I don’t like “resolutions.” The very word has come to mean “something I thought was a good idea but, in my heart of hearts, I didn’t really intend to follow through on it.” I like the word “goal.” There’s an intention to it. I also like the word “autopsy,” although it cuts way to close to the bone after 2016. Still…
This is the autopsy of my goals for 2016, the year that was. While the year was disastrous from a great many perspectives, it was actually a pretty successful one for my family. Health was overall good, and a lot of exciting stuff happened.
Writing/Publishing — My goal was to finish and publish the second and third volumes of my Fast 40 series, finish and publish my first novel (which went on to be called The Joined World: Threshold), and to make another Fast 40 book based on photos I took on our trip to Scotland. I accomplished all of these. What I didn’t accomplish was my final goal of finishing my second novel, the follow up to Threshold. Looking back, that might have been a tad ambitious, considering I didn’t get started on that. Well, better to miss at something difficult than accomplish something easy, or something like that.
Read Books – If you want to be a writer, one of the best pieces of advice is to expose yourself to writing. The goal was to read 20 books on a variety of subjects and genres. That might seem laughably low for some, and God love ‘em, but I was also writing quite a bit. I read 23, including Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, so now a lot of those Bugs Bunny cartoons make sense.
Watch Movies – In addition to reading, watching movies with an eye towards the writing is a good way to get that three-act structure down (if only at times to see what not to do). My goal was to see 100 movies in 2016, and, for a while there, I didn’t think I’d make it. As of December first, I’d only seen 71. In my defense, I did make it a point to watch two television series that I’d heard good things about but had missed the first time around: Breaking Bad and Mad Men. But, in December, I rallied and, on December 31 at 4 p.m., finished Kill Bill, Vol. 2 and got 100 films in.
Photo of the Day – I don’t journal or keep a diary, but I like having a record of some part of the day every day; taking a photo of something each day seemed like a good compromise, and helps hone the photographic eye. I embarked on the #366project, and was able to keep up with it for the entire year (although a couple of days I kind of phoned it in). Still, a streak’s a streak, and you have to respect a streak.
Blood Sugar — 2016 was the year that I have started to realize that youth might not be on my side as much as it once was. In the beginning of the year, I was told that I needed to watch certain things, blood sugar being one of those. The term “diabetes” was thrown around. Properly scared, I worked to cut back on the bad stuff and get things under control. For a month, I did really well. The bad stuff, however, is so tasty. I slipped, and then just kind of ignored it completely. “I’ll get back to it,” I told myself, as if I would be cramming for a test towards the end of the year. Seems that biology doesn’t work that way, though, and I failed the test, which I hope isn’t a final exam. It’s not a mystery why my blood sugar is out of control; it’s very easy to figure out. I just have to do it.
Grade: Big ol’ F
Weight — I wanted to lose about 10 pounds in 2016. I did not do that. I didn’t gain any weight, though, so this one is a big, resounding “meh.”
Exercise — Yeah, mistakes were made, there were days too hot or chilly to really overcome my intense desire to not do it. Does Nike make a shirt to that effect?
Support my Wife — Okay, I think I actually did one thing right in this section. In the 10 years (!) we’ve known each other, and the eight years we’ve been married, Kristen has supported me no matter what, and that’s a gift to be treasured. In our relationship, she’s the “GO!” person, and I’m the “Um, could we think about this for a minute” element. It’s a good structure: We don’t run into as many walls, but we actually do get going. She’s had a lot of great opportunities this year in her textile art studio efforts, with some really exciting ones coming down the path in 2017. I’d like to think that I’ve shown her the same support she’s showed me, even though it takes me out of my comfort zone from time to time (which isn’t a bad thing).
Grade: B? I’m not the best judge of this one, but I tried….
So, that was last year. Goals for this year?
Writing/Publishing — The goal this year is a little simpler than in 2016, but will probably be more difficult. I want to get the follow up to Threshold written and published this year, with at least the third book (it’s a trilogy) started before year’s end. I also want to write a book of short stories (longer than the Fast 40 flash fiction) done in 2017. What is going to be the difficult part, and the part I’ve been putting off because it doesn’t come naturally to me, is to get a marketing effort underway to get the books out there. I can write the next Great American Novel, but if it doesn’t get out there, my goal as a writer will not be met. So, the job is to figure out how to do it without getting icky about it. I have some plans and know some courses to take along those lines.
Blood Sugar/Exercise — Gotta take this seriously this year. Gotta make that turn. I don’t want my foot to fall off or my kidneys to go AWOL. No magic to getting this done. Just gotta do it.
Freelance work — Once I made the mental turn to call myself a “writer,” it did open up an avenue that I’ve not allowed myself to really explore. I’d like to get some more writing done, either under my own name or ghostwritten, to work those writing muscles, and make some coin while I’m at it. Got a couple of things lined up already, so full speed ahead on this one.
Read Books — Upping it to 25 this year. Enough to get some exposure to fresh ideas, but not so much where I hide from writing my own stuff.
Watch Movies — Keeping this at 100 in 2017. Gonna try to space it out a little better so I don’t have to cram so much in December.
Support My Wife — Job No. 1