This year, I’m signing up for the anti-resolution revolution.  It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one.  Lose weight = I weigh too much.  Save money = I spend too much.  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Spend more time with my kids = I’m not doing enough for my kids.  Write more often = I don’t write enough.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know I am all about self-improvement, especially improvement that puts us on a path to self-actualization.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation.  So I figured, why not start with what I did accomplish this year and set goals from there.  Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year, rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done.  Being zen about it, probably everything got done that was supposed to.

Here is my list of what I consider to be my major professional accomplishments this year

  • Completed two picture books.  Both are now on submission.
  • Was accepted into, and completed, the Rocky Mountain SCBWI mentorship program.
  • Drafted a third picture book which is at least halfway to submission-ready
  • Completed PiBoIdMo and ended up with 30+ picture book ideas
  • Sent 20+ queries over the course of the year
  • From those queries, sold one poem and got contracts to write three articles (coming in 2012)
  • Entered a picture book in the MeeGenius Children’s Author Challenge and made it to #16 out of 400+ entries
  • Learned a TON about online marketing and promotion from the contest.
  • Completed four months of group coaching to launch a new project.  I am now about halfway through drafting the business plan for that project (more news on that in 2012)
  • Formed a LLC to support my writing business and other projects I launch
  • Took a two-month course on blogging to build an author platform.  I have now gone from a high of 2000 hits per month on my blog to a high of nearly 6000 per month.
  • Guest posted on several blogs
  • Set up an in-person picture book critique group in Boulder
  • Attended a digital publishing conference and the Rocky Mountain SCBWI regional conference
  • Last, but not least, launched the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge to write 12 picture books in 12 months.  This is, obviously, one of my major goals for the coming year.

In addition to work accomplishments, three other achievements deserve mention.  One is that I ran a personal best in the Bolder Boulder 10K this year and felt great.  The race also happened to take place right after I turned 40, which felt even better.

Second, I planned, from start to finish, and then took a six-week trip to Italy with my family for the summer.  This trip was the fulfillment of a major dream and life-changing in every possible way.  Although my kids are still young, I think it will turn out to be life-changing for them to have had such an experience.

One of the things the trip to Italy inspired me to do is the third achievement I want to mention.  I wrote a Bucket List.  I saw how rewarding it was to realize even one dream, so I thought I would capture as many more as I could in the hopes of realizing them all.  I am trying not be afraid of dreaming big.  So perhaps a motto for 2012 is Dream Big or Go Home.

For your further contemplation, here are a few other posts with an alternate take on New Year’s Resolutions

Lynnette Burrows doesn’t let Mrs. Darkside win.

Hayley Lavik is not going to change anything next year.

Prudence MacLeod is going to read books by live authors.

Emma Burcart is going to be kind – to herself.

Jennifer Lewis Oliver has never made a New Year’s Resolution.

Myndi Shafer does have a short list of resolutions, which she made in the Nick of Time.

What is your stance on New Year’s Resolutions?  Good thing, bad thing or in-between?

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Birthdays, Children's Books, Family, Goals, Guest Blogging, Health/Fitness, Holidays, Italy, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Poetry, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Travel, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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A birthday toast

I am so overwhelmed and touched by all of the well-wishes from friends and family near and far for my birthday this past Tuesday.  It really makes me feel like I’ve celebrated with you all.  I had such a great day, and the fun continues this weekend as my stepmother and my brother and his girlfriend arrived today.  We’ll have dinner at a top-notch restaurant, go gallivanting at the Boulder Creek festival, have a big BBQ at our house on Sunday, and cap off the fun with the Bolder Boulder 10k on Monday.  Not too bad, I have to say.

My kids both finished school this week too.  Today Jay “graduated” from preschool in a sweet little ceremony.  Between the two kids, we’ve spent 6 years at that school, so it was very bittersweet saying goodbye.  The teachers and staff have been like family and have loved and taken such wonderful care of our children. These transitions are difficult for us parents as we helplessly watch our children grow up too fast.  BUT, we’re all excited for the next era in Jay’s life – elementary school.

We’re also excited for our summer adventures, and in general, everything just feels great right now.  I haven’t been getting much writing done, but I know that time will return.  For now, I am my life, my family and my friends.  I can’t ask for much more than that.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend to my U.S. friends.  May your barbeques be sunny and your flowers be blooming…

Categories: Birthdays, Family, Friendship · Tags: , , , , , ,

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The beach that is right in front of our apartment in Italy. We are packed and ready to go, and I am beyond grateful!

I have much to be grateful for this week.  Indeed my heart is full as I head into my birthday week.

Quotes on Gratitude

“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving; make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!” — Amanda Bradley

“And in the end it is not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln

“Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.” — Lucy Larcom

Gratitude List for the week ending May 21

  1. My fantastic Margareaders friends surprised me at our book club meeting with a few gifts and a flourless chocolate cake – YUM!  I am so blessed that this group has not just found common ground over books but have become true friends as well.
  2. Likewise, one of the most interesting book discussions we’ve had at a Margareaders meeting.
  3. An amazingly delicious dinner with Phil to celebrate my birthday a little early.  He will not be here on the day of because he has a critical business meeting this week in Europe and has to fly out on Tuesday.  Lucky for him we are going to Italy in three weeks, because this particular meeting is on a yacht in Monaco.  🙂
  4. The quality of the light was so stunning yesterday, the first day of sun after a week of rain.  The whole world looked scrubbed.  The mountains are piled high with snow while the grass is green and the lilacs are in bloom down here.
  5. Running outside
  6. My Italian lessons with Biagio.  I finally realized I wouldn’t have time to learn as much Italian as I’d hoped, so he is teaching me the essentials and forcing me to practice with homework.
  7. We are packed for Italy!  Amazing to have it done so soon, but I did not want to be worrying about what to bring at the last minute since we’re trying very hard to pack light.  I am now dreaming of wearing those sundresses and sandals on the beach at sunset…
  8. I’ve had an unusual amount of time to read this week (of course, that is why I am way behind on reading/commenting on blogs).  But it’s been nice to get pulled in by books again.
  9. Shopping for hats and hair clips with Em.  It’s fun to do “girlie” stuff with her.
  10. Jay (5) said to me a few nights ago, “I’m going to be sad when I go to college, because I’ll miss you so much.”

What about you?  What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Birthdays, Book Club, Books, Gratitude Sunday · Tags: , , , , ,

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One week from today I turn 40. All day long I couldn’t help but hear the Wicked Witch of the West in my ear, as if she had turned over the hourglass and cackled, “This is how long you have left to be in your thirties… Yee hee hee hee hee hee hee!” 

I said before that I’m not upset about this birthday, and I’m not — at least not in the traditional sense.  Sure I have the normal hangups about aging and its impact on my looks but truthfully, I am far more comfortable in my skin (literally and figuratively) than I was ten years ago, or even twenty years ago.  I suppose that is the joke life plays on you — that you can’t have the wisdom, self-confidence and sense of purpose that comes with age AND a flat stomach at the same time.

Body issues aside, what I’ve mostly been reflecting on is simply the passage of time and whether I’ve lived up to my own expectations of my life and myself.  More morbidly, if I died tomorrow, would I feel like I had done everything I should have/could have?  The answer is a resounding NO (so I really hope I don’t get hit by a bus tomorrow).  In a way that is frightening and in a way it is also very exciting.  I feel young precisely because I have so much left to do.  I’ve already started my career over, and now that my kids are getting older, there will be more freedom to contemplate what else I want to contribute to this world while I am still in it.

So the old witch won’t have any power over me come next Tuesday.  But I think I’ll wear red shoes just in case…

What about you? Have you had some birthdays that were better or worse than you expected?

Categories: Birthdays · Tags: , , , , ,

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