Year in Review 2021

One of my happy places—my backyard. ☀️

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year. Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here are my lists of successes and surprises from 2021.



  • I won 4 picture book giveaways this year:
  • I won 5 Thursday Read-Through giveaways by Sarah Meade.
  • I won a picture book critique from author AJ Irving in the #OverBearUnderWhere contest, hosted by CK Malone and in support of Julie Hedlund.
  • I received a total of 4 agent hearts ♥️ during various pitch events this year (which is 4 more than I received in 2020!).
  • I set a goal this year to double my Twitter following from 1K to 2K. Amazingly, through engagement and relationship building, I surpassed that goal and grew to over 2500 followers.
It’s so fun winning free books! 📚

My Thoughts

I’m still not published or agented, which feels disappointing. I love writing, and I wish I had something to show for it. But, writing out these lists of positive things that DID happen in 2021, really helps keep things in perspective. I grew and made progress toward my goals this year, even if that progress feels slow.

I also want to recognize that this has been a tough year in a lot of ways. Some of you may remember that I was diagnosed with melanoma in May, which set me back for awhile, as I dealt with the physical and emotional aspects of that.

I also turned 40 this year, I potty-trained my toddler, and transitioned him into preschool for the first time ever. My family traveled out of state twice to visit family, we hosted out-of-town guests four times, and we made four trips to Disney (we are Florida residents with annual passes, so that’s not as extravagant as it sounds, but it made for a lot of overall travel).

When I think back on this year, I’m actually amazed I got anything accomplished at all. We read a LOT of picture books from our own collection, as well as from the library. And I even made time to read a few books for myself, because as I’ve said before, you can’t be a writer without also being a reader.

A few of my favorite books I read for myself this year.
Our newest picture books. Already instant faves in our house!

And I can’t end this blog without giving a shout-out to my wonderful critique partners—Molly, Lindsey, and Gennie. We’ve been together over a year now, and we’ve all said we might’ve given up by now if it wasn’t for the support and camaraderie that we’ve found in each other. I am so proud of everything they are accomplishing in their own journeys, and I’m so glad to call these lovely ladies friends. ♥️

We call our critique group “The Frenzy Friends” or the “Frenzies” because we formed our group during the 2020 Fall Writing Frenzy.

So, that’s a wrap on 2021, folks. See y’all in 2022! Happy New Year!! 🎉


  1. Alicia says:

    You have SO much to show for your writing! Don’t sell yourself short. Just re-read that awesome list of surprises and successes!!! That comes from your writing! 💚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I also have a LOT of rejections to go along with those successes. But I know I’m making progress. 🥰


  2. Sarah Meade says:

    Congratulations on all your stellar successes this year, Jessica! Looking forward to more big things from you in 2022 and beyond! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah! And thanks for being a part of my journey! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I’m so proud to be a part of your writing journey and so happy for all of your successes! I know you’re going to do BIG things in 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mossie Goodin says:

    Jessica, I have been meaning to tell you WOW!! You really had a busy year and accomplished so much last year and survived COVID as well!

    Love you and am so proud of you ❣️

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mama ❤️


  5. You have sooo many amazing writing accomplishments to be proud of in 2021! Can’t wait to see where 2022 takes you! Thank you for all of your continued support…I am beyond grateful for our friendship!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, friend!! 😘


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