Year In Review/New Year Goals

Looking back on 2015 my overriding thought is “BYE!” Last year wasn’t the best for me but there were some really great things that happened.

Writing – In the first part of the year I was part of a much needed writing group and I took a course that helped me in ways I didn’t know I needed. I was writing regularly and pumped out a lot of very short stories – flash fiction. This was important to me because I always thought I was terrible at writing short stuff. In the past when I tried there were always too many words and the stories would grow out of control and I wasn’t even going for super short!

The one time (many years ago) I attempted flash fiction I succeeded with word count but not quality. The idea was good but the execution was lacking, which convinced me not to do it again, until 2015. I wrote a few and posted them. When I got good feedback my confidence grew and I kept going. Eventually I experimented with every genre I could think of, with a few exceptions. I wrote 70 pieces of flash fiction.

I had many novel ideas but it was hard to make myself work on only one. The result is several novels in various stages of completion, including some that are only in the planning/plotting stage but will definitely be finished this year. Those stories are:

  1. The Ghost War – 70% completed
  2.  Untitled middle grade story – 75% completed
  3.  Untitled fantasy, book 1 – 50% completed
  4.  Untitled Vigilante story – 15% completed
  5.  Untitled Witch Story – Plotting in progress (this is what I’m working on when not revising)
  6.  Untitled time travel story – still in planning but a few scenes written.
  7.  Untitled urban fantasy – 10% completed
  8.  Suspense story – 30% completed
  9.  My Nanowrimo project, a fairy tale – first draft 100% complete

Some of these actually have titles but none are set in stone. One of those I’ve been writing on and off since 2003, the fantasy trilogy. It’s the story I have to step back from sometimes because I’ve agonized over it for too long. I also keep randomly writing scenes belonging in books 2 & 3. The Ghost War was the one I was writing for Nanowrimo until the fairy tale took over. As for the fairy tale, I wrote it in fifteen days and even though it needs a lot of work I didn’t hate the first draft. It has a lot of potential and revisions on it takes up most of my writing time.
The writing group fell apart but I’m hoping we can get it going back on schedule this year.

Not Writing – Sometime around April or May I started having problems with my lower back. Actually the problems began long before the spring but it was at that time I finally acknowledged to myself there might be a serious issue. It took me two more months to force myself to go see a doctor, something I tend to avoid at all costs. It was serious and I started an awful game of doctor pinball. I was seen by eight different medical professionals within a four month span.

In the middle of all of it I went on vacation with my husband to see his family in New Jersey. August is normally a month serious things happen to our family. Sometimes it’s good stuff but mostly bad. This time it was the bad. While at the beach my appendix tried its hardest to burst and I had to have emergency surgery. I thought I understood pain because of my back but I was wrong. During the entire episode, from the onset to the recovery I never once noticed the back pain because of a stupid unnecessary body part no bigger than a finger! I could only concentrate on the agony in my abdomen. For the first time in my life I wished I wasn’t allergic to hydrocodone!
Around the time my back troubles started I also got into photography but ever since I started seeing doctors I haven’t been able to do much with it. I missed my chance to take a lot of pictures in New Jersey but I hope I can make up for it this year. So much more happened in 2015 but nothing as big as my medical junk and writing successes.

As for 2016 I have a lot of goals:

  • First and foremost is to finish revising my fairy tale.
  • Then I need to tackle the stories that are almost done. I want to stop writing many stories at the same time! If I keep doing that I’ll end up finishing eight stories at once and overwhelm myself with those revisions.
  • I have several flash fiction pieces to edit so I can put them together for a collection. I would like to write two shorts a month at the minimum and post them on this blog.
  • Rewrite my very first flash fiction, first written in 2001. The idea is great but the writing is crap. Revising it now that I have a lot more experience will make it so much better.
  • Name all my characters.
  • Plot a serial for the blog and write it.
  • Participate in Nanowrimo again.
  • Listen to all the Writer’s Digest webinars I haven’t gotten around to.
  • Finish the class I’m taking.
  • I want to train myself to use a planner. This will help me in too many ways to list but I’ll say I’m not the most organized person and when I’m writing a lot the days all run together.
  • Less chips, more carrots.
  • Just say no to Smarties, or at least don’t say yes as often. Blood sugar spikes suck!
  • Bully my doctors into just making a decision about surgery! One wanted to do it, the other wanted to try everything else first.
  • Bully my friend Jesse into writing more. Did I say bully? I meant encourage.
  • Spend more time with friends. With all the pain issues I’ve almost become a recluse.
  • Find a cough drop with no menthol, which I am sensitive to. This seems silly but if you consider that cough drops, mints (also on the no-no list) and gum replaced cigarettes when I quit smoking it is important. I didn’t have a problem with menthol or mint until I had a bad reaction to some berries. Now I react to anything with salicylates in them. It’s amazing so many things contain it. From aspirin to fruits and veggies to most sunscreen and lip stain.
  • Read all the books currently on my to-read list. It’s getting unmanageable!
  • Write more reviews
  • Take pictures.
  • Try new tea flavors. I tend to stick to black breakfast teas only. I don’t want to try anything with fruity flavors but I do want to branch out.

More goals will pop up as the year goes along of course. I’ll do my best to meet them all. I hope everyone has a great 2016!

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