So, here we are, the calendar full with Sharpie-d Xs, only a couple of boxes still left pristinely unmarked. As this is probably the last post I’ll write in 2011, it seemed like a good time to do the obligatory Year-End Review. Of course, you can expect the New Year’s Resolutions addendum by Monday.
One must keep to the criteria for bearing the "blogger" label, of course.
So, what do I have to say about 2011? First and foremost, I feel I ought to say "I hardly knew thee."
The people I work with are, in general, anywhere from a few years to a decade younger than I am. All year long I’ve heard them say things like, "I can’t believe it’s March already!" "Wow? How is it July?", or "OMG, Christmas?! Where did the year go!" But, as I’m older and wiser than most of them, I don’t say things like that. I reconciled myself years ago to the one irrefutable fact:
Time slips by faster every year.
I have a theory for why that’s the case, but there’s fractional math involved and if nothing else, Puddintopia is a House of Words. We all agreed to the No Algebra rule, right? But if you really want to discuss it, hit me up in the comments or on facebook or twitter.
With that said, what other compelling comments can I make regarding the passing year? Well, more than anything else, 2011 seems to be filled with stepping-stone accomplishments, building blocks that may yet lead to bigger things down the road.
Over the summer, I started a regular feature here, "3-Way Thursday". While we haven’t done it for the November or December (because, really, why try to compete with Thanksgiving and the Holidays?), it’s been fun to do and pretty entertaining, but is clearly still a work-in-progress. But for sure it showed that readers are cool with this sort of thing, prompting the exciting, upcoming weekly "Tunes Test Tuesday" feature.
In September, Puddintopia had its first "Guest Blogger" week, and much to my surprise, I was actually able to fill it with excellent guests, capable of Bringing It. When I concocted the idea, I was fairly certain I’d end up having the Puddinpop write up something about his little league team. As an added bonus, site traffic that week was decidedly above average. It was definitely a great start, and I can’t wait to try it again in the future.
Of course, the biggest thing for me this year, beyond the ubiquitous family growth and seemingly magical daily milestones that are very special to me but perhaps wouldn’t be to everyone else, is that I finished my first novel. But finished is more than just a bit misleading. By "finished", I mean only that I wrote "The End". After that – admittedly, it was a big step – I then spent the next few months on a rampage of editing and revision.
And, even now, I don’t think it’s truly finished. A couple, and yes, that means two, people whose opinions and critique skills I trust very much are reading it now. I expect more changes will be necessary when they’re finished. In other words, it’s done, but it’s not. It’s on the Road to Done, but there’s no even unofficial ETA for when queries might start going out.
My book, like the millions that have come before it, will be ready only when it’s ready.
All that said, though, these past twelve months will always be the ones I remember as the period when I truly, honestly began to think of myself as a writer. Yes, I actually got started in 2010, but only experimentally so, trying this and that, moving forward in fits and starts. This, though, was the year when I really felt I found my stride. It was the difference between a one year-old’s first, halting two-foot stagger to mommy’s arms and a five year-old’s fearless, exuberant dash down the driveway. And that must show, because 2011 saw a full year of regular contribution to Hoperatives as well as guest-blogging for Wine Me, Dine Me (in Cincinnati) and Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty’s The Morning Line.
Yes, I’ve been busy.
Admittedly, those were big things for me. But even so, they’re really just stepping stones, tasks leading me a few steps further down the path.
There were no really earth-shattering milestones in 2011, no Big Announcements, but then, (thankfully) also, no deeply painful woes. It was a good year, a building-block, a solid foundation upon which to grow.
And I think that’s exactly what I needed.
Life is a process, not a finish line.
All in all, I’m feeling very blessed that in 2011, mine really made some progress.