Some years I write a wrap-up post. I go through month by month and sum up everything, but this year I will share my 2011 experiences in a general way. (And with lots of namedropping of authors I was too shy to approach)
Back in January, I shot a corporate event. I invested in a portrait lighting kit and learned how to use it. The whole experience set a great tone for the year.
I attended three classes at Bellevue College lasting at least six weeks each. I feel especially privileged to have had the opportunity to attend a class taught by Cat Rambo. Cat has taught me (and continues to teach me by example) so much about what it means to be a professional writer, and I can't thank her enough for that.
Check out Cat's excellent book of short stories on Kindle: Eyes Like Sky And Coal And Moonlight
I attended four one-day workshops over the course of the year, two of them offered through Clarion West. I attended nearly 20 readings, beginning with John Scalzi and most recently Timid Pirate authors at the Wayward Coffeehouse, where I also took pictures.
Other readings I attended include: George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Paul Park, Nancy Kress, L. Timmel Duchamp, Margo Lanagan, Minister Faust, Charles Stross, and C.S. Friedman. At World Fantasy I also saw/heard readings by Parke Godwin, Connie Willis, Genevieve Valentine, Cat Rambo, Keffy Kehrli, and Tim Pratt.
It's not possible to do my 2011 reading list justice by sharing everything here. (Though here's a list of book recommendations my friends and readers helped me compile in August.) I read so many incredible things and met so many talented authors, I would forget someone or something and the picture would be incomplete, so I'm not even going to try and recite it. Let's just say I discovered Margo Lanagan's fantastic short stories, how much I love Dan Simmons' Song of Kali, and how much I enjoy reading on the Kindle.
I went to my first conferences and conventions: Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Foolscap, Steamcon, and World Fantasy Con.
I sold my first horror short story to an anthology.
I learned about steampunk, and then I wrote a vaguely steampunk story.
In May, we lost our cat, Vash, to lymphoma of the kidneys. I miss him, but I am glad for our new cat Niviane and of course, Chiana.
I joined writing groups galore (Writers Cramp, Write Stupid, Wayward Writers, and Cloud City Wordslingers) and met scores of smart, talented local authors. (I apologize for not listing all of you individually, even though you deserve it. If I know your blog it is in my sidebar.)
To sum up 2011: I wrote a lot, I sat in the same room as a bunch of authors I admire and listened to them read, I took classes and workshops, joined groups, attended conferences, and read in the dark so often I probably undid my LASIK.
I've been thinking about what's in store for 2012 and the short answer is: more of the same. Only more so.
See you on the other side.