Posted by: devonellington | December 31, 2016

Dec. 31, 2016: 2016 Wrap-Up

GDR Wrap Up 2016

Looking back at 2016:
2016 was a difficult year. I was unhappy in my work situation, and feeling drained. When the position was eliminated at the end of June, I was shocked at the abruptness of it, but it was much better for me on many levels. I did theatre work through the summer and consulting work through the fall. Plus, I wrote. A LOT. I signed with a new agent, and we’ll see how that goes.

I also chose a word for 2016: Reciprocity. I felt things had gotten very out of balance. That, in certain situations, I was giving, supporting, paying, and getting nothing in return. By holding the word “reciprocity” in mind, I was able to re-balance some of that, and cut some toxic people out of my life. I also faced some hard realities about how the reality of living in this area does not live up to the fantasy. Now I have to make decisions as to what I want to do about it.

At this point, I have four novels out on submission, two plays out, and I had a radio play produced. I wrote two short stories, and re-released three digital shorts.

I had my first piece of mixed media art hung in a gallery show.

I have developed more than one book series, and am in the process about making some decisions about how I want to shape and handle my career.

I also said no to some freelance assignments I knew would be unfulfilling on both creative and financial levels, and I feel good about that.

I feel more confident about my abilities in the house and garden, and I cooked a lot.

I focused more on my yoga practice, but I still want to go deeper. I also re-connected with some spiritual practices that had fallen by the wayside.

The election of the Narcissistic Sociopath is a cause for great concern. While I would like to ignore that creature, he has put together a cabinet that is incompetent, corrupt, and bent on destroying what I believe are the founding principles of this country. I would like to simply ignore his existence for the coming years, but looking the other way is a form of acceptance, and I’m not willing so to do.

Do you feel you are on the right path? If so, what do you want to build on from this year to make next year even better? If not, what do you want to change? How do you intend to change those things?
Creatively, I feel like I’m getting there. I don’t like the way the traditional industry is going — what is “popular” and how it’s marketed isn’t the way I want to go. So I have to find a new way that balances the creative needs with unique marketing campaigns that put my work in front of the people who will positively respond.

Apart from my writing work, I’m not sure where I will land. I am not willing to stay in this location working a shit job I don’t like that barely pays minimum wage. I am willing to move for work I enjoy that also pays appropriately. The “gimme” attitude around here, where people want you to “donate” all the time, but aren’t willing to pay for skills or reciprocate in in-kind support, works my last nerve.

Take a look at the disappointments from this year. Can you find their root cause? Did you get something positive from them, in spite of the disappointments?
The disappointments have more to do with other people, rather than myself. My determination for 2016 was that it be a year of “reciprocity”. When that did not happen, people and situations got dropped from my life, and I got better at so doing. When things got out of balance, especially when I gave and gave and got nothing in return — something that happened far too often in 2015 — I got better at redrawing boundaries and being ruthless. I tried to do it with the least amount of unpleasantness to others, but when things were really out of whack, well, too damn bad.

For the past few years, I felt like a hamster on a wheel, just trying to survive. This year, I got angry enough to say, “No, this isn’t the ONLY way to do this and survive. I’m doing something else. Too bad if it doesn’t suit you, because you haven’t lived up to your end of the equation.” That’s hard to learn to do, but I’m learning.

Take a look at unexpected events which changed your path. Were the changes positive or negative? Did they send you in a new direction you might not have found otherwise, or where they a distraction?
The biggest unexpected event, in June, will, in the long run, be for the best. Even though I knew it at the time, it was still a shock. It set into motion some other decisions which had been necessary for a long time, but which I’d hesitated to take, again, issues where the reciprocity equation was unequal.

This year has certainly made me much more cynical, especially the election.

Do you feel fulfilled creatively, personally, spiritually? What contributes to that? If something is lacking in any of these areas, what actions do you need to take in the coming year?
The creative fulfillment in the process is growing. The Sophie Batchelder mystery is making the rounds with the agent; PLAYING THE ANGLES and TRACKING MEDUSA are both out on submission, looking for a home for re-release. DEATH OF A CHOLERIC is out on query/partial submission. “Courting the Lioness” is in New York. By the time this posts, JUST A DROP will also be on its way to New York. I re-released “Personal Revolution”, “Plot Bunnies”, and “Severance.” I wrote “Won if By Sea”, which is out on submission, and “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall”, a holiday present to readers. I worked on revisions for HEART SNATCHER, which should be ready for submission soon, am prepping to finish THE FIX-IT GIRL, and taking another look and another view at TAPESTRY. I’m preparing a solid writing schedule for next year, and I’ve been invited to submit to an anthology. I’m developing a new pilot script, and working on another play.

I also had my first piece of visual art in a gallery show. That was exciting for me.

Creatively, I’m getting back on track. Now, I need to re-form how I want to market that creativity. I don’t like the forced paths that marketers and publishers say I have to take. I want to find more unique, more inclusive ways to engage my audience.

Personally, it’s been up and down. When the creativity is sorted out, the personal tends to take care of itself.

I’m getting back on track spiritually. Work in progress, but I’m in a better place than this time last year, albeit a more cynical one.

Looking back at my three goals for 2016 and the steps to achieve them:

Goal 1. Meet the writing schedule I set out, yet have flexibility
when unexpected opportunities arise.

A. Don’t get distracted by other people’s agendas
B. Manage time and energy better; don’t let the energy vampires
drain me
C. Recognize the difference between “opportunity” and “ego.”

Result: In quantity, I met what I wanted to achieve with my writing, but the projects were shifted around due to opportunity. Some of those manuscripts need to be rolled over to finish in the coming year. I was better at not getting distracted by other people’s agendas, although it was difficult to balance the writing with the theatre work this summer. I managed my time and energy better, cutting out energy vampires, and taking off time when I needed so to do. I refused several things that I was tempted to take out of ego, rather than because they were good for me on any level. I’m pleased that I did not succumb to the Nano temptation — that would have really derailed me toward the end of the year.

I didn’t achieve it to the letter, but I’m pleased with the progress I made.

Goal 2. Can’t be shared publicly yet; just know that I’m in the process
of taking the steps to fulfill it.

Result: Part of it was achieved, although not in the way I anticipated, when my position was eliminated. The rest of the pieces are still in play. Partial victory.

Goal 3. Again, up the physical activity, and get back in shape.
A. Deepen the yoga practice
B. Add other physical activities to the roster
C. Recognize steady, but necessary increase increments

Result: The yoga practice was deepened, but I want to take it further. The theatre job got me temporarily back in shape, but I’m losing it again, and I have to find ways to do more physical activity I enjoy, and raise the increments. I’m better than I was at this point last year, not as fit as I was at the beginning of autumn, but I want to make sure I don’t backslide.

Dreams for 2016:
I didn’t discuss them publicly, and had to look back in my private journal. I worked on the dreams, but did not fulfill them this year. I’m tweaking them a little for next year, and working on them in a more practical way. I’ve also decided to let go of at least one, and replace it with something that fits more of what I want, not what I feel I should want.

Resolutions and Results for 2016:

Resolution 1. Excommunicate the toxic, the crazy, the saboteur, and the
energy vampires from my personal universe.
A. It’s tied in to some of the goals and dreams I can’t yet share.
B. Strengthen my personal shields.
C. Refuse to be drawn in to other people’s dysfunction.

Results: Made a lot of progress with this and feel good about it. Also getting better at recognizing early warning signs and removing myself before it becomes a crisis.

Resolution 2. Organize/purge/unpack basement
A. Get the supplies I need in place so I can organize and have
designated bins/areas to sort/purge
B. Create a reasonable schedule and stick to it.
C. Re-Feng-Shui the house. The place’s natural feng shui is
excellent, but the purging/organizing will help.

Result: Well, that didn’t really happen! It fell by the way side. That needs to roll over. I did some Feng-Shui work, which helped a lot, but the basement needs a lot of work.

Resolution 3. Try something new, out of my comfort zone.
A. Be open to new opportunities
B. Lack of energy is not an excuse
C. Realize it’s okay if I try something and decide I don’t
like it.

Result: This was a good one, and I’m happy with the result. I had to let go of Argentine Tango, because the time commitment and the emotional commitment was more than I could give. I still enjoy it and I’d like to get back to it someday, but this is not the time. Although it’s given me inspiration for several stories. I stretched myself into visual arts, and found I really enjoy it. I want to paint and experiment with abstract work a bit more. I also stretched myself by being a reader for the Moby Dick Marathon in Provincetown in April, and will stretch even further by participating in the marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum this coming January.

I’m at work with my personal plan for 2017, the plan beyond the GDRS, to set up the next few years. I hope to have it ready to share by mid-February.

On January 2, I will be back with my GDR questions answered for 2017, and on the 3rd, I will have my January To-Do list ready.

Happy New Year, and may next year bring you joy, creativity, and an abundance of all that is good.

Feel free to post your own reflections on 2016 below. We’ve lost so many inspirations this year, that we must be each others’ inspirations.

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