New Year, Same Blog

Happy New Year!

I decided to do a reflection/goals post after all. Seemed fitting to ring in the new year with a new blog post, even if it isn’t exactly a prompt.

2018 spanned at least twelve years, but we survived and we’re barreling into 2019 all fired up and ready to kick some ass. At least, I am. I suppose I can’t really speak for you, though I hope you’re as eager and punchy as I am.

I had to scroll back through my Facebook timeline to refresh my memory of significant events in my life since last January 1st, which didn’t take all that long because I pretty much only ever post on Facebook when something Big™ happens or to plug the blog (which, come to think of it, I haven’t done in a while so that’ll happen in the morning).

First and foremost, last January I created Closet Full of Notebooks and began a daily writing habit that I stuck with, more or less, for a whole year. There were a couple of breaks, but I came back from each one, which is something I had struggled with in the past. This blog has helped spark my creativity for the better part of a year, helping me to write new things every day and branch out of my old stagnating projects (read: write new things instead of just constantly revising my high school fanfiction that will likely never see the light of day again).

In February I got to cross off a minor bucket list item when my husband took me to see Anastasia on Broadway and we spent a night in Manhattan before going to the WTC memorial the following day. I wish I’d had my FitBit then. We did so much walking! But it was also such a lovely trip. I can’t wait to go again!

In March I bought a new car! Well, leased it. My old car wasn’t going to make it much longer without extensive repairs that would have cost more than it was worth. RIP Silver Wing. You served me well. The Bluebird has been good to me, but I’ll probably trade it in at the end of the lease for something with a few more bells and whistles.

My mom turned the half century mark in April and my sisters and I threw one hell of a surprise weekend for her. From a special birthday dinner where my husband and I surprised her at the restaurant, to the new dishwasher, to pretending to return to CT only to surprise her the next night with all her friends and family at another restaurant with a cash gift for her to take a much deserved vacation. There were lots of tears, but lots of joy. And it was a great weekend.

In June, I cut my hair even shorter, getting the undercut I’d wanted ever since Natalie Dormer had hers in The Hunger Games, and I bleached the top so I was blonde going into the summer. I also started with a new team in a new office at work. I got to see a different side of the business and work directly with the customer in the manufacturing plant. It’s been so much fun I decided to stay on past my 6 month rotation and join a new team.

My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary in the Finger Lakes region of NY at the end of July. We went hiking at Watkins Glen and toured half a dozen wineries. We stayed in a tiny home cabin and survived! The weather (mostly) cooperated, and we had a nice relaxing mini vacation.

Then in October, we bought a house! It was a very stressful but exciting process and we moved shortly before Thanksgiving. We’re so glad to be out of our apartment and can’t wait to work through our endless list of projects. He got a bunch of new tools for Christmas so he has Ideas for things he wants to do and honestly I’m down with it. I have my office so he can pretty much do whatever he wants with the rest of the house. (Side note: Babe, do NOT do “whatever you want” with the rest of the house, this was hyperbole. But you can totally put a bar downstairs, that’s a given.)

I had high hopes for NaNo this year, but they did not pan out like I imagined. Still, I wrote more consecutive days this year than I had in years past, despite everything life could throw at me. I haven’t given up on Todd and Jack yet, but I do need to do some more sci-fi reading to get myself in the right mindset for their tale. Luckily, my cousin got me a stack of sci-fi books, old and new, for Christmas from her local library that should give me a good boost.

Going back through my year and seeing all the big events that happened gives me hope for the coming year. I was lamenting a bit that I hadn’t really done anything all year, that aside from work I hadn’t really accomplished anything. I never really set myself any goals though, aside from making time each day to sit my butt in my computer chair and write for at least an hour, and I did do that. I got a little depressed when I took time off or missed an update, because I felt like I had failed. But I came back. And that was important for me. I was still trying. I was still writing. Even when the words didn’t want to come, I still sat down and put them onto the page. Heck, I’m doing it now.

So with all that in mind, I’ve come up with some writing goals for 2019. I don’t really want to call them resolutions, because I don’t like the connotation of the New Year’s Resolutions that are usually forgotten/left behind by February.

When I set out to start these daily prompts, my goal was to write for an hour a day. While that has kept me in my chair most nights, I also have more or less forced myself to “finish” every post I write. Even though I don’t really edit or revise my posts, I don’t like putting up an incomplete story/scene.

This has led to my arbitrary mental goal of 500 words per post. At 5 posts a week for 52 weeks, that brings us to 130k words in a year. I always do more writing outside of the blog, and I did take off a couple months from posts, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to shoot for 200k words this year across all my writing.

Another goal I have relates to the blog specifically. As of typing this, Closet Full of Notebooks currently has 150 followers (blog and email total). I’d like to at least double that by this time next year, but I would love to stretch that goal to 400 followers by 12/31/19.

I also currently have 61 followers on Twitter. I’d like to gain some new followers there too. The blog auto-posts to my Twitter account, but I also tweet a lot about my writing struggles, my cats, sports (football/tennis primarily), and just life in general. Again, I’d like to double that number, but also again I want to stretch the goal a bit. I hope to have 150 Twitter followers by 12/31/19.

I want to make more writer friends. We’re all going through similar struggles, and I would love more like-minded people to talk to, to encourage, to encourage me, to teach me. Writer Twitter has shown me a whole new world and I want to be a part of it but I am too awkward/shy to dive in. I want to change that this year and make at least 5 new writer friends. Twitter, WordPress, my local writing community. Wherever. I’m going to get better at this.

Related to writing, I need to read more. I’m honestly not sure how many books I actually read this year. I know I read a lot during down time at work at the beginning of the year. I did a lot of Kindle Unlimited books, and reread books 3-7 of Harry Potter. But this year, I’m going to make a Goodreads account and actually track how many books I’m reading. And I’m going to shoot for 25 books. 2 books a month should be child’s play for me, but it seems like a good starting point.

Lastly, a sort of fantasy goal, but I would like to write, revise, and sell a short story this year. At the very least, I want to go through the process, even if it doesn’t end up being successful. I have no shortage of material to start with, so I don’t really have an excuse not to try, right?

Thanks for sticking with me all year! I wish you the best for 2019! May all your writing dreams come true! Happy New Year!

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