Since I finished NaNoWriMo on 30 November this year I’ve done very little writing. I think my writing-brain has gone into hibernation, or possibly it’s just getting to the end of a pretty intense year.
I was looking at the goals I set for myself for 2016, here, and thinking about whether I’d achieved the things I set out to achieve. The goals I set for myself this year were split up into three groups: writing goals, concrete goals, and vague aspirations.
Looking at my writing goals, I’ve only really done one of the four: win NaNoWriMo. I have partially edited two of my previous manuscripts, but neither of them are in any kind of polished state, ready for submission. I’m striking the last one off, pitching a script for a sitcom thing. I don’t want to spend a whole bunch of energy learning a new set of rules and techniques to pitch for television. It seems to me that surely that would be an even more competitive market than fiction. I may choose to do some serious rewrites on the manuscript to sell it to a publishing house, but that seems less daunting.
I do have one of thing I can add which was not on the list, but which was an amazing achievement none the less: writing, producing and performing in my own Melbourne Fringe Festival show Fleur and Alexandra Save the World. This took up almost all of my creative bandwidth for six months, March-September. It was a massive project, and while my show partner had done it before, it still took an enormous about of work and energy to make it happen. In the end we didn’t quite make our money back, but we had over a hundred people come to see our show, and we were listed in The Age entertainment guide. I count it as a success, and who knows, maybe I’ll do another show in the future.
The next category was concrete goals. I’ve only done one of these as well; perform with the band. Hello Volume has been practicing almost every week for all of this year, and we’ve done a couple of live performances. I had hoped to get a few more lined up by this stage of the year, but we have plenty of time for that. Yesterday we went up to a recording studio in Central Victoria to put down some tracks possibly for an EP. It was a surprisingly painless (although exhausting) process. The sound engineer was knowledgeable and created a great relaxed, low-pressure atmosphere. We won’t know for sure how it went until he sends us the mixed and mastered tracks, but listening to the rough cuts I’m super pumped to hear them.
As my second concrete goal I had set myself the goal of planning another big trip. I haven’t done that, for a variety of reasons. A large part of it is because I have so much going on here at home that I sort of haven’t wanted to leave.
The last category is the vague aspirational goals section. The problem with this section is that they are, by nature, sliding and slippery. One, eat well, is so subjective that there is no real way to measure whether I’ve done it. I mean I have eaten a lot of good things, I’ve cooked healthy things for myself and been conscious about what I eat, but only some of the time. Other times, especially when I’m running around like a mad person doing all of the stuff I try to jam into a normal week, I occasionally have chips for dinner. When we were performing the Fringe show I was so nervous before hand I couldn’t eat properly and then afterwards I was so hungry I just scoffed huge handfuls of chocolate and muesli bars.
The same is true of exercising. If I looked at the number of times I actually went to the gym this year, as compared with last year, I’m sure I would have performed significantly worse. There was a period where I was sick for a month, and then there was the Fringe show, and then there was NaNoWriMo, when I prioritised getting my words done over going to the gym. I have tried to maintain a commitment to moving my body and being active, so I reckon I can count that one as a win.
The goal of ‘get a job’ can be ticked off, however I don’t know if I’m entirely happy with it. The job I have is working in an area of business where I haven’t had much experience. Granted, it’s mostly just a case of applying common sense, and having a consistent approach, but I still feel quite unstable in the role. Not to mention the contract I’m on is still a casual one, and I’ve had a new manager start about six weeks ago. Work is an area of my life I’ve found stressful this year. The creative projects I’ve worked on have been stressful in a sort of positive way, but my day-jobs this year have been full of uncertainty and difficult personalities. It’s not my favourite.
In terms of my social life, I’ve had some amazing ups and some lows too. I’ve started a relationship with someone I’m incredibly impressed by, who cares for me in a beautiful way I haven’t experienced before (and am therefore just a little bit freaked out by). It’s glorious and terrifying, and I hope that person knows how much they mean to me.
On the other hand, I had two very dear friends move away, and one more who is going at the start of next year. I’ve struggled in my adult life to create caring, reciprocal relationships (both romantic and platonic). I’ve ended up in situations where I play a counselling or parenting role, and these relationships are very one-sided. I’ve been consciously trying to seek out and nurture fulfilling, reciprocal and supportive friendships for a couple of years, and I’ve found it incredibly difficult. I guess it just means I have to keep trying.
I feel like I’m a person who is able to adapt to a lot of new situations. I like to take on new challenges and learn new things. In looking back at this year I feel like I’ve done a lot of really amazing things, I’ve done them pretty bloody well, and if I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and tired right now then maybe I should just go with that feeling and give myself permission to take a break. I have a tendency to set unrealistically high expectations and then be so stubborn that I try to achieve them anyway. Mostly it means I get a great deal of work done, but sometimes it means I beat myself up because I can’t do everything.
I’m thinking of what goals I want for next to set for next year. I think I’ll aim for stability in at least one aspect of life. I’ve had a lot of balls in the air this year and I think it would be easier in 2017 if at least one moving part was not moving quite so much. Maybe my day-job will actually be what I want it to be: a financial support for my other endeavours, and not such a drainer of my mental resources.
Once I figure out what I want to put on the list, I’ll do a post on my 2017 goals in early January.