Year in Review

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Well, this post has been a long time coming. And now, a month after completing my goal, I’m again working to carve out time to write and update this blog with my review of the entire year of blogging and a hint to what’s next. I’ve been ridiculously busy—too busy, actually—but I’ve also hesitated to say what I plan to do because then that understandable pressure of actually doing it will start hounding me every day.

(sigh) Accountability…it’s simultaneously wonderful and uncomfortable…

Anyway, last February, when I started this blog, it was after much time, pondering, and deliberation. I’d like to say that I was planning everything out, getting organized on my goals and plans, but really I was trying to get over being fearful and let go of some perfectionist tendencies—such a bad combo.

Anyway, once I made myself just start blogging, it was less scary. There was still lots of pressure and lots of work, but less fear.

My daily goal of writing made me rework my priorities, but in hindsight I’d say it was completely worth it. A year later I’ve written a lot more flash fiction than I would’ve written if I hadn’t had the goal of writing daily. I’ve also realized the patterns I tend to gravitate toward in my fiction writing, themes that recur, and the areas I could challenge myself a bit more.

Although there were a good number of days I failed to write something, I didn’t feel like a failure, which is HUGE for me—perfectionist tendencies, remember? The days I passed out and went straight into REM with my laptop on my abdomen in mid sentence, I would wake up momentarily and close my laptop and go to sleep without berating myself or feeling ashamed. And the next day I would begin the process again without shame or thinking I was totally failing for missing a day of writing.

The simple act of going with the first draft of an idea based solely on a word prompt and posting it without tons of revision, also worked to humble me and help me get over the desire to revise things nonstop.

The entire process has helped me think more clearly about the steps I’d practically need to take in order to write regularly and make writing my priority, which is helpful because I’m a person who has been known to sign up for too much and start the day with 50  items on task list, only to wonder why I only accomplished three things between work, volunteering, my workout, and commute time. Sad, but true.

Anyway, in short this blog of 198 posts is a victory for me and that’s what matters in my opinion.

Now, onto the regular stuff.

What others liked (in chronological order with top posts starred):

 

 

 

 

 

What I liked (with my Top 5 starred):

Fubsy-This will always have a soft space in my heart. It’s my secret ode to inanimate objects a la “The Brave Little Toaster”—did anyone else cry during that movie? But it touches on the topic of family.

*Groggery-I’d say this is more my style of writing and the type of topic I tend to write about most often. Family is a central theme and I liked the idea of a story around reconciliation in family.

Affinal and Smithereens– I liked these telling both sides of this couple’s stories. Although there are things I’d loved to change, this is one of the first times I changed POV to tell the story and I appreciated how it turned out, for the most part. The possibility of reconciliation is a topic that continues to draw me and this is one of the first times I realized this fact.

Auspicious-Parents aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean they are always completely wrong about everything. I liked exploring that dynamic in this story with my protagonist struggling to respect his mother, even though they completely disagree on basic life principles.

Noetic-This is making my list because it actually gave me a vehicle to talk honestly about how much I hate it when the people I love die and it was perfectly understandable to be dry, emotionally distant, and put it all into words, as I wrote a character who thinks much like myself about this topic.

Jeremiad-Mental illness is not the easiest topic for many to talk about, but I appreciated writing a character who is not encountering stigma in the midst of a very real struggle as he deals with internal and external pressures.

Cunctator-This type of story is where I feel most comfortable, writing about the everyday craziness of family and how it’s far from perfect and often chaotic.

*Eldritch-This is a story makes my list as well as the “best-liked” list above. I enjoy writing about family and this piece showcased my humor and how I like to write dialogue between sisters.

Botryoidal-Sorry, but this is just so sacharine sweet and totally where I am in life, chronicling those small decisions that we make that completely change everything. I love how one crazy decision can lead to something wonderful and unexpected.

JimjamsFard-The topic of reconciliation with a little mystery thrown in puts these five stories on my favorites list. I built on a central storyline for an entire week, looking at what could happen when a mother seeks out a retired detective so he can help her find the daughter he never knew he had.

Mugwump-I love those family stories that involve a little bit of comedy and are a look back at those family memories that shape us and cause us to laugh in retrospect.

ParanymphAlliaceous-This was another time I extended a story over a week and I liked the idea of writing something more akin to a medieval quest with some chivalry and strong characters involved who have been through hard times and still push to believe things can be better.

Tweedle-I don’t know why I feel so comfortable writing about the most vulnerable topics when my characters are animals, but I like the idea of the desire we have for certain things and the issue of timing and life changes.

*Sonorous-This will always be on my favorites list because of the writing style, the story, and the factors I got to weave into to this fiction piece about struggle, loss, family, and a father’s desire for more.

Mountebank-This made the list for being nothing more than cathartic for me. And I don’t apologize for that.

*Venial-Not suprisingly this is another tale about family with a father and son and a desire for reconciliation as one character deals with the shame of the past that separates him from hopes of a future.

VilipendPeradventure-This is the genre I find myself gravitating toward most often. We’ve got a strong, but uncertain, protagonist, a lot of intrigue, and some injustice set in a future in which water is scarce.

Compunction-Fiction really is a great way to tackle tough topics and I love how I got to do that with this post between a mom and daughter who have and are going through hard things, respectively. Again I hit on themes of family, communication, and relationships while touching on eating disorders, poverty, and hunger.

Soupbone-I love it when dad’s share their wisdom and this story was an ode to those moments when life is rough, but a little wisdom goes a long way to reassure you that life can and will get better.

*Delectation-Life changes from the perspective of a tree? Yeah, I took it there. If anything is used to seasons of changing, plenty and little, it has to be trees. I wrote this almost the way I would write a children’s tale, but with a more serious look at the subject matter.

Pleonasm-Young people are smarter than we give them credit for being. I liked the idea of realizing that how kids are raised actually affects how they respond in certain situations.

Equipoise-And not surprisingly I wrote another tale of impending loss and marriage about a couple in trouble. This one developed as I was writing and helped me practice the skill of misdirection as I lead the reader in one direction, only to reroute them entirely.

Umbra-This story came together as I wrote it and also allowed me to work on a little misdirection as I started out thinking the problem would be the husband’s fault, but found out, as I was writing, that it was really the wife. I enjoyed the process of turning the tables and addressing the issues of marriage, family, mental illness and what it looks like to fight for people.

 

What I plan to expand in 2017:

So without further ado, here’s a hint as to what I’d like to do for the next 12 months:

It involves audio…

I told my sister my plan and she literally gasped. I had to ask her what was wrong because I thought maybe her dog was getting into trouble or she saw something strange. She responded that she was excited.

I’m glad she’s excited. I’m slightly nervous and overall it’s going to take a lot of work, but if I can organize things, I think I could possibly pull it off and keep updating the blog, writing and submitting my work, and expanding things a bit. But I’ll say more on that later because this post is already REALLY long.

Thanks for reading, though!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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