Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Resolving To Make 2017 Positive

Which direction will 2017 take us?
Artwork by NaBHaN
Well, I didn't get my last two posts in. Both are about half-way done, but I just didn't have the free-time to write. I do still plan on getting them done and posted, but I wasn't able to hit my goal of 52 posts last year. Shame, I was doing so well.

Anyway, Happy New Year, everyone. I think it is a growing consensus that 2016 generally sucked on a lot of fronts: Political, Public Safety, Celebrity Deaths, somehow equal parts of Social Insensitivity and Over-sensitivity, and Relationship - both platonic and romantic - Upheaval for a lot of people. The one thing all of my friends and I can agree upon? It seemed 2016 tried to make up for it by dishing out a lot of job/career advancements....

This mock horror movie trailer pretty much sums it up.
That's behind us now, though. While there's still wrongs that we have to figure out how to live with now, the best we can do is be kind and loving to each other and push forward. Forget 2016, and focus on how great we can make 2017.

Sure, I didn't do as well as I would have liked with my writing in 2016, but I did a heck of a lot better than previous years. All the more reason I wish I had the time to do my review, so I could demonstrate. I did decide to do things a bit differently on the back-end this year, though, so it should be a lot easier for me to write my Year in Review at the end of December this time.

Since I spent my free time trying to write those two blogs - and didn't succeed - I obviously don't have much else writing-wise to report, so I'm just going to hop into my usual for my first post of the new year: My Resolutions.

I again looked over my resolutions from last year, as well as the growth I made coupled with the growth I still need to make. With some shifting around I came up with these six Resolutions:

Resolution #1: No More Than Three (3) Zero Days In Any Given Week

    I'm trying this again. I still need to stop by the dollar store to get myself a calendar, though. I want to actually mark my writing progress. I want to mark when I write for my blog vs other writing on Tuesdays. I want to know when I've researched vs actual writing. I want to know when I've worked on an outline or world building vs writing prose or another line of script. This way I can not only see whether or not I can succeed at No Zero Days, but I can also see where my focus is throughout the year. Find a way to hone that focus next year.

Resolution #2: Complete the "Reading Books Like a Boss" Reading Challenge

    I completed the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge for last year; by the skin of my teeth. It was a fun challenge, and I loved that it actually DID get me reading again. Such a great pastime that I gave up on years ago. My thought process is that if I'm reading I have the time to do "higher priority" tasks like cleaning or writing. I always felt guilty about taking the time to READ a book instead of WRITE one. 
    I'm happy to say that I conquered that thought last year, and I plan on beating it up again this year. First, let's take a look at my "score chart" from last year's reading challenge:
This doesn't even include the four or so extra books I read!
    For this year, Spink found the new challenge for us. This time brought to you by Reading Books Like a Boss. I love that she loved last year's challenge enough to want to push for a second one! My mom and Cyhyr are also joining in again. Another one of our friends decided to come aboard as well, so we'll see how well everyone will do.
    If you also want to join in, here's the challenge check list:
    I have to do a slight adjustment with that first challenge point. Considering I didn't finish A SINGLE BOOK in 2015, I can't very well reread one I gave 5-stars to. So, that will simply be "Reread a book" again. Spink already has her first book picked out, but I'm still trying to finish tying up loose ends from 2016. I'll try to have a book picked out by next week's update.
    It will prove difficult with my rough transition from 2016 to 2017 already delaying me, but an added challenge for me this year - since I managed a handfull of extra books last year - is to get up to 20 books read. We'll see how well I do.

Resolution #3: Constructively participate on the Writers’ Huddle Forum At Least Once A Week

    I completely failed at this last year. I think it was the year I spent the LEAST amount of time over at WH. I focused on my own challenges, and my local writing group, and my "penpal" Atlanta. I didn't really think about WH all that frequently. 
    Well, this year I have Habitica for the assist. True, it can't really do anything against me if I DON'T participate, and it is the honor system - as with all things on Habitica - but I'm putting this resolution at the top of my "Habits" list so I see it every day. I get experience and rewards if I add to the community, and I get damage if I go a week without participating.
    I just need to go through and again deal with the daunting task of catching up on the forums after disappearing for half a year.

Resolution #4: Beta Read And Return Notes Within A Fortnight

    Along with the reading challenge, I actually did really well with this. Granted, I was only given about four or five things to beta read over the course of the year - and most were super quick to read - but I managed it. So, I'm keeping this rarely-relevant resolution as a means of continuing my commitment to be a better help to my fellow writers.

Resolution #5: Have 52 Blog Posts Published Before The End Of 2017

    I've been fairly good at keeping up with my posting date and time ever since I switched over to Tuesdays with my new job. I still didn't manage to hit all 52 posts, but I'm already taking measures to simplify things this year so I can better hit this goal. With some determination, I really feel that I can make it this time! Once I hit the "52 posts in a year" goal I might be able to finally have the "post every week" goal officially.
    Still, 50 posts last year, with the last two in the works, isn't too shabby, right?

Resolution #6: Ronoxym's Writing Challenge

    As I mentioned last week, I am planning on rolling over Ron's writing challenge for me from last year. I also talked about the tweaks I wanted to do to the challenge to make it more "doable" than last year's. Here's the new breakdown:
    I have to write a flash fiction or vignette of 1000 words or less every week. I must then post them weekly here in my blog, as well as bring them with me to writing group. While I am now allowing myself the ability to write "fanfiction" based on the role-play games I participate in or reworks of stories my friends write, I'm still restricted from writing typical fanfiction based on professionally owned intellectual property; so, no books, shows, movies, songs, etc. Finally, while I'm still not allowing myself to have these stories be direct continuations of any others I write this year, I am allowing myself to write multiple stories within the same universe, and possibly with the same character. I think it will really help me develop my characters and my world more if I can write unrelated vignettes about each.
So, there you have it, my "new" set of resolutions for this year. Most of them are just rehashes from last year, but I think that's the point. I had writing issues I wanted to fix, and I feel the resolutions last year helped. I reworked the resolutions a bit to reflect the improvements I've made, and now I'm trying to use them again to refine myself. We'll see if I continue to grow, or if six resolutions truly is just too much to focus on. Personally, I don't think so. I feel it's just putting on paper, so to speak, the changes I've already committed to, and so it holds me accountable to keep working on them.

I'm hoping these resolutions and challenges really push me forward down the good trek I've started last year. Next year I want to have just one resolution: "Write a novel by the close of 2018." So, let's see if this year can prep me for that!

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