December 21st – Project

What did you start this year that you’re proud of?

Well, I have started a lot of new things in 2009. However, most of my new projects are actually beginning in 2010. That said, I will highlight two things that I had going this year.

One thing I took on this year and completed all the way to the end was NaNoWriMo. I took on the challenge to write 50,000 words in one month and finished with over 50k worth of words written and even a day early! I was very proud to have completed that challenge, as I have done it the previous two years and never made it to the end.

The other project I started in 2009 was my goal to move back to Asheville by next summer. In association with this goal, I began a blog to chronicle my journey back to Western North Carolina. This particular project is one that is “in the works.” While I have declared what I am going to do and gotten the gears turning, so to speak, January 1st really begins the “official” countdown to my return to Asheville.

——
This blog post is a part of Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

December 17th – Word or phrase

A word that encapsulates your year. “2009 was _____.”

2009 was full of changes. Yeah, just can’t go with just one word there. This was a year that started off as a roller coaster of a ride and has continued to go through the ups and downs of the track along the way.

At the start of 2009, I was unemployed and in all honesty, desperate for work of some kind, anything. I had returned to Central Florida from the beautiful mountains and all I wanted was a paycheck every week or two that would pay the bills and help me get back on my own two feet. Thankfully, my prayers were answered not long after the New Year’s ball dropped. On February 2nd, I started my current call center job.

My weight loss journey was still at the forefront of my mind back in January. I had only just begun my weight loss about three months prior, so I still had a ways to go. By April and my birthday, I was close to where I hoped to be, but was seriously struggling with self-image issues. A great support system aided me in getting over that mountain of a challenge and by the summer, I was 70lbs lighter than I was when I began the journey to better health.

Creatively, I’ve gone through good and bad this year. Thanks to Debbie & Joe’s wedding last year, my excitement for photography had returned while I was still in Asheville. After getting my tax refund, I was able to purchase my first DSLR in late April. It quickly began my new “baby.” I was more than excited about showing it off to anyone who would listen to me ramble about it’s awesomeness. In early May, the camera came with me to Asheville for a quick in-and-out trip to collect the remainder of my belongings that another friend was holding for me in her basement. It was a good feeling walking around downtown Asheville with my new camera firmly in hand, even if it was only for a few hours that sunny Sunday afternoon.

Writing-wise, I’ve been through a number of highs and lows this year. When I first got back down to Florida, I told myself that it was a good time to really sit down and write. That I not only had a lot to write about, but that I need to utilize the free time I would now have until I found a job to do just that. Unfortunately, I did not do this. Instead, I found myself depressed and uninspired. I was waiting for inspiration to walk up to me and punch me in the nose. I now know that not only will inspiration not do this, but that I was naive to even think that it might happen in that way. Inspiration usually does not just jump out in front of your car in the road ahead waving its arms wildly. It comes as you are working and doing all that you can. You need to be open to inspiration, not just sitting there calling out its name. So, after months of excuses and not writing more than I absolutely had to, I had nothing but notebooks full of blank pages. Gradually, I got back on the writing wagon and got my butt in gear. While I had been writing prior to NaNoWriMo, it was this event in November that really got my writing ignited again. I now write something everyday again like I had been doing and I feel like I’m not that lazy, procrastinating writer that I was most of 2009.

Another big change in my life this year is that I went vegetarian in October. After having considered this option in the past, never did I seriously think I could or would do it. But, I decided to give it a go for health reasons. I felt that cutting out meat and making myself try new veggie meals would better my health and maybe help me lose the last few pounds that I had been trying to get rid of. After just a few weeks in, I then educated myself about the treatment of animals in regards to dairy cows and chickens, as I was still consuming milk and eggs. As soon as I took in the reality of how free-range was not the free-range I had believed it to be as well as considering my lactose-intolerance situation, I gave up anything animal derived. I am now a vegan. Admittingly, I am still working on the lifestyle part of being a vegan (getting rid of leather shoes and what have you), but I no longer eat anything that comes from an animal. I am happy about my choice to become vegan and feel better than ever for it. Definitely no regrets in the slightest.

——
This blog post is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge.

NaNoWriMo Novel in Progress!

So, in the end, I opted to write my Asheville mystery novel for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Thus far, it is going well, I have almost 8,000 words written as of this blog post.

To give a bit of info on the story, it is set in Asheville, North Carolina in the 1930s. It is based upon a true murder that occurred in the Battery Park Hotel in 1936. I have done a great amount of research on not only the murder itself, but on the Battery Park Hotel. So, there will be tidbits of facts sprinkled throughout the book.

Busy, busy, busy!

Apologizes for my lack of updates, life has been keeping me running around lately. I have a lot of thoughts and ideas floating around in my head right now, so much is going on. In fact, one of the things going on is my plan or goal to move back to Asheville next year. I have come to the conclusion that I just miss the mountains so much that I want to move back there as soon as possible. However, I stepped back and realized that while I would more than love to move back there tomorrow, I needed to be realistic. So, I have created a time goal for myself for moving back to AVL. This journey, to get things in order and all will be chronicled in a new blog I started called, Chasing the Dream: The Journey Back to Asheville. Please check it out if you’re interested. I will also use that space to post various Asheville news and what have you, as I am always checking in with what is going on there.

Nanowrimo 2009 is just a month and a day away. I will be participating again this year and cannot wait to get started. Last year, I barely started my crime novel when everything fell apart with my job and all, so I have decided to push the few pages I did write aside and re-start that novel. I haven’t even looked at what I did write, so this will be a completely fresh start on the story. I have already done so much research on it, and have been wanting to get back into writing it. Nano is the perfect time to do just that. So, I can’t wait to dive into a crazy month of writing my ass off. 🙂

This Saturday is the National Heart Association’s Heart Walk. I will be participating in my local 5k walk here in Orlando. Very much looking forward to this, as not only is is a great cause (I will be walking in memory of my grandfather), but it is a great workout. Pictures and a report of the event will be posted either after the walk this weekend or by Monday.

Finally, my married couple friends from Asheville are coming for a visit for a few days to Florida. I will get to have a nice lunch with them on Sunday (vegetarian/vegan style!), so expect some musings and such on that fun time as well with the next blog update.