Favorite Moments of 2011

Last year I did a round up post of favorite writing moments from 2010, but I thought I would branch out and include other things in my wrap up for 2011. As you can see, I’m behind on that. That’s pretty much been the theme of 2011, though, so I suppose it’s fitting.

And here’s something I’ve noticed about myself, when it comes to doing something like this, I draw a blank when it comes to remembering things. Maybe I should keep notes all year ’round? Naw, too much work. I did like this picture wrap up idea so that might be one option. For now, I’ll have to hope that I can remember everything I want to say. Let’s start with crafts!

Crafty Stuff

I’ve always enjoyed doing crafts, and this year was blessed once again to be part of the artsy bloggers group. I used to post the weekly roundup links here, but then I decided to do it at my writing blog to showcase another side to blogging. So many of the readers of my Working Writers blog dabble in a million different things, so I thought they would appreciate getting to know other ideas for blogging and creativity.

I’ve worked on a lot of favorite projects this year, but I think the most memorable were my glass sculptures and dining room chair makeovers.  The dining room chairs were a great find (just $80 for 6 chairs, a dining room table (with 3 leaves) and a table cover) that I still can’t stop talking about them. Making them over was way more work than we anticipated, mostly because the design of the chairs was rather lame. But we got through it, and we’ve really enjoyed them ever since. (They are way more comfortable than our other chairs.)

I also had a few projects featured different places, like my felt stuff and paper covered pumpkins at Craft Gossip and turkey card at All Free Holiday Crafts. Nice to get a little boost like that!

Meeting Other Writers

Since I rarely “get out” and normally work alone, it’s always a thrill to meet other writers. At the end of 2010 I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers at the suggestion of my friend Debby Mayne, and almost instantly I was able to meet two fabulous writers for lunch after that. Then, I met a few more at a mini-conference, and I have been meeting a few more here and there ever since. Very nice! I attended the Wisconsin Book Festival with some of these wonderful writers, and also did two panels in November at area libraries.

I also met up with a fellow writer from About.com, which was fun, and had coffee with a few others who had passed through town. In July I was able to meet with a group of Christian fiction authors including Brandilyn Collins, who amazed me with her speaking ability. I learned a lot that night!

This year, I’ve joined another writers organization so I hope to branch out a little more. It’s good for the soul.

Business

My freelance business did really well last year, and I picked up a few really wonderful clients. Praise Jesus! I’m thankful to God for making that happen. The freelance writing world is sometimes up and down, and last year it was up.

The business side of things distracted me from novel writing, but maybe that was a good thing? I was trying to figure out the Christian fiction world and where my writing might fit in. I read a lot of books, talked to a lot of authors, and really just tried to understand the market and the types of books that are being published.

I have a couple novels sitting in a drawer, but until I’m comfortable with what I want to do with them, I’m holding off publishing them. I’m praying about direction and right now (and if you’ve got some prayers left over, I could use them) but the answer seems to be “keep writing” and that includes freelance work. I really enjoy writing about relationships and lifestyle items, and if something I write can improve someone’s life, all the better. I mean that sincerely. I know writers get very “writer-ly” about things sometimes, and come off sounding very snooty, but I think you have to know your purpose in life and in writing. I do think mine is to help improve people’s lives in some way because my life has been anything but perfect, but that’s okay. I’ve continued to learn and by sharing my knowledge, I hope to inspire or pull people out of those dark places we can find ourselves in sometimes when we think we’re alone and no one cares. I’m enjoying my gigs at About.com and Life Goes Strong.

Books

Of course, just because I didn’t publish one of my novels this year doesn’t mean I didn’t publish anything. I published several ebooks and a paperback.

I finally put out sort of a “best of” poetry book called New and Selected Poems.

The book has (what I like to think are) the best poems from my previous books, plus several new poems.  It received some really wonderful reviews, like the ones at these blogs and websites:

I also talked about the process in creating the book cover for this book, which was really fun.

My ebooks this year included:

Blogging

Blogging has changed so much in the last couple years. I see a lot of writers with blogs, and I think it’s good. I always seem to have too many blogs, and I actually dumped a couple that were time consuming and not netting me much in terms of satisfaction, money, or traffic. Here’s the blogs I still have:

and this one. I think I will keep each of these blogs, but I do need to look at my overall schedule. I really get overzealous with blogging sometimes, and I need to carve out time for networking and new writing. This happens continually with me, so I think it’s something I need to work on for 2012. (Note to self: Don’t start anymore blogs!)

Looking Ahead

Even if you’re not a goal setter, per se, I think it’s a good idea to keep your eye on where you are going. It doesn’t mean you have to have lofty goals (not that that’s a bad thing), but instead, just have a main reason or goal for your writing, and everything else will fall into place. For me, I need to make money writing to help support my family. I know a lot of writers who just do it for fun or as a hobby, but for me it isn’t.

The other thing is that I have that goal of trying to help or make people’s lives easier. I learn as much as I teach with the writing assignments I have, and I love that. I feel like there’s always something to learn. I want to continue doing more of it.

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