Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections and Dreams

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

- Langston Hughes

I’m in a good place. Having several days with no family obligations, school, work, and afterschool activities has given me time to relax and write. When I do a big bout of writing after barely writing, it’s like I’ve finally inhaled a big gulp of air after holding my breath too long. How did I live?

I’m a good frame of mind to reflect on the year. Instead of dwelling on the near misses, rejections, disappointments, and pity parties, I want focus on:

What was Good – 11 from 2011:

1. My children, my husband, and many other members of my family whom I’m close to are in good health.

2. When my husband and children have successes, they lift me the same as my own success.

3. I’m older and doughier, but I’m younger today than I will be in the future.

4. I like my new job as a professional aide, and although it’s not exactly what I want, it’s become more rewarding than I could’ve imagined. (I’ll write a post about it soon.)

5. Graduate school, which is expensive and a big commitment, but has been a better experience than I thought it would be. I received a 4.0 in my first class and I’m already a better teacher as a result.

6. I completed a manuscript, polished it up, and began querying. I sent out 4 more queries this week. I keep trying no matter the odds.

7. I’ve written 4 chapters of my WIP. I’m inspired to write regularly again so those next chapters will go faster.

8. I’ve had 3 short stories accepted this year. 2 are in published - 1 is coming out in 2012.

9. I read 128 books in 2011, exceeding my goal for the 100 Book Challenge 100 Book Challenge. Here’s my LIST

10. Many of my writing friends have had successes this year. Whether it’s an accepted short story or agent snag or book contract or contest win, they are all part of our journey. Just typing “the end” or sending a query is a step forward.

11. My friends, especially the writer ones, who keep me going and inspire me. Thank you.

I wish you a happy and healthy 2012. Thank you for being a part of my life, no matter what form it takes. While I don’t make resolutions, I do have dreams. May your dreams come true.

What was good for you in 2011?

What are your dreams for 2012?


  1. Oh wow! Now these are 11 most wonderful and amazing things to celebrate!! And a story to be published in the new year - that's just fabulous!

    And doughier? You? JAMAIS! You're gorgeous as ever!

    Take care and HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Here's to an even more amazing writerly 2012 for you! Remember, it's a LEAP YEAR, SO LEAP HIGH AND UP!!! :-)

    Take care

  2. Sounds like you've had a great year and there's a lot to look forward to. Happy New Year.

  3. Theresa, I'm glad you're ending the year on a positive note and looking forward! Not that you have a reason to be negative, but like that cartoon at the top suggests, it's easy to get sucked into negativity at the end of the year. After all, it's the end, isn't it?

    I admit to waking up depressed today, just knowing it's New Year's Eve. It's better to celebrate a beginning, isn't it? I'll try. Starting right this minute. :D

    Happy New Beginnings!

  4. Theresa, I've read more than once that querying in the month of December is the kiss of death. Agents trash everything that they see because it's the month right after nano and they think people are just sending their crap from the wrimo fest. The best months to query begin in late January and on into the summer.

    I suggest you wait a few more weeks before sending out more.

    Oh and happy new year.

  5. Hi Theresa .. how did you read all those books and do everything else - I'm popping over for a dose of your "pepmeup" .... congratulations on everything though .. and very good luck for 2012 .. you deserve much happiness ..

    Happy New Year and am so pleased you've had some down time .. cheers Hilary

  6. Those are awesome! I've learned a lot this year about the craft and critiquing even if I didn't write as much as I hoped. All my loved ones are doing wonderfully and so are my friends. :)

    Happy New Year!

  7. Sounds like you have a successful personal and professional year. Keep it up in 2012. Happy New Year.

  8. @ Old Kitty, your bright comments should've made my 2011 list. The short story for 2012 was supposed to come out in 2011, but it got delayed. But as long as it comes out at all, right?

    @ Brent, thank you! I hope you have a lot to look forward to, too.

    @ Dianne, I thought that picture on the top was funny. Don't we always resolve to be better people, yet always fall short?

    It is the end of 2011 today, which is sad. But it's also got all that potential. Cheers to new beginnings.

    @ Michael, I like all the titles you keep coming up with. You make me laugh.

    I'm sure no agent looked at my query on the 29th or I would've had an e-rejection by now. I'm sure they'll reject it around 01/02 or 01/03. That WILL be in January.

    And since I haven't sent any queries since September, I'm sure I won't rush to send any more.

    @ Hilary, I listen to audiobooks in the car, read when I brush my teeth, and carry a book with me wherever I go. A lot of them are middle grade and YA books, which tend to go faster. But I decided if I was going to be a writer, I had to try to read as much as possible. Besides, it's a great escape, isn't it?

    @ Christine, I think anything you do to improve your writing is almost as good as writing. I spent a few months just brushing up on grammar. It all works to make us better.

    @ Susan, it was my most productive writing year yet, so I really want to push myself for 2012.

  9. I love your 11 good things list. I'm especially glad you're already reaping benefits from #5.

    Happy New Year!

  10. Great list. :)

    I hope you have a wonderful 2012!

    (And I love all the images you used with the post.)

  11. Wishing you all good things and many happy surprises in 2012, Theresa!


  12. I love that last one! (And Theresa - why do you respond on your own blog comments? Didn't we go over this on our Top 3 Things not to do :P)

  13. Awesome list. I am amazed at how much you have accomplished and especially all those books you read!

    Wishing you a happy New Year!

  14. @ Carole, I'm glad I'm reaping the benefits of #5, especially because it's only been in the last year or two that I thought I'd need to get another Master's. I'm trying not to think about the big expense.

    @ The Golden Eagle, thank you. I've been saving up all these pictures for the right post!

    @ February/Bru, thank you. It's great to hear from you. I love your updated profile picture.

    @ Sophia, I can't help myself! When I don't comment, I feel guilty. I was going to try Disquis to have my comments automatically send my comments via e-mail (instead of doing in manually) but I noticed people don't sign in with their blog info - just name and e-mail.

    @ Kimberly, thank you. This was certainly my most productive writing year, since I finally have publication credits.

  15. i love the langston hughes quote esp the first stanza and theresa you could sell a quote of your own (doughier) to hallmark, its wonderful:)

    Congratulations on all those good things in 2011, I like your approach. Must reflect on your question!:)

    Wishing you are your family continued good health and a wonderful 2012!

  16. Congrats on all the good things that came to you in 2011. I hope you have a fantastic new year.

  17. i love hearing positive year end reviews!

    nicer to recall what was accomplished than what wasnt!

    may 2012 be filled with more!

  18. Love the Keep Calm posters. I've never seen many of those before.

    It's good to focus on the good stuff that happened. That's the way to bring in more good stuff.

    Happy 2012.

  19. Sounds like a great year, Theresa!
    I, too, am absolutely loving my job as a teacher's aide. I love being in the same classroom every day and making a real difference. I do one day want my own full time classroom again, but if this paid better, I wouldn't mind doing this for the rest of my career!

  20. you're right. 2011 was a very busy year in which many of us achieved a lot. It's good to sit back and reflect... And I really like that quote about reading the last chapter over and over. Good one! :o) <3

  21. Congrats on the great accomplishments in 2011! 2011 was a stressful year, which ended well. Which I'm grateful for. :)

  22. @ Words A Day, I don't know if Hallmark wants me reminding people they're doughier!

    I wish you much success in 2012. You need a bigger audience to view your wonderful pieces.

    @ Medeia, thanks. I wonder how many books you read in 2011. Way more than me, I'm sure!

    @ Tara, it's so easy for me to focus on the negative. Since this year marked more writing successes than usual, I decided to see the upside instead of my goals (agent) where I keep falling short.

    @ Liz, I've been saving these posters on my desktop waiting for the right opportunity.

    @ Kelly, I know what you mean. The pay is lousy, but the rewards are many. Though from my years of experience, I know if you're not working with the right person it can be pretty demeaning and miserable. We have a lot less control over our jobs, so it's all about who is managing us.

    @ LTM, we've got to move forward, right? It's a great quote for writers and all of us--how we look at our lives.

    @ MPax, I hope you have less stress in 2012.

  23. Wishing you all the best in 2012. Sounds like you can be thankful for many good things in 2011--I hope you have even more in 2012.
    I'm still getting by so I guess that's a good sign for the upcoming year.

    Wrote By Rote

  24. What a wonderful list of blessings and accomplishments! Congrats on a good year and a positive outlook. Wishing you much happiness and success for the coming year. :)

  25. I'm so happy for you and inspired by your positive outlook and amazing reading list! Thank you for another year of your fantastic blog and a very happy new year to you xo

  26. I'm still laughing over the cartoon at the beginning...sounds like you had a great year! Best wishes for 2012.

  27. I'm doughier, too. Sigh. Time to break out the Wii (just dance). Happy New Year, Theresa. Here's to a fantastic 2012. May our dreams come true!

  28. I shared your 11 things with khnoum and we both marveled at you industriousness. : j

    Happy new year Theresa, to you and yours! : j

  29. You've had a great year, Theresa. So inspiring. My dreams for this year are to continue on the road I'm on and hopefully pick up some new successes along the way!!

  30. Sounds like a great year! I'm so glad you had a job change, you sound like you like this one better.

    Let me know how the querying goes! which novel are you querying? I forget!

  31. Great post, Theresa, and great things to celebrate. That Langston Hughes poem is one of my favorites and I used to share it with my kids in the classroom when I was teaching. Actually, LH is one of my favorite poets in general. Good luck for all your new ventures in the coming year.

  32. What a wonderful past year you had Theresa!

    Wishing you more success for 2012!

    Happy New Year!

  33. 2011 was a lot of work, but I finished what I had to and am tying up loose ends. 2012 will be a time to reap what I've sown.

    Best wishes to you and yours for 2012!

  34. Happy new Year!
    I love the card. :)
    Congratulations on your accomplishments in 2011. (Holy cow 128 books! that is awesome)I can only foresee that 2012 will be just as busy for you!

  35. I wish I could read that many book this year, but I'll be happy if I do a third of that.

    Best wishes for a healthy, happy, and productive 2012, Theresa!

  36. I know this year had lots of ups and downs for you. It's great to see how you pushed forward and found success and happiness. I wish you great success in school, work and writing in 2012, Theresa.

    Happy New Year!

  37. Wow! You've had an amazing year and have accomplished so much! I hope those queries hook you an agent this year. I wish you the very best for 2012 and beyond!

  38. Happy 2012 Theresa, and it is been entertaining reading your adventure this past year. Your #5 is most impressive; school is never easy especially with all the hats you wear.

    For this year, I want to read more. Two books I am working on now, so off to a good start.

  39. Your accomplishments in 2011 are inspiring (especially the number of books you've read)! Here's to getting even more action on short stories and on your novels, too! And major congrats on grad school~ that's awesome :)

  40. wow wow wow--love your list--#1 and #2 are SO very important! Good luck on querying (((hugs)))!!!!!

  41. Excellent list, my friend! You know I'm pulling for you on the querying thang. And the fact that all are in great health. Christopher didn't have to have that surgery back in the summer. That made this gal very, very, very, very, very, happy!

    I have started writing again. (I was so busy the last couple months I barely wrote a word.) I found It has helped to motivate me. I love it.

    I am so thankful for you. Just wanted you to know that. <3 you. :-)

  42. The only way to enjoy this writing life is to do what you're doing: focusing on others as well as yourself, appreciating those you love, moving on while relishing your achievements.

    Great post, Theresa. Lifted my spirits this morning.

  43. Happy New Year Theresa!!! You definitely had an awesome 2011.. and I know 2012 will be even better.

    It's been wonderful and inspiring sharing this journey with you :) I know exactly what you mean about returning to writing after a long bout of not doing it... here's hoping we both have some more time to do what we love best.

  44. Mainly I'm thankful to know that I still have all of my loved ones.

    My big dream for 2012 is to get some work as a performing artist. :-)

  45. This is a great post, Theresa. I'm smiling and feeling positive now thanks to you. Bring on the new year!

  46. Wow, so many great things for you! I can't wait to keep up with your happenings in 2012.

  47. Man, you read a lotta books! Good stuff. I like dwelling on the positives too. Number three cracked me up.

    All the best for 2012 to you and your loved ones.

  48. Good luck with your queries and congrats on your successes!

    I think this will be a good year for us all. ;)

    P.S. I liked number 3, too. A good way to think about it! Lol.

  49. Happy 2012 to you and your family, Theresa.
    Congrats on all your writing achievements, onwards and upwards:)

  50. Those are wonderful goals! I can't believe you are able to read so many books in a year. I'm aiming for fifty-five.

  51. @ Arlee, your A to Z Challenge was HUGE in 2011. You're being too modest! I wish you much success in 2012, too.

    @ Karen, thank you. I'm trying to keep my positive attitude and keep writing.

    @ Kathleen, thanks. A few of the books I read are now on my favorites of all time list.

    @ Melissa, thanks. I loved that cartoon too. Don't we all vow to be better people? And often fail over and over. And over.

    @ Samantha, you're doing Wii? You're good! I'm taking a yoga class this Saturday. My husband is making me.

    @ Alesa, it's nice to hear myself described as industrious. If I wrote my list of what I didn't do, it would look less industrious.

    I hope you move on to bigger and better things this year.

    @ Salarsen, you definitely have good goals. Good luck with them!

    @ Aubrie, I do like my job better than daily subbing. I loved the extended term sub job, but the new job provides me with a consistent check.

    I'm querying Naked Eye.

    @ Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina, Langston Hughes is one of my favorite poets, too. I read one of his poetry anthologies this year. My daughter reminded me of this poem when she came across it at school. She wrote it out for me and memorized it.

    @ Glynis, you too!

  52. You've had a good year! Congrats on the 4.0 and two publications.

  53. @ Romance Reader, thanks. I wish you success in 2012 as well.

    @ Stephen Tremp, enjoy reaping what you've sewn!

    @ Nutschell, I don't think I'll read as many books in 2012. I'm critiquing someone's manuscript and writing a manuscript. It's 01/05 and I haven't yet finished one book this year!

    @ Lydia, thank you and same to you. I don't think I'll read as many books this year either! I'm aiming for a book a week.

    @ Sharon, thank you. I'm still not where I want to be, but I feel like I've made steps to get closer in 2011. May 2012 be our year!

    @ Nisa, obtaining an agent has been on my list for years. I hope it happens sometime soon.

    Happy 2012 to you!

    @ Slamdunk, it was a big adjustment getting used to the school expectations after a decade out of it.

    Good luck with your reading goal. What books are you reading now?

    @ Jess, thank you. I've made my life pretty busy, so I may have to slow down on the reading-front.

    @ Christina, I agree. Focusing on that is what makes the things that don't go right in my professional life not such a big deal. Happy New Year to you!

  54. @ Robyn, I was relieved when Christopher didn't have to have surgery. That was a stressful time for you. I hope your life gets less hectic and you can find more time for writing. It's like breathing, right?

    May 2012 bring you some cooperative and plentiful mojo!

    You've been a great blogging and Facebook friend. I like talking to you about writing, knowing about what's going on in your life, and cheering you on. Your cheering has helped me. A LOT. Thank you.

    @ Cleemckenzie, I couldn't have said it better myself. Your comment lifted MY spirits. Thanks!

    @ Writing Nut, I know you've had a productive writing year. I hope it continues.

    @ Misha, I wish you the best of luck with your goals. You accomplished some important things in 2011.

    @ Roxy, so good to hear from you. I realized I hadn't been to your blog in ages. I was going to find you, but you found me first!

    @ Elana, I can't wait to hear your happenings in 2012, too. I hope you have more time for writing and family.

    @ JL, each year I bemoan I'm older, but it's only getting worse! I might as well learn to accept it. As for the dough... I gotta work out more!

    @ LR, you had great news in 2011. I hope to hear more in 2012.

    @ Brigid, I like that--onwards and upwards. Same to you!

    @ Clarissa, I think my reading will slow down considerably this year. My new goal is about the same as yours. Good luck!

    @ L Diane Wolfe, thank you. I wish you a happy and productive 2012.

  55. What a beautiful, reflective post, Theresa. I wish you mountains of success in 2012. Happy New Year!

  56. Love your positivity and how much you accomplished! (And if you're doughy, I have no idea what that makes me! :)) Happy New Year and all the very best for 2012!!!

  57. WOW, how do you have time to read so many books in a year? According to Goodreads I read 25 books last year (which seems so little to me! Perhaps I forgot to add some...).

    I love that Langston Hughes poem. Thanks for sharing it :-)

  58. @LynNerdKelly, thank you. I wish you much success in 2012 as well.

    @ Susanna, it's nice to reflect on what we've done once in a while, isn't it? Happy 2012 to you.

    @ Rachel, I take a book with me everywhere, I read one when I brush my teeth, and I have summers off. That's how I read so many. I know I won't be able to do the same in 2012. I'm aiming for 50.