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2018 Year End Reviews - Part II

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Trying to answer these questions, I pulled out all of the notebooks I've used in the last year. There were three of them. I seem to have been in a similar state this time last year, being unproductive and distracted and feeling like doing nothing. I wonder why that is.

Saturday: Successes

It doesn't seem like I've set any goals for 2018 until May but I was definitely working on my second book, and I can see it shaping up to be what it is now as I read the notes. That was a fun process. So, in terms of successes: writing my second book went well until I reached the mid-point, and then I didn't get much writing after I had a breakthrough that required more research. I have picked it up again lately, so it may be finished next year. We'll see. Another project I'm calling a success is my last academic paper, of which the first draft is done. More broadly, I think I made good progress this year in the process of embracing my creativity. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm making progress. Oh, also, I read 33 books so far this year.

Sunday: Could have gone better

Ah, I'm good at this one. I can do this no problem. Funny how I'm so much better at finding what's wrong than finding what's right. So, first I would say that not having explicit goals at the beginning of the year wasn't great. I muddled along for the first four months. Also, journalling and scheduling myself is something that works for me, and I should have done it from the beginning of the year. Another thing I learned (again) this year is that, for me, having a course or some weekly structure for my writing works well. When I don't have this kind of weekly structure, I tend to meander a lot. And play stupid iPhone games. A LOT. I need a schedule to force me to get out and write/think about ideas. As I was looking at my notes, I saw that most of my ideas come when I talk to other people about stories or life. So the more I'm out there talking to other people, the more ideas I'll have, right?

Monday: Money well spent

Hands down, paying for professional help. This includes my therapist and my cleaner and the lady who came to help me declutter the entire house. Oh, and also travels. Definitely well spent.

Tuesday: Progress towards goals

See Saturday and Sunday; I didn't have any goals at the beginning of the year which is I think something I should remedy. I think that if my goal is to become a better writer, then I've made a lot of progress this year. I can see that by looking at stuff I wrote at the beginning of the year which make me go "who's the idiot who wrote that?" only, of course, I'm much less judgemental and much more kind in my head. Obviously.

Wednesday: New skills learned

I can't say I learned new skills. I improved my writing a lot, but I can't really quantify this. It's not like I didn't know how to write before. But it has improved. I also learned Spanish; I'm not quite fluent yet (I've yet to talk to another person in Spanish), but I'm getting there. And I started riding a bike, which I haven't done since I was in my teens.

Thursday: Break-through moment

That one's easy. I wrote about it here. Now that I have the vantage point of time, I can say that I think I over-estimated how significant that breakthrough was. It was crucial, of course, for me to keep writing. But it didn't solve everything, and I still need to write the rest of the book. Still, it was quite the breakthrough moment.

Friday: Smart decisions

I feel that this challenge is becoming a tad repetitive. One smart decision was to keep a journal and stick with it. I've been journalling fairly consistently since April, and it's been a great help to order my thoughts and clear my mind. This blog, which I started in May, was also a good decision. I'm enjoying this tremendously and hope you do too.


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