I’ve planned a few more posts before this one, but it seems that Christmas time tends to affect routines even if someone is not traveling, preparing a big celebration, or hosting family members, and the end of the year had sneaked on me almost unnoticed, so here I am, writing last minute summary of 2016 which for me personally didn’t turn out too bad of a year.
The most important thing that happened was, of course, moving overseas. Sure, I’ve been preparing for that throughout 2015, filling in paperwork and sorting out various related things, but up until 2016 it was all “in the future,” uncertain and unscheduled. It was when January 2016 came and I’ve received my visa, I had to make the final step. Within less than two months I’ve bought a one way ticket, quit my job, sorted out leaving my apartment, got rid of most of my belongings, shipped some of my things, and said my goodbyes. You can learn more about this transition in my February’s Of the Endings post.
This one event had affected my entire year. First of all, the processing of my residency took much longer than I expected, so I ended up quite literally stuck at home: with my status being “in progress”, I was not only unable to get a job but even a driving license which is quite a must when one lives in the suburbs of a small town.
At the same time, it opened new possibilities to me: I could focus on writing and editing. I took part in the A to Z Challenge for the first time (and even though I felt it wasn’t exactly for me, I still feel tempted to try it again!), and I worked on both new and old projects. I ended up with many short stories written, and even though I’ve cut it quite close, I’ve finished editing of “By the Pact” by the end of year deadline I’ve set for myself.
I also completed another year in the 365k Club challenge, though this time I’ve cut it really close, writing my last due 1000 words on the very last day of 2016. And even though the beginning of the year affected my routine, I managed to get back on track not only with my word count, but also with my regular writing, and for the last 7 months I haven’t missed a day of writing (though some days were quite meager when it comes to the amount written).
But being stuck at home also meant more time to pursue other creative paths I’ve always put away for later. I got to play with polymer clay again, trying out new techniques, and enjoying working with this medium, and I also went back to drawing which I’ve been neglecting for a while. And because of going back to my arts&crafts, encouraged by the amazing JR Bee, I’ve set up my Society 6 website (followed later by RedBubble site), and had even gotten several sales (thank you, customers!).
On a personal level, I’ve gotten more healthy, getting more sleep and eating less, and I’ve started working out. My elliptical helped me to lose some weight (sadly, there’s still more to go) and became my “reading time” (well, after I’ve learned how to keep my balance on it and managed to do more than 5 minutes on it).
I also got married… I mention it almost in a passing, since the event itself wasn’t anything big, and the only change in my life that came with it was me trying to remember I shouldn’t be calling my husband a “boyfriend” anymore.
One more thing that have changed in 2016 was my discipline. I’m still lacking it a bit, but with not many real deadlines and no time-bound duties (like a day job), I needed to supervise myself, and discovered I have enough discipline to get up at 6am almost every day, and not squander the time on unimportant tasks and social media, but actually get things done. Let’s be honest, I still procrastinate and I still have some “lazy” days, but all in all I feel more organized.
Speaking of organization, some time mid-year I came across the idea of a bullet journal and found this way of scheduling my time and logging my days a best match for my current life situation. I’ve owned daily planners before, but many pages ended up empty, and I’ve rarely logged things in there (especially with the forced “hourly” division of each day), while bullet journal encourages me to spend 5 minutes in the morning (or in the evening the previous day) on planning my day, while all the important tasks for the month are logged together too.
All that makes my 2016 much better than it was for many other people. I achieved my goals, expanded my horizons, and I’m looking forward to 2017. As you might already know, I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I do have plans. Some of them are a continuation of what I’ve done this year, while some aim at me learning new things and trying out new challenges.
I’m still a part of the 365k Club which this year is changing its name to 365 Writing Club as the goals are flexible and the focus remains on building a writing routine and not on hitting high word counts, but since it’s my third year, I don’t expect to make many new discoveries about my writing and my process. This is why the series of “A Month of Writing” post that I’ve been sharing for the last two year is going to change. “A Month of a Writer’s Life” will not only cover my writerly experiences, but also give a bit of insights into my other creative pursuits, and maybe even dwell on movies, books, and games that kept me occupied when I wasn’t writing. I hope this will bring a bit of a fresh air to the old and rusty formula.
How did your 2016 go? Was is all bad and negativity as the media tried to show us? Or was there something good that happened to you? A week ago, I’ve started a thread in the 10 Minute Novelists group (if you’re not a part of it, go ahead and join it!) asking people to list up to 3 positive things that happened to them in 2016. The amount of responses I got makes me believe that 2016 wasn’t all tears and drama. Here’s hoping to 2017 that it’ll bring even more good things to everyone!
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.