Friday, 30 December 2016

Obligatory 2016 Round-up Post

As we limp towards the start of a new year and 2016 gurgles its last few desperate breaths (hopefully without taking any more beloved public figures with it) it is traditional to sit back and reflect on the arbitrary period of time we have just completed. To think on everything one might have accomplished this orbit of the sun; which things one wanted to do and didn't, which things were a surprise etc. You've read year-round-up posts before, you know what to expect here.

Despite my initial instinct to say that 2016 has been a complete and utter dumpster fire (and in many respects it really has been) on a personal level this year has actually been the opposite. Productive. Good, even.

That's not to say that 2016 has been an easy year for me. It's done quite a number on my mental health. Apparently getting to the end of something as huge and intense as a PhD with no clear idea what happens next can take its toll on a person. I've had to learn that it's okay to take time for myself, to reboot and recharge the old brain. And initially I thought that when looking back on 2016 it would be the post-PhD funk that dominated by memories. I was wrong.

First of all I'd like to acknowledge the fact that I finished and graduated from my PhD because holy crap that is not a small thing. It's pretty fucking impressive, if I do say so myself.

This year was also the year I self published my first novel. Like an entire novel that I wrote with my own hands is out there in the world for people to buy. Which is a thing I try not to think about too much because otherwise it blows my mind.

I also sold my very first short story to a publication, which should be going live sometime tomorrow (the 31st). This joins the dozens of stories available for free on this very blog and the ones I've self published.

I got my first freelance paychecks this year,  and when they didn't quite make ends meet I was adult enough to go looking for a seasonal job to earn extra cash. It ate into my writing time initially but I'm better at balance now, and I'm hopeful I might be able to make it permanent.

At the beginning of the year I set myself the goal of writing a quarter of a million words and I hit that sometime in October. Right now I'm at just shy of 300,000 words, which was the stretch goal I set myself. Do I feel bad for not hitting that goal? No, because that is still a metric crap tonne of words.

I also set myself the challenge of reading 50 books (of any length) which I've missed by about four books. Again I'm not mad about missing that goal because on top of those 46 books I've read easily a couple of million words of fanfiction.

And speaking of fanfiction, this has pretty much been the best year I've ever had fandom wise. More hits, more Kudos, more comments, more subscriptions. Which isn't necessarily a surprise since I've posted more words, more stories than before. My fandom performance this year makes me hopeful my approach to self publishing will pay off long term.

I didn't think I'd say this, but I'm excited to see what 2017 has in store for me.

I tend not to make resolutions because often they're about changing something about yourself you don't necessarily have much control over in order to make yourself feel less shit and I'm not about that. I believe in attainable goals that can be measured, so what are they?

1. Pet more dogs.  Not really measurable but I don't care. Dogs are great and make me happy, so I'll do more of this.

2. Keep creating an putting art out into the world. I want to write 300,000 words across all the mediums I write. I will keep posting my short stories here,  and on Medium, and keep submitting to publications. I want to aim for releasing five novels next year, digitally and in hard copy, because I want so badly to be able to hold an actual book I wrote.

3. Continue to be unrepentantly, obnoxiously, unabashedly myself. I will keep talking about my mental health, my sexuality and issues that are important to me as much as feel I can. Because pretending to be someone I'm not is too much hard work.

4. Make a dent in the book pile they lives next to my bed. There's like 25 of them just sat there. I want to read about half in the next year.

5. Survive and be happy, even if it's just to spite those who don't want.  me to. Sometimes this is the hardest thing, especially when you live with depression, but meeting the rest of my goals will be impossible without this.

I hope you all have a safe and happy 2017, and I look forward to sharing my adventures with you. Have a good one, and take care.

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