Monday, February 14, 2011

Progress Report 2011

On February 18, 2009, I wrote a blogpost. It was the beginning of the year off I had taken to write a book or six, and it was called A Recipe for Disaster. When I read that post, I almost don’t recognize the down-trodden, aching soul who wrote it.
Two years ago, I had just quit a job at a company that I no longer believed in and ended a relationship with a man that couldn’t make me happy. In the midst of a lot of personal disappointment and waning self-confidence, I am at least proud of the fact that I recognized that I was the only one who could correct my situation: that it was going to take a major shift in my thinking to start putting myself first instead of hoping other people would do it for me.
Two years ago, I had little more than an idea that I could take a year off to write and recover emotionally and physically. Two years ago, it took everything I had to get out of bed and do something for me. Two years ago, I was plodding toward my own happiness, knowing it was out there and taking the small steps I needed to take to find it, but having no idea whether I could reach it or whether in the long run it would be worth it. Two years ago, I could only think a year ahead, and a year seemed like a really long time.
It’s hard to measure how much you have changed in any amount of time unless you can go back and find evidence of the person you were before. I haven’t read that blogpost from two years ago since last year when I wrote my progress report of my first year of writing. I don’t remember being as surprised then as I am now of how much different I have become.
Let’s start with the obvious first: I have published a book! Savoring Chelan is doing better than I anticipated; I am about to reorder for the third time, and I expect a lot of sales over the summer. Every single horrific, middle-of-the-night worry I had about publishing Savoring Chelan has not transpired: no one has told me that it is an ugly, stupid book or that the recipes suck – at least to my face anyway. In fact, I just recently found out that I was the second bestseller for the local bookstore for 2010, right behind Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – and my book came out in the end of October. Of course not everything came out exactly as I envisioned, but a lot of it came out better; the point is that I was still my own worst enemy but it ultimately didn’t matter.
I am still working on numerous fiction and non-fiction projects, but I have given them less priority as I start working on a second cookbook for the Leavenworth area. This isn’t to say they’re less important: I have simply decided that it is to my advantage to build up a name for myself first and then use that name to publish the works that are closer to my heart.
The most important piece of progress, however, is the improvement of my emotional state. At the risk of sounding like a self-aggrandizing asshole, I’m so proud of how far I’ve come! Perhaps the shift was subtle to the outside world, but my state of mind has done a 180 in the past two years. This doesn’t mean that I don’t still subscribe to some very limiting behaviors and ideas, but for the first time in my life I am able to catch myself before my own fears overtake me. I’ve been able to focus on being healthy, both physically and emotionally, and I actually want to be instead of just complaining about how bad I feel and feeding off the attention others give me for feeling that way. It’s not always easy, but I’m starting to learn to trust others like I never could before (without even realizing it), and I’m able to finally act on what I know will make me feel good instead of going along with what will make me feel bad. To me, at least, this is no small feat.
So, now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, let’s go through the list I made on my progress report a year ago:

1) Confessions of a Travel Addict – done. Needs to be sent to more publishers/agents. UPDATE: on hold. May self-publish later.
2) Started a serious novel that I got the idea for while traveling through Australia. Have now written 48,000 words – roughly 162 pages. UPDATE: Finished. Needs to be edited.
3) Started a funny novel about dating in your twenties. Have written about 19,000 words. UPDATE: Still in progress.
4) Wrote a short story called Jim’s Wedding, about 22,000 words.
5) Started a project to create a recipe book that pairs local wines from the Chelan Valley with recipes from the area. UPDATE: DONE! New one started!
6) Joined a writers group. UPDATE: Still in it; love it, can’t wait to go every month!
7) Trained for 2 half marathons. UPDATE: no more half marathons…but still running (much shorter distances) on a regular basis.
8) Ran 1 half marathon. (see above)
9) Took a week-long road trip to see Jasper and Banff.
10) Went to Oaxaca (Mexico) with my parents and managed to get myself a 3-month house sitting gig there for this coming summer. UPDATE: Best 3 months of my life! Going back in May!
11) Have already skied more this winter than I have in all other winters put together, minus the winter I was a ski instructor. UPDATE: Must. Ski. More.
12) Realized that a year is not enough time to finish all these projects that I’ve started. UPDATE: And neither is two years, apparently. Moving in the direction of making it a lifetime project.

Love and progressive kisses