2017 In Review
Happy New Year, friends and strangers!
This time last year I published a recap of 2016 in book titles collected, concerts attended, and travels photographed. Shortly after, I published a post announcing my lofty new year's resolutions; little did I know my plans for the year ahead would be soon derailed by much bigger and, arguably, better things. So instead of rounding up my favorite books and songs of the year before, I'll offer here a peek into my personal life from the year just past.
First: I got engaged and married in 2017. Yay! He's great. Second, I made a major career shift. Right in the middle of deciding whether or not to pursue a full-time freelancing career, I was approached about becoming editor of At Home in Arkansas and Weddings in Arkansas, which is nothing short of my dream job.
Turns out weddings and magazines both take a lot of time and attention to plan, so while I did not fulfill last year's resolutions per se, I had a lot to be proud of in 2017:
1. Did I complete 50,000 words of creative writing? Not quite, but I did invest in my writing life by taking an online class with Creative Nonfiction (totally recommend it). During a five-week boot camp I worked through prompts with fellow writers, learned from feedback and implemented suggested changes to my work, and offered my own critiques of classmates' writing. The most important takeaway from this experience was the much-needed confidence boost it gave me, but as a bonus, I walked away with about 10,000 words of creative nonfiction in the form of several solid essay starts.
2. Did I send 104 pieces of snail mail? Um, if you count wedding invitations—which I do, considering the time I put into assembling vintage stamps into postage-mosaic masterpieces—then yes, yes I did.
3. Did I publish 36 blog posts? Hahahaha, no. But I did try something out of the ordinary that, even though I didn't win, I'm very proud of: I applied for a grant. In the middle of all that internal should I? shouldn't I? debate about going full-time freelance, I stumbled upon the Arts Writers Grant Program, which offers substantial grants for arts writers in the categories of articles, books, short-form writing, and blogs. I applied for money to start an arts blog focused on either Arkansas or the South, offering with it a proposal of revolving topics, sources, and collaborators, and the small budget I would need to operate it. I wasn't awarded the money, but the creative energy I put into that proposal was rewarding in itself —and all the more so now that I've found myself back in an editorial role.
Not the year I was expecting, but I'd do it all again tomorrow. Here's to even bigger and better distractions in 2018. 🥂