2016 was probably one of the biggest years of my life. This time last year I had just said goodbye to one of my only friends from high school, a girl I fell in love with who never felt anything for me. Working up the courage to tell her I couldn’t handle a simple friendship was one of the hardest things I had ever done, and it made me miserable for the entirety of January, when my first spring semester of college started.
During that spring semester, a friend told me (quite harshly, in her own way) that I need to get over the depression because it doesn’t change things. After that day, I told myself I would stop being a cynic, and a few days later I started this blog: five hundred words a day. I had challenged five hundred words a day of myself before, but at the time I was concerned with fiction.
The blog allowed me to actually write, even if it wasn’t fiction, and with it I’ve grown more as a writer in this past year than the rest of my career combined. I’ve written close to two hundred thousand words on this blog, and its given me the strength to publish some fiction every week, to boot. If you count my blog, my current writing tally is about four hundred thousand words. I’m still pretty dang far from that million word wall, but I’m getting there. Because of this blog, I wrote The Dreamscape and started the anthology of novelettes. I’ve since learned that I can’t write novels yet because I get bored with them, but novelettes are short enough not to let that happen. So if I write an anthology it can be novel length without having to worry about its completion!
A few smaller things happened, too. I quit my first paying job, and I have no regrets. I won a scholarship that has basically paid for these last two semesters of college. I got my first smart phone early in the year. I (finally) got my license, and a few months later got into my first accident (though it’s a really melodramatic way of saying I bumped a car and repairs cost about $50). Overwatch finally launched, and it’s probably been one of my biggest game time sinks of the year. And for Halloween, I finally did something I’ve always wanted to do: the hero from Dragon Quest VIII! I can cross that off my bucket list now.
I made a New Years resolution to read fifty books, and for a two months in I had read two or three. I ended off strong, though, having read a total of fifty four books! I’m not making another New Years resolution, but I’m not going to stop reading. The Kingkiller Chronicle is just way too good to put down.
In August, I started going into a high school to teach improv acting (and just helping out with teaching in general), and I’m really enjoying it. It’s always a lot of fun, so if my writing career doesn’t work out, maybe I can pursue something in teaching.
Now, every hundred posts I try to do something cool, and this time around I put in way more effort in it than I have in the past. I’m starting a YouTube series of audio readings of my short stories! I originally intended to make audio readings of all of my posts from this day forward, but with how much work video editing has turned out to be, its simply not feasible. Instead, I’ll be making little, unofficial audiobooks of older stories. Hopefully ones permanent enough to not need much editing at this point.
Because of this, in fact, I’ve named the Aluvalian novelette: Change in the Winds, and you can listen to it today, here! It has an enormous, dumb watermark on the video, but I can’t take it off because that’s a drawback of using a free program. But hey, you just listen to it, there’s literally no point in watching the thing. It’s just under an hour long, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, for as bad a narrator as I am. I plan on making one audio recording a week, and only the novelettes will be that long, but its an option if you don’t read the blog but still want some of my fiction.
Lastly, in November, I made a decision I know everybody in my life would disagree with: I started talking to that girl from high school again. I still haven’t seen her in person, and aside from a few occasions where I happened to see her around the college, we haven’t seen each other (let alone spoken) in a year.
Have you ever done something that you knew was right, despite everyone around you trying to shoot it down? It’s what I imagine following your dreams is like when your family wants a specific career path for you. The thing is, despite this year apart, I still couldn’t stop thinking about her. I can’t explain it, so I won’t try, but I know that whatever happens, some good will come of it.
Happy New Year.