2017: The Year in Review

Audio Edition Coming Soon!

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Well, dear readers… what can I say about 2017?

“A mixed bag” is about the best thing I can come up with. I feel like I’m ending the year on a bit of a low note, but maybe that’s just a warped perception of mine since, once again, many of my 2016 goals were not realized. A lot of my successes this year also had downsides so that they seem less like unambiguous wins and more like double-edged swords. Still, I’ll take what I can get.

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SUCCESSES in 2017:

1) I finished Courting the Moon! Formerly known as All’s Fair, or AFiLaW, I completed the final round of editing for this fantasy / romance / steampunk / political intrigue hybrid in April. For the first time, I have a novel-length piece of work that I think is good enough to submit for publication. Plus I’ve got some ideas for other books set in the same universe: The Arcenciel Romances.

2) I’ve been making inroads on Book 2 of The Mariner Sequence: Seahawks and Storms! That was my project for NaNoWriMo this year, and while I don’t think the result is as good as it could be, it still generated almost 100 pages of material, and I think about a third of that is actually decent enough to be used.

3) I went to an official writerly event: The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York City! This was one of the double-edged swords I mentioned. It was an interesting and in many ways useful experience, but it also really messed with my head. Still, the fact that I went to something so outside my normal scope is pretty awesome, so I’m including it as a success.

4) I’ve been wonderfully distracted by — excuse me, enjoying — several fabulous fictional universes: Star Trek thanks to the airing of Discovery and my discovery (ha ha) of Enterprise; Star Wars thanks to the TV show Star Wars Rebels, numerous canon books and comics, and the release of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (yay!); and Marvel, thanks to Thor: Ragnarok and my local suppliers FourCorners Comics and the public library. While these tangents haven’t exactly helped inspire my writing (outside of fanfiction) or to keep me on track, they have helped me keep my sanity.

5) I learned how to make fire! Seriously, I can now actually build a fire. In my fireplace. On my own. Unsupervised. Think on that and tremble. ^_^;;

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GOALS in 2018:

1) Learn to love writing again. Yeah, that’s kind of a big one. Lately it seems like I’ve been slogging through my writing rather than enjoying it, haunted by the specter of agents and publication and branding. I’ve found that I hate all of that, and it’s caused a creative paralysis. I don’t want to start or work on anything because I now know what’s waiting for me when the manuscript is complete. That needs to change. Otherwise there will be no point in continuing to write.

2) Deal with the carry-over goals from previous Years in Review, especially increasing exercise and limiting social media. Thanks to the depressing vitriol of the internet, I’ve been stress-eating again, which makes it harder for my meds to work. That insidious ouroboros is detrimental to both physical and mental health. So I’ll be working on that again as well.

3) Go on more Artist Dates. This is a concept that I learned from reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is way too easy to just huddle at home each weekend being my introvert self. While that’s okay for a while, I still need to experience beauty beyond books and television. An Artist Date requires taking time once a week to do something that nurtures your creativity, be it going to the park, seeing a concert, drawing, etc. I did a little bit of that this year, but would like to do so with greater deliberation.

4) Write more letters. In this age of instant communication, tempers can flair and outrage override good sense with the click of a button. I love reading compilations of letters written by writers and feel a sense of calm when I sit down to write one of my own. Sometimes it’s nice to go slow, to think before you speak.

Many thanks to everyone who has liked, shared, commented, or enjoyed my work in any of its forms. I hope you’ll continue to do so in the New Year and to let me know what you think! Many happy returns and best wishes to all of you.

“Year of the Dog” by aoikagetora on DeviantART

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