Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014, I'm gonna let you finish, but first...

Funny how years can be so similar and yet so very different. Individually, my days mostly look the same. I get up, I go for a run, I teach school all day, I come home and write, I collapse into bed. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

2013 was a year of firsts. In last year’s post, I mentioned possibly getting to go to England after dreaming about it my whole life. In 2014, I did just that. My husband and I spent a week in London and it really was even better than I had hoped.

But the rest of the year was just doing what I always do, and there was some real comfort in that. In February I ran my 7th marathon. I finished in 3:53, which wasn’t my fastest time, but it wasn’t my slowest either. Over the course of 2014, I’ve run over 1000 miles. I don’t regret a single one of them.

I drafted two and a half books in 2014, and revised one. My agent and I polished that one until it shines, and I’m super excited about it.

I read just over 50 books this year.

I won two awards and became a finalist in a third. I spoke alongside Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Kimberly Willis Holt, and met tons of other awesome writers. I participated in both Nova Teen in March, the inaugural LSU Young Adult Lit Conference in June, and the Louisiana Book Festival in November.

So much of who I am –runner, teacher, writer—is behind-the-scenes work: slogging through the miles, putting in the time, getting down the words, working when no one is looking, hoping to reap that benefit later.

2014 was about doing the work and hoping to get paid for it later.

What’s in store for 2015? I haven’t a clue. I will continue to do the work, but as is the case in publishing (and so much of life), what happens next is out of my hands. All I can continue to do is write the best books I can and pray that in the process, my craft improves.

I don’t make resolutions. I run and write almost everyday, and for that, I am grateful. I get to teach, to hopefully turn non-readers into readers, and to learn a little myself along the way. But I do choose a focus, and this year, my focus is to be present. I’m a goal-oriented person, so it’s easy to keep my eyes on what I am working toward and forget to enjoy the current moment I am in. It’s easy to get caught up in the past instead of living in the present. It’s easy to pick up my phone and check Twitter when I instead need to be listening to what the person right in front of me is trying to say.

So this year, I vow to do a better job at being present. What about you?

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