Things I Did in 2011

I had something of an epiphany while I was working on this post, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

This is, of course, the time of year that leads one to take stock, and I think a lot of us tend to focus on the stuff we didn’t accomplish – that New Year’s Resolution Remorse loveliness, in which even goals we set strictly for ourselves that don’t affect anyone else in any way whatsoever become this onerous pile of shouldas that seriously dampen our enjoyment of the year.  I don’t think people fear change as much as they fear failing to change in the way they planned.

Thus, following the good example of fellow bloggers like the mavens of Crafting the Sacred, Finding Your Voice of Truth, and Free to Be Me, I thought I’d take a moment to make a list of what I *did* do in 2011, whether it was remotely related to my original intentions or not.  Life has this wacky way of acting like a pinball – it ricochets off our plans and spins in a different direction that is sometimes way better than where we were aiming.

Sometimes it blows a box of weasels, too, but let’s not worry about that today.

(This is in mostly chronological order.  Some are plucked from my 100 Things to Do in 2011 list.)

 I Did This! And This! And This! in 2011

I ordered business cards for nefarious novelist purposes.

I bought a new washer/dryer set, my very first Major Appliance type purchase, which made me feel quite grown up.

I went to see Apocalyptica, marking my very first show at a metal bar.

I started getting migraines, figured out where they were coming from, and have mostly eliminated the problem – I haven’t had to use a Big Pill in months.

I got my first royalty statement from Penguin.

I lost my job and spent half the year without one, though I wasn’t living entirely off my writing (I had unemployment benefits until December).

I finished writing my third novel.

I saw my second novel hit shelves.

I learned a major lesson: that what people say about you says more about them.

I had a friend I’d only ever met online come stay with me for several days.  I also met two other lovely online ladies in person.

I married myself.

I became a volunteer with Austin Pets Alive! and eventually became their Dog Marketing writing coordinator.

I attended my first con, ArmadilloCon, and that very same night was recognized in public by a fan at a restaurant.

I…let’s say upgraded…to a MacBook Pro.

I signed my second two-book contract with Ace.

I tried seven new coffee shops.

I bought a new camera.

I made a vegan pecan pie.

I went to the Gynosaurus (I was about five years overdue for a pelvic).

I kept up my plan to blog at least once a week, and wrote a lot of really good stuff if I do say so myself.

I studied dog care and training so that a) I could do more with APA! and b) I could eventually get a dog of my very own, which I haven’t done yet, but when I do, I’ll know what I’m getting into!

I redid my recipe binder.

I started doing episode recaps of The Vampire Diaries just for fun (and have had a blast so far).

I cooked a pot of beans from scratch.

I finally saw an essay I wrote about five years ago on Wicca and animal rights go into print as part of the anthology Call to Compassion: Religious Perspectives on Animal Advocacy

I renamed my blog (or, rather, named it – before it was just “Dianne Sylvan’s Blog”).

I learned that I rather enjoy art journaling, or at least a variation of it, thanks to my To-Do List Book – which I plan to get even more into this coming year.

What was my epiphany, you may be asking?  I’m burnt out. Totally fried. A crispy critter. I’d been wondering why doing anything creative has gotten progressively harder as the year has worn on, and I didn’t understand why I’ve had so much trouble bouncing back from my usual depressive cycles – I’m making it, but each time I come away more and more exhausted by the work involved.  When I thought about everything I’ve had to do this year, and the pressure I’ve been under (real or perceived) to succeed as a writer despite the surprising backlash against my second novel, and the emotional toll that losing a job I had for over 7 years takes on anybody whether they hated said job or not, and a variety of other things, I can’t believe I didn’t realize weeks ago that I’ve totally scorched my mojo!

I’m considering my options for healing said scorchery, but in the meantime just being able to say out loud “I’m burnt out and this sucks a giant ball of licorice-flavored suckdom” is a pretty significant relief.

(I hate licorice. Your suckdom may vary.)

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5 thoughts on “Things I Did in 2011

  1. I loved book 2, too! I can understand why the Urban Fantasy Romance fans went apeshit, but I think that says a lot more about what they want/expect/feel entitled to from a book than it does about your writing or story, which I thought were excellent. 🙂

  2. I loved your second book! Read it in a day as I couldn’t put it down and I have the release date of your next one already marked in my diary…
    BTW. I think licorice-flavoured suckdom is the worst kind!

  3. That is great that you have accomplished a lot in 2011. I for one loved your second book and I find the haters idiotic. After a crazy semester I felt pretty burnt out I had so much work to do but it is nice to take stock and try to relax a bit. I am catching up on some reading and just enjoy stringing the popcorn and cranberries for the tree while watching some Doctor Who.

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