2011 – Over and Out

Goodbye 2011!!

A friend of mine wrote a ‘wrap up’ blog for the year, and I thought it was a great idea – so here is my wee wrap up blog post for 2011.

This has been an awfully big year. I started the year forming a new team at my work, to take over all of the contract management and technical responsibility at my Evil Day Job. While it’s been full of huge challenges, it’s been great. Our team is humming along, and standing strong.

My husband and I at my 30th birthday

Then I turned the big three-oh. This meant having my enormous immediate family staying with us for a week, drinking a heck of a lot of booze in the hot summer sunshine, and generally having a blast. To top it off, we had a big garden party that raged throughout the night and into the late hours of the morning. It was a hell of a bash, and an awesome way to end my irresponsible 20s, and enter the 30s.

Straight after my 30th birthday, I thought that I better get a little more serious about building my authors platform online. So I started my Parchment Place blog.

The big Christchurch quake rocked our entire world in February. Many dead, many grieving, and many homeless – including my friends, and members of my family. Some of whom are still suffering, due to another series of quakes that hit again on the 23rd December.

When the February quake struck, two very special people had a big idea. Cassie Hart and Anna Caro put the word out on Twitter to compile a charitable anthology for all proceeds to be donated to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. So while our friends and family were trying to sort out their issues in a quake stricken zone, I put my hand up to help them find authors, rally support, and generally be supportive to them throughout this enormous task. And so – Tales for Canterbury was born. Eventually Cassie said that she expected me to submit a story into the Anthology as well… so before I knew it I was dragging an old story out of my dusty and very musty literary drawer, cleaning it off, and sending it through to her. And to my greatest surprise… they accepted it. So then I was officially published along with some pretty incredible writers.

The last time I had a hangover was in May, when I drank a little too much gin and tonic with my father when he was staying with me. Then I found out that I was pregnant, and so I stopped all intake of alcohol and nicotine immediately. Pregnancy wasn’t an accident… but I didn’t expect it to happen so damn quick either. I thought that it would at least take a few months… but I guess our little Bump was in a hurry to get the show on the road.

In the meantime on the writing front, I was busy trying to finishing off a novel, and start the editing of another one. But during this time, I was also quite unwell with the pregnancy, and that seriously hindered all writing ability… and eventually I stopped trying. They say that every single pregnancy is different – and no two are ever the same. It was a bad time for me. Emotionally, I was wreck… physically, everything was changing, and in the middle of all this I felt enormous pressure from my family. Each of them trying to give me advice… ringing/emailing me constantly… and with each passing day, I was becoming more and more reclusive.

Bumpkin's Big Foot

In the end, I didn’t want to talk to any of them at all. I just wanted to hide in my little hole, and wish like hell they would all piss off and go away. I just wanted them to let me be pregnant for a moment and get used to the whole idea that my life was irrevocably changing, and that both my husband and I had to get mentally used to it. But that’s not what families do. Apparently.

So you know what we did? Under the best advice given from friends, and our medical professionals – we ignored them. And this is the same advice I will give to all pregnant women who face the same issues in the future. While family is important… we are growing our own now, and it’s entirely up to us to walk our own pathway when raising a family, not the paths of those before us. I have learnt throughout this time that my wider family are never going to listen to me, since they will always know better (older and wiser, perhaps?), so I will just do my own thing, and learn from my own mistakes. This is the only way I’m only ever going to be fully satisfied as a parent, so this is how I’m going to do it. (Bugger the rest of the world. I no longer give a shit about their grand opinions and ways of how to do things. This is our family, and we will do it our way.)

When I finally realised this, my creative mind started to kick back into gear. I now know that it was the stress and pressure that stopped me from writing… and until I had actually dealt with that, I couldn’t release my mind from its little box and back into the creative world. But I eventually got there, and devised a NaNoWriMo plan to get an old manuscript – The Mediterranean Source edited into a more publishable state. (Don’t get me wrong, this book still needs further work, and hopefully over the next few days while it’s forecasted to rain, I’ll be able to do some work on it.) The point is… I managed to get there, and send it out to three amazing friends in early December for their final opinions on potential changes. It was a big goal, and while I ripped and shredded out more than twenty odd thousand words from this manuscript, I also rewrote just as many in some incredibly major plot alterations.

So here I am now, nearly 33 weeks pregnant, with not far to go. I have just managed to get through Christmas, which we were completely unprepared for… however, we managed to sort it out. Both Mike and I were totally distracted by the fact that Bumpkin will be born very shortly. We are mostly organised now and pretty much have everything that we need (if Bump comes early!). Bump’s room isn’t finished yet, but it’s not far off. Mike and his dad are currently building the wardrobe. The ceiling went up yesterday. And before long, it will be plastered, painted, and ready to rock and roll. Then I will have somewhere to put all of Bump’s stuff, which is currently stored in boxes all over the place. It will be good. A great start to the New Year, and new beginnings in 2012.

Here are some things that I learnt in 2011 that I never knew before:

  • Turning 30 wasn’t actually a major. It was more of a great milestone, and one that I have great memories of.
  • I never thought that my 30th year would be such a rollercoaster of a ride.
  • Getting pregnant was easy. Being pregnant is hard. Older people forget what pregnancy is like.
  • Being published is not a life changing event… but it’s a pretty good one.
  • The world is no longer an enormous place. Two of my best mates have also moved to Australia this year as well… and despite them now being in another country – I’m not sad! Well… not really. I’m so damn chuffed that they are living their own lives and dreams, and I’m even more chuffed that by having the internet… it’s almost as if they are sitting in the next room.
  • I can do anything as long as I block out the bullshit and focus.
  • Stress and pressure are only good in small amounts.
  • I no longer have any tolerance for bad or rude behaviour. This is not a tolerance that I ever want to rebuild either.
  • My job has been really good this year. I’ve really enjoyed the challenges, and the new team we have. I no longer tolerate the rubbish behaviour from my colleagues either, and they quickly know when they have overstepped the line.
  • The hormone – Relaxin – is a total bitch to deal with.
  • Taking everybody’s advice so you don’t offend people is impossible. Picking and choosing what advice you take is much more effective.
  • It’s lovely getting to know your child as it grows inside of you.
  • Three of my unborn child’s godparents now live overseas, and I’m okay with that. I know that this will be a good thing in the future, as the child will have supportive people in its life who live their own life, according to what they want to do.
  • Pregnant women are hilarious. They no longer hold back, or have any qualms about saying it like it is. I’ve met some pretty neat people though our parenting class, who I never would have met if it wasn’t for Bump.
  • Owning a Kindle has revolutionised the way I read.
  • I have met writers who have deeply impacted my life in ways that I never could have imagined. By being with these amazing and incredible people, it has seriously helped solidify the fact that I am on the right career pathway in my life.

So… I think that’s probably it for this year. December has been a slow blogging month for me. I have no doubt that with the continuing distractions of the final stage of this pregnancy, etc, it could get even more sporadic. But I’ll try and keep it up.

In the meantime… I’m really looking forward to starting a new book in the New Year, editing another… and writing on. On the other side of life, I’m really looking forward to meeting our child.

Remember to set goals, not resolutions. J

2011 – Over and Out.

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17 Comments

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  1. 2012….Answering…Over…
    Great post Chick!
    Proud of you – you have had a HUGE year…
    Pleased as punch that you were part of my 2011 and happy that you will be part of 2012 as well!
    Bring on the adventures, laughter, friendship, creativity, inspiration in 2012 (and new life for you).
    Love ya x
    – KK

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    1. And here we are seeing in another New Years together as writing friends. Some people believe that the world is going to end in 2012. Some people also believed that it was going to end in 2000 as well. To me, it’s all a state of mind.
      Just like creativity.
      A state of mind that we are in tune with.
      And I’m so pleased that we’re all in it together.
      Big hugs my buddy. It’s been a great year… and the next will be even more awesome. Xoxo

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  2. Wow, Leigh, you’ve had a HUGE year. I loved this post – so full of all the good things in life…and the challenges.

    Can’t wait to ‘cyber meet’ miss or mister bump. So excited for you.

    Hope you have a wonderful, creative and inspiring 2012.

    Dee

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    1. It has been a big year. Some parts I look at, I see that I didn’t actually achieve as much as I would have liked. But these things happen, and I’m okay with that. Too many other things on my mind to fully focus and concentrate.
      Yes, when little Bumpkin arrives into the world, I’ll make sure I post a photo 🙂 Then you can all cyber meet Bump. One day, you may even get to meet Bump in the flesh. (I’ll let you know the next time I’m on my way to your part of the woods in Aus)

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    1. Happy new year to you as well!
      Yes, the little bundle of joy should be a bit of fun.
      And thank YOU for your wonderful initiative for Project 2012. Seriously looking forward to starting this journey with you guys 🙂

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  3. Love the way you think hunny! I look forward to sharing 2012 with you, to meeting Bump, to seeing you meet more of those amazing goals.
    Just have to say I am incredibly fortunate to have you close to me as both friend and writing partner
    Huggles! xoxoxo Tee

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    1. I, too, am fortunate to have you along for this journey 🙂 The goals will be achieved one way or another. And I know that you’ll be right there next to me.
      I think I have something like 10 or 11 complete novels under my belt now? Something like that. I should actually fish them out and count them one of these days. I should probably blow the dust off them all and bring them out into the light as well. Many things that I should do. Will just have to wait and see if I get there. 😉
      There are just so many more stories to tell. So many more that are planned. So many more that are begging to be written. I think I’ll keep moving forward at this stage in my life.

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  4. Great, great, GREAT post! I’m sending along wishes for an amazing and happy 2012!

    Not all older people forget their pregnancies…..I remember my two – vividly! I was in Spain, Barcelona to be exact, with a husband in medical school and family thousands of miles away. I was sick – SICK – for 6 months each time. The Catalan’s I knew told me “crackers & sips of champagne,” yup, alcohol. I also was able to get down espresso, so I drank gallons of it from those little weird espresso pots. Go figure, normal, fun-loving, dysfunctional kids 😉

    I hope 2012 is filled with wonderment for you & your growing family…..and filled with joy, laughter, health, happiness, success, love and much Light! xoxo Penny E

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  5. Happy New Year, Leigh! Congrats on reaching so many of your goals and finding more strength in yourself, and your decisions over the last year. ^_^ Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you, regardless of what everyone thinks you should do.

    **LOL, owning a Kindle has revolutionised the way I read too! I love that silly device.

    Like

    1. Kindle’s rock 🙂 A year ago, I wasn’t so sure about this whole e-book thing. Now I will never look back. I still love hard copy, and will always read hard copy as well, but having the books on Kindle just makes life easier.
      2011 has certainly been a challenge. Now I’m ready for 2012.

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  6. Love the line “it’s entirely up to us to walk our own pathway when raising a family, not the paths of those before us” but be warned, it may come back to haunt you! I know whatever you do, you will do it well. FGM xx

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