I spent one quiet morning of my vacation between Christmas and New Year’s reading through my 2014 Kearney Hub stories to make some selections for the Nebraska Press Women contest.

The entry deadline for Nebraska and other affiliates entering our second year of the NFPW online contest is still about a month away. People who know me well know that I usually start on my contest entries early, partly because I have the time to do it over the holidays.

Also, I’ll need some help from the prepress department at my newspaper to shrink individual photos down to the 1 mb limit to submit online and to consolidate pdfs for the stories with jumps and/or sidebars on multiple tearsheet pages.

It’s both rewarding and exhausting to go through a year’s worth of work. It is easy for me because I still do a clipbook and can just go through that. See, low-tech still can be more efficient at times.

It makes me tired to think I did so much in the past 12 months. Since many of the meetings, issues, ag and natural resources feature pages, special sections, and special events are part of every year, it’s almost overwhelming to enter 2015 knowing that work and more is ahead.

Going though the clipbook also is rewarding. The perfectionist in me always can find errors or see ways in which I could have done things better. The older, wiser, more forgiving me is proud of the overall quality of my work.

I know that any deficiencies were not from lack of effort. I start thinking about ways to do some of the annual stories and photos better or different in 2015.

I encourage all affiliate and NFPW members to enter this year’s contest. It always is a learning experience. Often, the judges’ comments and/or awards represent the salute for your good work that may not come from an employer or others.

So as you look through your 2014 accomplishments on the way to preparing those entries, be proud.

NFPW members are the most talented, hard-working people I know. That’s true for those who continue as active full-time professional communicators, freelancers, part-time writers and photographers, and also our wise and wonderful retired members.

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