Well, 2016 Happened.

Well, 2016 Happened.

At the risk of being navel-gazey, the end of the year has made me think a lot about my growth and, conversely, the lack thereof.

I didn’t accomplish every goal I set out for this year. I’m not surprised by that; in the past couple months, I’ve left one of my stable sources of income behind for the wild unknown. I worked a lot for too little money, spending precious time that I could have used to pursue my real goals.

Some of this has, no doubt, been thanks to the general state of the world. It sucks. It sucks! I keep typing and deleting sentences about how and why it sucks and how that affects me and everyone I know, but other people have written and continue to write about that extensively.

Instead, I’ll talk about growth. Because I did things I’m proud of this year, in spite of everything.

Here’s one–I started a writing project that I thought would be, oh, seven thousand words. Instead, it’s over 20,000. I don’t plan on doing anything with it, it’s really just for me, but that’s not insubstantial. I wrote 54 drabbles, which doesn’t seem quite right because that would be over one a week, but I’m not a mathematician so I’ll go with it. I wrote some other stuff, and edited two other stories I’d like to have out for submissions starting next year.

I also sent out 10-12 stories for publication (I didn’t mark everything as I should have, whoops) this year. They were all rejected, except for one, which is still out and will be likely for another couple months. But, of those rejections, I know one made it all the way to the final round. Another received a very nice personal rejection, while another got a higher tier notice. That’s not nothing, even if none of those rejections were acceptances.

This was my first full year writing as part of the gaming staff for Women Write About Comics, which has easily been one of the most fulfilling, helpful experiences in my writing career so far. This crew is wonderful–everyone is supportive, helpful, and so incredibly intelligent that I spent my first month or so in the Slack channel largely keeping quiet because everybody was blowing my mind on a regular basis. It’s because of all this support that I’ve felt comfortable pushing my limits a bit; I’ve written things like this incredibly personal and a bit awkward essay about The Sims, and this similarly personal essay on why Gremlins so neatly reflects my personal feelings on Christmas. I did a little more critical analysis of Firewatch and Gone Home’s endings and why they work so well for me, as well as this ridiculous piece on Pokemon designs.

I may not have hit all my goals this year, and the past couple months have been kind of a nightmare of leaving security behind and consistently getting passed over for positions I really want. But when I look back at this year–not just as the number of rejections and the jobs I didn’t get and every other thing that’s happened–there’s a lot to be proud of there. I’ve been more productive than ever. I’ve written more things that I like, even a year later. I’m working on something now that’s exciting and fulfilling and fun.

Everything’s uncertain. I’m not sure where I’m going to be a year from now–I’ve been considering changing careers for the past couple months–but, even if this year hasn’t gone according to plan, I’m happy with the way I spent it. I learned a lot, and next year I’ll put that learning into use.

All I want for 2017 is more. More words, more rejections, more acceptances, more publications. I’m starting now.

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