Twenty-Sixteen will be remembered by many as a rotten year. A lot of bad things happened, a lot of beloved people died, and a lot of events were put into motion that place the fate of Twenty-Seventeen under ominous clouds. All the same though, I remember and say this:
Events are always in motion. People are always dying. Bad things are always happening. These are the truths of any year.
Here are some more truths of any year:
- Every year welcomes the newly born and their untold potential. The beloved and known may pass-away, but new people will rise to the occasion and inspire us once more.
- Events of positive change are in motion alongside the bad.
- Sometimes it takes negativity to unite us into common effort and the greater good. When things are at their worst, we have the opportunity to be at our best.
For these reasons, I don’t despair. I may feel challenged… I may mourn the loss of those that have passed… But I won’t despair.
Looking at Twenty-Sixteen within the frame of my own personal focus, I will remember it fondly… Because as a writer honing his craft, I’ve had a great year! Here’s why:
I’ve written over 136,000 words of fiction in twenty-sixteen! That’s double what I achieved in Twenty-Fifteen!
65,000 of that word-count so far has been invested in my first novel, Vivian’s Last Cigarette. It’s only a chapter away from becoming a finished first draft, and that will be a great way to start the New Year!
The remaining 71,000 words comprise eight other stories.
These include two unfinished pieces. The first is PRINCE OF STARS, my space opera and science fantasy which will be at least a novella and could be novel. The second is The Unicorn Hunters; a novelette in need of revision that will find a home in the collection of fantasy stories I plan to make my second book.
That same collection will contain four other stories I wrote and published this year on Aethereal Engines.
Including the writing I did crafting the four role-playing adventures I ran at PortCon this year… and the significant amount of work I do for weekly content for Aethereal Engineer… My writing total jumps to over 225,000 words!
These totals might not seem impressive compared to some, but as a slow writer they really gave me a real sense of accomplishment. :-)
I also continued to grow my web presence as a writer in Twenty-Sixteen. The number of visitors and page views on my author’s blog here at Aethereal Engineer increased by about 225% each! That translates to me reaching over 3,600 visitors with 6,000+ page views with my words here. Not titanic numbers, perhaps… but it feels great to know that so many are enjoying my blogs all the same!
Things over at Aethereal Engines were less robust, but I’m placing the blame for that on the slowdown of posted content that came mid-year. That slowdown was a direct result of the work I was placing into Vivian’s Last Cigarette causing me to cut back on my short fiction.
However, the numbers on my story blog still show growth and are above those of Twenty-Fifteen. Looking at Twenty-Seventeen, I’m going to try making shorter pieces to post there even if I’m concurrently hard at work on a larger writing project.
I also joined Twitter and have found a nice community there. It’s actually become a really nice resource for me, and not just a one-way channel for extending my “web presence”. A lot of authors seem to just use it to spam book promos and their blogs, but I try to use it to talk about things going on with me as a human and to promote fun more often than my daily blog share. I’ve been enjoying posting microfiction there recently.
Twenty-Sixteen wasn’t without personal hardships that affected my writing. I lost a job to corporate downsizing. My attempt at writing full-time didn’t work out as I had hoped. My old cat got very sick, but thankfully recovered. I got sucked into a terrible job before finding better employment, and a friend of mine died suddenly at the same time.
And then there was November… But after that, I knew I needed to write my stories now more than ever.
All said and done, it was a year of challenges… that I met and overcame.
For the piece of our lives that was Twenty-Sixteen, perhaps Charles Dickens, said it best in A Tale of Two Cities:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…
I wish you all a Happy New Year. Take it by the reins and ride it to the destiny of your choosing! Be well!