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Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Reflections

I am not big on resolutions.  I'm terrible at them.  I'm more of a "do it now or you'll never do it" kind of person.  This is why I made so many blog changes back in September.  I figured there was no "right" time to start, so I just started!

That said, I do think the New Year is more than just an arbitrary day on a calendar.  I think it is a great time to look back on the last year that I can look forward and plan for this year!

With that, I'd like to discuss some of my successes, my stumbles, and what I learned from 2013 as I look forward to what I plan for 2014.

Sucesses

Painting!

If I had one creative venture this last year I saw as a success, it would be the miniature painting I took up in the summer after I received my Reaper Bones from their first Kickstarter.  I never imagined how much fun I would have with this new hobby. 

If you look back through my various posts, you can see pictures of the various minis I painted.  I think it is also pretty evident how I improved as I went.  I learned a lot of new techniques, and I continue to learn as I go.   I never burned out on painting as I went, as I never forced myself to paint when I didn't want to.  It was a true hobby and it worked well!

Reviews

I'm not sure where the idea first originated, but I think I did a good job of picking up steam reading and reviewing the works of #IndiePub authors.  I read a number of books I would never have found otherwise, and really enjoyed it.

I hope my reviews helped both authors with valuable feedback and readers with finding authors they might enjoy.  I have a number of books queued up to review early in the year, and I expect they will keep rolling in.


Stumbles

Writing

This one was really tough for me.  The whole reason I started this blog was to make progress on writing stories and giving life to the ideas in my head.  I feel like I made several positive strides in the right direction in improving my writing.  I wrote a number of character bios/stories to go with miniatures I painted.  I took a class on writing "flash fiction" and then wrote six flash fiction stories in six weeks. 

Looking at all this, I feel like I had some success in writing this year.  Why do I call it a stumble?  I have not written much of anything in over a month since finishing the previous flash fiction story.  I burned myself out.  I found that forcing myself to write at such a feverish pace just wasn't fun.  I ended up not enjoying what I was doing.  I wrote the last couple stories just to meet a deadline, and I believe their quality lacked because of that. 

If I want to write, I need to find a rhythm that keeps me writing while also still enjoying the process. 

Over Commitment

I think I put this on my personal list of stumbles every year!  I suffer from committing to way too many things.  I end up filling my "free time" with more things than I can handle.  Over time, the pressure builds, and I am forced to quit everything in order to "simplify my life."  Of course, within about 6 months, I repeat the process.


Looking Forward

So, what does this mean for 2014?  My first instinct is to focus on the successes and cut out the stumbles.  But as I think about it more, I wonder if that's exactly the right thing to do.  How can I grow if I only do what is fun and I feel I'm already good at?  How do I stretch myself?

Here's what I do know:  I have a number of personal commitments that must come before any Ryndaria.com work this year.  It's a big year for my family (did I mention child #4 will join us in March?), and I have a number of other commitments that must take priority over this dream, at least for the next six months.

Does that mean I'm quitting?  Oh no!  I just need to determine what I'm going to work on this year.  I have a number of things I want to try this year, and I will be announcing them over the next few weeks. 

I will continue to paint, continue to read and review, and continue to play D&D this year.  On the writing front, my goal is to continue writing and to rekindle my love for writing about the characters and places of Ryndaria.  I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Happy New Year, and thank you, as always, for reading.