(cannot leave an Adele reference hanging, guys. Can. Not.)
Well, it’s 2016. It came, no matter how hard I tried to hold on to the old year to keep the calendar from turning, it did anyway.
It’s that time of year where everyone is reassessing, taking a look back and then mapping out their tomorrows like madmen and madwomen.
And I am no different.
It might be a cliche to “start over” January 1st and all that, but it does indeed create a natural break in time perfect for measuring. Plus, you have to buy a new calendar anyway so you might as well make the most of it and buy one in bright colors that motivates you. Or at least keeps you awake.
So. How was 2015? It was a mixed bag, but I think most years are. Yes: I accomplished my goal of creating more than I consumed, but I also didn’t make much progress in other areas of life. Did I finish a novel? No. Did I go to the gym? Haha. Did I eat more salads and less cookies? No – but I’m just now realizing I would probably eat a lot more salads if they had cookies in them… sorry. Got lost in daydreaming about salads made out of cookies.
2015 In Review
I read 53 books.
I wrote 104 blog posts, 2 articles for cash monies (coincidentally, they were about money), and ~125 pages for my book, and will probably scrap most of them. Some will need re-written. We’ll see.
I edited part of a book for a friend.
I photographed eight shoots and countless hikes.
We also went on seven hikes as part of our #50HikesWI project, and managed to somehow slip away for three vacations: Louisiana in May; the Apostle Islands in August; Wyoming & South Dakota in September.
That’s actually quite a list if I pile it all together, huh? And then add to it that I also worked a full time job that sometimes spills over into the weekends and I sound utterly crazy.
Sharing online here on the blog. It helps me stay committed, so I’ll keep doing it. I like having this blog as an outlet to connect with other readers and writers on the internet. It refreshes me, really.
Working with a critique partner on my novel. The accountability is great, and its so important to get the story out of my own head and get someone else’s opinion on it.
Asking and not being afraid to hear “no.” I’ve put myself out there a few times this year, bracing myself for the inevitable “no.” And it didn’t come every time. So I’m going to keep asking to do things and be part of things that I think are “too big for me” to stretch myself and my world. And I might be surprised when I hear the answer.
The Inkwells & Images Facebook Page. The writing has been on the wall for a while guys: Facebook is just not where it is at these days, at least not for pages. Articles like this and this help me not feel that I’m the only one saying this, either. I’m still deciding whether or not to delete it, but I do plan to ignore it for now and focus on other social media efforts this year, rather than try to fragment my attention all over the place.
Posting twice week here on the blog. I’m making this work, but I’m not entirely sure it is the best use of my time at the moment. In the New Year, I’m going to focus on quality, not quantity. I’ll plan to aim for 1 blog post per week, and maybe add an additional “bonus” blog post if need be. But really, I think I’m going to focus on growing the business side of the Inkwells & Images endeavor, growing my client base and building things behind the scenes so that when I am ready to leap, I can leap.
Which brings me to: My Word of the Year for 2016.
With my magical clean slate of the New Year, I of course plan to
recharge my life and do all the things move forward with very specific goals for once. I love saying yes to new projects and I get excited about new endeavors, but that tends to fragment my attention and run me a bit (or a lot) ragged. Last year was my lesson in discipline here on the blog, and this year I’m taking it a step further.
My word of the year this year is FOCUS and here’s what I am going to focus on:
I will blog once per week. This post will be more long-form, quality content than what I have been putting up.
I will develop a business strategy. Inkwells & Images has been a great place to blog personally, and I still want the blog to be an extension of me. However, my original intent with this site was to create a space for people to hire me to do what I love: writing and photography. I’ve moved away from that, both in content and in how I spend my weekend hours. I’d like to develop a strategy for the business behind the scenes this year and do a full site overhaul. I’m planning to FOCUS in on my business, what I love to do, and what I’m good at and extend it all out into the world to help people do what they love better, too.
I will make progress on the novel. This year, I am not going to say that I will finish my novel. With the other two points above paired with the fact that we are breaking ground on a house in a couple of months, 2016 is going to be full. And that’s good – but it means I may not have much time to devote to this passion project. But who knows: maybe by telling myself I won’t work on this as much my rebellious side will kick in and sneak in some hours here and there.
I think those are enough for one year. Because really, it’s only 365 days. How much can one person get done in the in-between hours and still maintain their sanity? Ask me next January.
Onward, with FOCUS
What are you focusing on in 2016? Or do you choose a Word of the Year? I’d love to hear how you are planning to spend your days and what your big, scary goals are. We should all have at least one of those we’re working on in each season of life, even if that goal is to merely survive each day with a smile.