What I did in 2016 + plans for 2017

2016 wasn’t a nice year for me (and for everyone, it seems). I was sick all the time and a few false alarms re: illness stressed me out and made me exhausted to the bone. Plus, I finally decided to change my major, though that isn’t exactly true: here in Brazil we don’t really have majors or minors. You start at uni/college from day 1 already on the course you want and the only way to change is to start everything from the beginning again (though sometimes you can use some of the stuff you studied in one course in another). Problem being: this is the second time I’m starting over.

I first enrolled in university to study International Relations. After three semesters, I realized that hadn’t been a smart move: here in my city we don’t have many jobs in this area and if I wanted to be a diplomat I needed to hurry up and learn French and Spanish, plus get a certificate saying that I was fluent in English (because even though I studied English for some years, I left my classes before I could get a certificate and, honestly, much of what I know of English comes from Tumblr and fanfiction, and now from fiction books), which wasn’t going to happen in 4 years for many reasons. At that time (June of 2015), my brother was also ready to go to uni for the first time and we both chose to study Psychology.

Three semesters later (again), here I am, already ready to start my first semester of Design next year (my brother is also going to start over, which is a bit comforting – he’s going to study Computer Science). I feel weird knowing that I would be graduating in 2017 instead of starting again if I had stayed in International Relations, but mostly I just feel guilty. My parents would be better off if they didn’t have to provide for me now.

But still, I’m excited for 2017. I think I’ll love Design and that it’ll be good for me – which Psychology certainly wasn’t, for many reasons, the constant acephobia/arophobia, the subtle transphobia and homophobia and the blatant racism from my teachers and classmates being some of them. Obviously, I know the chances of my new teachers and classmates not being aphobic/transphobic/homophobic/racist aren’t much better, but at least I won’t have to hear it from people who think themselves the experts in human behavior and who believe they are totally, completely open minded.

Anyway *pinches nose* Moving on.

In 2016 I read more than I did in 2015, 2014 and 2013 combined. I’m currently at 127 books and I will try to hit 130 before the year ends. I know that’s not much for a lot of book people, but it’s a new, bizarre record for me, mainly because I didn’t feel like I read more (and I obviously did). I’m blaming my complete shift to ebooks for this – out of these 127 books, only two were physical copies.

I also surprised at how much I wrote in 2016: more or less 96.000 words, which is basically a novel. Out of these 96k, 14k were to finish #aroaceprincess’s first draft (which I began writing in last year’s NaNoWriMo), 32k were to rewrite its first act and 50k were for this year’s NaNoWriMo (25k of a new story, 25k of a rewrite/translation of two of my short stories). I guess it doesn’t feel like I wrote much because I don’t have anything new finished – not #aroaceprincess’s second draft, not any short stories (since they were all translations of stuff I wrote in Portuguese), not the first draft of my NaNoWriMo project.

And that’s my first goal for 2017, apparently:

Finish #aroaceprincess’s second draft.

This is something I need to do as quickly as possible. I’m awful at finishing stuff. I mean, I’ve been trying to finish a book since I was ten and I still don’t have a polished final draft for any of my projects. In fact, #aroaceprincess’s first draft was the first draft I ever finished, which is a bit depressing.

I plan on going back to writing #aroaceprincess in January. I need to rewrite everything, including the first act I rewrote during Camp NaNo, but now I’m confident in the story, the characters and the worldbuilding. I just need to sit down to write, which I hope won’t be too difficult. The second draft will be the one I’ll send to my friends and beta readers, which is exciting because I’m a creature that thrives on feedback.

Write more short stories.

I’m not any good at writing short stories, mainly because my brain just doesn’t come up with ideas for small and independent ones, I guess: every idea I get is for big, somewhat complicated stories with dozens of characters. I never outgrew my love for epic fantasy, which explains things a bit.

Read more short stories.

Because I realized that one of the reasons I’m shit at writing short stories is because I simply don’t read them. In my defense, I only started reading in English in 2014 and Brazil is a wasteland when it comes to SFF short stories, so it has never been my habit.

Write more stuff for this blog.

Angry Elves was neglected this year and the reason is simple: I have another blog, one where I write in Portuguese for my Brazilian followers. I’ve had it for over three years now and it has a nice following. I post writing tips and used to post reviews there, and it took a lot of my free time. Keeping two blogs active is no joke and in 2016 I chose to keep the other one updated… Which probably isn’t going to be the case in 2017, since I’ll be closing it down for many reasons.

Learn how to draw.

I’ve always loved drawing. I remember that when I was seven or eight I used to write little books about animals to give to my father when he came back from his trips (I’ve always been a wannabe writer) and that I always illustrated them (I’ve also always been a wannabe artist). I spent my teen years trying to draw, but I never got far because I honestly don’t have the discipline and I’m too used to looking at a drawing and replicating it. Taking something off my own mind? Impossible.

But that’s what I want to do in 2017. I’ll be taking some classes on digital art that also teach a little about drawing, so I hope it helps.

Exercise more.

I’m a very sedentary person. I don’t like going to the gym and I absolutely hate walking around aimlessly just to exercise, but next year I’ll be living near my new uni, so I won’t have to take any buses (no more having to travel three and half hours on a bus daily to go to uni!) and will walk instead. That’s all the exercise I’m planning to do, which is more than I’ve done in at least two years.

Well, that’s it, I guess. My most important goal is to finish the second draft of #aroaceprincess, but I hope I accomplish all others (or at least most of them). And you guys, what are your plans for 2017?

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