2017: The Year That Was, 2018: The Year That Will Be (For Me)

I remember during the final days of 2015 telling a friend the following:

“I’m looking forward to 2016.  Even-numbered years are always great years.”

To be honest, I’m not even sure what data I was basing that assessment on.  When I think of recent even-numbered years, no especially noteworthy occurrences immediately spring to mind.

Of course, much of that is owing to my general failure to keep track of noteworthy events.  But I’ll come back to that point.

In any case, by many, many indications, 2016 was not a great year.  2017, by a lot of those same indications, was even worse.

At the same time, in my personal life, 2017 was a year where lots of good things happened.

Admittedly, I can’t remember a lot of them—again due to my failure to keep track of—or spend much time reflecting on—big events.  But again, I’ll come back to this.

Still, I spent an awfully large part of 2017 accomplishing things.

The highlight reel

As is my custom for New Year’s, I came up with a series of New Year’s resolutions for 2017.

For years, I had a solid run of resolution success.

This was then followed by a more recent run of resolution failure, whereby everything I tried to get done ended (or didn’t end, as it were) with a degree of disappointment.

2017, however, was different.  I achieved my goals and then some.

I resolved to complete the second draft of my WIP.  In truth, I only had four chapters of this left and thus gave myself only until the end of February.

I didn’t make the February deadline.  But I more than made up for this by eventually finishing not just draft 2, but drafts 3, 4, and the first four chapters of draft 5, three out of four of these chapters being completely rewritten.

I resolved to make a decision about going back to school.

I did one better and actually submitted an application, carrying out all the related work associated with this, including meeting with the graduate admin assistant to discuss program options, obtaining official transcripts from past institutions I’ve attended, answering the application questions of intent, updating my CV, and securing letters of recommendation from three professional references.

(Ironically, despite having gone through this process, I can’t truly claim to have “made a decision” on going back to school.  Only when (if?) my application is accepted will I decide if I really—really—want to be a student again.)

I resolved to devise the plot of my next novel as informed through continued research into ancient Greece.  This one was a bit of a two-parter, worded sneakily enough for me to still claim success.

I did continue researching ancient Greece, not just through my penchant for acquiring more reference books, but by also reading three of them.

And while I didn’t devise the plot of my entire next novel, I did manage to map out the first four chapters start to finish, to take down a number of ideas for later chapters, and to complete a number of character profiles.  All of which is considerably more than I truly expected of this stretch goal of mine.

And finally, I resolved to form a critique group to help me make further revisions to my WIP.

I didn’t know it at the time, but of all of them, this goal was the real dark horse among them.  The one that, all things considered, would entail the greatest hustle.

Even though it took almost the entire year, I’ve come to consider the fulfillment of this goal as my greatest victory of 2017.

But as I’ve promised more than a few times already on this blog, I’ll write all about this in a future post.

The once and future year

2017 is now a thing of the past.  Meanwhile, 2018 is another even-numbered year.

I don’t even know what that means anymore, especially with the world such as it is now.  I don’t think I ever really did.

Regardless, I am still setting goals for myself with every intention to revive my streak of New Year’s successes.

Initially, I planned to set a series of resolutions not much different from those of 2017:

  • Complete draft 5 of my WIP using the feedback from my critique group.
  • Devise more of the plot of my next novel, as informed by more research into ancient Greece.
  • Make a decision about going back to school (assuming, now that I’ve actually applied, the decision doesn’t end up getting made for me).
  • Keep my critique group running efficiently and effectively.

For I do plan to accomplish all of these things in 2018.

However, as 2017 was winding down, I realized there are two other things that I need to do in 2018 that are equally, if not more, important than all of the above:

Firstly, I need to start keeping a list of noteworthy things that I accomplish throughout the year.  Because with all the work I did last year, it’s truly a shame that I remember accomplishing little more than these four resolutions.

This sort of triumph journaling is something I’ve previously tried doing in 2013, 2014, and 2015, but each time, I never made it past July.

Yet reading back on the bit I did capture was super interesting, and makes me excited to actually do this for an entire year.

(The secret to my success this time will be Evernote, which I have on both my phone and my iPad.  This will allow me to make entries wherever I am as soon as they occur to me, rather than have to wait until I’m back at my computer and in that time possibly forgetting.)

The second thing is a follow-up to the first point, because maybe the reason I can’t remember much of what I did is because I worked myself into oblivion.

I need to find a way to do all the things I want and need to, yet not be doing constantly, every available moment of every day:

But this too will be the topic of another post.

What will you be doing differently in 2018?  What will you do that’s the same from 2017?  Let me know in the comments.

(Image source #1 and #2)

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9 thoughts on “2017: The Year That Was, 2018: The Year That Will Be (For Me)

  1. 2017 was a horrible year for me, but I kept plugging at the WIP, and slowly moving forward. Too many personal things went wrong to even list, but I find I have persistence (or am stubborn), and keep coming back, and will until the Good Lord takes me home – or I finish PC (and other stuff).

    2017 was NOT the year I learned to market – but I did learn a lot of things not to do again, and, since I prefer to sulk and think, rather than (stubbornly) repeating errors, I may have learned useful stuff. For one, I learned that regular indie marketing will not work for me. I gave it a good try sold a few books but lost money doing so, and didn’t even sell enough to keep visible.

    It’s all okay – no one is guaranteed going viral, or even doing well in the digital marketplace, but I keep looking for the entries.

    Keep it up – progress is progress if you have this bug. Glad your 2017 was good.

    Like

    • Marketing strikes me as one of those lifelong learning pursuits – not the sort of thing anyone can just unravel in one lump sum. And it sounds like you learned some things (even if only what not to do), so it wasn’t a total bust.

      As I mentioned, my big goal for 2018 is to try to relax a little more. At the very least, I should try to do more work while lying down 🙂

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      • I take writing problems to bed with me as well. I also keep a pen that lights up in the dark at my bedside because the “boys downstairs” (to use James Scott Bell’s expression) are no respecters of sleep when they deliver up solutions to those problems.

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      • I THINK the good ideas will come back if you lose them, but I’m not willing to trust that for sure.

        Have you ever woken from a dream convinced you had the solution to something you can’t even remember? Very uncomfortable.

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      • I’ve definitely had that happen, and never managed to remember the thing either. This is why I already KNOW that good ideas can indeed be lost. But even if they did come back eventually, it’s such and easy thing to prevent their temporary absence (and all the associated stress and angst).

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  2. I’ve turned into a drifter Janna. It’s probably age-related. I continue to work 9-5 with no expectations from it other than a salary. I do enough running to stay reasonably fit, not break records. I write if I feel like it, which isn’t often. At the same time I admire you and others for setting targets and, succeed or fail, setting new ones. It’s how the world has evolved, each generation building on the one before.

    Good luck with everything in 2018. Maybe you’ll be touring your book before too long.

    Like

    • Roy, I’d like to think that one of the rewards of becoming older is the ability to transform into a drifter – able to slow down after the rat-race of youth and enjoy life at a more natural and sustainable pace. I think if we all drifted a little more the world would be a much happier, much saner place.

      Liked by 1 person

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