Thank you for 2014 and Happy new 2015

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESTo say that 2014 was a year of challenges would be a bit of an understatement. This past year brought a death in the family, a bad case of shingles and a workplace going through more change than I had ever seen before. 2014 was a year of major transition for me and many within my inner circle.

Throughout this turbulent year, one of the keys that helped me maintain my grounding was the commitment to my writing and the blog, even if it was a challenge in itself to squeak out the words. I always suspected that writing was my calling from the unique sense of euphoria I feel when I commit words to paper which in turn, converts to joy, energy and enthusiasm. This past year reaffirmed that.

The focus that is required to concentrate on a given subject, even the lightest of topics, offered the happy place I needed to stay afloat when my world felt like it was sinking. Anchoring yourself to your passion can be regenerative and restorative, even though it takes energy to get started.

Writing is not easy, when you are not in the mood. Choosing the right words is tough when are too tired to speak. Self-editing can be like pulling teeth when you are having a hard time pulling yourself together. But is it worth the effort to challenge myself to produce a 1,000(ish) word essay each week? You bet it is!

The more time I devote to creative writing now, the more refined will be the reflex later in retirement when it is time to take a lifetime of journals to the next level.

Successful moments in 2014

While first and foremost, the blog is really about the writing, the steadily increasing number of blog posts, page hits, blog subscribers, Twitter followers and retweets, has been the vote of confidence to me that there is interest in my work. I cannot say I have really struggled with the fear many new writers have, the fear of no one reading their work. I write because I have to, as much as I need to eat, breathe and sleep. But your votes of confidence offered me the validation that I can be myself, I can write in my own voice, and that you will indulge me a little as I explore different topics and different story-telling styles.

Serendipitous moments in 2014

Dear readers… you never cease to surprise me! As I suggested in earlier posts, sometimes the pieces over which I toil for days in finding the right words barely register a blip on the page hits, while the ones that I blurt out on paper in under an hour sometimes generate the most hits. Thanks for the “compass” telling me to not overthink the material too much.

Also, WordPress is a great blog host because of the high level statistical information it provides including the countries where my readers are from. While the lion’s share of readers are in Canada and the United States, the next most page views come from Brazil! Wow! Bom dia to my readers in Brazil!

Mind-blowing moments in 2014

When I was writing “Aerobic Queen” in my Mom’s basement in 1986, I never imagined that I would be exchanging tweets in 2014 with the aerobic queen herself, Bess Motta of the :20 Minute Workout. But it happened!

When I referenced Canadian singer Jann Arden in my blog post “My (Much)Music Education”, I never thought Jann herself would send a positive tweet about it, but she did!

When I tweeted about “My Guilty Pleasure: Project Runway”, I never expected Project Runway judge Nina Garcia to send her thanks and to retweet it. But she did!

When I launched the blog, I never imagined I would be exchanging messages with other authors and social media subject matter experts. Social media is a great thing when you learn to use it constructively and exercise the best etiquette you can.

For all of the above, I am very grateful for these wonderful moments and the positive reinforcement that can come when connecting with subjects, peers and audience. Thank you for your generosity.

Plans for 2015

As I sit here sorting through a pile of notes I accumulated over the holidays with words, phrases and ideas for proposed topics, it is clear that there is no shortage of material to feed the blog for another year, perhaps even two.

With the experience of “A Christmas Story: The Fruitcake Edition”, my first video blog, I am very excited to explore that medium in 2015, as I realize some blog posts might lend themselves better to a video presentation than to the written word. By having both mediums in my back pocket, the material can find its natural vehicle to best convey the story.

For 2015, I am also planning on taking a workshop or two to bring some more structured textbook learning to the mix, rather than flying by the seat of my pants through a learn-as-you-go educational process. And when it comes to writing competitions, I believe I have the ideas for the first submissions. It is time!

Thank you, dear readers

What started as an experiment turned into an affirmation that even though I still have much to learn about the business of writing, readers seem to enjoy the stories I have to tell. That factor in itself keeps the creative parts of my mind enthusiastic and eager to deliver new ideas and new ways of telling those stories.

When it comes to the blog, this past year has been a year of discovery, serendipity and mind-blowing moments, thanks to you, dear readers! Thank you for your kindness, your curiosity and your encouragement.

This past year offered me the epiphany of waking up one morning and realizing, “Hey, I am not just an aspiring writer anymore. I AM a writer!”

Thank you so very much for a 2014 that exceeded my wildest writing dreams. Best wishes to all for a successful 2015 in the pursuit of your goals and dreams.

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more posts ahead in 2015! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.net. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Happy New Year,
André

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