The above is a compilation of the most common words I used while blogging in 2011. I went through my 2011 and selected at least one favorite post from each month (I admit, pickings were slim toward the end of the year!) and pasted it into the Wordle gizmo and it created the lovely word cloud you see above. The more you use a word, the large it is in your word cloud. No surprise that "writing" dominates, but everything else makes sense as well. I do enjoy the fact that "rabbits" and "train" made the cut. And that "get" appears over both "life" and "love". I am a little concerned that "decades" appears right under "novel". . . this is either an omen that it will take me decades to get my novel finished, or perhaps that I will spend the next few decades writing novels. I am going to be optimistic and go with the second one.
My 2011, blogging aside, was full of ups and downs, as I am sure most everyone's was.
Professionally, I left a job after five years of restlessness and dissatisfaction in order to pursue writing and teaching. I have settled into a teaching job I love and am lucky enough to be able to privately tutor some really great students of all ages. Additionally, I have been able to take on editing duties at Chicago Quarterly Review, which has been a great experience so far. Financially, this year has had more downs than ups because of my decision to leave my secure, full-time job, but I am happier professionally than I have ever been, so I have no regrets in that department.
Personally, there were many ups for me this year. I celebrated two years of schmoopy bliss with the love of my life, and am eagerly looking forward to many more years with him. A very good friend of ours moved back to Chicago after two terrible years away, and it has been lovely having him back where he belongs. Chicago has been good to him since his return, and he's definitely sticking around. Our circle of friends has grown in 2011, and I am looking forward to another year with more gaming and shenanigans.
Of course, I cannot think of 2011 without thinking of my brother who passed away unexpectedly in August. I am still grieving and imagine I will for a long time. But through the low points we learn better to appreciate the good people and things in our lives. Through this tragedy, I feel that I have come to be closer to my brother's children and my mother, and I am grateful that I am able to work through the low points with writing.
Writing wise, 2011 was a good year for me. My writing log tells me I completed almost 90 short stories, flash fiction, and novel chapters this year. Of course I also finished the first draft of a novel I started back in 2006, which was a huge milestone for me. In November alone, I wrote 30 short shorts. While I didn't publish much in 2011, I was more focused on generating new work than I have been in the past. It is all about the balance. I am guessing that much of early 2012 will be dedicated to revising all that new work, and hopefully I'll see more of my work in print in the New Year.
I'm not really much for new year's resolutions. I will just continue down the path I started in 2011 and see where it leads me. I know as long as I stay focused on writing, I will not take a wrong turn.
I hope your 2011 was full of blessings and that 2012 is even better to you. Stay strong, keeping writing and whatever you do, please be safe out there tonight!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.