LLC New Year’s Milestone Extravaganza!

Welcome to the second Life List Club Milestone party! What better time for our next look at where we are with our goals than the “Eve of New Year’s Eve?”

I have to be honest. For me, Life Listing has worked ever so much better than making New Year’s resolutions. I’m so much happier doing things on my own terms than I am just following the pack. When I joined the Life List Club, I set my goals because I wanted to and I was ready. It had nothing to do with the calendar saying it was time to figure out how to improve myself.

So it isn’t quite New Year’s Eve yet, but let’s grab our tiaras or goofy party hats, horns and glasses of champagne anyway! Now raise your glass and let’s see how far the Life Listers have come this fall, and what lies ahead for us in the coming months. When you’re finished here, please make sure to visit my fellow club members. We know a party isn’t complete without a few door prizes, and have drummed up some special giveaways.

Here’s a quick look at the goodies we’re giving away, but please check out each member’s post for the full details.

Sonia G Medeiros – A  $15 Amazon gift card to one commenter
David Walker – one interview and one guest post trade
Jess Witkins – an ITunes gift card and a chance to guest post or be interviewed at her blog
Jennie Bennett – to two commenters, a copy of the “Totally Cliche” ebook in which her work is published
Marcia Richards – to one subscriber (new or existing) an Amazon gift card and an opportunity to guest post or be interviewed at her blog
Gary Gauthier – a to-be-announced ebook
Jenny Hansen – to one commenter and one subscriber, the choice of a guest post for your blog or an interview and chance to promote your site or cause at hers

In the spirit of supporting and promoting others in their goals,  I’ll be giving away a choice of the following to one subscriber and one person who comments on this post:

– The chance to do a guest post or be interviewed (your choice) here at Hawleyville
–  A guest post for your blog on the topic of your choosing.

Thanks to everyone for your support of the Life List Club this year! There are many more good things to come in 2012, but for now, a look back at this one.

Every other week, the Life Listers talk about our progress, struggles and successes in our blog round robins. That made it a bit tricky for me to come up with something different for our New Year’s extravaganza. In a bit of serendipity, an idea came to me unexpectedly as I was doing a final check of my day-job emails before taking off on holiday.

Those who stop by Hawleyville regularly know I work at a university. Our human resources office has a Training and Development shop headed up by an inspiring woman named Terri Werner. She sent out an email inviting us to reflect on some questions about what we did with 2011 and what we plan to do with 2012. What I liked about Terri’s questions is they aren’t just “resolutions.” They invite you to look at what you have done and will do to make your life a happy and inspired one.

That fits right in with the LLC’s mission. So today, I’ll reflect on 2011. In my post next Tuesday, I’ll look ahead to the New Year.

What were the most important things you’ve learned?

– That I can handle rejection and keep on keeping on

– That if I do just that, acceptance lies just around the bend

What was the most loving service you performed?

– Learning to shut up and listen more than I try to get my own point across and be right. For some reason, writing regularly has made me more aware of the fact that we don’t all have to see things the same way. We all see life as it has been colored by our own experiences, and only by listening and appreciating each other’s perspectives can we help one another move towards the best outlook possible at that point in time. I don’t know why writing has helped me in this respect, but I’m glad it has.  

– Encouraging and believing in other’s dreams. The range of emotions I’ve felt as I’ve finally begun chasing my own have made me aware of just how important that is. The way so many have encouraged me in my writing goals has inspired me to do the same.

What was the biggest risk you took?

– Finally beginning to submit my work to publishers in spite of an overwhelming fear of rejection that had kept me from doing so for almost two decades.

How did you encourage others?

– Sharing my joys and frustrations as a day-jobbing writer here at this blog. I’ve talked about writer’s block and overcoming it, the “caged” feeling I get when I don’t have time to write and the kicked-in-the-gut feeling of a rejection letter. I share those things hoping that reading about them will remind other working writers that they aren’t alone. I’ve also talked about the joy of the first acceptance letter, the thrill of being deep into a good writing stint, and the feeling of comaraderie that comes with joining a writing community. My hope is sharing those bright moments keeps others writing through rough periods so that they will experience them too.

– I’ve tried to approach my job as a chance to help others deal with their frustrations rather than as something that sometimes frustrates me

– Doing my best to approach everything – even bad stuff – with a sense of humor. I write things that poke fun at life’s little annoyances in an attempt to help us all laugh at them rather than just vent about them.

– Promoting the blogs and work of others here at Hawleyville.

Who made the biggest difference in your life? How have you acknowledged them?

So many people – both longtime friends and family members and new ones. But if I had to pick just one, it would be my mother. She drives me nuts sometimes because, to be honest, I got that need to be right I struggle with from her. But she is truly my best friend and supporter and believes in my good even as she points out my bad.

I really feel like our friendship acknowledges that in and of itself – and I’ve told her so. No one else in the whole wide world could come down on me the way she does without me telling them to stick it, in spite of my best efforts to be open-minded. When me and the rest of my little world think I’m doing great, she tells me to do more. But when I feel like a big fat loser, she makes sure I know I’m not and that good things really could be just around the bend.

How did you improve your relationships with those you love?

This one goes back to that whole listening more and trying to be right less thing. I’ve learned that we don’t always have to agree to understand how the other person is feeling and support one another.

I’ve tried to look less at what others have and more at how, if I really want it that bad, I can get it. For me, that’s never been about material things as much as time and financial security. But I’ve tried really hard to stop being jealous of those who have the resources to be comfortable without spending all their time working and put my energy towards accomplishing the goals that might get me there too instead. Learning to let go of resentment is a long process, but each step helps relationships grow.

Finally, I’ve worked at being more in the moment when I’m with my loved ones. I am one of those people who has a wandering mind. Instead of appreciating the beauty of the moment it is in, my wayward brain tends to stroll down memory lane or bounce ahead to looking forward to, planning for or worrying about the future. Maybe that’s part of a writer’s curse? I’ve tried to temper that and be in the “now” more this year.

What were your greatest achievements

– Having two short stories accepted for publication and completing three others

– Writing a third of a novel

– Believing in myself when work I think has promise gets rejected

– Getting back in the gym in July and sticking with it more often than not since then.

What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2011?

Thank you, 2011, for the struggles that proved to me that I could overcome them. Thank you for enough success to inspire me to keep going. Thank you for time with family and old friends, and for the chance to make new ones.


I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on these questions too – they really helped me realize just how far I came this year and what I need to work on more in the next. Thank you for your support of both Hawleyville and The Life List Club this year. I’m looking forward to another great year for us all!

About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
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23 Responses to LLC New Year’s Milestone Extravaganza!

  1. Great questions and answers, Pam.

  2. Those are spectacular things to reflect on as the year comes to a close. I’m totally going to do this!

  3. Jess Witkins says:

    Just when I think I can’t possibly go and like you more, you write a new year’s homage to the past year’s learning. I am truly and always amazed with your courage and pioneering spirit of dedicating yourself to your goals and also to your loved ones. You optimism, friendship, and reflective personality are going to make you the biggest ally and figure of success. May 2012 bring you all the happiness you can handle! Save me a goofy hat now!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Ditto, Jess! I think we’ve got great things ahead of us in the coming year! I really believe that if I could go back to the age you are now with the perspective and determination that you already have, I just might be living my full-time novelists’ life by now. You rock, my friend, and I look forward to another year of sharing our challenges and successes!

  4. Happy New Year, Pamela. I enjoyed your fresh take on the goals. It certainly has given me a few things to think about. It also shows that there are many dimensions to setting goals and how we can go about the work of improving ourselves.

  5. Lovely reflections! I especially like the “I can handle rejection and that, if I do, acceptance is just around the corner.” Rejection can hurt so bad…but we can handle it and we can keep forging ahead.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thanks Sonia! Learning that some of the writers I really admire not only experienced rejection, but in some cases a LOT of it, has really helped me change my thinking. If they had to deal with it, how could I have thought that I WOULDN’T at some point? Its all part of this journey we’re on. Looking forward to another great writing year for all of us!

  6. Pingback: Milestone by Milestone | Sonia G Medeiros

  7. Marcia says:

    Just got in from out of town and hopped here first! Wow, Pam! I love that list of questions for the same reasons and think I’ll do that for myself, too. I agree with Jess. The more you write, the more we get to lovin’ you! Your attitudes and perceptions should be examples to all of us. Congrats on all the effort you’ve put into your self development and your writing. You are already a successful writer and an amazing young woman!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thanks Marcia! The more of your posts I’ve read this year, the more I feel the same way about your attitudes and perceptions! And while I’m far from perfect in always keeping up the attitude I strive for, writing it out really does help me get closer and stay there : ). Happy New Year, and thanks again for the great thing you and Jess created when you first imagined the LLC!

  8. These are excellent questions. Not only do they help you see where you’ve succeeded in the past year, but also where you have room to improve. I’m going to jot them down and answer them for myself this weekend.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thanks for coming by, Marcy! I hope you enjoy reflecting on the questions and getting as much out of the experience as I did! There’s a similar list of questions for looking ahead to the New Year that I’ll post next Tuesday. Happy New Year!

  9. Jenny Hansen says:

    OMG, Pam…I LOVE those questions!! It’s interesting that you and I have both come to the same conclusion about chasing our dreams. I’m coming to think it is one of the most important things you can do in this life.

    I totally dig that Hawley’s sign at the top! Where is this pub of yours? If we’re ever in the city, we’ll stop by. We love hanging out in a great bar and people watching. 🙂

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thanks Jenny! I really have figured out that HAVING a quest can make you just as happy as finishing it. It gives you something to bounce out of bed for in the morning and something to think about during the less pleasant parts of your day. Inspiration rocks, and so much of it for me has come from my LLC buddies this year. I already know that when I DO meet my goals, I’ll want to set more even as I’m celebrating, because life really is about the journey. The pub is in Baltimore – if you ever come to town, please do let me know and plan to stop by – would love to meet you and hang out!

  10. Wow, I am a new follower and I nearly cried reading this post. It is so honest and soulful. I admire your courage and determination. When I finished reading, I said to myself that at the end of 2012, I can share with others just half of what you just did then I will consider it an awesome year. You learned some amazing life lessons and I can tell that you are a genuine person and a good person and friend to know.

    I wish you another happy and productive year.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thank you for following, Melissa! So glad to have you here at Hawleyville and glad you enjoyed this post. This really was an amazing year in terms of writing and learning experiences for me! Looking forward to visiting your blog and getting to know you, and wishing you all the best in the New Year too!

  11. Hello, I’m visiting for the first time. I’ve been hopping around the LLC, since I’ve been hearing so much about it. This was a great review of goals and accomplishments.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Hi Elizabeth! Thanks so much for visiting Hawleyville and the LLC! I hope you’ll continue visiting us and if, you like, share some of your goals with us. Happy New Year!

  12. tsonoda148 says:

    How’d I miss this post? Must have been somewhere between my forgetfulness and my insanity for the holidays. I would love to enter the drawing please!
    As for your post, I feel you’ve contributed much and made strides. And you’ve certainly inspired many of your readers, including me, to make a plan for positive self-improvement. Nicely done, my friend! Wishing you an amazing 2012!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      You’re absolutely in the drawing, Terri : )! And ditto on the being inspirational part. Every time I visit your blog I leave both laughing and with something new to think about – quite an accomplishment! Looking forward to another great year of living and learning from each other!

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