On Writing and Reading in 2011


2011 is coming to a close, and I’m in year-in-review mode. 2011 was a quiet year, a foundational one, I think, but I’m ready to launch into 2012 and leave this one behind.

My only writing-related goal was to work on my novel, and I did a lot of that. But how exactly do you measure whether or not it’s been a good or bad year for your own writing? I didn’t publish anything new (just a reprint of an older story). I wrote a lot, although it was front-loaded; I’ve barely written anything in the past two months. But, I did work hard in the first half of 2011 – Sunday afternoons at the kitchen table, typing and rereading and marking up drafts. It was satisfying and I’ve been missing that feeling and am looking forward to establishing a routine like that in the new year. And I had so many other great writing-related experiences: the QWF Mentorship, some fun readings, an evening at the Danuta Gleed awards. I’m happy to be represented by the HSW Literary Agency, which is something I didn’t think was possible a year ago. 2011, you weren’t so bad!

My favourite things I read were Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer (or any of his books, really), The Keep by Jennifer Egan, 8 by Amy Fusselman (why didn’t I write about this book here? It was amazing), The Chairs Are Where the People Go by Sheila Heti and Misha Glouberman, all those issues of The New Yorker that I read in the food court at lunch time, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, It Chooses You by Miranda July, The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. And all of that Laurie Colwin. Sigh.

I was also inspired by so many of my friends this year. Lesley published her first book of poetry and started making serious headway on a non-fiction book. Samantha let me read the first draft of her novel, and I’m excited for the rest of the world to read her words. Soraya, late in the year, decided to get started on a memoir and has blown me away with how dedicated and productive she’s been, even if she doesn’t realize it herself. Leesa started getting published all over the place and knows exactly when to send me stories of hers that break my heart in the best way. Liz and Laura wrote a book about the Beatles and then published some of the essays as zines that are just… mind-blowing. I read one of Darcie’s new stories and it made me cry. Lindsey finished her MFA thesis! Kat always had wise words about the writing process, and Esme wasn’t afraid to let us into the hard parts. I am grateful for these ladies, to witness people I know slogging it out with words and not giving up and supporting each other.

6 thoughts on “On Writing and Reading in 2011

  1. Aw, thanks for the kind words! I also want to thank you again for reading the draft! It made me so nervous to send my little nebulous book out to be read by someone who wasn’t me, and I don’t think many people would read through the whole thing and give such good feedback as you did. It really meant a lot to me that you were willing to do all that! xo

  2. t, you are just always so encouraging and i can’t thank you enough for that b/c to me, that’s so Huge. thank you thank you. i love yr novel and yr writing career and the fact that you have an AGENCY/AGENT. asdl;fk !! you’re one of my favorite writers, that is My Truth. & i adore you. xo, lc

  3. Teri,
    Lovely post. It’s the time of year to look back in gratitude and it’s inspiring to see where your gratitude light shines.
    Looking forward to more words from you in the New Year. Happy Holidays!

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