2016 in Review
I went into 2016 with a lot of aspiration. Maybe a bit more than I could chew, in retrospect. Even getting this post reflecting on 2016 is a little delayed. (Hello February.) I had planned on reading at least fifty books. I wanted to write six books, and publish them all. (Don’t ask me where I thought I was going to get the time to do all that.) I started off a little behind, the revision of Heart of Thorns, previously Those Who Dwell in Thorns, did not go as expected. And I was set back a couple months on the release going from January to April. But I was not to be detered and I jumped right into the writing the sequel, where I there got stuck.
I thought to myself, that’s OK, just work on something else in the mean time, so I started another project, and got stuck again. I went back to the sequel of Heart of Thorns, made small progress before my motivation started to wane.
It was during this time that my grandmother died. It wasn’t unexpected, in fact it was something I had been anticipating for months. But my grandmother, like me was too stubborn to go quietly. But she finally found peace in the spring of last year. I had a dark period in the months that followed, I started and stopped a lot of projects, aimlessly wandering through a creative wasteland where I felt all my inspiration was dried up. I thought I was ready for her to pass on. I had said my goodbyes had made peace with it. But it still struck me hard.
A couple months passed, I did a lot of assessing and thinking and dreaming, and in August I felt like I was back on track. I made a decision to write the next book in my Dragon Saga, The Sea Stone. I even started posting onto Wattpad to keep myself motivated. But as seemed to be the trend with 2016, another personal blow came out of the woodwork and my father passed away in early September.
This one was a lot harder. Not to get long and personal, but my father and I were estranged for a very long time. It’s a messy story that I won’t get into here, but his death shook me. In part because he was young, only in his fifties and because the first thing I heard about him in years was that he had a heart attack. He had not lived a healthy life, and as I realized at the time of his death, I have not been living a healthy life either.
I won’t go into a long sob story about my trials with food, and my struggle to do the right things for my body. That’s not what the Blog is for. But I tell you all this to lead up to something that has been weighing on my mind over the last couple months.
I spent a lot of 2016 dreaming, and plotting and planning for a future that I was not putting into action. I think things like I want to write six books in a year. But I do not think about the effort and time it would take to do such a thing. Sure I knew I’d have to write x amount of words per day, and that I would need to do huge amounts of words, to get it all done. None of this was unrealistic per-say. At the rate I write, I could have easily done it. But my biggest life challenge is consistency. I can start a diet, I can start a book, but at some point I lose interest and meander away onto new green pastures.
2016 proved to me how much time I have wasted on thinking about the things I wanted to do. I wrote the least, and up until recently I feel like I accomplished little. But as I took a hard look at myself, in the wake of my father’s death. I realized something: I learned a lot this year.
I read more non-fiction books on writing this year than I have since I started writing. I took courses on marketing, listened to hours of podcasts on writing and marketing. I learned a lot. And while there is no body of work to show for it. I’d like to think of 2016 as my evolution year. Going into 2017 this is my year of implementation and the word I’ve chosen as my theme: Production.
Do I have ambitious goals for 2017? Yes
Do I think I will achieve them? Yes -Because I see what I need to do to obtain them. I’m done dreaming and I’m ready to be doing. In my next Blog post, I plan on spelling out what I plan for 2017 and how I am going to do it. And at the end of the year, I plan on looking back at the year and I think I’ll be very happy with where I am at.