In Which I Cross The Finish Line And Wish You Happy Christmas

Dear friends,

How to share my news and write a Christmas post? With my chicks soon gathering back in the nest and a busy time for many, I’ll keep it short (but hopefully sweet) from my heart straight to yours…

Christmas Holly (c) Sherri Matthews

A few weeks ago, I happened to walk past the door of the law firm where I had once worked. It would not have meant much, except for me, it was a fleeting yet profound moment.

I walked out of that door for the last time six years ago when I lost my job, having been made redundant due to office closure.  My youngest was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome & Graves Disease earlier that same year.

But that day in 2012, I left the building with new resolve in my heart. Knowing I could no longer work in paid employment in my new role as full-time mum & carer, I vowed to squeeze as much time as I could to get down on paper the book that had churned inside me some 30 years…

In January, 2013, I started my blog.  Four months later, I typed the first words of my memoir. The title didn’t come to me until I bashed out a bloated first draft over eighteen months.

From September 2014, I hit the first of endless rewrites; five full drafts and four years later, a few weeks ago – November 13th, to be precise –  I typed, ‘The End’.

My finger hovered over ‘send’ for a minute or so before I clicked and let it go to the editor helping me with the next stage to publication.

Dear friends, I flung myself over that finish line as elation coursed through me. But then I broke down and cried.  Soon after, I went into town on that bright, chilly day, and by strange coincidence walked past that door and it hit me then with full force…I’ve done it, I’ve actually done it. After five years and a half years, my memoir,  ‘Stranger in a White Dress‘, is now a real book.

This is one door I would not pass by…
‘Blue Door’ Crete (c) Sherri Matthews

I wanted to shout it from the rooftops to everybody I walked by that day in town, to some odd looks I’m sure if I had, but I just smiled to myself as I kept walking, not quite believing what had just happened.

A couple of days later, I crashed and burned and got ill and it took me a while to recover. The last push was particularly brutal; binge writing does a number on your brain, honestly!

Frustration and anguish and the hell of writer’s block whacked me more than once when a barrage of challenges and derailments set me back, as life does.  Not least of all losing my dad in 2016 when I couldn’t write at all for a while. The creative process is as fragile as it is passionate, punishing at times, as many of you know.

But nobody makes us do it. I admit that the writing took over my life, for a while…

And I know it isn’t the answer to world peace, but it’s incredibly important to me, and what good is something that personally meaningful if it can’t be shared?

Thank you so much, dear friends, readers, anyone who has read a single word on this blog or wanted to know about my memoir, for your amazing support and interest. I could not have got this far without you. Now I know why it can take years to write a book! More work to come, I know, but I’ve got this far.

Since then, I’m excited to report that I’ve now got my edits back, greatly encouraged and look forward to working on them in the New Year.  I also have more travel pics/posts for the Summerhouse, long delayed.

2018 turned out to be the year I crossed one finish line; the next will be the biggest one of all, to publication.  I started this blog to share my dream and maybe inspire others to never give up on theirs, no matter how long it takes to get there.  One word, one day at a time.

Christmas Tree Festival, Sherborne, England
(c) Sherri Matthews

Until then, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year…
See you in 2019!

Love, Sherri x

 

 

 

About Sherri Matthews

While writing to publication of her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', Sherri has been published in national magazines, websites and four anthologies in memoir, essays, articles, poetry and flash fiction. Sherri raised her children in California, and today lives in England with her husband, Aspie youngest and their pet menagerie fondly called ‘Animal Farm’. As well as writing, Sherri keeps out of trouble gardening, walking, and taking endless photographs, a few of the better ones she shares on her blog A View From My Summerhouse.
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56 Responses to In Which I Cross The Finish Line And Wish You Happy Christmas

  1. Oh Sherri, I am SO excited with your wonderful news! I love how you have shared the journey of writing your memoir here with us on your blog. I was smiling from ear to ear when I read that you have finished. I’m sure moving onto the next phase is exhilarating for you. I can imagine the process is daunting getting to the final publication. I cannot wait to read your final published memoir… it will be such a treat. How nice to move onto this phase right before the New Year. It almost seems fitting to wrap this up in 2018. I wish you a wonderful holiday season with your family. Matthew and I will be traveling back to MN with the wee one. Fingers crossed for an uneventful flight there! Sending much love xoxox Heather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Heather, how wonderful to read your lovely message, I’m thrilled to share this exciting news with you after all this time, thank you so much! I will keep updates coming, and yes, to be able to wrap things up here as the year closes feels like a huge weight has lifted. For a while I really didn’t know how I could get through it, and in the end it was pretty brutal but it had to be that way, I think now, as I was able to get into that final flow of it and feel the story talk back to me, which sounds weird, I know, but it got me through! I’m honoured to share this journey with you and all those who like you have kept the homefires stoked at the Summerhouse…and beyond! And in all that time, what changes for us both, especially for you and Matthew and your darling wee one! I will certainly keep you all in my prayers for happy, safe travels to MN and back and wish you and your lovely family a most wonderful and happy Christmas and New Year…so exciting with your little one! Take care, Heather, and look forward to catching up with you on FB sharing Christmas festivities! Much love back to you! 🙂 ❤ xoxo

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  2. Genny says:

    Merry Christmas Sherri! Remembering all our wonderful holiday times together and looking forward to your book be published in the New Year! Lots of Love, Genny

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merry Christmas, dear Genny! So many fantastic Christmas memories spent with you all and how wonderful they are, never forgotten ❤ Thank you so much…have a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2019 with lots of love and big hugs to you and your lovely family 🙂 ❤ xoxoxo

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  3. Heyjude says:

    Well done Sherri – your perseverance has paid off. Wishing you and the family a lovely Christmas and a very happy, healthy and successful 2019. Take care xx ✨

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Sherri………….. No words! Just tears and a full heart and so happy for you, so proud, so pleased – so inspired! You have been burned in the fire throughout this process, I’m sure you have been healed too. Such cathartic experiences can only heal. You did it. You persevered, you fought on and through and despite everything life threw at you. My god! Your light will be brilliant from this point on. Have a wonderful season of joy with your chicks gathered about. My chickies are here too, we are already celebrating our lives together and enjoying these days out of time that we get to have every other year. I’m so happy for you Sherri – enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww my dear Pauline…I don’t know what to say! Thank you so much for your beautiful message…I have tears again too, just reading it! It feels truly wonderful to be able to put this post up, after so long and so many posts about chasing the finish line…writing ‘crossing’ the finish line…yowee!!! To share it now, I still can’t quite believe it… And… I’m so happy to know your chickies are with you too and I love how you put it ‘already celebrating our lives together and enjoying these days out of time…’ What better gift in all the world than that? Have a wonderful, happy, joy-filled Christmas filled with laughter and light, my dear friend. We will both enjoy and meet again in 2019! 🙂 ❤ xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Norah says:

    Congratulations, Sherri. I can’t wait to read it. You have worked so hard and toiled so long. What elation! Have a wonderful Christmas! Best vishes for publication in 2019. Hugs xx.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tom says:

    Congratulations, Sherri! Really well done.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tom, how wonderful to hear from you, my ‘old’ friend! It’s great to see you again…I will catch up with you in the New Year as I’m fast running out of time here with my family arriving tomorrow…but until then, thank you so much and a wonderful Christmas and New Year to you too and hope all is well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. restlessjo says:

    The happiest Christmas message I received today. 🙂 🙂 So happy for you, Sherri! Nobody said it was easy… and what would be the use if it was? Wishing you the sweetest festivities with your loved ones, and here’s to 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww Jo…that’s so lovely to know, thank you so much! 🙂 Ha…and too true! Nothing worth having comes easy, right? Happy Christmas lovely lady…I think of you beneath your beautiful Algarve sunshine, so happy for you too and send big hugs for a wonderful 2019 ahead! 🙂 xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sherri, You are a very courageous woman! I love your Christmas holly! 🙂 Happy Holidays to you and your chicks and wishing you publication of Stranger in a White Dress in the new year. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement and lovely message, Carol, I will update here as things progress and oh how wonderful it would be to think that 2019 could be the year! Happy Holidays to you too and a wonderful New Year! 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dgkaye says:

    That’s my motto Sher, ‘one day at a time’, that’s the only way I get through these days. And I’m so proud of you!!!!!!!!!! Only another writer can understand what another writer goes through! You’re almost there my friend! Hugeeeeeeeeeeee congrats. And wishing you a most beautiful Christmas and a fabulous New Year! ❤ Hugs!!! xoxo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jools says:

    Congratulations, Sherri, and I hope you have a wonderful and extra special Christmas with your family. All good wishes for all the progress you’re going to make (clearly!) next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m so happy to see your post, Sherri! It’s such a good feeling to have overcome a great big barrier. You have so much to share and it’s a huge achievement to have that book done. That Blue Door is a motivation, somehow. Enjoy your Christmas. ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Annecdotist says:

    What a wonderful celebratory post, Sherri! So glad you’re ending the year on a much deserved high. Hope you have a lovely break with your family – and they are as cuddly as the figures in your nativity scene – and you return to your memoir suitably refreshed to rattle through those edits and leaping over the next hurdle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It feels really great to end the year on this high, thank you so much, Anne! Haha…yes, well, I hope for a few cuddles but getting plenty from our kitten at the moment, which are lovely except when I’m trying to type! I am looking forward to rattling and leaping with renewed vigour…and will keep you posted and be in touch! Happy Christmas to you, Anne, and here’s to a successful 2019 for us both! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A lovely post, Sherri. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Liz H says:

    Fantastic! Happy to read of your steadfast love and courage in writing your book, the same characteristics that will keep you company on your next stretch of the road!
    And God Jul!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Many many congratulations Sherri, I’m so glad you’ve crossed the finish line and wish you a smooth path to success with it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, dear Andrea! You’ve shared the journey with me all this time, and I’ll raise a glass of cheer to you for a New Year ahead bringing a smooth path to success for us both! Have a wonderful Christmas! 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Annika Perry says:

    Yippee!! 😀🎉🎉🎈 Congratulations on finishing your memoir, Sherri and well done on such a positive feedback from your editor! Wonderful news and I wish you fun with the edits & publication next year. It’s been a long haul but aren’t all labours of love created that way? I hope you can relax and celebrate your success with your family this Christmas and wishing you much joy, love and light in the New Year! Hugs, dear friend! ❤️ Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Annika! How wonderful to return to the Summerhouse (only just emerging!) and your delightful message. What a lovely way to start off the New Year! Thank you so much. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family, we did but it flew by. Been lovely having this downtime though, and now back to work. I look forward to catching up properly with you and meantime, I wish you a very Happy and blessed New Year, dear friend…here’s to a great 2019! 🙂 ❤ xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow. Fantastic news Sherri. So pleased to hear. Wishing you a very happy Christmas and a happy New Year. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, dear Marje…only just emerging lol and so to work on those edits! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you, my friend…I hope it brings you a fantastic 2019 ahead 🙂 ❤ xxx

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  18. purpleslob says:

    Happy Christmas, Sherri!! I’m so proud for you!! You’ve crossed 1 finish line, the next one this coming year!
    Love, Melinda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, dear Melinda! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you. May it bring blessings galore to you and yours in 2019! Now to work on those edits after a lovely time hunkering down with the family…and here’s to crossing the big finish line, if I ever emerge from my present blurry eyed state lol! Love to you, my friend 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. This is my last call in Blogland before I sign off for Christmas, Sherri. And, what a post to read before I seal my passion away for blogging until after Christmas. I’m so pleased to hear you’ve got the edits back on the book and that you’re taking a break before working on them. Well done for getting over the finishing line. And just think about the ‘you’ coming out of the door after being made redundant in 2012 and what lay ahead of you. That ‘you’ now knows just how far you have come.
    Looking forward to the publication of the book in 2019 and, of course, seeing you again.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and the family. 🥂🎄
    Hugs
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Hugh, and a very Happy New Year to you and yours! I hope you all had a great Christmas. I must have signed off for the season right before you left your lovely message, so it’s lovely to read it upon my return (albeit it a blurry eyed emergence lol), reminding me again of how far I’ve come since walking out of that door. Now back to work on those edits, and of course hoping yours are going well, eagerly anticipating news on your upcoming publication of ‘More Glimpses’. I hope your blogging passion has returned after a good, long Christmas break. Here’s to a great 2019 ahead, Hugh, and of course very much looking forward to meeting up with you again this year, for sure at the BB if not before! Big hugs 🙂 ❤ xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve had a brilliant Christmas and New Year, Sherri. In fact, it’s been so good that I extended my blogging break until today. 😀I’ve come back very refreshed and with a totally different outlook on blogging and my blogging habits. All for the best, of course.
        Happy New Year.
        Hugs,
        Hugh

        Liked by 1 person

        • Great to hear, Hugh, I look forward to hearing about your new blogging outlook. I can’t believe I’ve been blogging six years and it’s definitely a process that changes as with us. Hugs back for a great year ahead for us both 🙂 xxx

          Liked by 1 person

  20. Denise says:

    Happy Christmas and here’s an early morning toast to a successful writing year in 2019 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Denise, I hope you and your LD’s had a very Happy Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you! What a lovely message to return to for the year ahead…I will drink to that, my friend and I will be in touch! 🙂 ❤ xxx

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