my blogging/writing friends, so many of the accomplishments above would not have happened without your encouragement and support. I hee-hawed myself out of NaNo last year. Thanks to everyone who convinced me I could do it. I wish I could name you all here, but I hope I've told you enough that you know who you are.
- For my friends, both near and far. I may not pick up the phone as often I would like, but you are always on my mind and in my heart.
- For all the writers who bring such wonderful stories into my life. According to my handy GoodReads calculator, I have read 77 books so far this year. I'm hoping to reach 100 in 2013.
- And for all the things, both big and small, that I haven't mentioned here.
NOTE: Something I really missed in 2012 was Rach Writes Fall Writers Platform-Building Campaign. I hope it's back in 2013.
Wishing everyone the happiest of the
holiday season and many blessings in 2013.
As a small way of paying it forward...
I am giving away a signed paperback copy of Depression Cookies
to the first two readers to comment below
(please say, "I want one" just so I know).
Open to US residents only