Friday, December 30, 2011

10 Things About Sierra and 2011

Every year as my last post of the year I do one called 10 things abut me in this year. You can read the ones for 2010 here and 2009 here. Obviously, those posts are of more interest to me than you, but if you're interested, you're sweet.

This year was kind of a mega year for me. I had a huge amount of change, and I go into 2012 with a lot of excitement.


1. I had another baby.
This was a huge one, and so it tops the list, because the resulting lack of sleep over the past 8 months has been really, really, really hard. And not just hard--but kind of mentally ruinous. The silver lining is I'm too tired to care. But the best part is all the fabulous guest posts for this blog:

2. I started a new career. 
Last year on December 31, I was laid off from my job at 7 month preggers. (Yeah, it's been a year of massive changes!) So I did what any completely unhireable person would do besides filing for unemployment and biting my nails to the quick over whether I'd still have health insurance so I could deliver my baby without racking up a $24,000 hospital bill. (That was what my 5 year old son cost in 2006; Rainbow Puppy, the baby, actually cost only $12,000. I didn't have an epidural--not by choice!--so it cut the bill in half. Can you believe that?) I embarked on a dream I'd had for years but was way too chicken to try it: I began freelancing. I freelance technical writing and copywriting, and graphic design...which leads me to #3.

Some of my actual work
3. I discovered I'm a graphic designer. 
Who knew? Well, I should have known. I do have an art degree. But somehow, I thought you had to have a graphic design degree to be able to do it, or you had to be on intimate I-was-with-you-back-when-you-were-in-release-2 Adobe Illustrator terms. Turns out, I actually had all the skills...and while I still freelance writing jobs, I do more graphic design jobs. Clients started asking me to do things like make logos for them. And then I got asked to do web design (and started Atmosphere Websites with my Wordpress build partner, Mike Chen.) Turns out, I could! And I love it!

4. I started lots of blogs.
I started a food blog, mostly to keep track of recipes I liked for my own reference, and I started a blog attached with my freelance business, called The Elements, which focuses on design, marketing, and usability. Then, I realized I had to pare down--what with no sleep and no time and all (pared down to just this blog and The Elements). I kind of reached a blogging plateau. I also uninstalled the Intense Debates commenting system from this blog--losing hundreds of comments--because it stopped letting people comment.

5. I began writing a monthly column on Roni Loren's blog Fiction Groupie.
This was exciting for me. Lots of people read Roni's blog, and my fellow columnists (we're actually just guest posters with a due date, but I like to use a schmancier word because it makes me feel...well, schmancy) are all published authors. So that makes me tremendously grateful to be included in such good company. So far, I've written on the All is Lost plot moment, Is it chick lit or women's fiction? with agent Sara Megibow answering some questions, and Creating strong female characters.

6. I started and then ended a literary magazine.
Remember Small Tales? It began with the greatest of intentions, at possibly the worst time. I was able to form an editorial board and get a blog up about it, but that's where the fun stopped. Man, running that kind of thing takes a ton of work--and that's before you start accepting submissions! Ultimately, we folded the magazine before it started because a) I was having a baby, b) another member was having a baby and c) none of us had the time to devote to it. As time went on, it became clear our passion for the project was dropping, as well. It remains one of my greatest disappointments that I couldn't see the project through--especially because I'm one of those people who sees pretty much everything through. But without a passionate love for the project, it wasn't going to survive.

7. I made tremendous progress on my WIP, and also very little.
I technically typed "Finis" in January, but have been revising ever since. Usually I don't revise a whole year, but there's the aforementioned baby interruption. And also, I did something I've never done before. I stopped and looked very, very carefully at the structure and the story of the WIP. And then I read the most amazing book I've ever read-- Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, which pretty much changed everything for me. It was a pleasure to realize I'd done most things right, and an even greater pleasure to correct minor niggling things thanks to the book.

8. I began to get rid of plastics.
This post I did about reusing sparked by an eye-opening anti-plastics posts by my friend Meghan Ward, kicked off a huge changed in my household. We are much more aware of the plastics we use with food and toys. I ditched all of my plastic containers in favor of glass ones. I got reusable snack bags. I save plastic bags and take them to a special recycling center in my area rather than throw them away to sit forever in a landfill, leaching poisons into the ground.

9. I got shingles. 
Yeah. The old person's disease. Turns out, people in their thirties can get them. Here's how they work: if you have had the chicken pox, then the virus never goes away. It lives in your nerve root, like a parasitic little bastard, and sits there until one day when you slam your son's finger in the bedroom door and the entire nail comes off and you have to go to the emergency room, and you're shaking so hard because you did this, and also your baby is in pain, and you've never been to the ER before and everything about it sucks. Also, your immune system happens to be low, and you haven't slept in 7 months. It's a perfect storm. And voila! Shingles! They went away after 2 weeks. And they sucked.

10. I discovered that I'm not as socially retarded as I thought I was.
Look, it's been a while since I had to go make new friends. So when the whippersnapper started Kindergarten this year, I was sure I'd alienate the other moms somehow. I'm not a warm, chatty person to people I don't know--I'm not that person who can chat up anyone, anywhere. But it turned out that I met some wonderful women and made some friends after all. It's been really nice. I have some more letting go to do (like asking them to hang out more), but I'm on my way.  I couldn't believe it.

There you have it. Happy new year! Let's kick 2012 in the rump!


8 comments:

Linda G. said...

My freakin' gawd, woman! What a year you've had!

Pro tip: You might want to include "breathe" on your To-Do list for 2012. *grin*

Happy New Year to you, Mr. Sierra, the whippersnapper, and Rainbow Puppy. :)

Cathryn Leigh said...

What a year!

I completely understand the whole being let go while pregnant. I wasn't into my writing then, so I picked up another job, but that was the most stressful time of my life! (did I mention I had a 1.5 year old daughter I was trying to care for at the same time...)

Anyway she's just started Kindergarten too. I haven't hung out much with the school moms yet, but I find I'm missing some of the daycare moms. But I'm not the most socially out going either, and I just knew those women better.

Anyway *Hugs* (if you'll take them) and *toast* to the new year.

:} Cathryn

MC Howe said...

Happy New Year Sierra!

Man Alive! What a craptastic and at the same time awesome year you've had. Don't feel too bad about Small Tales. You never know, it might come back. As long as everyone's still breathing...

Sierra Godfrey said...

Thanks Linda-- I'm starting to breathe indeed! Thanks for your support this year, and guest post, and the name Rainbow Puppy.

Cathryn, thanks for consistently commenting on both my blogs and taking the time--I appreciate it so much. Definitely get in there and meet your other kindergarten moms (or join the PTA)-- it makes the community of school so much nicer.

Matt, thanks and congrats to you on YOUR baby this year. Hope you're breathing. :)

Happy new year!

DL Hammons said...

WOW! What a year! And what's surprising is that I knew very little of it. Shame on me!! :(

Meghan Ward said...

You've had a very busy year! We got some of those round stainless steel snack tins for Christmas to replace our SnackTraps. I love them! The Ecology Center in Berkeley has so much of that stuff, minus the cloth sandwich bags, which I still need to buy. Happy New Year, Sierra! Here's to a great 2012!

Kristen Lippert-Martin said...

Here's hoping 2012 is a shingle-free, agent-getting, baby-sleeping carnival of awesomeness.

I, for one, am happy to kick 2011 to the curb.

Travener said...

Let's hope 2012 rocks!

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