'Tis the season for all good things: delicious treats, wonderful visits with friends and family, cozy sweaters, sparkling lights and sparkling wines . . . the list of holiday pleasures could go on and on. It's also a good time of year for reflection: how did the past year go" What worked, what didn't? Did we reach our goals?
For me it was an interesting year, with new goals and new challenges appearing as unexpectedly as reindeer down the chimney. On the whole, though, I'd say everything turned out better than I could have ever imagined:
- I got an agent! Yes, I did. I'm happy and excited to announce that I have signed with Laura Strachan of the Strachan Literary Agency to represent my novel, The Abyssal Plain.
- Which led to a revised manuscript. It was hard work, but in the end I couldn't have been more grateful to Ms. Strachan for her discerning and very perceptive evaluation of The Abyssal Plain. For several weeks she worked tirelessly to show me where I needed to make the book stronger and more cohesive. She also encouraged me to come up with a much better book description than anything I'd ever written before.
- I took an illustration class. To celebrate my progress with The Abyssal Plain, I treated myself to a week-long illustration class with author/artist Neecy Twinem. For my class project I chose to work on my picture book, The White Pony, and I've made a ton of progress toward developing my ideas (and skills) further.
- Sold my house. And quickly too! Five weeks on the market and we were done.
- Bought and renovated a mid-century downtown condo. I never knew I was capable of sanding so much paint off the walls without a single complaint, LOL! But I was dedicated to making our new little home the perfect base for this current stage of my life which is going to center far more around creativity rather than housework. Two and half months after moving in, the plan is working great.
- Finished my Taiwan art journal. This might not sound as dramatic as some of my other year's events, but this journal has been a labor of love for over a year, and I'm glad to close the covers at last. More the equivalent of a multi-page "mood board" than a typical journal, I can now use the pages as an excellent resource for subject matter, color palettes, and writing prompts.
- Read some amazing books. My favorite amongst these was Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. I read it at nights after days spent renovating my condo, and I couldn't have made a better choice. The story-line took me far away from the world of paint chips and drywall. Highly recommended.
- NaNoWriMo. I didn't win, but at least I showed up! And Had a Wonderful Time!
- New Mexico SCBWI Enchantment Show. I'd never tackled anything remotely like this before, but somehow between book revision and condo renovation I organized a small art show for my local chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Eight illustrators and eight writers were paired together to create a collaborative piece of art and writing based on the theme of "Lost and Found." When all sixteen pieces of work were complete, everything was then put on display at the Erna Fergusson Library here in Albuquerque for the month of September. Part of the show included a reception where the authors read their stories aloud and the illustrations were digitally displayed on a wall-size screen. The whole event was just delightful, and I'm looking forward to working with the show again next year.
- Ink drawing (almost) every day in my Moleskine. Besides reading whenever I had some downtime, one of the things I tried to do every day was create at least one ink drawing in my Moleskine sketchbook. I learned a lot working with ink (no erasers allowed!) for a solid year, especially how to embrace and cultivate "happy accidents."
- Bought a sewing machine. When I couldn't find the bedroom curtains i wanted, I had to end up making them. Which was great: I bought a sewing machine, something I haven't owned in nearly ten years when I gave my old one away to a friend's mother. Back then I thought I was finished with stitching, bobbins, and seam rippers for good, but my new machine, a very simple and basic Singer, has me re-thinking all that. I may even start sewing a whole new summer wardrobe next spring. Project Runway, anyone?
- Discovered I want to make metal clay beads and pendants. This was a rather late discovery, only occurring about a week ago. But I was curious as to why my beading had slowed down to almost nothing during the second half of the year. That's when I realized my whole problem revolved around not having the beads and focal pieces I wanted. Like my curtains, I would have to make my own. After all, I have a kiln, I love to work with clay, and I love to design things to make with clay. There's a studio just a few blocks away from where I now live that will be offering a class on the entire process in April. How lucky is that? Roll on 2019!
Tip of the Day: The end of the year is the perfect time to start imagining and writing down goals and plans for 2019. What will you do to create the year you want? I'd love to hear what you come up with. Thanks for visiting--see you next year!