Sunday, December 31, 2017

From 2017 into 2018 - What a Crazy Year!

It's that time of year again – specifically the end of the year. That means it's time for me to reflect on 2017 and needlessly share all of my thoughts with you. I'll try to keep it shorter than last year, but this was a crazy year so I make no promises.

How'd Those Resolutions Go?

Apparently I made five resolutions for 2017. Let's go through them one by one and see how I did.

2017 Resolution #1: Finish drafting and seek publication on my novel

Yeah, I just didn't do that. I got away from the novel for a few months, and then realized that I had lost interest in it and was getting much more invested in my new ideas, and when I finally got back to writing Nothing But The Boots it just felt like a chore. I still liked the characters and many of the plot points, but the whole novel just felt like a jumbled mess. The primary problems were that I had conceptualized it when I only had a very basic idea for how to write a novel, so it just wasn't structured very well and I wasn't adequately prepared to write it, and as a result of that I had done so many rewrites to major characters and plot points that I had trouble remembering where exactly I was headed with the latest draft or what was "real" in the story anymore. When this year's NaNoWriMo came around, which is typically the biggest thing that kicks me back into writing, I made the decision to work on something else entirely, which has been going so well that I've started to finally think of Nothing But The Boots as a failure I can finally walk away from. While that was still a tough decision, it's made easier knowing that I've learned many valuable lessons in storytelling and novel writing as the result of that process, which I've carried with me into writing my next novel.

2017 Resolution #2: Write more and post stories online

I kind of did this one! I can't say that I "wrote more" necessarily, but in the start of the year I did continue writing stories based on writing prompts on Reddit, which I posted to my dedicated subreddit over there. However I fell out of the habit of looking for writing prompts around halfway through the year so that I could focus on writing for Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! 

2017 Resolution #3: Learn to play an instrument

Okay, so I admitted in my resolution that this one was the most far-fetched and unlikely. Appropriately, I barely even started working on this one before I moved on to other projects.

2017 Resolution #4: Lose weight and get in shape

In 2016 I lost 10lbs, and in 2017 I gained 10lbs. I definitely failed this one for a plethora of excuses I won't bother you with.

2017 Resolution #5: Explore my area more

Due to the project of finishing part of our basement, which took up most weekends of the better parts of the year, my wife and I didn't get to hike or go to community events as much in 2017 as we had the year before. That was a bummer, but it's what comes with taking on a huge home project that we're ultimately incredibly happy with. The good news is that I can still consider this resolution partially complete, as we tried out many more local restaurants this year than perhaps ever before!

2017 Summarized

I wrote for a video game that has gone on to be successful. My wife and I (with huge help from her dad) finished part of our basement and turned it into a beautiful home theater room. We visited both North Carolina (again) and South Dakota. I tried a lot of new restaurants, watched a lot of movies, and read a lot of books (and I got back into reading and collecting comic books). I pickled a lot of home-grown yellow peppers. I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time and started writing a new novel I'm really excited about during regular NaNoWriMo.

A new friend of mine took her own life, and the only grandfather I've ever known lost his. Two of my friends revealed to me that their significant others were physically abusing them. One of my best friends started fostering two children. A coworker friend revealed to me that he's going to be a father. My wife dealt with repeated sinus infections, back pains, and other afflictions while continuing to be the most wonderful and inspiring partner I could ever hope to have. I swear to all the gods on Mt. Olympus that my dog gets cuter every damn day.

In short, it's been a busy year full of highs and lows.

Resolutions for 2018

Bear with me, but some of these are going to be a bit familiar:

2018 Resolution #1: Finish drafting and seek publication on my latest novel

As I said, I've started writing something new this year that I'm really excited about, so I'd love to make some more real progress on that.

2018 Resolution #2: Write more and post stories online

The 2017 resolution that was very similar to this one (okay, it was the same thing) got bogged down by other projects. In 2018, I hope to be able to focus more on short story writing and making them more accessible to the world.

2018 Resolution #3: Lose weight and get in shape

I've actually recently gotten into the habit of working out more in the last month or so, so hopefully in 2018 I actually meet this goal instead of doing the complete opposite.

2018 Resolution #4: Read most of the books I own that I haven't read

I got a lot of books for last Christmas and my birthday that I still haven't read, and on top of that, my wife went to a huge book clearance event this autumn and bought even more that I haven't read, mostly because I got distracted reading other things this past year. This year I just need to stop reading books I don't own and instead focus on reading the ones I own. Simple.

2018 Resolution #4: Hike More

My wife and I hiked quite a bit in 2016, but then that habit took a back seat this year to finishing part of our basement, which took up most of our weekend free time. It was a total bummer to have to spend so many warm days inside and underground, and no doubt that partially contributed to my weight gain. That being said, I'm excited to be able to get back outside and hike more trails in 2018!

Wish me luck, and I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2018!

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