Happy 2017 Everyone!

Are you as relieved as I am that 2017 is finally here? Since November I’ve been itching for a fresh start. At my day job, where I’ve been for 3 years, our new fiscal year starts on November 1st so this odd space between then and January 1st, actual New Years, has a way of making me feel like I’m in limbo.

Well, I’m in limbo no more!

Fireworks by bayasaa via Flickr

Fireworks by bayasaa via Flickr

On Friday my 2017 Goals post will be live on Anxiety Ink. I don’t want to recap them all here, but I do want to focus on a few I think pertain well to E.V. Writes. And I didn’t go into any detail over there.

Read a minimum of 68 books over the year –I used to be able to read over 80 books a year, and that includes the 4 years I attended university. My reading habits while working are abysmal and it makes me really sad. This is one I desperately want to focus on, not only because reading makes me happy, but because I like to focus on reading, and the art of reading, here and I need inspiration!

Read outside my comfort zone: add plays and poetry. –I miss the literary variation assigned reading lists brought into my life. I need to branch out of my comfort zone.

Make time for hobbies –I can’t remember the last time I devoted any real time to one of my hobbies. Doing something once a year does not a hobby make. Plus, like reading, my other hobbies make me happy, ergo, doing more hobbies will make me happier! The hobbies I want to get back into this year include drawing and painting, photography (something I want to learn about this year, aside from simply taking pictures), hiking, and gardening.

Relax during vacation! –so this doesn’t exactly tie into the blog except that I’m really excited to share my post-vacation stuff with you all come February and that I have a new appreciation for recharging my batteries. I’ve always been go-go-go 24/7 and 2016 made it apparent that I am not capable of keeping up with that. During high school and university, you get two months and four months off, respectively, in order to recharge for the following year. Yeah, I don’t get that at the day job. I have 3 to 4 weeks doled out through the whole year. That’s a big difference. And I have to start taking advantage of the time I do get off and actually take it off. That means no writing chores as well as no day job. This will lead to better creative-productivity!

What are you most excited to tackle in 2017?

National Novel Writing Month 2016: Epic Disaster

nano-attack-2016-disaster

As I write this post it I’m feeling a bit disheartened. It’s November 27th and this was the day I had planned on validating my NaNo win. I did not win. I did not even start.

The main reason National Novel Writing Month 2016 turned into an Epic Disaster this year is because my computer crashed on October 27th and it took 18 days for me to get up and running with a new one. I wrote the long story out on Anxiety Ink, if you’d care to hear my tale of woe and anger.

So, as I sit here huddled under my blanket in my office chair, I have to reiterate that I’ve only tackled NaNo twice. At the very least I’m two for two as far as winning goes, but I’m seriously bummed that my plans were destroyed this year.

I didn’t get my computer back until November 14th. That was the week of vacation I’d taken off work in order to throw myself hard into NaNo, but I really had no faith that I’d be able to catch up and eventually win, so I didn’t even try.

I feel guilty about not making an effort, but I feel amazing after getting some rest. This year has been exhausting for so many reasons and I was in desperate need of a week to myself.

This is not the post-NaNo update I thought I’d be writing once December rolled around. Still, I want to share what I learned that I think is equally worthwhile to what I had hoped to get out of a NaNo win this November.

1) Mental rest is important. I was quite sick off and on through the start of 2016, so once I found a self-care regimen that gave me my health back, I pushed myself hard. I think I pushed myself too hard. The numerous breakdowns I had over my computer crashing illustrated just how fried my nerves were. While those 18 days without my laptop were frustrating beyond words, they allowed me to take a step back and be part of the real world for a while. I need that more often.

2) Technology breaks need to be implemented in my life. I work 30 hours a week on a computer at the day job. When I’m home I’m usually on my computer if I’m not reading, working out, cleaning, eating, sleeping, or chasing cats. That’s a lot of hours in front of a screen. After being away so long I actually got my first bit of novel writing done on the night of the 18th because I wasn’t sick of being there. I need to find a better balance of screen.

3) Scheduling well ahead on both blogs is not just a good idea for NaNo prep. I am so grateful I was two months ahead here and on Anxiety Ink because if I had had to worry about writing and scheduling blog posts on top of all of the other stuff I was worried about over those 18 days, I would have been an even worse basket case.

4) Balance is going to be my word for 2017. I had more events in my social calendar this month than I have all year it seems. I’ve become a bit of a shut-in and I don’t think that has been helping me whatsoever. In my defence, this is the first year I’ve worked 5 days a week every single week. I’m selfish when it comes to my alone time and two day weekends have been a hard adjustment for me; I’m used to having either weeks at a time, or a day in the middle of the week to myself. I must work on getting out more further apart so that when I do fight for the alone time I need I’m not neglecting others, or myself.

5) 2016 as a whole has been an enormous life lesson. I have a new appreciation for balance and actively working towards goals. I haven’t had a chance to plan out 2017 and strategize, but I have all the supplies and knowledge I need. I will not be sitting back and letting life happen and hoping to get things done some way, somehow this year. That’s a stupid way to try to get things done and I have learned my lesson.

How did your November go?