Sunday, December 31, 2017

JOIN: Celebrating 2017 Successes!

Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.

I'm a huge fan of celebrating because it's a time of reflection for me. Last year, I joined Julie Hedlund's 12 Days of Christmas for Writers and it was a great opportunity to take time to reflect and plan so I decided to try it again this year. 

On the second day, she asked us to make a list of successes from the year and challenged us to share them, so here we go!

1. I discovered and fell in love with 826CHI. I went to an inspiring poetry workshop in the spring, volunteered for their middle school writing camp in the summer, and then was invited to be on a panel in the fall. (And I just signed up for a hand-lettering workshop this winter!) Being connected with 826CHI helped me grow as a writer but what I appreciated the most is that I feel truly seen when I'm there. I love them!

2. I participated in an online women's retreat with Wild Cozy Truth and then was invited to be part of Renee's Wild Cozy Truth podcast.

3. Speaking of podcasts, I was also invited to be part of Dream Gardens podcast where I got to talk about The Girl Who Drank the Moon

4. The Mr. Colby Sharp invited me to be part of his One Question video series where I talked about keeping up my writing habits during the school year.

5. I got a little bit brave when it comes to videos and made a video about my thoughts on how education can change the world. To make things even more exciting, I went Live on Facebook for the first time and started a Facebook Group called Story Exploratory LIVE. (Please ask you join if you aren't already part of the group!)

6. This summer was our 6th summer of Teachers Write and it was another awesome year. I was able to draft my 3rd novel super fast during the four weeks of Teachers Write this year. It's the first time I've ever drafted so fast!

7. For the first time, I mentored two people for Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars contest. I was so happy to be chosen as a mentee in 2014 so it was super cool to be able to now be a mentor. The two women I worked with were so great and I'm glad to have them as Pitch Wars family and friends now. 

8. I did lots of learning at conferences again this year. I presented at the ICE conference and at Nerdcamp Michigan this summer and also went to NCTE again. 

9. At school, I talked with teachers and students about teaching and learning and I helped to coordinate a district-wide professional development day, district-wide celebration of World Read Aloud Day, and celebration of Day on Writing where we were able to bring in Kwame Alexander at our middle school. 

10. And, finally, what I'm super proud of is that I made my writing a priority this year. I started off the year taking a course with my friend Marcie that was all about developing good writing habits. We realized it would be great to hold each other accountable to our writing goals so we text almost daily to check in and share our writing progress. Thanks to her, I've gotten a lot of writing done just knowing I need to check in with her. I've connected with so many other writer friends who cheerlead for me and read for me and help me keep going. This was also my first year working with Danielle as my agent and I'm so grateful for discussions with her, her belief in me, and to know that we were able to get some of my work out on sub already. I'm looking forward to working more on my writing and sharing my writing life here. 

This is's New Year's Eve and when I took the kids to Target earlier, my car said it was only 12 degrees outside. We're headed to one of my son's friend's house to celebrate with their families tonight. I'm thankful for time at home to unwind and decompress, to reflect and plan forward, to get some writing in before we welcome in 2018. Thank you so much for being here to be part of my writing life and to celebrate with me. I'm glad you are here!

What are you celebrating this week?
I'd love to hear about any of your 2017 successes!


  1. Happy New Year, Jen, wishing good wishes for another fabulous year of writing. I love reading about all your learning and writing, helping others too! Congrats for the podcasts too!

  2. Happy New Year. It's -9 here. Ugh. We had fireworks to watch from inside though so that was good. Our new house has a view from the dining room so we can stay cozy & watch. Yay. Congrats on your many new adventures this year & your writing progress.

  3. Wonderful year. You were daring and committed. Wishing you an awesome 2018! Happy New Year!

  4. You rocked 2017! When I have time, I want to come back and visit the links. BRRR! I'm glad to be in the cozy NW and we even have a bit of sunshine today. Happy New Year, Jen! And keep writing.

  5. I really like your article. It’s evident that you have a lot knowledge on this topic. Your points are well made and relatable. Thanks for writing engaging and interesting material. Online Assignment Help best assignment help website


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