Despite the best of intentions, I did not fully hit the goals I set out for myself for 2015. My plan was to try to publish two blogs per week, to try to dabble a bit more with the video blog and to send out my first submissions for writing competitions. Unfortunately something happened… Life!
It is great to have goals and targets, but epiphany #1 was the realization that sometimes they need to be flexible if quality is also part of the equation. I would rather delay my blog post for a few days (or even a week) and post something for which I am proud, rather than posting something to meet the deadline that in my opinion might be below my usual standard. The challenge is to not beat myself up for missing a weekly target even if the result is worth it.
Where life tends to complicate things is in the fact that I am still a part-time writer. Thankfully, my writing at this point in my life is for fun, for practice and as an outlet, with no real pressures or commitments to publishers or agents (yet). I am still my own boss in this realm and it works for me.
Where the balance is a delicate one is the career, the job and the life of service that still pays the bills. While I am not sure if I chose that life or if it chose me, my career has been an important part of my life and will be paying the bills at least for another 5 years. The fortunate part is that there are some days I get to do a fair bit of writing at my day job. The bad part is that there are some days I get to do a fair bit of writing and am not in the mood to continue writing when I get home.
When I spend an entire day at my desk composing challenging written works to the point of feeling mentally fried, sitting down and writing even 1000 words at night, no matter how fun the subject matter, is not going to happen.
Epiphany #2: Relax! It’s OK! The readers will understand.
Even with this inner conflict lurking in the bushes, I was still able to post 56 new blog posts for which I was proud and was astounded at the over 3300 page views over the year. Thank YOU, the readers!
Also, even though I may not have been projecting as much energy as I would have liked into the blog, other projects like my work-in-progress novels, benefited from the more introspective mood I was sometimes feeling. Epiphany #3: letting life happen in its natural ebb and flow can be a source of inspiration in itself, as the documentation of feelings – any feelings – are great ideas that I can instill into characters later.
And then, epiphany #4: this year I learned to be patient and compassionate with myself if I missed the weekly target and that striking the right balance is sometimes better for the soul than trying to get everything done and wear myself out along the way.
On top of that, it was a very productive year in other respects:
My methods for capturing thoughts and ideas, even just one random phrase or sentence here and there, have been greatly sharpened. Very few ideas have gotten away from me in recent months as they have been captured, whether electronically or on paper. One never really knows which one will be the right words at the right time for a reader.
My inventory of partially completed blog posts (as described in the post “The Graveyard of Blog Posts”) is growing, which is great material when I might be a little short on time or inspiration to complete a new blog in any given week. I like to think of these as my “bank of blogs”!
Finally, the most important thing is that despite minor setbacks in momentum, I did not give up and the blog content continues to grow, slowly but surely.
As much as writing is my passion, my purpose, my release and my escape, 2015 taught me that taking a short break from time to time is perfectly acceptable which led to epiphany #5: as long as there is a heart beating in my chest I will have stories to tell.
Will I set new writing goals for 2016? Probably not. At the moment, I do not plan on raising the bar or trying to get more ambitious when my “bread and butter” has its demanding and sometimes exhausting moments. If I suddenly experience an increase in free time or energy, there is no doubt in my mind that some of it will go toward the writing, whether a goal is set or not, and you, my dear readers, will be the first to know!
As we prepare to ring in the new year, I raise my glass to all of you. Thank you for your time in checking out my blog, as well as for your kindness and your generosity with your feedback. I wish you the very best for 2016 and may the new year offer you the opportunity to bring your creative goals to fruition too. Cheers!
Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more posts ahead in 2016! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.net. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
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Happy New Year,