Reveling in the Old, Revving Up for the New

A Facebook friend just asked her followers what 2012 accomplishments they were most proud of, a poignant question I’d never thought to ask myself before. Because it immediately focused my attention on highlights and successes, it set a positive, upbeat tone for the new year. It also provided me an opportunity to reflect and pat myself on the back, a feel-good exercise I’m certain benefits the psyche.

So, I hope you’ll now take a moment to bask in the glow of your own achievements of the past year. One person told me that just holding on to his job in a tough working environment was a major coup. Another said that dealing effectively with a difficult boss made her proud. Your successes don’t have to be professional–personal triumphs such as adjusting to widowhood, or just keeping the house tidier or getting more exercise (the latter two are goals I’m setting for the coming year) are just fine. And please do share your proudest moments in the comments section below; other readers, including me, will be inspired.

To help put you in a sharing mood, here are my answers. As you’ll see, 2012 was an exceptionally gratifying year for me professionally. I know I’ve been lucky and am very grateful.

Number 1:  Early in 2012 I set a goal to improve my food photos. I felt that they didn’t do justice to my blog recipes and writing and determined to learn and practice until my pics actually enhanced my posts. The effort took a lot of hours over a number of months; the how-to process is detailed in a popular post here. I used the acceptance/rejection rate of  submissions to Foodgawker and Tastespotting as benchmarks, and went from zero acceptances to a third, to eventually about half  submitted being selected for publication. Yes, there’s still room for improvement, but the progress is clear to me in the baked goods pics included here. Knowing my images are much more appealing now is both gratifying and empowering! (The seeded bread at right is posted here.  And the raspberry crumb cobbler below is here.)

Number 2:  I’d been considering trying to produce a  cookbook trailer for my new book and a short how-to video for Kitchenlane for quite a while, but finally gathered my courage and hired a local university videography student to work with me on them this past summer. We learned a huge amount through trial and error and eventually created products that have been well received by many viewers and several pros. (More videos are already in progress.), which is very selective these days, posted our book trailer on its page featuring my new cookbook. Besides being pleased with what we accomplished, I’m proud of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new.

Number 3: Successfully seeing my large cookbook through several intense years of recipe development, then a complex production, and finally through the publication and promotion stages was a major accomplishment, even though I’ve been through the process with a number of books before. I was particularly thrilled that Simply Sensational Cookies made a number of holiday “Best Cookbooks” lists and that some of my cookie recipes were featured in the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens (shown at right). I’d been wanting to write a story for that iconic magazine my whole professional life, so this was a huge thrill.

So, there you have it. Now it’s your turn to celebrate your accomplishments and toot your own horn. What better way to rev up for and ring in a brand new year!


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  1. says

    Domenica, I agree that launching the magazine was a huge accomplishment. I also love that American Food Roots provides a place for a topic dear to my heart to be explored. I have long been fascinated with American baking history and love. I'd love to contribute at some point.

    Ruth, launching an indie line, especially while still busily writing for mainstream publishers, is def something to be proud of. Also, it's exciting to know that the process is going so well.

    Congrats to you both!

  2. says

    tI feel like my major accomplishment this year was launching my indie publishing career with my DECORAH SECURITY series. I have two novels, DARK MOON and DARK POWERS up now, plus a novella, CHAINED, and two short stories, HOT AND DANGEROUS and AMUBUSHED. And I recently put some of them together in a DECORAH COLLECTION, all while maintaining my traditional publishing career. I've sold close to 10,000 books, which blows my mind. When you start a project you don't know how it's going to turn out, but a year later I feel like I've really accomplished something.

  3. says

    I love the positive spin on this post, Nancy. You're right ~ at this time of year we tend to focus on what we need to do better, or what we didn't accomplish in the past year. One big accomplishment I'm proud of: the launch of American Food Roots, a new online magazine that I co-founded with three other food journalists. Our mission is to tell America's food stories and to explore why we eat what we eat. It's an ambitious project and we went live in early December. My goal in 2013? To make it a vibrant and thriving community for people to share their food stories, lore and recipes.

    BTW, speaking of vibrant, your photos are beautiful ~ the colors are incredible. Wishing you all the best in 2013!

  4. says

    Wishing you a wonderful, and easier, 2013, Katherine. I have always believed that PERSEVERANCE was one of the major keys to success as a writer. Two others–being willing to work hard and always focus on ways to get better, both qualities I know you possess. Thanks for sharing.

  5. says

    Loved hearing about your successes. I can't wait to hear what you accomplish in 2013! This year has been a rollercoaster ride for me. I write novels, and the first of a series of Victorian thrillers came out in 2012. Well…it was supposed to be the first, then the publisher said no-thanks to the other books. Ach! Happily, I have a wonderful agent who simply wouldn't give up on the books. She's found another publisher who is enthusiastic. So we're hoping to have at least another two books out this year. Time will tell…but it looks like a very interesting year ahead of us. Kathryn Johnson (aka Mary Hart Perry)

  6. says

    Thank you for the kinds words, Nancy. I hope you feel better soon! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Take good care of yourself.

  7. says

    Stacy, so very glad to hear you overcame an illness and launched your blog. Till the end of the year I was healthy, but have been struggling with a bad cold/flu virus all of December. I will be thrilled when I finally get well!

    Willa, that is fabulous news. I KNOW how difficult and rare your accomplishment is–many congrats!

  8. says

    Great post, Nancy. I love the photos.

    My major accomplishment this year was to become a published author – with a bestselling debut book, no less! It's been quite a year.

    Here's to making 2013 even better!

  9. says

    Nancy, thank you for sharing! I was so happy to add your Simply Sensational Cookies to my Nancy Baggett section of my cookbook library. Congratulations on all of your 2012 successes. :) To share with you, I am most grateful and proud to have overcome a terrible infection this past summer/early fall and pushed hard to launch my blog in 2012. It was a challenge to find a designer on such late notice because I was uncertain if I would be launching at all with the special diet I was on. Once again, congratulations. I always look forward to reading Kitchenlane with the wisdom you share. xoxo ~Stacy