Looking Back on 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

 I have to say that this has been one of the better years in my life. On the whole, more good things than bad happened. I've been caught up in the holiday rush, stressed over getting things done, and came down with a cold, so, when I first started thinking about 2012, the bad things popped to the top of my mind. I'm a half-empty kind of person at heart, struggling to see that glass as half-full--kind of like that optical illusion where some people first see a goblet and others see a couple.

The highlight of my year had to be the arrival of my first grandchild, my mother's first great grandchild. No, this picture is not my grandchild. Unfortunately, there are those who would use a real picture to try to locate me or the child, not because I'm anyone famous or my grandchild is someone special (well, other than to me and my family), but because they are evil. I don't have to elaborate on that so close to the Newtown shooting, do I?

It's amazing the amount of joy one child can bring to a family. It's been a long time since we've had a baby to fuss over, cuddle, and buy Christmas presents for. It makes you realize what life is all about.

A happy surprise for me was that my employer offered a transition to retirement program for those of a certain age. While I was debating a retirement date and whether to do it sooner so I could write more or do it later so I could have affordable health insurance and a bigger income, this third possibility presented itself. So, for half the year, I've been going to the paying job only three days a week. It's amazing how much I've gotten done with those two extra days off.

More importantly, I had a change in mindset. Before July (when I started the program), I was an office drone, unhappy in my job, and tired of computers-as-profession. After July, I was a writer who happened to have a day job three days a week. I was able to set a schedule for my writing with a somewhat realistic expectation of keeping to it.

A major breakthrough for me was taking several of Margie Lawson's classes. I've been working on craft for years. I've taken dozens of classes on plotting, characterization, grammar, you name it. I've got more than two shelves full of craft books, most of which I've read. I've drafted five or six novels, revised a couple, but still there was something missing. The problem was, I couldn't figure out what it was. Margie showed me.

When I took Empowering Character Emotions last February, I was bowled over by the things I learned. First of all, I realized that my characters were missing a lot of the emotional hits I enjoyed in the books I read. I was maintaining an emotional distance from my characters. Not only did Margie show me what was missing, she taught me how to fix it. With her EDITS system, I could look at the colors on a page and see what elements were there and what elements were not. In Deep Editing, she showed me a ton of rhetorical devices to make my writing stronger.

I fully intend on taking her body language and advanced EDITS classes in 2013. If I can work it out, I'm going to go to one of her immersion master classes later in 2013.

The Tucson Sisters in Crime chapter was reborn and I've become heavily involved in that. While RWA has provided me contact with other writers in Tucson, I'm more of a mystery writer than a romance writer. It's good to have a SinC chapter to call home.

I am very close to publishing my first mystery. I spent most of 2012 applying what I'd learned in Margie's classes, revising based on first reader feedback, then editing again after my copyeditor went over the manuscript. I know the book could be better. Heck, I could totally revise the main character and plot based on what I've learned this year. However, it's time to let it go and move on to the next book. Next week should see the announcement of the publication.

As I said, 2012 was a good year. I'm hoping 2013 will be even better.

Image Credits:
Glass Half Full By S nova (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Laughing Baby By D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Eberle (woman golfer) S nova (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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A Clash of Kings
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