End of The Year Reflection

I realize there’s a few more weeks of 2019 to go, but I’m sick with a cold, and don’t have the energy to do much more than type. So I’m getting a jump on my end of year reflection. I’ll save the end of decade reflection for the end of the month.

  1. What is something we did this year that you think you will remember for the rest of your life? I got married on January 5th, so that was a pretty monumental day. I also finally finished the novel that I’ve been working on for so long. I’m honestly not sure which one was the bigger deal. They were both life changing events.
  2. What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of? I am most proud of finishing my novel. I’ve been dreaming of writing a novel since high school, but for whatever reason, novel writing didn’t come easy to me. I came up with the story for Good Medicine, and I have fought and fought for years to pull the story out of myself. When I finished the book in September, I cried through the final pages. It was so emotional to finally be done after dreaming of that moment for so long.
  3. What was the nicest thing someone did for you this year? This is really difficult to answer. Jeremy is constantly doing nice things for me, but I’m not sure I can pick a single thing he’s done. He’s been so supportive of my writing–he encouraged me to finish my novel, even if that meant I checked out of most everything around the house for a month. He took me to NYC to see a play when I finished, because I needed a carrot to motivate me. He went to a writer’s conference with me, even though he’s not a writer (yet). He watches hours and hours of youtube videos about publishing, getting agents, writing queries, and synopses. He is my biggest cheerleader and gives me invaluable feedback when I’m working through difficult parts or trying to make edits. I feel like I’m a much better writer now because of all the support he gives me.
  4. What was the most challenging part of this year for you? Well, I’m naturally shy and hate conflict, so it was super stressful to quit the administrative job I hated, and chuck it all to become a full time substitute teacher. I love being in the classroom, but at first, before I got into a groove, it was nerve wracking and slightly terrifying.
  5. Where is your favorite place you’ve been this year? This is so easy. London. London. London. It’s always been my favorite city and this year Jeremy and I went there for our honeymoon.
  6. If you could change one thing that happened this year, what would it be? Honestly, it’s been a pretty awesome year. I can’t think of anything that happened that’s even worth complaining about. If I have to pick something, I’d say it was when a tree fell across the street and ripped the weather head out of the house on New Years Day (2019 started with a bang! Literally!). We had no power (and no heat) for three days in subzero NY, just days before our wedding. We had to buy a kerosene heater, it was an expensive fix, and a pain in the butt, so it would be nice if that had never happened.
  7. What are the three most important things you learned this year? 1) Money isn’t everything. Jeremy and I both took a pay cut to switch jobs this year, and we’re both significantly happier as a result. 2) I started doing some youtube workouts and one thing they always say is that just doing something means you’re lapping the people sitting on the couch. It applies to workouts (which I don’t do enough of) but it also applies to my writing journey. Every time I freak out that I’m not more successful, I remind myself that I finished my book. Some people never do. And I’ve gotten manuscript requests. Some people never do. It’s so stressful, but at least I’m further ahead than I would be if I was doing nothing. 3) I learned that Spanish black radish is a miracle supplement that calms down my chronically unhappy stomach.
  8. What is something that was hard for you at the start of the year but is easy now? I have learned so much about writing queries, synopsis, twitter pitches, blurbs, etc. I had no idea at the beginning of the year but I did a lot of studying, drafting, swapping, etc. and I feel like I’m much more confident when it comes to writing those types of things.
  9. In what area do you feel you made your biggest improvements? Definitely with my writing. I had some kind of a novel writing breakthrough this year when things finally clicked for me and I was able to see my way through an entire story. I’m working on the very rough beginnings of two new books now, and unlike Good Medicine, that I started without a middle or ending in mind, these two novels are fully formed in my head already,
  10. What is your favorite part of the day? Why? I’m such a morning person. Please don’t ask me to do anything after noon. Except write. I feel so energized at the start of the day and I love to watch the sun come up. It always feels like a blank slate.
  11. Of the books you read this year, which was your favorite? Why? I hate this question. It’s like picking a favorite child. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was probably my favorite book, although not my favorite story (it’s has some really sad moments). It’s heartening to see Appalachian stories in the mainstream and to see a book similar to mine have so much success. I wish there were more stories about Appalachia out there to read. It feels like going home to Asheville. The book I enjoyed reading most was Well Met. Fun, escapist fiction that took me back to my own working-the-Renaissance-Festival days, I literally whooped with joy when I found out there would be a sequel.
  12. What was the best piece of writing that you did this year? Why do you think it is your best? Well, obvious Good Medicine. There’s blood, sweat, and tears in those pages.
  13. What person made the biggest impact in your life this year? Why? Oh, I really can’t pick one. I will say, we live in very interesting times, and there’s a lot of anger and fear and negativity out there. I really try to avoid it all as much as possible and fill up my life with as much light and love and laughter and beauty as I can. I am constantly impacted by all the artists who are putting beautiful, inspiring, joyful things out into the world every day–whether they are artists, crafters, musicians, actors, dancers, writers, singers, etc.
  14. What are six adjectives that best describe this year? Creative, adventurous, fun, settled, magical, furry (omg with six pets, I am constantly covered in fur, looking at fur, sweeping fur–it’s endless)
  15. Knowing what you know now, if you could write a letter to yourself that would travel back in time so that you would receive it at the start of the year, what advice would you give yourself? I would tell myself not to worry so much. That everything happens in its own time, happens as it should happen, and I’m finally on the right path and doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.