Hello friends, happy Thursday. I have returned with yet another (and final) retrospective post about last year. At the beginning of 2021 I created a list of writing-themed goals to pursue.
No surprise here: I did not accomplish them all (even though most of them were purposefully vague haha), but I am still rather glad I made the list, instead of being entirely disgruntled with myself looking back on it now.
So without further ado…
*was going to use the joker “here we go” gif as approved by my brother but I decided against it, you’re welcome*
#1. Finish “the timebus story”
33,000+ words in and no end whatsoever in sight.
I’m definitely not being held captive by my characters against my will.
#2. Write a more whimsical novel
Yes, I started a story, entitled The Rain Falls Up Beneath the Bridge, about a large eccentric family living in a society built around rain, and a girl trying to save her father’s hot air balloon expedition. It has been a lot of fun to write so far and delightfully whimsical.
More on this project later on, but in the meantime, here’s a small clip:
“Oh please no, don’t, let’s not,” Claudia exclaimed. “I do hate touristy things. Going somewhere but then only going to the only parts the world cares for with shallow arms; the parts the world says is the essence of the city. The true city is not that, and you only see more tourists. I prefer to sink into the silent corners, see the people still there who paved the streets, and who every morning wake to see the dawn and every afternoon wash their dirty dishes. Culture is sometimes a remote, sacred, and ordinary sort of ritual.
“To really know a thing,” Claudia said decidedly, “you must observe that thing when it thinks it is hidden.”
Timothy blinked and then slowly smiled. “You’re right,” he said. “But I didn’t know it until you said it.”
If interested, you can read some more clips from this story in this post.
#3. Continue writing poetry often
I did not write as religiously as when I was in a poetry class or play with as many exercises, but I still write poetry on a fairly common basis, which was more to the point.
Here are two poems I really liked that I wrote this past year. (:
#4. Welcome plot bunnies into my ranks
It had been ages since I have found a plot bunny, much less two (and we all know they never come alone), and while plot bunnies usually have a negative connotation concerning productivity, they have their benefits. Brainstorming new ideas and thinking outside the box is a good mindset to have a writer, even if it is some small snippet or idea, it is a good discipline as an artist to write it down. Additionally, the more I do, the more I find inspiration around me. So, this year I tried to be more intentional with this.
I think I did pretty well… I definitely improved in this area this past year.
#5. Share my work more in general & send my poetry to magazines and/or enter a writing contest
I sent two of my poems to a publication run by a friend. I also entered an art contest (which does not strictly fall under this goal but I feel meets the spirit of being more willing to share my work).
And I’m currently participating in a small artist community collaborative project for poets and visual artists to create pieces and pass them to each other to reflect on and then add to. (Almost like the artist’s version of Telephone? It was inspired by The Rabbit Room.)
#6. Write a novel in a month (aka NaNoWriMo)
Unfortunately, this year, I was unable to participate in NaNoWriMo (the yearly writer event based around writing an entire novel in the one month of November). I considered it (and would have used my sci-fi plot bunny retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales) but in the end concluded that I did not have enough time to try even a little bit and simultaneously keep my sanity.
In retrospect, that was definitely the right decision. Even if I was a little sad about it.
I did however, participate in Camp NaNoWriMo and made considerable progress with The Rain Falls Up Beneath the Bridge and that went very well.
I expect that this year will be similar in that regard.
#7. Write more weird short stories
I definitely wrote more weird short stories (as in two vs. zero).
#8. Read plenty of good books
While I did not read as many books as I normally do in a year, I did read many great ones (and I wrote a post about them here). This goal was not hard to achieve haha.
I have not completed everything I was hoping for last year, but I am content with where I am. And I did many other things and went on plenty of adventures in the meantime.
Highlights including but not limited to:
- competed in another season of Mock Trial (and qualified for states)
- was introduced to Studio Ghibli (and never am going back)
- flew to Hawaii to visit a friend for two weeks (literally. the best two weeks ever. still cannot believe that happened.)
- first attended (in Hawaii) and then hosted (once I got back) a Hobbit Day (in which we ate all the meals and watched the extended versions of all three Lord of the Rings movies)
- won an art competition (Howl’s Moving Castle because ….Howl’s Moving Castle)
- applied to and visited three colleges (
stressfulexciting stuff right there hehe)
- travelled with my choir and sang at the Bible Museum in Washington, DC (then proceeded to periodically run up and down the five flights of stairs rather than use the elevator throughout the day while singing in Latin …as one does)
(…all of a sudden I am obsessed with parenthesis…)
While discipline of craft is important and should be fostered, living life with joy and developing as a character oneself is also worthwhile.
I find myself often thinking about the Hayao Miyazaki quote: “I would like to make a film to tell children ‘it’s good to be alive.'”
I would like to write a novel that tells children the same thing. And in the meantime, I want to experience just how good it is to be alive.
How can you write if you do not live first?
Now for my 2022 goals…
- enter a short story contest
My county’s library system is having its annual short story contest, and while I have never been particularly good with (or fond of) short stories, I am looking to push myself out of my comfort zone and enter my very strange story about a writer and his opera singing dog.
I wrote this weird and inspired piece last year after my sister-in-law convinced me that not all short stories are disinteresting and shallow in their conclusion. Or that they need a clearcut, amplified conclusion. It was the first short story I enjoyed writing.
And the short story I am currently procrastinating on editing. Wish me luck…
- put together a personal poetry chapbook
I have been thinking much lately of how I would like to have some small booklet I could lend to friends who ask about my writing and sincerely care about intentionally being acquainted with my art. Originally, I was looking into a sort of one-time magazine issue, but my sweet blogger friend Ryan introduced me to the idea of the poetry chapbook.
I love the idea of having a complete work, unified around a theme, that may be on the simple side, but that I could hand to friends or family as a small window into my work and a way to share some thoughts and happy things. And perhaps some original accompanying art? On another level I feel like this project could help me better understand and develop my writing voice.
I think the most difficult part will be finding a coherent theme to follow and organize by. I feel like my poetry can often be scattered and eclectic. (Who else writes odes to their dishwashers? and who actually wants to read that?)
- finish the first draft of The Rain Falls Up Beneath the Bridge
This book. I want to finish it so much. I love the characters
to death (what a morbid saying – and no they all are happy and alive I promise, really truly).
While I have not talked a lot about it since my introductory post, I have been slowly adding and slowly polishing it. This book has been a struggle in many ways very close to home, but it also seems like one of the most approachable novels I’ve written at the same time (I’m not sure that makes sense?). It’s not a giant classic, and it is not meant to combat this giant world problem, or that one. Still, it seems like a worthwhile story, one that could make people smile and go hug their family, and that keeps me going.
The beauty of middle grade literature right? (:
I’ve been meaning to write a blog post updating my progress on it, and dump more aesthetics, character quirks, smol snippets, and a newly made playlist for you all. So I guess stay tuned?
It is a small list, but it is something. And I know this year, as soon as I get through this hectic senior year, is going to be busy with college and college preparations and adapting into the college life. And all that fun jazz.
What creative goals do you have for this year? What did you achieve this past year? Do you enjoy creating many goals or fewer?