Reader Friday: What Did You Accomplish This Year?

imageAlthough we mostly talk about writing here at TKZ, your answer to this question can be related to any aspect of life, whether it’s craft-related or something more personal in nature:  what important new skill or lesson about life did you learn in 2016?

16 thoughts on “Reader Friday: What Did You Accomplish This Year?

  1. Far, far, far above anything else, the most significant thing to happen for me in 2016 has been finally escaping the employer from hell. Honest to goodness, I felt I was serving a life sentence for a crime I didn’t commit (it would take me a Tolstoy-esque tome to outline all the ways in which that place was hell and the ways in which it was ruinous for my mental and physical health). 3 long years of searching high and low for another job has finally come to an end.

    My new job is the polar opposite of the old one: 1) I am treated like a human being; 2) I’m treated like a business professional; 3) Everything about the new organization is positive and forward thinking, always focused on improvement; 4) their benefits actually line up with the organization’s mission (ie. whole person health); 5) They attempt to help everyone in the organization live work/life balance; 6) I have a supervisor who actually listens when I approach her and more amazingly, takes steps to try and resolve problems instead of being one of the problems; 7) They are much more technologically advanced than my former company; 8) In just 3.5 weeks I have attained more professional development than I was able to acquire in 14 years at the other place and many, many other educational opportunities abound.

    No words can describe the oppressive weight that has been lifted off my shoulders. Every day I go to work I feel true amaze at the feeling of being treated with respect, dignity, and professionalism. The only analogy I can make is that it must be similar to someone who comes to this country from a country that is very poor and very oppressed, who is amazed by the bounty of benefits that U.S. citizenship brings.

    After a long, long, long time, I can finally use the phrase “I look forward to….” Truly a great reason to be thankful.

  2. I got my first book published and went on a 4-month, 40,000 mile road trip in a 1985 VW camper to promote it. Meeting hundreds of new readers in person and seeing so much of the USA (nooks, crannies and highways) was an incredible experience. I can’t wait to do it all again.

  3. I had an exciting 2016. Two of my books came out in paperback, I wrote two novels and will have a third done by the middle of Dec. I wrote two flash fiction pieces that were accepted into anthologies and a 10K-word short story for inclusion in a collection, which also came out in paperback this year. I need to finish the 2nd short story for Volume II, due Jan. 1st.

    This fall has really been crunch time for me as my deadlines loom, but I’ll get it done. The most valuable thing I learned is, I need to learn how to evaluate opportunities that come my way, rather than go for all of them (it’s so hard, though). This workload was way too much. Now that I’m nearing the end, it’s exciting, but for a while there I wasn’t sure I’d make it. I’m keeping my focus on toasting to the New Year when all this is a distance memory. Write on, TKZers!

  4. Back in 2012, I had written about 50,000 words of a novel that I had originally envisioned as a 50,000-word novel. By the time I reached 50K, however, the story was careening wildly in all directions, totally out of my control. So I set it aside, thinking I would come back to it in a week or two and iron out the problems.

    I came back to it, all right, but I couldn’t get over the hump. After repeated efforts, I finally cast it aside — much as I hated to do so — and walked away from it.

    Fast-forward to 2015: a fellow writer asked me if I had restarted that book yet. In fact, she asked me so many times, I decided to take another look at it. The stars must have lined up properly, because I saw the problem right away. It was a much bigger book struggling to break free from the 50,000-word limit I had set for it. Not only that, there were not one, but three characters who demanded equal time. In addition, it felt like there was more than one book involving these characters and settings, so I committed to a trilogy. Once I realized I had a bigger book on my hands with three central characters, I rewrote major portions of the original 50,000 words and then sailed on to the end by November, 2015.

    While I was going back and forth with the editor and arranging for the cover, I turned my attention toward book 2 of the trilogy. I started writing it in November, 2015 and finished it in July, 2016. Meanwhile, book 1 was out and selling surprisingly well.

    The very same day in July I finished book 2, I started book 3. Book 2 went through the editing and cover process, and was released in September. I finished book 3 in October. This time, I had done the cover in advance of finishing the book. Off to the editor, and it was released today!

    But back in October, when I wrapped up the writing for the trilogy, I had an idea for another series, and started what will be the first novel in that series. With the success my trilogy has achieved — and it was beyond anything I could’ve imagined — I became inspired and ramped up my productivity to the point where I’ve written 81,000 words of the first book in the new series in about seven weeks.

    Bottom line: 2016 was a banner year for me, one in which I learned a lot of lessons and became a much better writer because of it.

  5. In my case, it was more a matter of self-learning that pure accomplishment — or perhaps any accomplishments.

    I learned that it’s time to return to my professional roots and write largely full-time. No more of this now-and-then, when I get a chance stuff. That way lies madness.

    It’s going to mean I find ways to shut down parts of my small business, a black hole that eats up too much of my time, to finally free up the hours I need to write.

    Haven’t got all the kinks worked out on how all of this happens, but at least I know where I’m going. Progress.

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