Monday, January 2, 2017

Goodbye 2016

As a whole, 2016 wasn't that good of a year for me.  I mean, yeah the number of celebrity deaths that hit me hard last year was pretty bad (right up until the very last, with William Christopher).  But that was just one part of it.

There's also the fact that, politically, the country took a turn that, to me, seems like more of a nose-dive, with the election of Trump, and the supporting of current Teabagger Republicans in office.  In short, I don't think people really thought things through, politically.  And I am honestly afraid of the potential consequences.  My hope that I am wrong is there, but it's like a small glowing ember in a dark and scary forest.

On a more personal front, I started a new job in January of last year.  And while that seems like it should be a good thing, in hindsight it kind of wasn't.  Sure my salary is a bit more, and the fact that I will actually get raises every year is a huge plus.  But really, that's where it ends.  The job itself is tedious and mind-numbing, and often frustrating and depressing.  We're understaffed, and micro-managed by a management team that is too disassociated with the processes in the trenches to see how stressful the job is.  But, I'm muscling through it.  All the while on the lookout for something actually better.

Then there's the fact that my wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  And while it's not currently as debilitating as it could be, it did require a lot of adjustments on our part.  We're getting through that, though.  And while there are certainly bad days, we know how to handle them now.  Of course, my daughter was diagnosed with a learning disorder as well, which makes things just that more complicated.  But, while her behavior issues sometimes exacerbate bad days, like with the MS, we're learning to cope and adjust there too.

And finally there's my writing.  Or, I should say, lack thereof.  2016 started off bad, with me failing to muster up the ability to write my Senior Thesis.  So, I still have that hanging over my head.  All I need to do is write that thing, and I can graduate with a Masters Degree.  But, it looms so large in my head, that I feel like I'm facing a dragon with nothing but an old baseball bat.  It's not helped by the fact that I have retained so little of what I learned in getting to that point, that I feel like the entire effort was a complete waste.  And that all I managed to get out of it was a huge amount of student debt.

This bled directly into my fiction writing as well.  I was unable to write anything all year.  I started many times, but everything felt like eating dry, stale bread.  I wasn't even able to crank out a single 10k word story for an anthology I was supposed to be in (and had six months to write).  And now I feel like a failure, and that I let people down.  I know they probably aren't judging me for it, but I'm judging myself.  And that's bad enough.

Heck, even just reading has been a struggle.  I have started about ten different books this year, and I think I managed to finish two, maybe three of them.

But, that's all in the past, right?  Onward and upward, as they say?

This year I really want to focus more on writing.  I would like to actually do the Thesis sometime, and just get that monkey off of my back.  I would also like to complete a few projects.  But, mainly I just want to write more.  So, I'm going to try to set aside my distractions more often than I have been, and pound my keyboard until it vomits out some tales.

I also plan to read more.  I set up a goal of 25 books this year over at Goodreads.  I think it's funny that a lot of my friends are setting goals of 100+ books.  But, considering how slow of a reader I can be, and the fact that making myself just sit and read is difficult, 25 is pretty lofty for me, personally.  So, that's what I'm aiming for.

I also want to get more active, and get these health issues under control (just like most everyone else, I suppose).

And finally, I just want to learn to enjoy what I have more.  2016 saw me wrestling with depression and lethargy on a nearly daily basis.  I really want to change that.  I've never been a very motivated person, and not much of a "self starter" or "go getter" type.  So, I know it will be an effort.  But, with the support of my wife, and my friends and family, I think I can take some good strides forward in 2017.

So, here's to crankin' out some good tunes, and dancing on the grave of 2016, as we move forward into these "interesting times."

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

when you've got a big writing project you feel you 'have' to do, I find that it definitely decreases my fiction output. The only solution I've found is to get that sucker done. Easier said than done, I know. But try and remember that no big project is completed in a day, or a week. Take steps toward it each day. Even if you can only do a paragraph or two. three or four paragraphs make a page. three or four pages make good progress. I know you probably understand this but sometimes it helps to be reminded. Sorry overall that 2016 didn't treat you and Michele well. I hope 2017 will be better. The first two thirds of 2016 were pretty rough for me as well, although it got better at the end.