Reflecting On 2016

I’ve been quite absent here the past week or so. Last week was a total madhouse of things going on with the holiday season. The week before Christmas is the final and worst Hell Week when you work retail. Since I had my own things I had to finish to be ready for the holiday on top of working I was going non-stop and a lot slipped my mind, like blog posts. I hardly slept last week with the final rush of things.

(I know I’ve said something similar to this before but roughly ten hours of sleep in a matter of three days is not recommended. I crashed for about 18 hours after that little doozy of a nightmare.)

Things have finally begun to quiet down now that it’s over. At least, work has quieted down from the chicken without a head rushing, there’s still lots to do though. Home life, on the other hand, has not taken the memo to quiet down this week. After putting in two weeks of overtime, I somehow managed to score four days off this week and I was so looking forward to it because this introvert needs about three weeks of calm to realign after the last several weeks before she has to hit another two or three weeks of madness due to inventory.

Unfortunately that calm has not worked out.

Monday into Tuesday morning was my sleep for about 18 hours spell. Tuesday was my first day off (other than Christmas, I didn’t exactly count Christmas as off since there was still no relaxing about it) and I had completely planned for it to be a “fuck it all” kind of day where I was simply going to just sit around and relax finally. I didn’t care if I got anything done or not, and I was not planning to go anywhere.

Right off the bat that got screwed because I had to go out to finish an errand that I couldn’t do on Monday since the post office was closed the day after Christmas, and of course, other people wanted me to do things that day. I said no. The relaxation also got a little cancelled by a bummed out and irritated mood thanks to certain events. Thankfully, by the end of the night I was pretty alright though.

Wednesday I worked and upon getting home I began to hear the news about the company All Romance eBooks closing its doors at the end of the year quite abruptly without warning and basically screwing over its authors and publishers. It gave me a mini heart attack because for a moment I couldn’t remember if my publisher for Embermyst had used them or not. I got lucky, but many others haven’t, and just hearing about it is making me reel and shaking me off center a little.

Now Thursday into today has pretty much been an irritating hell in which nothing has gone to plan thanks to uncontrollable circumstances that don’t even involve me but end up effecting me. I even had off today and, yeah, nothing has gotten done.

At this point, all I’m praying for to whichever god or goddess will hear me is that the rest of this night goes more calmly and that tomorrow mellows out into a good day since I’m again off. Tomorrow better be a good day because it’ll be the first time I get to spend one on one time with someone I hardly see. I don’t want anything to ruin it, not the slightest hitch. You hear me, universe? Not one hitch. No ifs, ands, or buts. That’s my one and only warning. I need something good to end this nightmare year on.

Speaking of this nightmare year, it’s just about over. I think a lot of people are saying “fucking finally” and will be jumping for joy when this year ends tomorrow, or they’ll be flicking off the ball as it drops. Myself included. There have been a few good spots to 2016 but there’s also been a lot of bad that has left a shadow of darkness hanging over this year forever. I honestly believe it will be a year that goes down in history as one nobody ever wants to speak of again.

As I sit here with six candles to light my room, my diffuser running with a blend of essential oils to try to ease my stress and relax, and a CD of hammer dulcimer instruments playing softly, I can’t help but look back on 2016. (Can you tell I was meditating before I began this post?)

A lot has happened this year, and a lot also hasn’t happened this year. Some things were amazing, others were horrific. Some things were half started and never finished, others were never began, and others still were huge accomplishments. It has certainly been a royal roller coaster of a year, and not just for me but for a lot of the world.

The world was rocked by terrorist attacks on Paris. Outrage flew out over the Pulse shootings in Florida. The world reeled at the results of the US Presidential Election. So many influential and amazing actors/actresses, singers, songwriters, producers, and authors passed away this year. DAPL’s heinous acts have gotten little media coverage and left many people outraged by greed and fighting back with the risk to their lives by this point. The Zika virus outbreak caused much panic in women and over the Olympic games. Let’s face it, no one was happy where the Olympic games took place either.

There were spots of light amongst the darkness though.

Thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of oh so long ago, the gene responsible for the disease has been identified, giving us new ground to work toward an effective treatment. Scientists learned how to link robotic arms with the part of the brain linked to intent so that they may use them just as we use our own limbs, just by doing. Endangered species’ numbers are growing, like tigers, and pandas, and manatees. World crime is still declining — even if it doesn’t seem like it after this year. A bank firm paid the college tuition for children of employees killed in 9/11. After the Pulse shootings, the Orlando Shakespeare Festival showed up at the funeral for the victims with angel wings to block the view of anti-gay protestors from the proceedings. The world of Harry Potter has not ended with a new book and movie out.

2016 has seemed bleak and despairing, but if we only look at the bad, we will never see the bits of good that have bloomed out of the darkness against all odds either.

The world has seen its massive ups and downs this year, that much is for sure, but what about for me?

With the year ending tomorrow I have found myself reflecting back on the goals I had for this year. Some I had actually completed, others I tried but didn’t quite get very far. A few fell through, and still 2016 held a couple surprises.

Does anyone remember what my goals were? (No cheating by clicking on the link. Lol) Well, I suppose I’d be surprised if ya’ll remembered what my goals were. Somehow I managed to remember them, maybe because I wrote them all down in a nice little journal entry at the beginning of the year.

And ’tis the season to take a walk down memory lane from the whole year so I might as well start walking to see what I accomplished — or didn’t accomplish — this year. Care to join me?

THE GOALS

Write Consistently
I suppose my only resolution of this year was to simply write consistently instead of my jumping around in writing this month and doing nothing the next month and so forth. Unfortunately, I still failed pretty miserably at that resolution. I need more discipline to make it work. Something I’m not at all good at.

However, this was the first year I successfully managed a win for NaNoWriMo in November, so I call that an accomplishment. (I tried for it in 2015 too but I had computer issues that rendered me unable to do it.)

After three NaNo sessions working on Fated to Darkness and my short story Embermyst, at the very least I wrote 156,792 words this year. And that doesn’t even include all my Shards of Imagination flash fiction writing or any other writing I did in non-NaNo months. So it’s safe to say I did at least write over 200k this year. (It’d be pretty cool to see what the actual number was if I could ever figure it out.)

*Couple minutes later*

Okay, I did part of the math. If I add in all the words I wrote for Shards of Imagination, I get 203, 177 words. That doesn’t include any of the little bits of writing I did on Fated to Darkness in non-NaNo months so I am definitely over 200k for the year. I wish that number was higher, and I wish I could know just how much I wrote, but I’m not sure I could figure it out exactly. Well… Maybe if I went back through my email to find where I kept leaving off in writing I could get pretty darn close to the exact number. As cool as it’d be to find out I’m not going to try. The 203k also doesn’t include any editing or rewriting I did on Embermyst either.

That’s still a lot of words though.

Re-edit Rivers of Black
This had been one of my “dammit do it already” goals for 2016. I’ve been meaning to re-edit this story for quite some time because I believe it will get some better reads on Wattpad if I clean it up more. (I wrote it years ago at this point.) However, this was one of the goals I failed to get to. I started to get ready for it, I got everything I wanted organized to begin editing it. I just never actually started on it.

Fingers crossed this is something I can actually get to in 2017. (Someone better nag at me to do this.)

Complete 2015 Camping Journal Entries
This goal really should have been completed in 2015 after every single trip I had, as I did the year before. Obviously that didn’t happen in 2015 if it was a goal for this year, and I still haven’t learned my lesson on that one for this past season either, but I did get them done. Almost on the same time frame I had hoped to have them done too: one a week until they were completed. I think I finished about a week late on them but that’s pretty damn good for me that I stuck to it!

Hooray for that accomplishment at least, but I still need to learn my lesson on those entries, because, um, yeah, I did it again this year. Guess who still has all six entries of this year’s season to still write? I’m an idiot.

Obtain My Driver’s License
Yeah… About this one…

This goal had been one of my big, big ones. I’ve only been putting it off and putting it off — for multiple reasons — for a few years now.

To my credit, I got half way to this goal. I did manage to get my permit by the deadline I set myself, which was back in March. However, I’ve only been out to drive less than ten times and haven’t been out in probably five months. Part of that is because I hardly see my dad, who is the only person I trust enough and am comfortable with to teach me to drive; and part of that is simply because the idea of driving on the road still scares the living shit out of me.

Okay, let me rephrase that: it’s not the driving on the road that scares me. It’s the driving with other cars around that scares me. Last night, coming home from work at 3am when the roads were empty I would have been perfectly fine to ask my dad if I could try driving home, even though it was snowing lightly. In fact, he almost thought about asking me that, and if he had I’m 99% sure I would have said yes. But if you ask me to drive on the road during the day… I freeze up.

Sadly, the year limit on my permit will be up in a couple months and I’ll have to go through this whole process again because I know I will not have my license by then. Not when I’ve begun seeing my dad even less than the beginning of this year. Who says next year is going to be any different either with our jobs?

Start Horseback Riding Again
At the beginning of the year, I had really missed riding and had wanted desperately to go back. After talking with a couple friends, I was encouraged to pursue it again because it could have been that one thing that helped me get through each week in a life I was beginning to deem miserable for eternity.

Well, a few months ago I finally took that step and went back to riding at the academy I used to attend. However… While it started out great and I was beginning to gain the confidence I lost three years ago due to my fall, riding rapidly began to lose its charm.

The horse I normally rode switched to a different one that I enjoyed at first but then began to get frustrated with because I was spending more time trying to slow him down from running into the rider in front of me (I ride in a group of three or four per lesson) than I was having fun. I also tended to work every morning before riding and by the time I was getting home I’d have to change and leave. It became exhausting, it became more of a chore than something I enjoyed doing and looked forward to.

Now I haven’t ridden in probably a month and a half between the lesson itself being cancelled or me deciding not to go because I’m exhausted or have had too much to do. I’m to the point now that I’m honestly thinking of dropping the lessons once more, because it really isn’t doing what it used to for me. Perhaps it would be less of a chore if I could get those days totally off work, or if I could get a different horse again, but riding a different horse isn’t up to me, and I had enough trouble the first month or so with my boss screwing my schedule up. I can only imagine how much it’d be screwed again if I asked for Wednesday’s off completely now.

So I accomplished the goal, I went back, but I’m on the verge of giving it up again.

Organize Closet
This was one of my major goals of 2016. At the beginning of the year I didn’t actually believe I would accomplish it. I surprised myself though.

Not only did I organize and clean out my closet, I organized and cleaned out my entire room. I even held a yard sale to try to get rid of the stuff I no longer wanted. To my dismay the yard sale hardly panned out and wasn’t worth half the stress and sleepless nights I put on myself over this goal. Even now I’m still sitting on half the stuff I couldn’t sell because I have had no time to go through it and do something with it since then.

The intent of this goal was so I could finally start to reclaim my room as my own after about four years. Needless to say, it hasn’t really worked out. The only way it’s going to work out is if the spare room is cleaned out as well. Which shouldn’t be a problem since I just did one room, right? Wrong. Not when half the stuff in there is your lazy mother’s who can’t hold a single penny to her word and who is pretty much useless and disrupting if I were to do it anyways.

So while I managed to accomplish the goal of cleaning my closet and room out, it left a mess of things I still have to find a way to work with. I need to get onto either a Facebook group or Craigslist to try to sell the rest of the stuff, and start either donating what I can or throwing the other stuff out.

Finish Fated to Darkness
This… This was my most major of goals for 2016. The one that if I would have completed it I wouldn’t have cared if I accomplished nothing else all year.

Now, this goal included finishing the first draft of the novel and working out the concordance so when I began to edit next year in theory I wouldn’t be so lost. So there was a lot of work involved in this goal.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get all that work done.

To my credit, I nearly accomplished half of that work. The first draft is about six chapters away from being completed after writing feverishly on it for every NaNoWriMo month there was this year, as well as in between at times. I put in over 150k to this story this year, and no, I’m not going to tell you how long it actually is. (I’m hoping editing takes it down in word count a little, the length is even starting to worry me.)

It’s been quite a ride with it this year. Some chapters I stared at my screen slack-jawed in shock with what I just wrote. One in particular I did. Others I wanted to tear my hair out. I got stuck a few times and other times I was on fire, but now I really do see the light at the end of the tunnel after almost two years of working on this novel.

I’m oh so close to the end of the first draft.

And while I wish I could have made it — I probably could have finished it this month if not for work madness — I’m proud of how far I came in it. It’s got a long way to go, and I would be much further if every other month was a NaNo month, but I’m proud of how it — and my writing style — have grown over this year.

Not only that, but I can also proudly say while I didn’t finish this goal, I did accomplish something else completely unexpected and huge:

My debut publication with Victory Tales Press for my story Embermyst in their Halloween anthology, Paranormal Pleasures.

This publication quite honestly made up for not finishing Fated to Darkness. It’s a foot in the door on a dream I hold, it’s the beginning of making a name for myself, and it’s also credibility for when I try to publish my series. So it was huge. Beyond huge even.

END OF GOALS

Overall, I think I came out about fifty-fifty on my goals. That’s better than I thought I would do, and probably better than any year before too. So I’ll take that as not so bad. Other than my publication I finally passed 100 followers on my Wattpad account, and I even passed 100 WordPress followers here. I call those two things accomplishments as well.

Looking back I think the way I laid out my goals and organized them worked fairly well. It could maybe use a little tweaking for how I do next year’s goals, and I also need to set up my calendar and planner for next year, but I think it’s going to be something I try again. Of course, that would work out even better if I knew what next year’s goals were yet. Because I don’t have a list of them yet, maybe a vague idea, but not a list of them.

That’s the next thing to tackle tonight and tomorrow. Well, that and organizing Christmas gifts I got, as well as setting up my Sunday Snippet posts for January. I think I need to just start with making a list of everything I want to do and go from there.

Hopefully by Tuesday’s post I’ll have an idea on my goals and how I’m laying them out. See ya in 2017, folks. Happy Freaking New Year a day early. Let’s hope this next one doesn’t suck as much.

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One thought on “Reflecting On 2016

  1. Pingback: Planning A Year | Darkling Dreams

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