What I Did In 2017

What I Did In 2017

Yesterday, I wrote … well, I guess you’d call it an emotional roundup of 2017, looking ahead to 2018. But today I wanted to look at things on a more tangible level, to try and keep track of what I actually did this year, as well as what I felt. These aren’t all what you’d call achievements (some of them are), but they’re things I did. Some are linked to old posts, in case you want to read more about them, and a couple have external links.

Also, all these pictures come from my Instagram, so if you’re not following me there, come join (I’m @miriamjoywrites as usual)

In 2017, I…. (in some kind of approximate order):

  • Knitted a couple of scarves, including one with stripes.
  • Turned 21.
  • Wrote a new draft of Butterfly of Night.
  • Came out as non-binary.
  • Still didn’t manage to decide on a professional name that I like better than Miriam Joy. Soon. I’ll get there.
  • Sprained my ankle and had to start using a cane, which I periodically still rely on because of chronic pain.
  • Completed and handed in my dissertation, despite getting the deadline wrong.
  • Also managed to hand in my French coursework, despite that dissertation crisis.
  • Took up archery again for the first time since year twelve
    • but only stuck with it for a term due to scheduling issues.
  • Lost a friend.
  • Finished second year on the second attempt.
  • Got a high 2:i!
  • Went to Cornwall for the first time, with my parents
  • Went travelling (alone!) in Ireland
    • visited Newgrange and a bunch of other cool places, learned some Irish, and played whistle in a whole bunch of pub sessions — which to be honest, I’ve wanted to do for years.
Glencolumbkille, Co. Donegal
  • Took up Irish dance again, after six and a half years.
  • Wrote a new draft of the first Death and Fairies book
    • but still didn’t manage to give it a title. It’s been four years. It’s never going to have a title.
  • Put Fleeting Ink on a free promotion for a few days and got some lovely reviews as a result.
  • Went on ceilidh band tour to Derbyshire
    • though I did get violently ill as a result, so that wasn’t ideal.
  • Went to the book launch for Pride by LGSM and Tim Tate at Gay’s The Word in London, the first gay bookshop I’ve ever visited.
  • Started final year.
  • Helped to resurrect the Irish Dance Society
  • Started seeing a counsellor again.
  • Wrote a first draft of Lie Down Below (my ninth NaNoWriMo win)
  • Entered ‘Digital Feis’, an online Irish dance competition, with the dances I’ve been teaching at CUIDS.
  • Made six vlogs, which isn’t a lot, but it’s twice as many as in 2016.
  • Made a solid start on my dissertation
    • including writing a very rough first draft and half of an improved first draft, which I aim to finish in the next couple of days.
  • Read 266 books.
  • Entered #PitMad with Butterfly of Night
    • and didn’t get all that far, but it’s the first step.
  • Went the whole year without taking any anti-depressants, having come off them last Christmas.
  • Got 2k+ views each month on my blog, except for June, despite being a bit inconsistent with posting
    • but had fewer comments — they’ve been steadily declining over the last couple of years, which I think is due to changes in blogging culture but might just be me, who knows.
  • Continued book blogging, although not as much as I’d planned.
  • Discovered that in four years, between three poetry collections, I’ve earned approximately £100 in royalties
    • which isn’t enough to live off, but it means I’m a professional writer, because I’ve been paid for it.
  • Survived.
And made every attempt to be unapologetic about my identity and who I am.

How does this compare to the goals I set myself? Well, I far exceeded my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 100 books. The novel I started on NYE ended up being put back in a digital drawer after 14k words, but I eventually dug it out and write it for NaNoWriMo — it became Lie Down Below, so although it took me about ten months longer than I planned, it did happen eventually. I finished second year. I don’t think I blogged more than last year, but my stats were better nonetheless, so apparently people like me more when I’m not actually talking. And I didn’t do brilliantly at maintaining my book blog, but I didn’t let it die out completely for more than a few months at a time…

So I think I did okay on those goals. They weren’t hugely ambitious, which I think is a sensible way of doing things. And I did a whole lot of other things besides. I had no idea, when I started this year, that I was going to go back to Irish dance. Nobody did; it kind of came out of nowhere.

2010 -> 2017

Looking ahead to 2018, here are a handful of things I’d like to do:

  • Learn some more modern Irish, whether that’s with Duolingo or by going on another course like the one I did this year.
  • Keep improving at Irish dance, and go to a feis (competition) or two — though that’ll probably have to wait until I graduate. Dance comes with associated goals with regard to fitness and eating better, but I try not to fixate too much on that and concentrate on the dance part, because otherwise I get obsessive.
  • Graduate! Barring any disasters, that ought to happen in June. Obviously, the ideal scenario would be to do well in exams, but at this point I’ll just settle for it being done.
  • Actually query Butterfly of Night properly, and not give up after sending two emails to start editing again. Ideally, this would result in finding an agent, but that part’s out of my control, so I’ll just make my goal to do the querying.
  • Write the second Death and Fairies book, which I’ve been meaning to write for like four years now.
  • Get back into blogging and making videos regularly, though again, that might not be possible before I graduate.
  • Read 100+ books and actually write reviews for stuff, instead of writing ‘review to come’ and leaving it at that for months until I’ve forgotten everything about the book (lbr, we all do it).
  • Make peace with my body and its various issues and failings. Realistically, I might not manage that in one year, but hopefully one day.

Maybe I’ll even pick up my instruments again. I’d really like to start playing the flute again, but it’s been so long that I’ll have to build it up slowly, and so far I haven’t been able to face that. Maybe when I graduate, I’ll make that a project.

I’m occasionally able to play the violin, hands permitting, but I’ve lost my embouchure and breath control for the flute.

In the meantime, though, I need to finish rewriting my dissertation.

What are your goals for 2018?

 

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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