Happy New Year!
2016 is finally over. I think that the general consensus for 2016 was that it was a bad year. There have been lots of celebrity deaths. Gene Wilder, Kenny Baker, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Daniels, Sir Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman, David Bowie and Carrie Fisher to name a FEW. There was the Pulse nightclub shooting where 49 people lost their lives, the Nice attacks in France where a lorry was driven into a crowd and 86 people died and the coup in Turkey which resulted of the deaths of over 300 people. Depending on where you stand Brexit in Britain was a disaster or a success and depending on where you stand Donald Trump being elected President of the United States was one of the best things that could of happened to the world… or one of the worst.
It’s easy from those facts to assume that 2016 was the worst year on record but there were some good things from 2016 that have been overlooked. The Olympics and Paralympics were a success in Rio, child morality rate around the world is dropping, ISIS is losing land and struggling to recruit new members and the global economy is growing. The media reports on negative stories more that the positive because they tend to be more dramatic and attract more readers.
If I was the protagonist in a novel about time travel I would go back to January 2016 and… do something. Maybe we’re experiencing the butterfly effect from what a time traveller has already done?
I liken time travel to sleeping. One moment you’re going to bed in the dark and the next moment it’s morning. You have skipped ahead several hours in time. I like to think writing is similar to that but in reverse. I’m writing the first draft of this post on the evening of 10 September 2016 whilst Jonathan Ross is interviewing Renée Zellweger on TV about the latest Bridget Jones film. The reason I’m drafting this post so far in advance is because I was talking about my 2017 goals today/that day. Chances are you’re reading this some time around the date I’m planning to publish this, January 2017. My words are travelling four months into the future for you to read. Time travel! Stephen King briefly covered this idea in his book On Writing, a book I recommend to all writers.
“Look – here’s a table covered with a red cloth. On it is a cage the size of a small fish aquarium. In the cage is a white rabbit with a pink nose and pink-rimmed eyes. In its front paws is a carrot-stub upon which is clearly marked in blue ink, the numeral 8…”
“…This is what we’re looking at, and we all see it. I didn’t tell you. You didn’t ask me. I never opened my mouth and you never opened yours. We’re not even in the same year together, let alone the same room… except we are together. We’re close. We’re having a meeting of the minds.”
– On Writing, Stephen King.
Before we look at my 2017 goals let’s examine last years.
1 Update the website every two to three weeks.
2 Write everyday.
3 Read more. 4 Leave more comments on websites and blogs.
5 Finish my novel.
6 Cut down on the unnecessary trips to McDonalds and other junk food providers.
7 Do more exercise.
8 Become more social and attend more nights out.
I don’t think I’ve done too badly this year. I think that writing everyday with a full time job is nearly impossible so I’ve failed that goal. Although my visits to junk food providers has decreased I don’t think they have decreased enough to achieve my target. I did join a gym and I really enjoyed going but then my job in that area ended so I had to cancel my membership however I attend fencing sessions once a week. My website posts have been either every weekend or every other weekend, I’ve been leaving more comments on other websites and blogs and I’m certainly more social. I attended a Great Gatsby party early this year.
What are my goals for 2017?
Complete and submit my novel Empty Nights
I realized at some point in 2016 that I was going to complete my novel one month behind my estimated deadline. That’s ok. It wasn’t a deadline set by an agent or a publisher, it was something I set myself. Some writers miss their deadlines by several months others by years. My next step upon completing Empty Nights is to hand it over to my Beta readers and after reading their feedback and making some edits, is to submit it to Literacy Agents.
Travel to France and Spain
They say you should travel when you are young and have no responsibilities. Maybe that’s how the idea of a gap year evolved. I’ve often seen my friends posting pictures of their holidays online. The last holiday I had was in 2012 on a school trip to New York. This year I’m going to Paris in February and then in June I’m going to Spain with some old friends.
Be published by two online magazines (who shall remain anonymous)
I did not submit much work to competitions last year because I was focusing on completing Empty Nights. As well as submitting short stories, I want to be published by two particular websites who each pay their writers $250.
Complete old goals from 2016. (Cut down on the unnecessary trips to McDonalds and other junk food providers and do more exercise.)
The problem I have with junk food is that it is cheaper than healthy food and that it’s more convenient. I can buy a cheese burger in McDonalds for 99p where as a meal deal in Tesco’s or Morrison’s costs me £3. I can however input more exercise in my daily routine and join a gym again.
Those are my goals for 2017 but what are yours? Do you agree with me that 2016 was a bad year or do you think it just appears that way? Did you meet your goals for 2016 and if not, why not? What was your best moment in 2016?
Leave your answers and comments down below and I’ll see you next time.