January 1, 2017, rolled into existence just five days ago and as new beginnings do, I’ve taken the time to reflect on the crapfest that was 2016 for the world. Everyone and their toddler (by toddler I mean our President Elect) has had a tale to tell over the last year and I don’t have much to add to the narrative, so I plan to let my Twitter timeline and Facebook feed speak for themselves. They are a reflection of my thoughts, afterall.
Instead, I want to focus on my own personal reflection. Last year, in April, I started keeping a bullet journal and it has been pivotal in this process. Not only do I have eight months worth of record to show me just what I’ve accomplished in 2016, but I also have that same record to show just where I’m lacking in improvement.
2016 in Review
Personally, 2016 was pretty incredible. The year before, I committed to writing and creating a habit of getting words on the page, but I wasn’t passionate about it. I wasn’t digging into the nitty gritty, but rather too enamored with the dream to work toward making it a reality.
Then in November, 2015, the idea for my current MS hit me like a freight train and I’ve been riding that thing ever since. This last year has shown me a taste of the highs and lows associated with the publishing industry. I finished my MS, entered into Query Kombat, realized just how not ready I was, met new writer friends and found my writer tribe, revised like my MS was on fire and if I didn’t write fast enough it’d all disappear, entered Pitch Wars, was rejected but found even more people, learned even more things, and made amazing connections with fellow Pitch Warriors and Mentors. After all that, I hired an editor–Jami Nord of Chimaera Editing is amazing and I encourage anyone and everyone to work with her–and dove right back into my novel with a plan to make it even better.
I kicked this years ass. Sometimes it kicked my ass, too.
2016 was full of loss and rejection and hard truths and bruised ego. What’s more–I went through all of these things and came out the other side fortified and emboldened and on fire.
2017: New Point of View
Looking forward to 2017, I want to continue the trend of kicking ass, but I want to do it with more focus, more intention, and more longevity.
I’ve started really looking at what I want to achieve beyond getting published.
That’s one step in the journey of, hopefully, a lifelong career. There are multitudes of things I can do as a writer outside of writing and publishing books–like teaching, mentoring, other realms of media (comics, screenplays, podcasts, vlogging, etc.).
Looking at my future as if I’m already a writer has completely changed my way of thinking. Rather than my point of view revolving around the next place I’ll live, the next adventure I’ll take, the next job I’ll try for, instead it’s revolving around how I will achieve my goals as a writer, as a future author.
With that mindset, I’ve written out some goals for 2017. I tried to keep them within the realm of my control.
- I want to take actionable steps toward making a career as a writer.
- I want to learn more about writing craft and how to tell extraordinary stories.
- I want to commit to writing diversely and repping other people and cultures well.
- I want to read more.
- I want to encourage and foster critique partner relationships.
- I want to make meaningful connections within the writing and publishing community.
- I want to invest in my writing career.
- I want to learn and continue challenging myself, my mindsets, my beliefs, with each passing day.
In my bullet journal, I listed actionable steps to take in order to meet these goals and broke down the year into quarters. I can’t wait to see what happens as this year unfolds. Let’s kick some ass!
Happy new year!