Tuesday Talk: A Time to Reflect


I recently read a blog post about not overlooking the small accomplishments we make in our writing, all of those things that add up to create the bigger picture. So, I might be jumping the gun on this one a little bit (because 2014 isn’t over yet!) but this blog post got me thinking about my writing accomplishments in 2014.

It was a year of struggling to continue a writing routine as I wrapped up a large project. It was a year of rediscovering the importance of reading books that just make me downright happy. It was a year of becoming sure of my natural ‘tug’ toward writing. And it was certainly a year of feeling like I didn’t actually write much.

Although I didn’t get thousands and thousands of words on paper this year, like I did last year, as I looked back I realized that I actually did have some pretty exciting milestones:

In February I started my ‘Tuesday Talk’ posts, which have really helped me keep writing.

In February and March I wrote many very lengthy and quite thoughtful responses to Peace Corps application essay questions…just kidding…this doesn’t count;)…but it did take a long time and seemed to be the most studious writing I have done in a while!

In March I self-published my first book, In the Place of Many Zebras.

In April I published my 100th post on this blog! (And am now pretty darn close to #200!)

Throughout the first half of the year I spent a fair amount of time publishing recipes here.

In June and July I used this blog to document our trip to Ecuador.

In October I had my first book signing for In the Place of Many Zebras and donated my first chunk of money from book sales to the Olooloitikoshi Girl’s Rescue Center.

In October I also participated in the Intentional Blogging Challenge.

In November, I finally got paid for my first national magazine story….which was published last November..

Also in November, I was published in Chance Encounters: Travel Tales from Around the World.

Throughout the year I have almost doubled my small following on this blog and, since March, I have sold close to 500 copies of In the Place of Many Zebras!

So, I thought about my year and thought it seemed like kind of a dud year in the writing realm. After all, I didn’t put very many great new and sellable ideas on paper; I didn’t write my million-dollar novel (yet!); I didn’t make much money from writing. But now, I write this list and I am feelin pretty good about things.

I don’t say all of this to brag about what I have done. I just write these things as a way of documenting, reflecting and starting to think about goal-setting for the year to come. And as a way of sharing things that have worked for me in my writing life. For me, almost all of these things were exciting milestones. Of course, there is always more to be done and more that could have been done, but I think I can pat myself on the back a little for focusing on what was really important to me in writing this year, while still maintaining all the other aspects of my life (a full-time job, marriage, social life, family time, travel, mountain exploration :), etc.) Things I have tried in the past didn’t seem as important this year: writing pitch after pitch to magazines or to picking up little  ‘listicle’ jobs to make a few bucks writing. I realize now that it was more important this year share the stories of girls I met in Kenya, to have something that helps me keep a bit of a writing routine, to share stories that are closest to me, and to just keep writing.

It feels good to spend a little time reflecting before the busy-ness of the holidays is upon us! I encourage you to think back on your year, and pat yourself on the back for any accomplishment, anything you feel good about, big or small 🙂




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