2018 was an enigma to me. In some ways it felt as though the entire year just passed in a flash, disappearing from me in the blink of an eye. In other ways, however, it felt like one of the longest years of my life. I didn’t always mention everything on this blog, but if you follow any of my “Tracey’s Basement” social media you may have picked up on a few dozen frustrations. 2018 was the year of financial and existential horror for the Tobin household. It just seemed as though everything that could go wrong did go wrong. TVs exploded, cars broken down and had their windows smashed, a beloved fur-baby passed on…and in the midst of all that, gainful employment was just not to be found.
It was a shit year. Let’s be straight. It was a shit year.
But the good thing is that it’s over! January 1st always feels like a fresh start to me, even if it’s basically a placebo effect situation.
We can’t move into the new year, however, without looking back at the old, seeing where we gained, where we lost, and where we can do better. So let’s take one last look back at my good intentions of 2018. Deep breath! Diving in…
Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
In some ways I’ll give myself props for actually putting more focus into my writing throughout 2018. If nothing else, I definitely thought a lot more about my writing, took some new steps with the new social media accounts, and worked toward getting Book Two of The Other World in a publishable state. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. I went weeks without writing anything substantial, and months without working on Book Two if it felt like my brain wasn’t quite working. That was my biggest failing in 2018, I believe, and something I definitely need to work on in 2019.
- Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. Half a million didn’t even come close to happening. I lost count somewhere during the holidays, but throughout December I only wrote a couple of blog posts, so I can estimate. That estimate brings me to approximately 245,000 words. Or, in other words, less than half of my goal. Now, I’ll try not to be too hard on myself – 245k is still a lot of words – but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit disappointed in myself. I can do better than this. I will do better than this.
One good thing: I discovered Pacemaker.press in 2018. It might seem a little superfluous, especially since I’ve always tracked my written words manually in my day planner anyway, but I did find that having that goal set up with suggested daily word counts helped a lot in the second half of the year. I’ve already set up a new goal on the site for 2019, so here’s hoping it continues to help and I actually hit the goal in the new year!
- Goal #2: Sell more books. In retrospect, if I was going to set a goal like this, I really should have kept some kind of actual record of book sales. Hindsight and all that. That said, what I can report is basically that book sales were abysmal at best. I did pick up a few paperback sales here and there, a few ebook sales here and there, and the occasional book’s worth of page reads on Kindle Unlimited, but none of it was anything to write home about. A huge part of that, I suspect, is that I’ve been really overly shy about actually promoting myself. Sure I’ll tweet or make an Instagram post every so often, but the amount of promotion I do overall is rather pathetic. This assessment is backed up by several of my close friends (who are also my beta-readers) regularly yelling at me to promote myself more often. So, yeah, maybe I should start doing that! o.o
- Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. There were definitely a few hiccups with this one. I won’t mince words: I screwed up by spending more than a couple of months in 2018 avoiding the hell out of this goal. I wanted to accomplish it, but I was having a really hard time with Book Two and just couldn’t press forward with it for a while. When I eventually did complete the manuscript (yay!) I sent it off to my beta-readers and was promptly informed that I’d been an idiot for thinking it was crap (uh…yay?). Unfortunately, by the time all this came to pass it was already the end of the year, so the publishing didn’t happen. Fortunately I should be able to (should be able to) crank out the last few steps early in 2019. Fingers crossed!
Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
I’d like to say that I did okay with this one, but I’m not really all that sure that I did. As previously mentioned, it was a really rough year. A lot of crap happened, a lot of time was lost on things I had to deal with rather than things I would have liked to be dealing with, and my focus was well-scattered for weeks at a time. Combined with the fact that YouTube did everything in its power in 2018 to discourage and destroy small YouTuber’s channels, and 2018 was just definitely not our year for YouTube.
- Goal #1: Film more often. I’m not going back to confirm, but I think the number of videos we filmed in 2018 was fairly close to the number of videos we filmed in 2017. In other words, not more. Then again, not really less either. The end of the year is what really screwed us up, as it simply got too busy to find the time to film the many things we had available to film. We cranked out a few good ones at the last minute, but nothing compared to what we would have liked to have gotten done in November and December.
- Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect. Here’s one that I can say was actually rather successful. There’s still room to grow, but I spent a fair bit of 2018 building up my social media presence. Even after I split myself between the channel accounts and my author accounts, I still managed to keep myself active, at least on the Twitter and Instagram, which are the two most important ones anyway. My followers are building, if not a little slowly, and I hope to continue that momentum in the new year.
#3: Focus more on myself.
I didn’t really keep any kind of actual record of this one throughout the year, so it’s hard to judge, honestly. I think I did half-decently well in some ways, although there’s definitely more progress that could be made. I tend to think more about what I should be doing than what I want to be doing, which can be a good thing sometimes and a bad thing other times. I definitely didn’t spend as much time just ON ME in 2018 as I should have, but I’m gradually getting better at giving myself some focus. Baby steps!
- Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. For the most part I think I did okay on this one, although not in the way I would have liked. Let me explain: I spent a lot – A LOT – of time in 2018 playing stupid phone games like Sailor Drops. That’s not to say that I shouldn’t be allowed to play those games if I want, but they’re very insubstantial and have no end-game, so to speak. While I was playing those games I could have read a lot more books, watched some shows I’d been meaning to, or played actual VIDEO GAMES that give a person a sense of actually completing something awesome. It may sound like splitting hairs, but in the new year I definitely want to focus more on things like books and console games – things that have an end to work toward – rather than those little time-wasters that just drill into your brain and get you addicted.
- Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. I don’t even know how to report on this one, honestly! There were definite good points throughout the year: I spent several months plugging away at Zombies Run, had a successful Keto Diet experiment, and wound up with a very physically stimulating job right at the end of the year. There was also a fair amount of good old fashioned SUPER laziness. But then again, there’s that little bit up above about not obsessing, so I’d say that, in general, I did okay with this one. I didn’t obsess. I didn’t get mad at myself for not being active. And I also got active as often as I was able. I’m calling this one a win, people. I’d definitely like to do better in the new year, but I’m definitely calling this one a win.
All in all, looking through everything I’ve just written, it would appear as though I experienced a lot of failure and am being really hard on myself. On the contrary. I know that there was a lot of failure concerning these plans and goals, but I’m not being hard on myself. I’m just stating the facts. I didn’t accomplish what I set out to, but I did accomplish a fair bit, especially considering how absolutely shit 2018 was to me. I’ve learned a lot, come up with new ideas and plans, and I’m ready to move forward into the new year. And that’s what really matters at this point, right? Right.
So let’s say good-bye to 2018, kick it in the ass on its way out, and look forward to 2019 with new plans, new goals, and a renewed determination to accomplish those goals.
SO LONG 2018! I won’t miss you!
How was your 2018? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!