Every year I make a list of goals for the year. Usually I have a list a mile long, eventually I don’t even want to think about. Basically, I just overwhelm myself so it’s almost impossible to complete anything. This year I’m going to keep the list short hopefully it will help me focus and actually accomplish them. I’ll also try out the advice I’ve read to tape it somewhere you can see it. The past couple of years I’ve written in a journal or notebook and totally forgotten about it. I’ve just included the most important five, I’ll be working on a lot this next year but these, I absolutely must work on.
- Finish editing novel in progress
- Build newsletter to 100 subscribers
- Add two new products to Etsy shop
- Complete 5 sewing projects
- Complete first Draft of poetry chapbook
I can’t really believe it’s a new year, even more that we’re already three months in it. I wanted to reflect on how the past year went. I don’t regret my decision to leave my job, but things didn’t exactly go the way I expected. I didn’t exactly have a plan, more like a list of things I wanted to try out and some things I hoped to accomplish. While I may not have hit all my goals, I have progressed as a writer and taken some steps forward. Once I sat down and listed everything I realized I got a lot more done than I originally thought. Here’s just a few of the great things I might not have gotten the chance to do if I was still working full-time.
- I attended as many writing workshops as possible; most, if not all, of them were offered free by the New York Writers Coalition. I also participated in their fundraiser, as a show of my gratitude, and attended the annual Write-A-Thon.
- Found and started attending a monthly poetry group at New York Public Library.
- Started volunteering for 826NYC, an organization that offers tutoring and writing workshops to students. I helped facilitate bookmaking field trips, creative writing workshops, virtual tutoring and personal statement workshops for high school students. I also took advantage of the workshops they offer for volunteers.
- For most of the year I was able to keep to a schedule of publishing a new post weekly on my new fiction blog. I was about on a biweekly schedule for this blog, although I wasn’t always consistent.
- I participated in NaNoWriMo; while I didn’t technically win, I only got to about 45,000 words instead of the 50k goal, I finished the story, attended a handful of write-ins at the NY Public Library and contributed to their weekly blog updates.
- I also attended a bunch of free classes at the Brooklyn Public Library. Including some that have inspired me to try out some different creative projects. (Likely I’ll write more about those in another post.)
Last year was a bit of a struggle at times and I went through a lot of ups and downs. But overall, I’m happy with what I got done and where I’m at now. Back in December I started working a temp job for the holidays, the reason I fell off my writing routine, and they called me back in to work in February. It’s a part-time gig, but I like it so far and it definitely makes me feel better to have a steady check coming in. I feel like the past couple of months just flew by and I haven’t gotten much done, but I’m finally settling into a bit of a regular schedule.
In my last update I was in pretty good spirits. For a while I went back and forth between feeling really great and really crappy but in general I was doing well. But that last couple of weeks have been pretty rough. I’ve been struggling with keeping up the confidence to keep going. In general I was just beating myself up for not accomplishing as much as I thought I should. I still hadn’t landed any more freelancing work, actually I haven’t really even tried. I got the news that I didn’t even get an honorable mention in the contest I entered and I haven’t heard back from the few submissions I sent out. I also am basically completely broke, my savings is gone and the few assignments I did get the money didn’t last very long. Now I’m getting back the point of having a credit card balance and feeling like I just can’t hack it. All my insecurities and self doubt began bubbling up and I ran out of steam to keep positive. .
But I’m still too stubborn to give up. Now that I’m done with my depressing rant I can take stock and look at what I have done. I’m about halfway done with the writing of poetry for the collection that I’ve been working on for what feels like eons. I have pretty much kept to posting to the Dante blog weekly and am getting enough of a feel for the character that I might just start writing her stories. A big help through this has been the writing workshops I’ve been attending. I’ve tried to commit to attending at least one weekly and they have really helped to keep me writing even when I was so not in the mood to do anything but lay in bed. Now I just need to work turning some of the writings into finished pieces. I’ve still been writing for Senior Planet, a gig that I’ve been very thankful for. I also decided to start working on some new creative projects, like my new pocketbook.
I have to say I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I also realized I need to start looking for an actual job, I really hate being broke. Plus I think I need some structure and commitment in my life. I’m not so good with that whole self discipline things. But things are again looking up, I’ve also had some other opportunities presented to me recently. I’m hoping that at the next update it’s all good news. We shall see.
Last blog pretty much caught us up to my present situation. It’s been about four months since leaving my job. I have to admit it’s been pretty rough and it was hard not to think I made a mistake the first couple of months. There were so many things I planned on doing and it hasn’t really felt like I’ve been getting anywhere. I spent the first month or so just developing new routines and looking for ways to keep busy.
Being the middle of winter and having nowhere to go, I spent most of my time in the house avoiding the cold weather. I did a lot of baking, cleaning, working on household projects, reading and basically everything I didn’t have time for when working. I set up a schedule to help structure my days and block out time each week for different writing projects. Only this past month have I started to build a routine and feel happy with the progress I’ve been making.
Before leaving my job I applied for a job with the editor from my first internship. Now at SeniorPlanet.org she needed a part time assistant editor for a few hours a week. While I didn’t get the job, she ran the sample story I wrote and offered me more freelance work. I’m working on a third story for the site now. Realizing I was spending too much time drafting and editing blogs, I starting setting deadlines and goals for posting. I finally started publishing blog posts on my fictional blog, trying to keep to a weekly posting schedule. And have almost managed to keep up my goal of publishing on Last Words every other week. While progress still feels slow on other projects I’ve managed to submit a couple poems to a literary magazine and a humor poetry writing contest.
With the weather warming up I started taking daily walks, making weekly visits to the library and attending free or cheap events to get out of the house. By the end of February, I was getting pretty stir crazy and would have lost it if I didn’t get out soon. I also applied to volunteer for 826 NYC a nonprofit focused on developing writing skills for kids in school. I’ve been waiting to clear the background check to get started working.
I feel like I’ve started to get a momentum going and am hoping to keep it up. Over the years I’ve tended to lose focus on writing but I think I’m finally on the right track.