Was 2018 a crazy roller coaster ride for you? Smooth sailing? Milestone events?
My writerly pals and I are remembering the happy moments as well as lessons we learned from challenges this past year in our blog hop: My Ups, Downs, and In Betweens on the 2018 Writing Road.
Check out our personal reveals, then visit the other #Gr8Blogs linked at the end of the post for more shared recollections and lessons learned along the way. We hope you'll be inspired to dive into your own special memories of 2018!
Attitude of Gratitude
The instructor closed our killer-pilates/yoga workout with words that wouldn't leave me: "The things you take for granted are the things others are praying for."
Her benediction underscored the attitude of gratitude I want to keep in my heart, especially during this wild year of rightsizing and writer's block.
The things you take for granted are the things others are praying for.
Having struggled and reconciled with my new status as a baby boomer orphan last year, 2018 still loomed large with challenges. Leaving our cherished home and neighbors of 20 years to preemptively transition to first-floor living was one of the toughest things I've done. Right up there after death, divorce and job loss.
Waves of sadness kept me tossing at night as Harsh Critic Me hammered away:
What a first-world problem.
You're lucky to build a beautiful new home.
Some people don’t even have a roof over their heads.
Get over it!
If JM and I had children and our families lived closer, we’d have anchors in a sea of chaos. However, we do not. It's a reality that gets harder as we get older.
BUT we have each other,
AND long-time friends who are like family,
PLUS more friends to discover and new neighbors to meet.
Instead of feeling upside down, I want to reframe our transition as a lucky adventure.
View change as a gain instead of a take away.
I’m getting there. But some days I raise the white flag.
Swinging between sadness and buoyancy, this new order is exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. It still spins me around, though less often as the year winds down.
Father Knows Best
Dad was the happiest person I knew. He saw only life’s goodness. An ah-ha moment came as I remembered finding a list he scribbled on a crinkled sheet of paper, its contents: wife, children, job, church, house, etc. – totally unlike what he scratched out when running to Safeway for mama When I asked him about it, he told me it was his list of blessings. He liked writing them down because they helped him see how lucky he was.
btw....Dad's life was not one of entitlement or luxury. Coming from a blue-collar background, he served in WWII and Korea, held down two jobs while attending night school for his teaching degree, and was first in his family to go to college.
Teenager that I was then, I didn’t understand his wisdom.
Today, I treasure my father’s practice, but I put my own spin on it.
My list has two columns. One side shows fears/baggage/things that hold me back. The second marks my blessings. Almost always, that second column is longer.
BINGO! Life IS good. Thanks, Dad!
Upside on the Writing Road
Spread Your Wings and TRY
Maybe it was my Puritan roots and strong work ethic from a New England childhood, but I've been down on myself as an author in 2018. Mind-maxed from rightsizing, my brain shut down when I thought about writing, let alone publish another book in 2018.
I felt wretched, and Harsh Critic Me took over:
You don't have anything for your readers.
There's nothing to keep your hard-won forward momentum.
No new tales to enter in 2018 writing contests.
Another loss! Can't you do anything?
But Cheerleader Me countered with a proper pep talk:
You're plugging away on your blog and newsletter.
Keeping fresh with your SCBWI critique group.
Hey, some writing contests take year-old content. Can't hurt to try a submission.
So, I sent 2017’s Sweet T and the Turtle Team to two children’s book writing contests.
And I was gobsmacked!
In May, Turtle Team won TWO Purple Dragonfly awards for excellence in children’s literature: first place -chapter book AND honorable mention - environment.
Talk about a needed confidence boost. Over the moon!
More good news arrived in November.
Sweet T and the Turtle Team scored GOLD in the Literary Classics International Book Awards' best in children’s literature - environment. Their book review of Sweet T and the Turtle Team just blew me away.
I am beyond grateful and proud! Cannot wait to attend the Writers' Conference and Great American Book Festival that are part of the Literary Classics Awards Ceremony this spring in the City of Presidents, Rapid City, South Dakota.
Next Chapter, PLEASE!
I struggle still deciding what genre and content to write next since my decision to end Sweet T Tales due to its high cost of printing color illustrations. A teeny space for ideas is slowly clearing in my brain. Maybe a feel-good family story for adults? MG tale with twist of fantasy? YA series that is not about zombies, vampires or dystopia, but what????
I'm on a roller coaster about my next book ...
More confident I’ll find my way but still biting fingernails.
PSSSST!!!!!! Breaking News
A story idea niggling at me for years moved center stage last night during our 105-singer-strong community choir's 48th annual performance of Handel's "Messiah."
Mercy, if I post it here, does it mean I'm committed to writing this tale?!?!?!
Stay tuned -:D!)
Thanks for stopping by and HUGE thanks for keeping me company on this writing road! How was your year? What was your biggest accomplishment, event, or lesson learned? Please share in the comment section.
For more inspirational recollections and lessons learned, visit more #Gr8blogs below.
And if you blog and want to join us on this hop, just add the family-friendly link to your blog post in the comment section. We’ll visit and give you some blog love-:D
btw....I'm taking time away from blogging to finish unpacking and enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Cat's Corner returns in January with a follow up to this post, and -fingers crossed- a solid update on my writing direction. Sending wishes for the peace and joy of this holiday season to you and yours. Catch you in 2019!
#MoreGr8Blogs and Inspiration
Julie Gorge - celebrating family; reconciling a parent's passing
Rosie Russell - overcoming tech pain from crashed website to publishing first hardback for libraries
Rebecca Lindsey - busy teacher finds time to publish; brings illustrating into her classroom
Camela Dutra - don't be afraid of change
Sandra Bennett - a first grand and breaking out of the comfort zone to learn new things
Auden Johnson - no matter how bad things look, Auden finds some good
Corrina Holyoake - brave new world of a full-time artist, Corrina transforms her career direction, inner soul
Marble: by Louis Maniquet on Unsplash
Back Flip: by Persnickety Prints on Unsplash
Notebook: by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash
12/5/2018 11:06:41 am
What a heartwarming and honest blog! Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your personal journey. Many people will relate and you share some valuable life lessons we can all apply to our lives. As far as your writing goes, ah, what a rollercoaster of emotions comes with a writing career. I could totally relate and am SO happy that your books received well-deserved awards that gave you encouragement when you needed it most. I can't wait to hear what direction your muse takes you in 2019. Wishing you all the best for the new year!
12/6/2018 09:21:30 am
Thanks, Julie! Roller coaster is THE perfect term for a writing career, Julie! I knew it was tough going in, but I never realized what a wild ride it would be. Most grateful for your support and encouragement! The awards help tons, but readers like you make it for me -:D
12/6/2018 02:28:24 pm
What a year for you Cat! I love the Zig Zigler kind of attitude you and your dad have. It's also nice to know others have obstacles to overcome as well. You had some tough ones, that's for sure.
12/7/2018 12:30:28 pm
It was, Rosie! LOL....did not know I was channeling Zigler but dad for sure -:D. Grateful for your kind words about my writing. Writers do work hard! Fingers crossed for more ups and fewer downs 2019. Happy hols to you and yours!
12/7/2018 05:19:15 pm
Zig was the best and so are you! :)
12/9/2018 01:33:47 pm
Appreciate YOU, Rosie -:D!
12/7/2018 09:22:32 pm
You had a very busy year full of ups and downs for sure. I enjoyed reading this blog very much. There were many points that I feel relates to a number of individuals. The struggle of relocation is a tough road, especially with as long as you had your roots there.
12/9/2018 01:40:00 pm
It's been a wild ride for sure, Carmela. Much harder than I expected. Gotta work on Cheerleader Cat more and get out to schools, libraries in 2019. Thanks a ton for your support on my writing journey!
12/8/2018 08:13:20 pm
You've inspired me, Cat. Thanks for sharing. I'm gonna have to print out that quote and put it on my wall. It's so true. Congrats on your awards!
12/9/2018 01:42:35 pm
I'm glad that quote resonated with you, too, Auden! Appreciate your company on the writing road more than you know. All the best to you and yours in 2019 -:D
12/10/2018 12:23:54 pm
Along with the roller-coaster ride, Cat, I see shades of a helter-skelter and merry-go-round during your eventful year! You swerved from the dodgems and coconut shy. Whoopla-la! Huge congrats on your awards. Looking forward to the next chapter...
12/19/2018 05:38:37 pm
Love the way you describe 2018, Eiry -:D. Dodgem and coco-shy swerves for sure! It's either that or a pity party, and though I had a bit of that, too, I tried to stay positive on this roller-coaster.
12/12/2018 03:25:33 am
You've had one stressful yet amazing year Cat and come through it stronger and better. Your honesty on the struggle both personally and in your writing life is enough to encourage anyone striving to find a positive outlook to continue to move forward. Awards are a wonderful achievement, congrats, glad they helped re-motivate you to continue along this journey. Look forward to reading whatever brilliant ideas you come up with next tear. Cheers to your continued happiness in 2019.
12/19/2018 05:42:22 pm
Yep, stress for sure, even if it is the 'good' kind of transition I initiated, Sandra. Appreciate your kind words about my next steps. Readers like you and nods from book awards keep me going. Life is settling...now if only I can whip up a brilliant idea about my next book -:D.
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