I’ve got to be honest: 2017 was a hard year for me. It was hard to stay on task and hard to keep moving forward and hard to focus on things that weren’t the ever-burning dumpster fire that is American politics right now. Usually, the new year is a time of celebration and rejuvenation and re-invigoration for me. This time last year, I had a hard time feeling anything beyond anxiety and despair.
All of this is just to say that if you, like me, struggled with meeting your goals for this year or sticking to your resolutions, I understand. I achieved so much less in 2017 than I did in 2016 that it kills me a little to even compare the two. At the same time, I’m proud of my hard-won successes and I do want to acknowledge those, whether they’re goals I set on this blog, goals I set for myself, or additional accomplishments that I never could’ve predicted back in January.
I’ll be publishing a separate post for my New Year’s resolutions in another few days, but in the meantime, here’s a brief rundown of this year’s resolutions:
1. Begin querying Facing the Music.
I said back in January that this year would be my year, and I was right! I sent my first queries back in September after wrapping up my final revision pass, and I was SO excited. Even though querying is no more enjoyable now than it was during my first go-round, it still felt amazing to take the plunge.
2. Finish drafting a new WIP.
When I first wrote up this list, I was drafting a YA romance that I fully expected to have finished by spring. Instead, I wound up setting it aside around March for a variety of good reasons, even though I had no new ideas waiting in the wings to take its place. I’m still weirdly proud of myself for not wasting the better part of my year on a story I wasn’t passionate about.
3. Complete one round of revisions on my mystery and get CP feedback on it.
This was . . . ambitious. Basically, I over-estimated the amount of work I would need to do to clean up my mystery, as well as how much time it would take me to re-plot. I’m happy with the progress I did make on this story, and I do think it needed more time to bake, but I still can’t help wishing I could’ve started the actual re-writing/revising process, at the very least.
4. Practice being a good ally and learn to be a better one. Stay politically informed and politically active.
Although being a good ally is as much a process as becoming politically active, I feel like I did a MUCH better job at both these things this year than I have in, oh . . . my entire life. It was exhausting sometimes, to stay abreast of the news and all its many chaotic developments, but I’m glad I did. I’m glad I went out of my way to listen to others, to try and help without demanding their emotional labor, and to stay present and involved even when it was hard.
I’m going to continue my activism and allyship in 2018, and hopefully expand upon them too. I’ve considered volunteering for several months now, and as soon as I figure out where my time and talents might be most helpful, I’m going to give it a try.
5. Donate to at least one charity every month.
Done and done. My SO and I have been regularly donating to two – our local food pantry, plus one additional organization that we decide on each month. I’ve made extra donations on months where I’ve had more cash, and set up an automatic monthly donation to Planned Parenthood. This is another resolution that we’re definitely planning to keep in the coming year.
6. Focus on being more present and spending less time with technology.
I feel like I would’ve had a much easier time with this if it weren’t for the current political climate. On the one hand, I did put real effort into curbing my online time and avoiding gratuitous web browsing for the sake of procrastination. I learned that I’m capable of forming good online habits and capable of sticking to them, if I monitor my own behavior.
On the other hand, I still had the tendency to get dragged down into the never-ending spiral of bad, scary, or downright upsetting news more often than I would’ve liked. In 2018, I’m going to try and cultivate a better balance between staying informed and staying sane, which is going to mean refining my approach to social media more than anything else. It’s going to be a long process for sure, and one I plan to blog more about in the coming months.
Resolutions aside, I also:
Served as a juror for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in Iowa, and had my mind blown by a handful of high school short story writers who are a hundred times better than I am.
Completed and submitted a short story of my own to a couple different publications.
Booked my first paid sensitivity reading gig, for a contemporary YA romance that I’m going to talk more in depth about once it comes out. It was EXCELLENT.
Experimented with certain aspects of my creative process and settled more fully into others. Avoided panicking and beating myself up when I didn’t accomplish a few of my major goals for this year.
Read and reviewed a whole bunch of awesome books. Got over my own mental hurdle about re-reading, and let myself revisit some old favorites.
Submitted Facing the Music to a couple different contests, which took a lot more courage than I remembered.
Did you accomplish your goals or resolutions for 2017? What did you do that you’re most proud of? Let me know in the comments!