highlights of 2013

Happy New Year’s Eve! Whether you’re painting the town red or cuddling up with those you love and watching the ball drop on TV {I’ll be doing the latter!} I hope you give 2013 a stellar send-off tonight. Have fun and be safe!

Here are some of my highlights from the past year:

  • Attended the Key West Literary Seminar in Key West, Florida, where I spent a week learning from amazing writers, made some fabulous new friends, and met one of my literary idols — Judy Blume!

key west workshop w:judy

  • Submitted my thesis and graduated from Purdue with my M.F.A. in Fiction Writing! What made it even more special was that my parents, grandparents, and Holly traveled to West Lafayette for my thesis reading.

me and hol thesis reading

my birthday wish

cuz bride!

with writing campers at ceremony

  • I bought my first new car, a Prius C that I named Charley!

charley!

me and gma

red tour bus

  • Reconnected with my friend Dana, one of the sweetest people I know {and her adorable dog Heidi, a.k.a. Mr. Mur-dog’s girlfriend!}

dana and heidi

baby photobomb

jess's show

after the game

DSC00016

family with gramps

This year I also:
– celebrated my 10-year anniversary of climbing Mt. Whitney
– tried zumba for the first time
– began attending church regularly
– de-cluttered & simplified my possessions
– completed my Year of Kindness challenge
– celebrated the release of my dad’s new book Wooden & Me
– met up in person with my blogger friend Sarah @ The Pajama Chef and bumped into Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers in the middle of San Francisco
– went to a hot-air balloon festival
– read 71 books
– joined Foodie Pen-Pals @ The Lean Green Bean
– got on board the smoothie train
– and tried my hand at some new craft projects and recipes!

What an incredible year it has been. Tomorrow I’ll share my goals and dreams for 2014… but for now, it’s your turn!

Questions of the day:

  • What are your highlights from 2013?
  • What new things did you try this past year?

goals for 2013

Happy New Year! Wow, I can’t believe it’s 2013 already. I vividly remember driving around town with my parents and brother on New Year’s Eve 1999, when it seemed like all the radio stations were constantly playing Prince’s “I’m Gonna Party Like It’s 1999” and everyone was worried about Y2K… Crazy that was 13 years ago!!

Before I get into my goals for the year, here’s how I did on my goals for the week:

  • revise and update calendar and syllabus for the upcoming semester
  • read & respond to all the workshop stories for the Key West conference {almost done with this!}
  • finish getting email inbox and computer desktop cleaned out and organized
  • write goals for the upcoming year
  • work on short play to submit to festival
  • finish reading The Zero by Jess Walter
  • prepare for my new “Act of Kindness” blog initiative for the upcoming year!

Pretty good way to end the year and gear up for the new year!

Here are my goals for 2013. I organize them into multiple subtopics because it helps me feel like I have more of a handle on the different facets of my life.

Writing Goals
1. Write! 400 words. Every day. No excuses.
2. Revise thesis manuscript and send to agent.
3. Complete YA manuscript.
4. Resubmit story collection to prizes & small presses.
5. Write a new one-act play.
6. Write a full-length play.
7. Finish Verna novella & put out as an ebook.
8. Write three blog posts a week.
9. Read three short stories a week.
10. Read 40 books by end of year.

Write On! For Literacy Goals
1. Send out a newsletter every other month.
2. Teach a summer writing camp.
3. Teach a winter writing camp.
4. Teach a college essay writing camp.
5. Speak to 10 classes/orgs/radio shows.
6. Make Pimple an ebook.
7. Hold a Holiday Book Drive.
8. Compile writing camp ebook/online program.

Professional Goals
1. Apply to fellowships & Ph.D. programs.
2. Submit to a literary magazine every other week.
3. Submit a query for a freelance article every month.
4. Apply to at least 3 conferences/workshops.
5. Submit to Literary Awards.
6. Update & expand teaching website.
7. Put 10% of every paycheck into savings.
8. Put $1,000 into Roth IRA at end of year.

Healthy Life Goals
1. Exercise at least 3 days a week.
2. Do core work 6 days a week.
3. Stretch every day.
4. Continue with meal planning & healthy cooking schedule.
5. Clean apartment every weekend.
6. Chronicle weekly acts of kindness on blog.
7. Send a card/letter to Gramps every other week.
8. Call Grandma & Grandpap every other weekend.
9. Count my blessings every night.

What are your goals for 2013?

highlights of 2012

At the end of every year, before I set my goals and resolutions for the new year, I like to take some time to reflect on the year that is ending. This forces me to pause and appreciate all the blessings I have been given and what I accomplished from the hard work I put into pursuing my goals. This really motivates me for the upcoming year!

Here are some of my highlights of 2012:

Personal:

  • traveled to NYC to see the Off-Off Broadway production of my play as part of the Samuel French Short Play Festival {and had an adventure narrowly escaping Hurricane Sandy!}
  • attended my brother’s graduation from USC
  • visited my friends Holly & Janet in Nashville
  • was asked to be a bridesmaid in my cousin Amanda’s wedding {this upcoming June}
  • started this blog!
  • saw a bunch of terrific concerts, plays, and Broadway shows: Bob Dylan, Blind Pilot, Ringo Starr, Ingrid Michaelson, Florence + The Machine; Once, American Idiot, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Young Frankenstein; Jerry Seinfeld; The Strange Undoing of Prudenica Hart, The Understudy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and the beloved Lafayette Feast of the Hunter’s Moon festival
  • went to a Purdue basketball game with my brother when he visited me at school
  • learned to cook a bunch of new healthy recipes
  • read 48 books {follow me on Goodreads!}

Professional:

  • wrote a novel for my thesis manuscript and submitted the rough draft to my advisor
  • submitted my collection of short stories to a variety of small presses and it was a Finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction
  • published stories and essays in the Nashville Review, Prime Number, The Mom Egg, thickjam, Extract(s)
  • my short plays were produced in Los Angeles, New York, and Santa Paula
  • applied for and was accepted to teach undergraduate Business Writing at Purdue in addition to First-Year Composition; completed the required mentoring program
  • taught Intro to Creative Writing during the summer
  • taught a summer and winter writing camp through my organization Write On! For Literacy
  • was accepted to attend the Key West Literary Seminar in January and to present an academic paper at the Louisville Conference in February; attended the AWP Conference in Chicago
  • expanded my Holiday Book Drive to the Purdue community

nyc play

Tomorrow I’ll post my goals for the new year! What are some of your highlights from 2012?