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Looking Back to Find the Joy

Looking back can help us find the joy in our lives (and create more of it).

Sometimes we get caught up in things to a point where we don’t recognize how much we have actually accomplished, we wonder what we did with our time, time that often seems to zip by in a flash. It can be helpful to pause and reflect, looking back to reassess.

So, as we close in on the end of yet another year (by the US calendar), I am taking some time to look back and assess/reassess, to pay attention to what I paid attention to this past year, and to celebrate my accomplishments.

Getting a Wholistic View

A great place to start is to make a list (or two or more) in order to get a wholistic picture of what we have actually accomplished.

When I do this, I am always surprised to see that I have actually done a lot more than I thought.

I actually keep an up-to-date spreadsheet of my coaching and editing work as part of my business planning. I also maintain a list of all my author appearances, etc. So, pulling this all together at the end of a year is not too difficult.

Looking at My List

This year, through coaching and editing, I helped 18 writers to plan, develop, write, polish, query and/or publish their work. This, as always, has been joyful work for me. I love helping writers get their stories out of their heads and hearts and onto the page!

In addition to that, I…

  • presented 11 workshops
  • provided 84 consultations (40.5 hours) to budding writers as an Arizona Libraries Writer in Residence at Chandler Library
  • made 15 author appearances and multiple panel presentations at book festivals, schools, conventions, and book signings, etc.
  • co-produced 11 new Coaching KidLit podcast episodes with my co-host Christy Yaros
  • wrote 24 blog posts, including this one

Despite initially feeling like I hadn’t accomplished all that much, as it turns out, it  was a very busy year. A year that was actually filled with a lot of joyful work!

This past year, I spent less time cooking, which surprisingly did not break my heart, and I made some, albeit shallow, dives back into crafting and handiwork, something that I have an urge to do more of in the upcoming year.

I also managed to get some writing done, adding to both of my WIPs as well as producing several new short stories. Though, TBH, I didn’t get nearly as much fiction writing done this year as I had hoped/intended. I think need to go back to tracking my word counts, so as to have a way to better focus on that. It will also provide data for the upcoming year’s efforts.

Looking Back to Assess/Reassess

Seeing our activities and accomplishments listed on paper also provides a much clearer sense of what we’ve been paying attention to. This insight into where we are spending our time and energy and the level of satisfaction derived from each activity/pursuit is a great way to determine what we should continue to focus on and/or maybe let go.

By assessing where we spend our time and examining the pursuits that received less of our energy and attention, along with how we feel about those activities, we can plot a course forward and make plans for budgeting our resources into the things we find most satisfying. The goal is to find the things that really light us up and doing more of those and the best way do that is by periodically pausing, assessing, and refocusing our energy in that direction.

What things did you give your attention to this past year that filled you with joy?

What things got that energy but didn’t light you up?

What adjustments will you make in the coming year?


Here’s to all of us finding our joy!


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