Looking Back, Looking Forward

As you may have noticed, certain people are referring to 2016 as “The Year of the Dumpster Fire,” or similarly delicate epithets. And with good reason: between what seems like an unreasonable number of deaths of icons from all walks of life, paired with varying shades of political chaos, it’s been a pretty awful year for the population as a whole. However, I’m seeing a growing trend in these last few days of people saying “2016 was pretty awful on the whole, but I feel weird because it was actually a pretty good year for me on a personal level.” It’s the latter trend that I’d like to partake in today, and try to stay positive about things rather than being bogged down in grief. Now is a time for silver linings. Carrie Fisher’s passing hit us all hard, but I’m glad that she was first able to rewrite her legacy from one of an actress who “went off the deep end,” to one of a powerful woman, a strong actress and writer, and a potent voice in mental health activism. David Bowie may have left us, but he’s apparently left behind plans for posthumous collections which seem likely to include unheard material, and it has led to the vinyl release of all his previous albums, remastered from the original tapes—and they sound fantastic. For many groups, the leadership of their country has left them in fear for their lives and bodily autonomy, but within the voices calling for an exodus from this country or that, has been a group that reassures me of the potential for human kindness and sacrifice, one saying “I could leave, but it is my place to stay and support those who cannot leave.”

For me this was the year that I got engaged. The year my brother got married. The year that I graduated from my MA. The year that I made some important choices about where my future lies, and moved 1,000 miles (without leaving the country) to a position where I could enact those choices. This was the year where I left academia and began to be gainfully employed on multiple fronts.

I’ve made a lot of personal strides and I finally feel able to really focus on my writing career (if around two other jobs) as my primary goal in life. This year I officially started a draft of my new novel, started a Patreon, and received pledges that will not only help me to keep writing, but tell me that there are people out there who are still interested and invested in my writing.

I feel like I’m in a strong place to move forward, and I intend to do so in the coming year. While I predict that by midnight on the 2nd of January we’ll see someone post “Maybe 2017 will be better… [Insert headline of celebrity death]” it can still be a good year for us personally. I’m not saying that political troubles and popular culture issues won’t be present, but we must remember that we can push against political moves with activism, and that when someone dies, they leave a legacy; their passing should be properly grieved, but not negate our own ability to function in the long run.

In early January, I will be putting out the first short story for my Patreon backers (I’m taking a break from working on it to write this post). In 2017 I plan to visit writing conferences and network with those in my field. In 2017 I will finish and edit the fantasy novel I am working on. And in 2017 I will submit it to agents.

In 2017 I will survive, move forward, and be there for those who need me to be.

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