We’re in that odd place between Christmas and New Years. My birthday lurks in here somewhere, ready to pounce and pronounce me some unholy number. It’s always been a weird time of year for me. When January arrives I breathe a sigh of relief and the tight bundle of anxiety I’ve been wrapped in releases me into a fresh, exciting, new beginning. A return to myself.


Almost there.

In the meantime, I’ve signed up for Storystorm in January, which I’m excited about. I had a few breakthroughs on the novel I’m longing to write but whose idea isn’t quite cooked yet. Discovering the 12 Days of Christmas for Writers has helped me put my writing year into perspective. I highly recommend it. Due to my December-holiday related depression, I tend to forget the good stuff that happened in 2018. The assignments in the 12 Days brought it all back. Thanks for that!

Here’s what happened:

  • Dragon Crossing won first place in the WFNB’s Fog Lit Books “For Young People” prize. I got to read it to a roomful of writers and it was an amazing experience! After receiving the judge’s advice to turn it into a gothic middle grade novel, Dragon Crossing has been put aside until I figure out if I should flesh it out into said novel or if the magic lies somewhere in the short story form.
  • Toby’s Alicorn Adventure came out in Cricket and it was thrilling to see my story fully illustrated on the page.
  • After seeing a beloved publisher planned to accept unsolicited manuscripts, I pulled out a book idea I’d been plotting and wrote, edited, received critique, and edited again in a few months to make the deadline. What got me was how much fun I had getting Dreamers, Inc. together in such a short period of time. The creative rush had me thrilled to my fingertips. High five to my critique partners who were willing to work with my tight deadline, too. #heroes
  • After two years of revisions I finally got my story The Night Janitor where I wanted it. All the hard work paid off when it found a home in an amazing anthology (TBA) with a Table of Contents that makes my jaw drop. Stay tuned for more details in early 2019.
  • I bid on, and won, a charity auction for a professional critique from the award-winning editors of Uncanny. The story I submitted is one I’m excited about and I hope their critique helps me to take it the next level (in less than two years this time). I’ll share more on this when I receive the critique and process the experience.

So go away, December brain-shadows. 2018 was awesome. Sure, disappointment, discouragement, and regret held space as well, but… meh. They’ve taken up enough of my energy already.

What surprises did 2018 hold for you? Did you have any creative breakthroughs?


10 thoughts on “one writer’s year

  1. I’m so proud of you, and can’t wait to see what 2019 brings to your career. I can’t wait to say; “Oh, the famous author Jenn Shelby? She’s my friend.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Madeline! Cricket was such a big thrill for me.
      I’m definitely a ‘hunker down holiday’ person like you. I’ll rejoin the world this Wednesday for IWSG and not a moment sooner, lol.


  2. Really glad you did so well for yourself in 2018. You got so much accomplished! It was a much harder year for me, but I did have a creative breakthrough near the end that will (fingers crossed) lead to a much happier and more productive 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

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