What did I accomplish in 2006 that was not writing-related?
Well, it wasn't related to my writing, but to my critique partner's. So I'm going to use that.
She has almost finished her first manuscript. She and I have been brainstorming it for the entire year, shaping it, working on it, and now she's nearly ready to send it out. Neither of us has aspirations that it will get picked up, but it will get her that Pro Pin, from RWA. She's been in RWA for about 10 years and has not finished a manuscript or gotten a PP, and by gum, that was my goal for 2006 -- get her that pin, show her that she could finish a manuscript and help her to do it.
I think this relates to my theory of the 'plateau' system of writing -- actually, a plateau system of anything. When you start, you're on the bottom plateau. You strive, you work, you accomplish something. You go up a step. All of a sudden, there's a new world in front of you. There are new things to learn, new aspects to hone, new things you never thought about. You learn, you aspire, you accomplish. You go up a step.
There's always another step, there's always more to learn. This is true in writing, in life, in everything. I think, watching her struggle with this #*(@ book has taught me the power of stubbornness. She was bound and determined to finish that story even though she'd lost interest in it, even though she wanted to move on to another one. She wanted to FINISH what she'd started. I admire that. She's learned a great deal from this process, but so have I, and that's what it's all about, isn't it? It's all part of the plateau-system of learning ...