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2017 and What Last Year Taught Me

Welcome to the year 2017! A very belated Happy New Year to all as we’re more than halfway through the month of January!

After taking some much-needed time off during the holidays with family and friends, I’m finally back with my first post of the year. As I look forward to 2017 and what it has in store, I think it’s very important to take a quick look back on just what a year 2016 was.

So allow me to reintroduce myself for the sake of those who are reading this for the first time. My name is Barry and I began this blog almost six months ago now; and while you could simply read my ABOUT page to get a synopsis of the purpose of this blog, writing it all out helps to establish a timeline. See, it wasn’t too long ago that I never would’ve considered doing something like this. Attempting to sit down, figure out exactly where I am currently in my life, and then plan to get to where I want to be while in the view of the anonymous digital eyes of the internet. But there’s something powerful about writing it all down and having some type of accountability for it. It forces you to really examine exactly what your point is and how you want to convey it. Being misunderstood on something so critical is a horrible feeling.

None of this was a secret attempt to perform therapy on myself because of some unhappiness that dwelled in some deep existential realm of my head. Trust me when I say that I don’t have that type of time to foster attention for myself. What this blog has helped me highlight to myself and the others who read it is the most important word that I familiarized myself with last year: CONSISTENCY.

Looking at the online dictionary quickly, I see the following definition for consistency: steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc. For my family and friends, my career, my hobbies, and even the steps that I took towards accomplishing my dream (albeit small steps), it all came down to remaining firm in the things that I said I would do and following through. Not only did this do wonders for improving my productivity but it also brought more opportunities my way. People are much more likely to keep you in the loop when they see that you keep your word. Action has to follow the positive affirmation we say to ourselves.

My expectations have radically evolved in just the short time that I’ve been actively blogging; and while having inflated expectations can be dangerous, they are needed in order to provide a benchmark for your progress; and that’s what I see. Progress on my craft and the positive effect that it has provided in my real life. This is a looooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnng grind. I have zero idea when it will end. Furthermore, I don’t really know what to classify as the ‘end’ of the journey. I mention publication in my tagline but will the satisfaction come from that? Only time will tell and between now and then I will do all I can to improve. Like I said, consistency is key.

So what about this year? 2017 is still fresh enough to smell the newness on it but I haven’t been resting on my laurels, even if this is my first post for the month. Last year I submitted to my first writing contest (to my delight and nervousness) and learned so much from that experience. This year I plan on doing one at least every quarter, possibly more. I actually plan on taking some formal training in book publishing to network and directly engage in conversation with those who’ve done it on a professional level (reading books on book publishing can only get you so far); I want to create and finish longer forms of work (besides just blog posts and short stories). Maybe there will be another attempt at the National Novel Writing Month? I have zero idea right now but only time will tell.

I really hope to get another opportunity to travel and expose myself to even more extremes in culture. The time outside of my literal comfort zone is important not only for creative development but for my own mental growth as well. You’ll never see improvement simply staying around the same things and people you’ve always known. Plus it’s good just to get away from it all at times.

The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, and everything that falls in between. I’m ready to experience it all. Looking forward to 2017!

Until next time.

 

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