2017 – Not the year I expected

As we hit mid-December, we near the time when every blogger, columnist, podcaster and reporter thinks about doing a piece on the year we’re about to complete. Some of them wait until the very end of December, some wait until the beginning of January, but either way many will succumb to the lure of looking back at the year that was.

I’m no different.

I realize that it’s been some time since I posted a writing update, and I think this will serve as that, as well as a comment on 2017.

Not so favourite anymore

Like everyone else, I have my share of favourites—favourite writers, favourite book series, favourite actors, favourite TV shows, favourite movies. And this year has been a year where we’ve gotten to see some of our favourites turn out to be not so great.

I saw a very appropriate quote on a forum I visit:

2016 was the year your favourite actor or musician died. 2017 is the year your favourite actor or musician becomes dead to you.

I think this sums up the feelings of many after the endless string of revelations this year. There are some TV shows I can no longer watch, some companies of which I no longer want to be a customer, some people I no longer find funny.

Life, and stuff

In my own life, things were…interesting. I changed jobs exactly one year ago (as of December 1st), and I still feel that I made the right decision. However, there were some tough times and difficult decisions and announcements, and my role in Communications & Public Affairs meant I was heavily involved in all of those. I have never regretted leaving my old position, but this year was definitely a trial-by-fire.

I’m now nearing my second year of training in Goju-Ryu Karate. This year I earned my purple belt (5th kyu), and I’m working steadily towards getting my purple-with-one-stripe (4th kyu). My goal is to earn my brown belt (3rd kyu) by the end of next summer. Keeping in shape is a challenge, of course, and some of my gradings were harder than others. But it’s something I need to do, something I need to accomplish, and I play to keep working at it as long as I can stay healthy.

On the other side of things, it was the difficulties that were faced by many of my friends this year that was the hardest part of 2017. This year really kicked some people’s asses, and they are people I really care about. Relationships, health, employment—nothing seemed safe this year. If there’s one part of 2017 that makes me glad to see the end to this year, it’s this. These people, my friends, have been through hell and there’s been so little I could to make things better for them.

But I will be there for them whenever they need me, and that’s really the best any of us can do.

The blog

In July of 2016, I started posting every week. In those 77 weeks, I’ve only missed three posts, all due to travel for my work. I think that’s a pretty good record so far, and I’m certainly planning to continue. I also wrote and published a dozen short stories (as part of my blogging efforts) and three RPG products (somewhat outside of my blogging efforts).

In May of this year I decided to focus on roleplaying games as a major element of my blog. And the truth is that it immediately grew the number of visitors I get each week by a huge margin. I’m very happy with the fact that a good number of people follow my blog, and I get visitors from literally around the world. It’s nice to know that I’m not just talking to myself.

So I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. I will continue to focus on RPG stuff on the blog, and post (hopefully) useful material for gamers. And it appears some of them will give my novels a chance, which—to be honest—is the whole point of this blog.

And the books

Which brings me to the update on my novels. I had hoped to have The Traitor and the Thief out long before now, and I’ve been very frustrated by the slow progress on the book. As I mentioned before, my first draft had some serious issues, and I’ve had to rewrite half of the book over from scratch. And I admit that some of the blogging and RPG stuff has taken time away from the novel writing, which has made the effort to complete it harder than it should have been.

The reality is that this has been a busy year and it’s been difficult at times to stay focused. At times I’ve used the RPG materials to push off the writing of the novel. I need to be in the right mind space to write a novel that I will be proud to publish. As the middle book in the series, I want The Traitor and the Thief to live up to the promise of The Soldier and the Slave.

I feel, though, that I’ve started to build momentum again. As the year winds down, I feel the desire to get back to this story reaching a point that I cannot delay any longer. So I’m pushing ahead again.

What this means is that some of the content for the blog might be a little light at times. But the book represents the writing I need to do, which is what brings me the most happiness, what drives me.

Conclusion

I know I’ve rambled a bit here, but I wanted to get this out there. It’s important to put 2017 into perspective, to see where I started and where I ended. To understand what I actually accomplished, and where I fell short.

And now, it’s time to get back to writing.

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