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I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve done over the year even though there are still two weeks left of 2017.

If I made a list of what I did this year it would be sort of inadequate to express what I’ve achieved. I’ll try to make this an interesting reflection on the things that went well and the things that didn’t go so well for me in 2017.

Writing

My commitment to my writing this year has had a few challenges. I finished a manuscript that I started last year in NaNoWriMo. It was 104,000 words at the end of the first draft in July. I pitched the manuscript to three publishers at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Brisbane in August. Of those three, two wanted to see it. I thought I was finally getting the hang of this writing thing.

Since then one has come back to me with a no, the other hasn’t yet replied.

I participated in a weekly workshop for much of the year. Unfortunately that workshop became something I dreaded and sucked the joy out of my writing. I suspect the other members didn’t like my style, and so looked for something positive to say, but it felt forced. As a result, I felt like a fool even when I got positive feedback.

I’ve also written about 50,000 words on a new story, this year’s NaNoWriMo project. I’m considering using it for a self-published collection coming out next year. The story is reasonably solid, and it will need a bit of work to get it into shape.

Finally, I entered three writing competitions. I had aimed for five, but it didn’t quite happen. Perhaps I could count my pitches as competitions.

I’ve learnt the valuable lesson that I can’t listen to all criticism all the time. Not least because it depends who you ask. Editing is a skill I’d like to improve however I became so disheartened trying to please everyone that I didn’t even want to read my own story. From now on I’ll try to be more discerning in taking on critique.

Music

I joined Hello Volume in September of 2015. The three band members and I got on well, we were great at improvising and jamming out new material and I really enjoyed the process. One of my goals for 2017 was to get Hello Volume performing regularly, as well as working on new material.

Unfortunately, as of last month, I am no longer the bassist for Hello Volume. My priorities for the band were not the same as the other members, and I chose to move onto another project which was more in line with my personal goals.

Hello Volume played a number of cool gigs while I was involved: the Bendigo Hotel and the Workers Club, and open mics at Cherry Bar and Mr Boogie Man Bar. Thanks for jamming with me.

I wish the band all the best for the future and I’ll keep you in the loop with regards to my new project.

Day Job

I’m slowly coming to accept most art creators have a day job. There are lucky humans out there who make their living from their art, and that gives me hope. Most creative people I’ve met over the last year have jobs in the ‘real’ world.

It doesn’t make me any less of an artist that I have a job. I keep telling myself that. Artists have to make opportunities for themselves, self-publishing or putting on an independent show, or finding music performance opportunities, for the love of the art. If there’s some monetary reward then that’s a bonus.

It saddens me the world is structured like this. We are a society who doesn’t like paying for art. I’m as guilty of it as anyone else. I work hard for my money and I often don’t value art with my dollars.

My day job has been going along pretty well since my new boss started in late July. It’s probably sadistic of me to say I feel validated she’s getting frustrated by the same roadblocks I was before she started.

 

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Relaxing with my backyard banana lounge and a book (not pictured)

Overall, I think I’ve achieved a lot and learned a lot this year. I’ve done many things I’d never done before. I coped with some pretty difficult life crap too, like being evicted from my home with three days notice (the building was unsafe) among other things.

I think I’m starting to get a handle on the things I need to do to keep myself happy. I’m allowing myself to sit with my feelings more, particularly anger and loneliness. After having four good friends move away from Melbourne last year I’ve been looking for new people to hang out with. It’s a slow process.

Next year is looking busy and exciting. I’ll be doing my annual New Year’s Goals soon so stay tuned!