Friday, November 25, 2011
Blog Chain: Accomplishment
Michelle H. started us off this time with this question:
This is the month for creating writing goals and making big accomplishments. What is your greatest accomplishment -- in writing, your life or perhaps something incidental that had a big effect on you?
Writing about this just a month before my ten-year high school anniversary feels like homework, like I'm preparing to meet all those old high school people Romy and Michele-style. Not that I believe my high school reunion will be anything like that, but just the popular culture perception of ten-year reunions had me thinking about Michelle's question before she asked it.
What have I accomplished since high school graduation?
Some people have mile-markers to point to along their journey: getting an agent, being published, becoming VP of editing, or getting a degree. I have done none of these things. My life looks nothing like what I thought it would ten years ago.
If I let the lack of mile-markers in my life bring me down, it'd be showing a lack of gratitude for what I do have, and since this is the day after Thanksgiving, I just can't do that. So rather than talk about my accomplishments (which are really very vague things like 1) growing up after college and 2) writing a lot of first drafts), I want to stress the things in my life I can't call accomplishments that I'm proud of anyway - the things in my life I'm grateful for:
1) My husband. I pictured marriage through kind of a fun house glass when I was single, and I never knew exactly how it would play out because I couldn't even imagine what kind of person I'd marry. Some mysteries only time can solve. As it turns out, I married a sweet, sensitive guy who hates doing the dishes as much as I do, but is much more steady in his day-to-day operations than I can ever hope to be. He balances me out so well, and without him, I would not accomplish anything.
2) My children. I have two small boys who drive me and my husband crazy sometimes, and other times make us share knowing, proud smiles. Children are a joy, each one with a personality from birth. Raising my sons to the ripe old ages of (almost) 5 and 2 years old does not feel like an accomplishment. It definitely isn't something to brag about at a class reunion. :) But Bill reminds me that the work I do in teaching them is a sort of accomplishment. I'm grateful for these two little guys who have taught me more about life, myself, and them than I ever knew I was missing.
3) Church. I don't have a job, but I do have what's called a calling in my church. I'm the secretary in an organization for teen girls between the ages of 12 and 18. I help to plan weekly weeknight activities for them and also follow their personal progress as they work toward the equivalent of an Eagle Scout award. This isn't the sort of thing I'd put on my very sparse current resume, and I'm not calling these girls an accomplishment, either. But it's one of the things that fulfills me, to watch my girls interact with one another in kindness and consideration, and grow into the women they will be someday. They are remarkable young women, and I'm thankful for my role in "working" (read: playing) with them.
4) Operation Awesome: If you don't know what this is, then click the link now. I'll wait. When I get back to writing queries (once I get at least one manuscript in that kind of shape), I might put a little brag line by my bio that says I am a co-founder of Operation Awesome and creator of the Mystery Agent contest. But this isn't an accomplishment, either. This is pure luck. I'm so lucky to have met each one of my critique partners. I'm lucky one of them had the idea of putting together a group blog. I'm lucky several of them are amazing bloggers who know how to network and promote the fun stuff we do there (author interviews, guest posts, agent contests, book giveaways, writing tips, and Lindsay's famous GIF metaphors). I'm lucky the first agent I contacted for the Mystery Agent contest wanted anything to do with our baby blog as we were launching. I'm lucky I've only had one bad experience with a snooty agent, and that almost all of the agents I've contacted have been incredibly sweet, pay-it-forward, author-loving types. My must-query-this-agent list has grown exponentially since working with Operation Awesome on the M.A. contests.
So you can see, I'm not exactly an accomplished person. I didn't finish college (yet), didn't get a big, important job, didn't get my first book published at 21 (I'm 28 now), and didn't do all the lofty altruistic things I planned in high school (working with orphans in Africa). I still hope to reach some of my dream goals.
But for now I am content not to focus on accomplishments that are out of reach, and to focus instead on Thanksgiving. After all, I have an awful lot to be thankful for.
You're done! I'm the last link on this chain. Be sure to check out Cole's post from Wednesday if you haven't. You can go backwards through the chain. I won't tell anyone. :)
Happy Turkey weekend!