So, another year come and gone. In wider world news, not a particularly good year considering. Close to home in my own little world bubble, things look much better. But, the new year is a good time for reflection, and I did have some goals for last year, so let’s see how I got on with those.

Reading

Reading Resolution #1 – Read a book a week, or rather 52 in a year. How far did I get? 11/52.

Reading Resolution #2 – A 12 item reading challenge. Of the 11 books I did read, I hit four of the challenges I would say. After deciding that one book can only count for one challenge. (If you’re interested, the four I managed were: A book published this year; A book I can finish in a day; A book chosen by my BFF; and A book I’ve read once before)

Yeah, I realise that it’s not many considering what I set out to do. Honestly, it sort of all came to a stop pretty early on in the year. I set out to do the Reading Ahead Challenge (rainbow style), but only got about halfway through the green book before things petered out and I never finished that book, let alone the challenges I had set myself.

Why? Busy year. I’ve got a job, a masters, a social/gaming life, but most of all, I think I didn’t read so much because I was concentrating on writing. Quite a lot actually. Which leads on to the other resolution/challenge I was trying to accomplish in 2016.

Writing

I joined a 365K club, which meant writing 1,000 words every day, or rather 365,000 in the year. How did I end up doing on that? 356,000 words.

Yeah, I know. Considering how little away from the goal I was, and the fact that I didn’t actually do much writing over the Christmas break, it is a tiny bit disappointing. Entirely my own fault, but, actually, I did learn a lot from doing it.

2016-summary

I managed to write every day from January 1st to June 4th. June 5th was the first day I didn’t write a word, and that’s pretty good going. But as you can see from the summary, I was a bit up and down after April (and April was largely boosted by taking part in the A to Z challenge). NaNoWriMo in November also helped, but about halfway through the year I sort of lost the steam a little bit.

Half of the point of the challenge is to write every day, and I’ve sort of learnt, that although I write a lot more now than I did at the start of the year, it’s not always writing itself that I do. I mean, of course that’s the aim, but I often do a lot of re-reading, thinking up new plots, re-imagining chapters and sections, and of course editing. All of which I think are part of the writing process, but don’t exactly lend themselves to a word count. (For instance, right now I’m trying to work out whether an alternate idea I had for Archmage is better than the one I’ve got currently. Major edits are so much fun to play around with, this one could change the entire third part/book.)

I’m also bad at habit forming. I wrote every day for 5 months, yet come the end of the year, I certainly think about my writing everyday. Opening up the document and putting the words down? Not so much. Especially when most of my free time is being devoted to the master’s degree, and that’s a heck of a lot of work.

But, focusing on writing so much was fun. And I certainly have a lot more words now that I did at the start of the year. It was good, even if it was challenging. But I have learnt a bit more about myself, and how I write, and that’s very useful information I can use going forward.

2017

So, what challenges am I doing this year? None. I’m not promising to read a certain amount of books, or write a certain amount each day. I am officially divesting myself of any and all obligations/challenges.

Why? The masters degree. This year I have to do a dissertation. We’ve already started thinking about it (and the initial proposal is due in the next couple of weeks) so there’s already a fair amount of internal screaming going on. That is only going to get more stressful, and since I want to do well in the degree, I’m prioritising that over everything else this year.

I would like to read more than I did last year, and I certainly plan to keep on writing, if not daily then certainly multiple times a week. What I’m not doing is setting any goals to do with those hobbies, because then I won’t feel obligated to spend time on them when I should be doing my masters work (if I end up doing them instead of the masters work then that’s procrastination and is an entirely different problem).

Hopefully by cooling off everything else, all the stress that comes from the masters will be somewhat balanced out, and I can look forward to a really free end of the year, since I hand in my dissertation in September, get the results back in October, just in time for NaNoWriMo in November! I’ll probably have calmed down by then. Maybe.

So that’s my 2017 – the year of the degree. I hope that whatever you are planning for the next year is off to a good start. Mine could be better, I managed to leave the book I need to read round a friend’s house!

 

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