I had the idea that this post was going to be a full-on recap of the entire year. I was going to document and narrativise my ups and downs, wins and losses, and the learning that I did along the way. But reading back over my Monthly Words recaps, I realise that, actually, the whole point of Weekly Words has always been looking back on what I’ve done to get perspective on what I can do. And if I’m just going to recap everything, maybe that gets in the way of actually bothering to look back.
So instead, let’s just get to the part that really matters: my gigantic powerlevel.
Yearly Total: 317911
I mean, I knew it would be a lot of words; I even thought it probably would be around this many words. But …
Fuck me that’s a lot of writing.
This is with a non-Weekly Words-accounted-for writing total of 20669 words between the 1st of January and the 24th of February, which is the pre-Weekly Words period. I’ve been doing this for longer than I thought; I seemed to remember that I started at some point in April.
But I started in February – just a week before March, so let’s say March, which is still 10 months out of 12. That’s a lot.
I am the FUCKING MAN HOLY FUCK I WRITE SO HARD EAT MY WORDS WORLD I DID THAT I CAUSED THIS TO BE I AM THE ALPHA
Amazing. I couldn’t sum up this year any clearer than just that fucking number; in 2018 I wrote three hundred and seventeen thousand, nine hundred and eleven words that I counted towards my writing goals. I wrote more than that, tooling around with my various game projects and planning documents and whatever; writing is the tool that I use for everything, and this year I used it a lot.
SHIT I rock.
And okay a little recap. Weekly Words has been a huge undertaking, and through it I feel that I’ve accomplished what I set out to do with it: get perspective on my actual writing process, not leaving it all up to the inebriated swirl of paranoid self-doubt that generally has served as my barometer for progress and success in my life. Weekly Words helped me to push back against that ridiculous, self-defeating, toxic habit, and while it’s not quite broken yet, the Weekly Words habit is definitely overpowering it more often than not. It’s winning. I’m winning.
And that is because, while perspective is what I set out to accomplish (and did), the more important accomplishment that Weekly Words also facilitated was just being fucking nice to myself. This year is by far the year where I was the most appreciative, supportive, and generally positive towards myself than I think I’ve ever been. And that’s not because I was faking it to make it; it was because I could actually see what the fuck was going on, instead of going with the delusional, self-destructive narrative that I have historically defaulted to believing is true about myself. And what I saw was that, actually, I try really hard, and I’m pretty resilient, and even when things don’t go exactly the way I’d like or I fall short of the goals that I set for myself, I still learn from the experience. And when they do go my way, I need to acknowledge that, accept it, internalise it – and this past year, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing that. It is difficult; it does take some kind of external accountability, which is what Weekly Words is here for, to keep on-task with that for me. It’s a very recent practice, and one that I want to keep building on. I do pretty damn well, I’ve realised, and that includes realising that even when things don’t go the way I’d planned, it’s not that I learn from it and can try again better next time, but I can generally turn a disappointing experience into something fulfilling on its own terms, just by changing my perspective.
Because at the end of the day, I set goals because I want to get writing done, and I’ve realised that that system actually doesn’t really work for me. Setting goals is something that is always bundled up with guilt and shame for me, the anticipation that I’m going to fail at whatever I set out to do. 2018 was when I confronted that habit out in the open, and I’ve become more comfortable with not setting goals for the sake of setting goals – and realised that that’s what most of my goals were. This year, maybe I can actually learn what a real goal is and what it means to work towards it with a clearer, healthier mind and mindset.
I also changed so much about the way Weekly Words worked. I totally forgot that I started out with a 10k words-per-week goal! That’s crazy. I also had to deal with a lot of life stuff this year that affected my day-to-day writing focus; Youthline was the biggest life thing of that nature, but there was also marking – I say 2018 felt short, but that marking feels like it was way more than a year ago – that forced me to confront some of my worst habits and answer them with a resilience and ability to adapt that I didn’t realise I had, and something I was really delighted to re-discover while reading over my Monthly Words recaps. I learnt that I could trust myself to pull through. And while that moment of revelation has certainly faded, and the excitement and badassness has passed, just looking back on how I’ve been doing things this year I think I’ve actually taken that lesson and run with it. For the latter half of this year I didn’t have A Project to work on – I had a bunch of things that I was exploring, tinkering with, playing around with, and it’s worked really well. It gave me a chance not just to clear my head of junk, of the headspace I get into where I MUST turn X idea into a story project, but to also get back in touch with my ideas as they are, which has led to me starting to feel like I do have some ideas that I want to build up.
I just learnt a lot about myself last year. Like, a lot. And I’m still the same in most ways, still have the same hang-ups and shortcomings and so on, but its all shifted a bit in a better direction. I feel like I’m starting to come out of it all, rather than remaining entrenched in it. Which is a better thing than I could have hoped for when I decided to start blogging about my weekly writing routines.
And also I got a horrible stomach ulcer and had to change my eating habits and as a result I lost 7 kgs over the course of 2018, in the span of 4 months. The holidays are over now so it’s back on the bandwagon for me, and while I’m still getting back into it, I feel better already. Now for exercise …
And looking into getting a therapist …
And finding out about my PhD options, and other study routes I could take …
And continuing to just do things that work for me in general. It’s the New Year, and that is my one resolution: to continue the way I intend to continue. 2015 was my year of risk-taking; I feel like 2018 sort of was as well. My hope for 2019 is something a bit more … grown-up, I guess, than risk-taking: trusting that I’ve got this. I’m scared of a lot of things that I often feel bad for being scared of, things I feel I shouldn’t be scared of. But I’ve learnt this past year that fear really isn’t the be all and end all of whether or not I can do something. It’s definitely a new lesson, and one that I don’t fully trust yet – but that’s part of the lesson, I guess.
And therapy, when I get that, which I definitely will because seriously this shit needs to go away.
I hope this year is good to us all – and even if it’s not, I know we can be good to ourselves and each other.
Seriously though that’s, what, 6 Nanowrimos? 6 YA novels I’ve written in a year? The whole Wolf Gang series could have been finished by now, man …