I’ve been using the same copy of Microsoft Office 2003 since I got it with the laptop I bought for myself that year. When I went to college, I would send the papers I wrote on my laptop to library computers to be printed. The library at my college had a much better budget than I did, though, so they had the latest microsoft office version, meaning I got so used to seeing “File Name [compatability mode]” at the top of all my documents that I eventually stopped noticing it unless I wound up editing a file started on the library computers on my personal laptop.Continue reading
Today is the day. This is post 365. One year of writing every day and posting to my blog every day ends today. What a fucking journey it has been. The best part is I get a nice little bookending thing with it because I’m completely re-doing the story I wrote for last year’s National Novel Writing Month project for this year’s NaNoWriMo project. I’ll be able to see how I’ve changed and grown by reflecting on how the story has changed. It’ll be a good time! That being said, there’s still plenty of growth I can see immediately!
In the last year, for this blog alone, I have written 349,403 words (including today’s post). Those words were used to create 79 musing posts, 30 posts about mental health, 43 posts about tabletop games or gaming, 40 posts about video games, 42 reviews, 3 descriptive exercises, 55 poems, 39 flash fiction works, 30 posts about National Novel Writing Month, 36 chapters (including the introduction) of a science fiction story, and 3 short stories. If you did the math, that totals up to 400 exactly, but that’s because some of the posts had more than one category (including today’s), which is what I’ve been listing here.
As a result of all of this writing, I’ve grown as a writer. I no longer make the same mistakes my editor would catch when I first started out. She only does the serial story and poetry, which is why I tend to have so many typos in my other blog entries, but they all improved as result of her work and constant patience with my inability to actually get things done along the timelines I lay out for myself. I send her a chapter of Coldheart and Iron for review and she gets it back to me within twenty-four hours, which is great because I’ve probably sent her half the chapters on the day I’m supposed to post them. Same for the poems. She’s a saint, really. I also really hope she reads today’s post so she knows how grateful I am for her constant help. I thank her constantly and do my best to let her know how much I appreciate her help all the time, but that still never feels like enough. She’s helped me grow as a writer just as much as my college creative writing professor did. In a different way, but just as much.
Ideally, I’d like to have a space to thank everyone that got me through this year of posts, but people do stuff for me so constantly and often without drawing attention to it so I’m worried I’d miss out on someone import. So I’m going to do my best. My roommate was a huge help when it came to guns, military stuff, and medical references since he’s an air force medic studying to become a doctor. I have a whole raft of friends who view my blog, but none as regularly as my French friend and I can always tell when she does because she’s my only reader in France, so thanks for reading me more consistently than anyone else! I’d like to thank my Twitter friends, specifically the ones who do Bad Book Idea Duels, Edward Van Winkle and A.M. Hounchell, for making one of the largest time-sucks on the Internet actually fun for me. They’re both incredibly friendly, creative, and wonderful people. Their books are on my review list and I’ll do my best to get to them once National Novel Writing Month is over. I’d like to thank Andrew Bird, though I don’t know if he’ll ever see this post (I sincerely doubt it) since he’s an actually famous musician I’ve never met, because his clever lyrics are a delight to listen to and the way he weaves the vocals and instrumentation together in his music makes me want to sit and just listen to him sing instead of have him on in the background. I also want to just generally thank my friends for not telling me to shut up about my writing or blog. I talk about it constantly and I’m just glad you all are the kind of people who don’t make a habit of being discouraging. I’d also like to issue a special thanks the fiance of one of my friends, who I would now qualify as also being my friend since I finally got to meet her this year, for helping me contextualize social media and marketing myself online when I went semi-viral after asking Writing Twitter for books to review (I SWEAR I’m still working on processing all of those suggestions–here are just so many and I’ve been so busy). I’d also like to thank my boss for letting me take a week off out of the blue when I realized I’d forgotten what it was like to be in a good mood and that I was too burned out to continue how things were going. This isn’t super recent, but I also really want to thank my creative writing teacher from college because I would have given up on writing a long time ago without her help, guidance, and support. She was the first person who convinced me that I was worth believing in and she believed in me enough that I started to as well. She helped me build the foundation on which I’ve since built everything else, so I cannot stress enough how thankful I am. I don’t talk to her much, but I kinda hope she see’s this some day. Or she buys whatever book I first publish because she’ll be named on the dedication page. Whichever, really. I’m not picky.
I probably missed some people, but life is about moving forward so I’m going to try to make sure I recognize what people do for me as they do it and express gratitude immediately. And I’m going to keep writing! I haven’t missed a day in a year, so now let’s see how long I can keep this streak going! New goal is two years of daily writing and blog posts! And this time I’ll also get a proper amount of exercise every day I am physically capable of doing so. I can’t just repeat a challenge, I’ve got to step it up! There’s no point in just doing the same challenge over and over again. There’s no growth! There’s no forward movement! This will still probably be easier than my National Novel Writing Month challenge of writing 50,000 words, a terrible romance novel, and still updating my blog with NaNoWriMo posts and weekly Coldheart and Iron posts. I mean, that’s 90,000-120,000 words in a single freaking month. My current record is 80,000-ish, from last year when I updated my blog every day on top of writing 50,000 words. It feels pretty impossible from where I’m sitting right now. Which means it’s going to feel super kick-ass when I actually do it! Nothing held back! No reservations! All in!
I meant to review my own blog for today’s post. It was going to be witty, poke fun at some of my bad habits that make it into blog posts (such as saying everything with as many words as possible because I just love to slap them all together), and cleverly weaving in my gratitude to the review by mentioning how reliant the author was on his editor at first but how much he has grown since then. I also realized it was going to be as long as a recent Coldheart and Iron post and that is a LOT to ask of random strangers on the internet. I mean, not a lot of people writing 3000-4000 word blog posts. They’re usually quite a bit shorter than that if they’re frequent or about the length of this post if they’re not. Even my love of using all of the words I can couldn’t convince me that it was a good idea. So you get this. A plain, unadorned thank you with some interesting numbers and the knowledge that I’m grateful to you, whoever you are, for reading this post and participating in my journey to grow as a writer. This year has been all about me but I’m greatful I got to share it with you.
Also, shout out to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter account–and the man himself, of course–because getting his unbelievably uplifting “Gmorning and Gnight” tweets has made my days better. You should check them out or buy his book.
Well, it is done. I’ve lined up a new job that I start in just over a week and I leave my current job in one week, on January 6th.
This is what I’ve been working toward since September, when I posted last. The job search, application process, and transition planning took up so much of my time that I didn’t have much time for writing. Even if I had the time, I couldn’t have written anything here because they would have crept into anything I attempted to write and I didn’t want to give any hint of what was going on to the people I work with/for (I wouldn’t put it past them to follow employees’ blogs to make sure we’re not bad-mouthing them).
But now that’s all over. I gave my notice weeks ago, transitioned all my projects, found new owners for my areas of expertise, synergized with my developers to maximize our returns during my last few weeks, and generally did a lot of Business. Now I’m coasting to my last day with a few days of puttering and trying to find an effective way to use my last week so that none of my coworkers are left with a mess they need to clean up. Then I’ve got a long weekend to myself (first one in two months, thanks to the holidays, business trips, and the stress of job hunting) before starting a brand new job with brand new people. Brand new opportunities around every corner and a chance to, this time, succeed in ways I never could at the job I’m leaving.
I don’t know that this new job will be better. I truly doubt it could be worse, though. This new job will hopefully leave me with more time and more energy to write. I can finish my book. I can update this blog regularly. I can do something with my poetry other than crystallize my emotions as a coping mechanism. There’s just so much opportunity out there when I’m not having my soul and energy drained every day.
I will be back soon. Probably not tomorrow because, tired as I am, I’m throwing a party for all my friends to ring in the New Year. 2016 has been a crazy long year full of misfortune, anger, hate, wonder, luck, and love scattered through the doldrums brought on by my job. I felt like we should gather to mark its end and remember what we’ve got to look forward to in the next year. Sunday, for sure. I’ve got a lot of stories about Dungeons and Dragons, video games, Overwatch, movies, and books to tell. I can’t promise much other than 2017 is going to be a new, much more active year for me. One way or another.
Happy New Year, reader. I hope you’ve got a chance to take a moment to appreciate the end of the old and the start of the new. Breathe it in and then let it go. Move on from what has been and look toward what will be. Pick your favorite cliché, really. As people often point out, clichés are cliches because they have a certain degree of truth to them that we can’t quite do without. So embrace yours and let it be for just this once. You owe yourself at least a little peace at this time of the year.