Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

2009, Reflections


I learn a lot by posting year-end reviews. It’s a rare chance to see the forest for the trees. Same as last year, I’m going to break down my reflections into three categories: Mind, Body, and Spirit.


2009 was a great MIND year. Tons of new challenges and obstacles, and a few successes along the way.

Writing: I completed my first real novel revision ever. And then, after another round of critiques, I completed a second revision. I wrote my first query and my first synopsis. I learned everything I could about agents and then, with tremendous help from my friends, I signed with an agent of my own. After that? Another round of revisions. As the year raced toward its end, I also garnered my first editorial responses. (That story is To Be Continued in 2010.)

Work: We had a fantastic year at the studio. We completely revamped our kids’ tv show, creating new characters and ten all-new scripts. I got cast as Wordy and did my first voice acting (and singing). We launched our studio website and our show website, did some wonderful work for clients, grew the team with some amazing talent, and eventually saw our episodes air on GPB/PBS Atlanta in October. And hey, I got my first IMDB listing!

Martial Arts: Four words for you: staff, spear, broadsword, and straight-sword. Aw, yeah!


Once again, a very mixed bag for the ol’ BODY category.

Martial Arts: I sacrificed martial arts a lot this year, first for work, and then for writing. It was absolutely worth it and the right decision, but I always feel a little less whole when I’m not in class regularly. I loved loved loved my weapons class and it brought me great joy throughout the year, but the class has been canceled. Overall, it was not a good year for my studies.

Plantar Fasciitis: Since May, I’ve been plagued with plantar fasciitis. It’s been fairly horrible at times, and despite some expensive visits to the doctor, it hasn’t improved. I’ve developed better coping mechanisms, though, and most days it’s just a nuisance, not a game-changer.

Food: I ate a lot junkfood at work, but other than that, this is the category that shined in BODY this year. My visit with Steph and Patrick in May gave me the resolve to finally stop eating poultry. Yahoo! I’d been wanting to take that next step for years, and it just felt right. I haven’t even been tempted to backslide — this one will stick. Andrea (OffHerCork) was another huge influence on me. Her blog, advice, and encouragement have really inspired me to commit to eating healthier at every meal, not just once a week. I’ve been shopping for fresh ingredients, eating more salads and smoothies, and generally learning how to listen to my body better in terms of nutrition. HUGE win in this category!


A lot of my other successes can be attributed to a big SPIRIT success: This year, I cared more about myself and placed more importance on my own goals.

The trip to England in May gave me the needed distance to see my life for the first few months of 2009, and I had accomplished nothing. When I came back, renewed and refocused, I started working on my novel revisions, started eating healthy, and starting making better decisions about my time and commitments.

For my birthday this year, I started sending out my agent queries. I had to work every night and every weekend in order to make that goal, but I did it. My gift to myself: I care about this, I want this, it’s important, and hey, I’m important.

This attitude trickled over into many other areas, such as eating better and experimenting with clothing and style. They’re all about valuing myself, an area with which I have traditionally struggled.

I made a lot of sacrifices this year, most notably in martial arts and World of Warcraft. I wish there were a way I could do everything, but this year, I realized that I couldn’t. In order to give writing 100%, I had to drop some other passions to 0%, at least for a little while. That was a hard lesson to learn, but ultimately, an important one.

SPIRIT also encompasses friends and family:

I missed Wiscon, but made it to WFC. I joined Verla Kay’s Children’s Writers and Illustrators “Blueboard” and made a lot of new friends, but… I stopped playing World of Warcraft and consequently lost touch with some existing friends. I made it to England and Fredonia, but not to Iowa, Dallas, or NYC. I didn’t see my brother, sister-in-law, and their kids at all. (Given the rest of my schedule, this isn’t as bad as it could be. Still, lots of room for improvement in 2010.)


Of course, no entry on 2009 would be complete without mentioning Oslo, the newest member of my tiny but amazing family. Oslo the kitten is now over 8 months old. He’s brought so much joy to the house. Cairo is so much happier. My heart swells whenever I see them playing together, eating together, or asleep in one tangled ball of kitten and cat. Cairo and Oslo enrich my life every single day, and I could not be happier than when they are both curled up with us on the sofa, sharing our lives.

From 2009 Photobook

2009 was a great year for me in a lot of really important ways. Valuing myself more led to success and improvement on a number of other fronts, including my writing career. But it was also a terrible year for some of my friends, and because of that, it’s difficult to consider it a good year overall.

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • Yay! I'm so glad you took that step of valuing yourself! You are a fabulous writer, and I'm so proud of you!

    • Thanks so much, Christine! I hope 2010 is a wonderful year for both of our careers. *hugs!*

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Newsletter Signup