#Reverb10 – Friendship, Lesson Learned, Try & more

December 16 – Friendship: How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

This is a tough one. I have no idea. If anything, I think I’d like to thank all the online authors I know. Being active on blogs and on twitter has really made me realize what an excellent network of support there is for writers, and seeing other people’s work inspires me to keep at it. Writing has gradually changed from a solitary endeavour to one I can discuss with others, and as a result I think the last year has been one of my most productive by far.

December 17 – Lesson Learned: What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)

That my writing really is the most important thing to me, and so I should learn to say no. I have a tendency to want to be involved in everything — people approach me with ideas and I nearly always say yes. Then I end up with too much on my plate and the first thing that goes (other than sleep) is writing. And if I don’t have enough time to write, I get frustrated and low without knowing why. So I need to be a better planner, and be more careful of what I take on.

December 18 – Try: What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

I wanted to try the 100+ Reading Challenge this year, and to my surprise I managed to complete it. But now I realize the reason I completed it was because I planned carefully and made sure to set monthly goals so I could track my progress.

See, I also really wanted to get Above Ground rewritten this year, but I didn’t set myself any deadlines and got involved in far too many projects. So for next year, I’ve already begun planning my schedule and setting down some goals and deadlines to get it done.

December 19 – Healing: What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

I don’t know whether I have been healed this year. I think if anything, it’s been a year where I’ve realized where I need healing, and that is the first step towards improvement. As to whether it was sudden or drip-by-drip, perhaps it was a combination: a lot of little things added up till one day I realized something needed to change.

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance: What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

As I mentioned in the December 18 prompt, I wanted to get Above Ground edited and published. But I got distracted by a myriad of other projects… and also I think I wasn’t ready to tackle the project. I finished AG in March 2010 and I think I needed to shelve it for a while and work on other projects. Now I’m already feeling re-energized and have begun making plans and outlines for its rewrite.

#Reverb10 – Action! Appreciate & 5 Minutes

I think I actually prefer doing these in sets, even though I know it’s not really the right way…

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December 13 – Action: When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author Scott Belsky)

This, I excel at. As soon as I make up my mind (which can take ages) I go boldly forward and carry out my plan. So I’ve already been making a lot of schedules and calenders for 2011. It’s going to be my year of publishing. I’m coming out with a short story anthology earlier in the year, and I want Above Ground rewritten and released before I turn 24 (so, before mid-October). I’ve been carefully outlining and making to do lists and making sure I don’t overwork myself. I’m very excited!

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December 14 – Appreciate: What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author Victoria Klein)

This is a tough one. I thought of saying reading (given the 100 Book Challenge I completed) but I’ve always loved reading, so it’s not specific to this year. So maybe I would say my brother.

I live with my brother — have done for a couple years now. So much of what he does drives me mad, particularly in terms of house-keeping. But at the end of the day it’s my brother, and he’s family, and we get along very well and are pretty similar in temperament. Some people find it odd that I live with my brother, but it works and I appreciate having him around. It’s nice to have someone to cook with and chat with in the evenings, and watch silly telly.

How I express gratitude? Hm. Not sure! By putting up with him? :-)

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December 15 – 5 minutes: Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author Patti Digh)

The logical side of me kicks into action. No point remembering things I have written records of. No point remembering things I can easily learn again. What I need to remember are things that are stored in my head alone. I want to remember:

  • Stories: All the little plot bunnies hovering delicately at the edges of my mind, like soap bubbles. They’re the most important thing for me to remember.
  • Decisions: I can be indecisive, and there are certain situations this year where I’ve finally stood firm and made a clean break. Those decisions to walk away from projects or people that were making me stressed are important to remember.
  • Books: I set myself a challenge to read 100 books this year. It would be such a waste if I forgot them all!
  • Promises: I hate to break a promise. I’d rather not forget any.
  • New friends: I’ve met some lovely people this year.

All the embarrassing moments, I’ll gladly forget. Arguments, gone. That disgusting beer I tried last night that tasted like tomato soup? I’ll happily forget that flavour. And you can take this hangover while you’re at it.

#Reverb10 – Wisdom, 11 Things & Body Integration

The work Christmas party messed up my schedule and I missed a couple reverb10 postings, so here’s a lengthy 3-in-1.

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December 10 – Wisdom: What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

Short answer: no idea. Long answer: absolutely no idea. I have made a couple decisions recently that I feel will turn out to be wise ones, but I cannot yet judge their success.

Looking at writing specifically, however, I think my wisest decision this year has been to not push myself so hard. Earlier in the year I had set myself such a hectic schedule that I kept falling behind and getting frustrated, so when I started my latest serial I forced myself to choose a much slower update schedule. Some of my readers have been unhappy with the decision, but I feel a lot more relaxed and have been able to work on a wider range of creative projects rather than just the one.

December 11 – 11 Things: What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

This is a really tough one. In no particular order:

  1. Procrastination – I really want 2011 to be a year of completing projects. I have so many pending writing projects, all of them half-written, and it’s driving me mad. I want to get rid of my procrastination and be able to enjoy the fruits of my labour.
  2. Untidiness – Something that has driven me mad this year has been how untidy my room has been. Writing just always comes first, but I shouldn’t let that happen because I cannot focus in an untidy environment. I need to make more effort to keep things ordered in my bedroom!
  3. Being late – I seem to have grown into the habit of being late. Not for everything, but if I know it will have little to no repercussions, I find it hard to summon the willpower to be on time.
  4. Drama – I really cannot be bothered with all the boy drama. Particularly the exes: stop contacting me, enough said.
  5. Comparing myself to others – I’m not going to get anything done if I’m too busy envying what others are doing.
  6. Saying yes – I need to be more discriminate about what I take on so as not to overload myself.
  7. Anger – There isn’t enough time to do everything I want to do. Why waste some of it being angry?
  8. Other People – Obviously I’m not going to eliminate other people entirely, but I need to realize that if I want something, only I can give it to myself. Waiting for other people to take action will just make me frustrated, as it did this year. I hope to be more decisive and proactive in 2011.
  9. Clutter – Get rid of those old clothes. Clean out that writing drawer. Simplify things.
  10. Stress – This is probably one I cannot get rid of. There are external sources of stress that will never disappear, and I can be quite an anxious person. However, by systematically tackling the things in this list, I hope to reduce stress levels overall and become more productive.
  11. Lists like these ones: My brain hurts from trying to think of things to eliminate.

December 12 – Body Integration: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

I don’t know whether there’s ever a cohesive me. I am not a particularly active person, so most of the time I’m focused on the mind. Then there are the moments where I’m focused on the body — out dancing with friends, for example. I suppose the moments where I feel most alive and present are when I’m out walking on a deserted street, in no hurry to go anywhere, just me and my thoughts out in the fresh air. But, as I’m in a city, that’s not something I experience very often.

I suppose, if I cast my mind further back to the summer, the moments I felt most like a cohesive me was when I was on holiday in Spain. Lying on the beach, soaking up the sun, listening to the murmur of the waves and feeling the trickle of salt water on my skin, daydreaming away… There’s a certain peace to be found there.

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There you go, three reverb10s in one. That’s enough rambling for today. Anna, over and out!

#Reverb10 – Party

December 9 – Party: What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

This year has not been the best for social gatherings. I’m not sure why. But perhaps the one that stands out the most for uniqueness factor is the office summer party.

I work at a medium-sized legal publishers, meaning everyone knows everyone (except perhaps IT). The atmosphere at work is friendly, we all rock up in jeans for work and — as expected of publishers — we can be heavy on the booze.

Me @ the Summer Party

The summer party started at 4pm sharp. Everyone filed out of the office and was given a goodie bag at the door with two tins of alcohol (either Smirnoff, Pims, G&T…) and a pen.

We all clambered onto an old Routemaster rented for the occasion, and away we went! There were bursts of sunshine amidst the light English summer drizzling, and we sat on the bus sipping our drinks and playing a pub bus quiz whilst being driven around the main sites of London. (All the quiz questions were bus and/or London-themed. My team came 4th, which was respectable.)

After passing by Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament, and a host of other places, we drove north to a pub in Chalk Farm and piled out in high spirits.

That’s when the excitement TRULY began. In the garden area of the pub was an English carnival, replete with a candy floss stall, a coconut shy, the pop-the-balloons-with-darts game, swingball…. There were even prizes! Little stuffed toys of many shapes and sizes.

Not to mention the huge barbeque — burgers, grilled veg, corn on the cob, salads, pastas, etc — and all the free booze. I won one stuffed toy and claimed five more off of the boys, ate three giant candy flosses and learned how to make one, and as the evening approached we all moved into the pub and had a little dance, too!

A great party. And funnily enough, today is the day of the work Christmas party. Wish me luck….

#Reverb10 – Beautifully Different

December 8 – Beautifully different: Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

A subject guaranteed to make me self-conscious. What do I do differently that lights people up? I’m not quite sure. I don’t even know if anything I do is different.

I suppose if I had to pick any one thing I would say my differences lie in the small things. In remembering details.

An example: at work I know how everyone on my floor likes their tea or coffee. I know who has green tea, who likes their brews strong, who takes sugar and who doesn’t, down to who really hates that blue mug because it burns their fingers.

I don’t know whether any of them realize that I take note of their preferences. And maybe it’s a silly thing to remember, but I like knowing I’ve made them a drink just right. After all, a cup of tea solves everything.

I suppose I like knowing I’ve done a job properly. Does this make me beautiful? I don’t know. But do people like the tea I make them? Hell, yeah.

Thanks to Cassie for pointing me to this initiative. I’m late to the game, but oh well! I’ll catch up with the December 1 – 7 posts after the New Year.