Here’s to 2016: What I’m Getting Done This Year

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It’s almost beyond parody these days to write a “new year, new me” post. It’s almost as much beyond parody to think that the changing of a calendar is meaningful enough for serious life change – the traditional New Years Resolutions never last beyond a few weeks, and they’re usually the same vapid “I’ll be a new me! I won’t drink anything!” stuff.

I myself am guilty of this; I sat in December 2014 setting out my stall for 2015 with a similar sense of deluded optimism; however, I have to say, I am pleased that 2015 is over. It’s a year overshadowed by some pretty deep and painful personal tragedies but also tumultuous change, which is scary, so yeah my goals went completely out of the window, but in a sense, especially coming to the personal tragedies (I’m not going to discuss them here, mainly as they’re intensely personal and people I want to know do already, plus again, I want to start 2016 fresh), I’m pleased they’re confined to 2015.

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a very close friend of mine about my goals for 2016 and he gave me some excellent advice that has really struck me: don’t make a list of New Years resolutions to be forgotten about by February if you’re lucky, or a list of hopes and dreams (or other sentimental nonsense) – make list of things you will get done in the new year. And so, I intend to do just that:

  • I’m going to make a concerted effort to do well in my university studies – I’ve already acknowledged that, with the first semester, I allowed a few personal gremlins to kind of allow me to sink into a few lazy habits. They’re going to be banished. I’m actually enjoying university and the challenge, on an academic level, it’s presenting; I know I can do well, and my confidence is there. Plus, I’ve got some good university friends who have backed me up thus far and I look forward to more mutual support from them in the coming semester.
  • I want to find more time to do more reading – I’ve let myself become lazy with my reading, both for pleasure and academic study, which is a shame as I love books. If I had to pick out of music, books, games and television, I’d have to choose books as my primary vessel of entertainment. I’ve gotten into using Goodreads as a social tracker of my book progress and I really do find it useful! One of the most important pieces of  advice for a writer is that to be a great writer one must be a great reader, so it’s about time I took that to heart! Looking forward to setting my goal for 2016!
  • It’s time I got back in the saddle with my writing – for reasons I pointed out initially, I’ve been a bit dry when it comes to writing my own stories for pleasure; my output in 2015 has been pretty barren compared to 2014. That said, I want to move on with a load more projects:
    • More short stories – I’ve learned some interesting tips and techniques, especially for characterisation, across 2015 and it’s time to put them into practise. I don’t want to bind myself to a set number/output (writing doesn’t happen that way), but if I could come out of 2016 with 6-8 short stories that I am truly proud of, I will be happy.
    • I want to fully outline my post-apocalyptic novel The Thaw by the end of the first half of the year – this is a project I do feel could be great, but that I need to step up and organise for fully. I want to be in a position to take a deep breath over the summer and actually have the first draft written before I return to University in September, so I want to make sure that the b ulk of the organisational work is complete before then.
    • I also want to commence editing proper on Mars Zero – it’s been too long since I approached this project, and there’s a lot of work to do. But I still truly believe this story is worth pursuing, especially if I work hard to “science” it up and make use of the skills I have learned
    • I’m still committed to make prose my primary format, but I would definitely like to complete work on my first short film script, possibly work on another concept I have and write a play (possibly to produce/direct toward the latter half of 2016)
  • Most of all, I want to make so much better use of my time. I allow my perceived lack of ability drain my confidence, and I procrastinate horrendously. If I make one big personal commitment, it’s to have more confidence in what I do and to waste less time. Sure, free time and low time is important, and I don’t want to be too rigidly-scheduled but it’s about tightening up and getting sh*t done.
  • Oh, and getting to 14 stone by the summer would be raaaaad.
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