It’s that time of year again, the time of year when we stare deep into the heart of the sparkler, down, down, down into its eye-searing depths, reflect on the past year, and offer up our aspirations for the new year.
While taking stock of past achievements and making a gameplan is a beneficial activity, I often think that collectively we perform this introspection to our own detriment. For some people looking back means viewing a landscape of broken promises and meant-to-does, soul-crushing reminders that life is never what we expect. Looking forward can be equally harsh as our hopes soar too close to the sun.
For my reflections on 2018 and resolutions for 2019, I offer a kinder, gentler outlook.
Did I write as much as I wanted in 2018? No, my day job took a very surprising turn and the last half of my year was radically different than expected. But I did learn a new way to adapt to my new 1.5 hour commute each day: dictation. It does take some getting used to talking out loud, but in a car there’s no one around to wonder why you’re arguing with yourself. For the new year, I plan to continue dictating on my phone, but add that I need to go back and edit what I write sooner. Editing the raw, zero-draft text into a workable rough draft takes longer than the relatively clean stuff I type. Gotta up the editing game!
I learned a lot of new skills in 2018: advanced Excel, some SQL, and more Photoshop. I met my goal to read at least 1 book on storytelling per month. Some of it was novel writing, but I also studied up on storytelling from the screenwriter’s perspective, which I believe will help a lot with my pacing (and no, I’m not talking about three-act-structure). My daughter is into watching drawing videos on Youtube, and I have started watching them too. Hearing about their creative process has made me reconsider mine in a new light. Goals for 2019 will be to stay the course. Learn lots, and find ways to practice and improve my skills.
I spent a lot of time in my bubble in 2018 and not enough time with my tribe. Work stuff and focusing on my family made me more introverted than I normally am. It was important to focus on things close to home, so I’m not going to be critical about it. But for 2019, I do want to give back to my community, both at home and with my writing tribe. I’m working on some ideas, so you’ll probably hear more about that soon.
And just before the sparkler burns down and singes my writing fingers, I’m done. Best wishes to everyone for a new year full of courage, compassion, and creativity!