So it’s that time of the year, when one reflects on one’s successes and failures, projects completed, projects started, and what one hopes the new year will bring—what one learned—sometimes what one learned again!—and what one hopes to learn…well, you get the idea.
(All while nursing a hangover. Kidding, mostly, but I blame the annoying pretentious pronoun on last night’s bubbly.)
I read Janice Hardy’s wonderful New Year’s post this morning, and it got me to thinking, both about goal-setting for the coming year and about how to think about what happened in the one that is passing. And I thought I ought to share, because there’s a lesson here.
What I Set Out To Do in 2017
- Finish edits on and publish Incursion, the first book of Unbound.
- Nurture and grow my Unbound newsletter.
- Write, revise, and edit the second book of Unbound.
- Publish that…
- At least start the third book, ideally get it ready to release at the beginning of 2018.
- Take part in two anthologies.
- Blog at least once a month; post to both Facebook and Deviant Art at least once a month.
- Do two book or three book covers for other people
- Do at least one, probably two, book covers for myself
- Learn to market the above mentioned books
- Set up two websites for others
- Revamp this website
- Attend two professional conferences
- Continue attending and/or hosting local writers’ group
- Keep up with my online writer friends.
- Get better at 3d art, and learn to make videos in Adobe AfterEffects
There was more, god knows, but I didn’t write it down so it’s a bit hard to take myself mentally back to what I planned, now that I know what I did…hence, the inspiration for this post.
Please note what the above list does not include, because I’m a dork:
- Maintain the “day job”—i.e. teach a total of nine classes (both online and face-to-face)
- Be at least a partially-present fiancée to the most supportive man in the world, and a semi-parental figure to a Teenager (also incredibly supportive and a source of great joy in my life)
- Be at least a partially-present daughter to an aging mother, and dear, dear person.
- Keep up with and actually do things with friends and family.
- Bathe, at least once in a while. Kidding.
- Lastly, breathe.
The point of this second list is not that I suck at planning, although I have, historically, sucked at planning, it’s to point out that I set unrealistic goals that didn’t leave any room for, ahem, real life in them, and then beat myself up terribly when I failed to accomplish them. To top it off, my list didn’t account for the vagaries of the work itself. (Hence the sucking at planning, but in the specific ways I suck at planning…)
What Actually Happened, Or, In This Case, Didn’t Happen
- Book Two morphed into Books Two and Three—see post on that nightmare. Completed neither. Although it did give me an unplanned, bonus meltdown, so there’s that…
- First anthology went great, but it was already-written material. Trying to put write an original short for the second one? GAH! I stopped writing altogether for over a month—complete lock-up. So, only one anthology…(and meltdown number two). That second anthology is full of wonderful stories, by the way…It’s just wonderful stories, without my story in it.
- Newsletter is in exactly the same state it was last year—nearly non-existent.
- Did not complete edits on Incursion, so did not release it yet.
- Blog posts have been sporadic at best, Facebook posts even more so. Deviant Art and the wonderful people there…sigh.
- Did not learn to market anything because I didn’t release anything.
- Neglected many wonderful friends, both local and online, which I regret so much!
Looks unrelentingly depressing doesn’t it? And if I stopped there—which I am prone to do—it would be, so it’s important to look at what I did do (and you need to look at and be proud of what you did, too, hint, hint).
- I wrote 58,358 words on what is now the second Unbound (working title: Contingent)
- I wrote 90,640 words on what is now the third Unbound book (working title: Diversion)
- I completed two and half websites. Nope, forgot one. Three and a half websites.
- I revamped this site, adding entire sections.
- I posted 17 times, which does average more than once a month (I just didn’t do it consistently)—but I had no idea I’d posted that much until I just now went and looked, so that’s not nothing.
- I did post to FB page at least 6 times (not going to go count, because FB…I’ll lost the rest of the day to FB)
- I made three book covers (good enough that even non-friends are hinting I should do more) (Incursion‘s, which is all over this site, and both anthology covers.
- I wrote 62,000 words on new book (and start of new series—post on that soon, I promise!).
- I completed 89% of edits on Incursion.
- I attended one week-long professional conference and got to meet so many of my online friends!
- I took part in one anthology (and did the covers for two, which makes me pretty happy)
- I did get better at the 3d art, and I did learn a great deal about videos and AfterEffects (as well as other Adobe programs—if you’ve tried to learn any Adobe programs, you know that’s not nothing)
- I made the difficult but necessary decision to hold back on release of Incursion until the next two are complete (again, I’m going to post about that, soon!).
- I did that all while teaching basically full-time, doing the necessary professional and time-consuming things required by that (read: department meetings. No, read: department meetings that make you want to drink afterward).
Huh. I did a lot more than I felt like I did. Weird.
And that is while having endured several bouts of serious depression (at least partially caused by losing several friends this year—by “losing,” I mean they died), facing some unpleasant truths about life and growing older, having a chronic health issue get worse, and recovering from the end of 2016, which was a pretty terrible time. I won’t even mention the month-long computer fail drama this summer because I’m trying to forget it.
Is there room for improvement? Oh, heck yeah. But that doesn’t mean last year was bad—it just means it was a year. smile
The point of all this is to urge you to look at what you did, too, what you accomplished, at least as much as what you didn’t. When I started writing this post, I was pretty down on myself. But after looking at all that–actually looking at it, actually adding up words and posts and sites and covers…I’m pretty proud of myself.
And isn’t that a much better way to move into the new year?
So, what did you accomplish in 2017? Let’s cheer each other on by celebrating what we did, to give us the energy to do it again–and more…