Yet Another 2017 Review… but I think it’s important to both express success to one’s self as well as share with others.
I have this ritual I go through at the first of the year. I learned it LONG ago and have faithfully followed it for many years. I create an “Annual Goal” sheet of things I want to do throughout the upcoming year. I break it into categories – Professional, Personal Growth, Financial, Physical, Social/Family, Hobbies, House/Cars, etc. I then list the major items I’d like to accomplish in the upcoming year. I use that as a springboard for monthly goals sheets with the same categories. From there I create a weekly To Do, which gets broken into a daily To Do. Sounds tedious when spelled out like this, I suppose, but it’s really not. At the end of each year I review my goals to see how I did and remind myself of the great things I accomplished. It’s very invigorating and inspirational. My wife has done something similar for the last two years and we have had a lot of laughs over the memories of the previous year.
Writing did not appear on my 2017 Annual Goal list at all.
Weird, eh? My primary hobby the last few years has been guitar playing. I’m in a small informal band playing mostly 80’s rock. I’ve only played guitar for about 6 years now and I’m really not very good, but I have a lot of fun at it. That was my main recreational goal this year – improving my music. For those interested, I did!
About September I began to realize that I was obsessing too much on guitars. Buying gear, researching gear, talking guitars, cruising guitar stores. It was just too much and I began to look for a different distraction. Enter writing.
I’ve messed with writing off and on for decades. In fact I found a cache of stories I’d written for a 1991 college Creative Writing course and used several of those as seeds for new stories. In mid October I saw something about NaNoWriMo and decided on about the 27th of the month that I’d give it a go.
NaNoWriMo2017 was very successful for me. I “won,” regained some discipline and awoke a passion to share stories with the world. My main interest is flash fiction (1000 word pieces) and my fantasy novel. The novel centers on a world I intend to develop through several books, short stories, flashes, etc. I’m very excited about that.
So let’s see how 2017 went:
- NaNoWriMo2017 – 50,000+ words
- three flash fiction pieces good enough for submission queries
- received a variety of Declines for my pieces – these are teaching me patience and perseverance (and temper control!)
- major development of my WIP novel (some during NaNoWriMo and some since then)
- gained knowledge of the writing process by reading Gerke’s “Hack Your Reader’s Brain”
- received “The Twelve Key Pillars of Novel Construction” by C.S. Lakin and “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler for Christmas, and they’ll be ready for next year’s reading
- pitched a possible essay about writing influences to a major journal and am waiting to hear back
- discovered Submittable and The Grinder for both tracking and sources of potential publishers
- created a social media presence for my writing that includes this blog and my twitter identity “dmgwrites” which is currently at almost 1300 followers. Joining this community has been wonderful for ideas, information and support
- joined a local writer’s group and I’ve already learned a ton from them
- attended an online class for Short Story writing, which did not turn out to be particularly helpful at all, but was worth a shot
In two months I guess that’s not bad!
So 2018 will include an expansion of my writing interests. I’d like to win NaNoWriMo2018, get at least one flash or short piece published, make major progress on the structure of my first novel, write 5-10 flash pieces, follow up on the essay pitch, and generally strengthen my writing abilities. More on all that in a future blog.
I can only hope that writing 2018 is as productive, fulfilling and fun as it was in 2017!