Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Year in Review

This week I am taking some time off from my day job to take back - and revel in - my increased mental space, to make progress on my writing goals (just like a self-employed writer without a day job might), and at the end of each day - satisfied with my increased productivity and sense of calm - rest peacefully and sleep well.

I am on day two of this experiment and it is going well. I have been getting up around 5:30 to allow myself two hours of silence before my children have to get ready for daycare and school. I enjoy the 1.5 hour break as we dress, eat, watch a bit of "The Sound of Music", and then head out the door together (knowing I don't have to then commute downtown!). We sit in the car as it warms up and chant "5-4-3-2-1 - blast off!" before we roll back out of the driveway, at which point my son begins to make rocket ship noises, which sound a little like raspberries or a gushing geyser. Then it's back home by 9:00 am with a longer stretch of day with which to work on those writing goals. Heaven. I am on my own until mid-afternoon, when the after school/daycare chaos begins.

I know when this week is over, I will be mourning its loss. Normally I am not home until 7:00 pm and I miss the afternoon chaos, substituting it with the internal chaos of being somewhere else, and leaving my partner to deal with the kids until my train rolls in each night. We are a happier, more balanced family for having me at home in the afternoon, for having time to take a walk, spell each other off so we can get a few things done, or just be spontaneous. Life was much more in balance when I was on mat leave, and the past two days have confirmed what I've been feeling for a while: that I have to find a way to work from home a few days a week, stat. Not just to focus on my writerly skills (be they proofreading and editing, which I already do on a freelance basis, or writing for big(ger) money), but to get my life back in balance. The tarot says it looks good, so I'm going to believe it because I must.


Since my last post I have taken on a new role as a contributor to Thrifty and Green magazine - an online publication with eco values and tips on saving money. I have enjoyed writing and publishing a couple of articles on the saving money end of things. One is on the subject of bartering, and one is on how to make inexpensive, green (and tasty) Christmas gifts in the form of peppermint bark! The magazine is beautifully designed and inspiring, and I hope to have a few more articles about saving money published on this site by the end of the year. I'm also very pleased that my holiday candy article will be featured in the upcoming digital edition of the magazine. (The current edition of the magazine can be found here). If you enjoy the magazine, you can subscribe to the magazine for free on the T&G site.


Last year at this time I made for myself a schedule of submission deadlines for various publications and contests for 2011, in order to make some writing goals and stay on track with them. Revisiting my list has made me realize that a year has somehow flown by and it's time to make a new one! But it also helped me to see quite clearly the progress I made in one year - the year I decided to take my writing seriously and commit myself to it to the greatest extent I could at this time.

The Official Nicole Breit 2011 Year of Writerly Undertakings

* Wrote "For Tristan: A Meditation on Loss, Grief and Healing" and submitted to the Mostly for Mothers call for submission for a miscarriage anthology.
* Rejection letter from The Malahat Review for a series of poems I submitted in August 2011.
* Submitted an acrostic story entitled "Applying Grandmother's Advice" to the Brucedale Press' annual contest (but didn't win!)
* Submitted seven new poems to Event Magazine
* Published five articles at hubpages.comhttp://nicolebreit.hubpages.com/
* Published three articles at hubpages.com
* Published five articles at hubpages.com
Won hubnugget award voted by readers for "Day Trips from Vancouver, Canada"

* Published three articles at hubpages.com
* Published three articles at hubpages.com
* Published five eHow.com articles for Demand Media Studios
* Submitted my poem "Me, Again" to the Pandora's Collective spring contest
* Submitted my poem "God of Fire" to the Burnaby Writer's Society annual themed contest
* Received an honourable mention for my poem, "Me, Again" in the Pandora's Collective spring poetry contest
* Began work on a collection of poems for the Mary Ballard poetry chapbook competition
* Continued to work on I Can Make Life poems

* Finalized and submitted my poetry chapbook manuscript, I Can Make Life, to the Mary Ballard poetry chapbook competition, hosted by Casey Shay Press
* Submitted my poem "Three Ways of Looking at the Man who Stepped Down onto the Tracks" to the Pandora's Collective summer poetry contest
* Received an honourable mention for my poem, "The God of Fire" in the annual contest hosted by the Burnaby Writer's Society. One of the judges was BC poet, Peter Trower
* Rejection letter from Event magazine for poems I submitted in January 2011
* Launched my website at www.nicolebreit.com
* The Sound of Silence: Journeys Through Miscarriage published
* Received an honourable mention for my poem "Three Ways of Looking at the Man who Stepped Down onto the Tracks" in the Pandora's Collective summer poetry contest.
* Announced as a semi-finalist for the Mary Ballard poetry chapbook prize
* Announced as one of three finalists for the Mary Ballard poetry chapbook prize (winner to be announced in early 2012).

I enjoyed the process of writing every piece I spent time on this year, and everything I learned. While my work wasn't accepted every time I submitted something, all successes and failures amount to the same thing: progress! In the new year my goals are to write more creative non-fiction (and hopefully finish one or two works in progress in time to enter them in CBCs literary prizes, deadline February 1, 2012) - and to focus on a secret project that I hope will be both fun and profitable...

For all of those who also write for their lives, all best wishes for you and your writing in the coming year. I have a feeling it is going to be a good one.