I already mailed a few Christmas cards that needed to travel long distances and/or arrive with birthday gifts, but most of them were completed this afternoon.

I spent last Saturday addressing envelopes and adding postage. This afternoon was the time to sign my name, add a handwritten note or fold a copy of my Christmas form letter.

With the Christmas card project done, I hope to spend some time the next couple of weekends and maybe a day or two during my vacation between Christmas and New Year’s days going through my work clip books

Yes, I still clip every story with a byline and photo with a credit, and tape them into scrapbooks. It is a habit, but it also remains the best way for me to review a year’s worth of work to select contest entries.

I made a preliminary scan during my week off at the end of October, but the more focused work of sorting and critiquing things is ahead.

I paid my NPW-NFPW dues this week. So I made the end-of-the-year deadline to qualify to enter my Nebraska affiliate contest.

Having a year of our online contest under my belt, I’m doing a few things differently this year. The biggest is I’ve been saving pdfs of projects I want to consider on a month-to-month basis, as soon as they are in my newspaper’s archives.

I may not have 100 percent of the pdfs and photo files I’ll want this year, but I’m sure I have most of them. So, that will save the time I used on a Saturday last year to sit at my office desk putting all of the pdfs into a contest folder at once.

I’m encouraging two new Kearney Hub staff reporters-web specialists to enter, now that their dues are paid as new members.

This all is a reminder to any of you who tend to be last-minute membership renewers that there is no penalty for taking care of that before Dec. 31. It’s a must if you want to qualify to enter the contest.

It helps our affiliate and NFPW leaders who monitor 2015 budgets.

It’s also good for you to take an afternoon to review your 2014 work, whether it is saved in a clip book, electronic archive or some other format you prefer… EVEN if you don’t plan to enter the contest.

We want you to do that, of course, and reviewing your work might remind you of many things worthy of sending in for judges to review.

However, it’s also good for your soul. It allows you the time to reflect on your skills and efforts, and tell yourself that you did some fabulous work.

Many of us don’t hear that sincerely from others, at all or at least enough, so it’s important to remind yourself of that fact and be proud.

Maybe even celebrate by doing something you enjoy, singing “For She’s a Jolly Good Person,” eating ice cream and/or chocolate, or whatever else seems fitting for a job well done.

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