So, I’m back. I realize I never even wrapped up my NaNoWriMo posts, but things got pretty busy at the end of November, and so far haven’t let up.
This year was… interesting, to say the least. Like a lot of people, I’m not sad to see it go. But I don’t like ending a year on a bad note, so I want to focus some time and energy thinking about all of the positive things that happened to me and the people I care about this year.
Some of the stuff I accomplished this year:
Learned how to use a fountain pen. Fountain pens are something I got interested in toward the end of 2016, and I got one for Christmas that year. I spent most of 2017 learning how to use it, fill it without spilling ink everywhere, and keep it clean.
It took me a while to learn how to use it properly, but once I did, I fell in love with it.
Got my autism/ADHD diagnoses. All right, I’m not sure I’d classify this as an “accomplishment”, but since the testing process absolutely sucked and I hated it, I’m counting it anyway.
This was right at the beginning of the year, and the ADHD diagnosis was completely unexpected (although obvious in hindsight). I knew I was autistic about two years before getting my official diagnosis, but there were other things that didn’t make sense until I found out that I also have ADHD.
I started meds for my ADHD about two months ago, and they have already vastly improved my life in several ways. The biggest difference I see is that I have a consistently mostly-tidy bedroom/workspace — which is something I’ve struggled with for my entire life, so this is absolutely life-changing.
Started making music again. I started playing with electronic music a couple of years ago, but I finally started taking it seriously and finishing things. I put three releases on my Bandcamp page this year:
I’m super proud of everything I’ve released so far. I’m slowly figuring out what I like to make, and how to make it sound good — and I’m having a lot of fun doing it.
Went on a road trip and didn’t die! This one’s huge. My family goes on road trips every odd year, usually for about a week. This year, we were on the road for over two weeks, and it was… not easy for me. We didn’t always have a network connection; we couldn’t take the dogs with us; most of the first week was my brother and I crammed into the back of a truck for eight hours at a time.
It was completely exhausting. I missed the dogs and worried about them the entire time — they stayed home with my sister for the first week, then with my cousin when my sister came out to join us for the second week. And although I’m comfortable with RV-ing, since we’ve done it for over half of my life, being stuck in a 30-foot-long enclosure with four other people stresses me out very quickly.
But I survived, and I generally enjoyed the trip. We visited some Revolutionary War sites, including Yorktown, so of course we broke out the Hamilton soundtrack a couple of times.
(And the dogs were very excited to see us when we got home.)
Bought and fixed a Chromebook. Pretty sure I forgot to even tweet about this one, because it happened pretty quickly.
Several months ago, I decided that I wanted a more portable Linux laptop to use for writing and web browsing, as my “main” computer is kind of old, has a junk battery, and weighs five pounds. I was on a tight budget, so I bought a “broken” Chromebook on eBay for $50 — one showing a corrupted Chrome OS installation, which is generally fixable with a new hard drive if restoration doesn’t work.
A new hard drive turned out not to be necessary — and installing Linux on it wasn’t too difficult either! So a fully functional Chromebook for $50. Not bad.
Made some changes to my writing process. I was a Scrivener user for about four years, but it isn’t supported on Ubuntu anymore, so my writing process had to change a bit this year. I cycled through some text-editors until I found one I liked, and I started using version control to manage my writing, which usually takes the form of lots of separate files.
And then NaNoWriMo happened, and I suddenly needed a way to easily dump all of those files into a single file for the sake of word counts.
I don’t consider myself a programmer, but I’m a Linux geek — I know my way around a terminal, and I’m decent at bash scripting. So I built myself a little script to do what I needed, and made it part of my process.
Drafted a concept for a Secret Project. Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I worked on a fun idea for a story in November, which I’m currently developing into… something. It looks like it’ll end up being a novella. But it’s still a secret. 🙂
And now, some goals for 2018:
Optimize organization and time management structures. I’ve gotten a lot better at organization and time management since I started getting treatment for the executive functioning issues that come with my ADHD. But I feel like my life would generally be improved if I sat down with someone and took stock of what I’m doing, what’s working, what isn’t, and what I can improve.
Develop good documentation habits and skills. Specifically, I’m referring to journaling, note-taking (since I start school in a few months!), and keeping documentation for my computers and other stuff on which I have to do extensive setup.
Read more. I didn’t read much this year. I really don’t have an excuse now. I got a Kindle for Christmas; I should be sneaking in reading time at every opportunity.
Write more, and write consistently. I didn’t write much this year, either — I started writing more over the past couple of months, but that’s about it. I’m the sort of person who needs to write. Although this year being whatever it was is likely a contributing factor, I’m sure that not writing took a toll on my mental health.
Don’t waste time on projects that are boring and unnecessary. This one should probably speak for itself, but I spent more time this year on things that I neither wanted nor needed to do than I should have. And I’m going to stop doing that, so I have more time for the projects that excite me.
I accomplished a lot this year, and I feel pretty good about 2018. I have some ideas for what I want to do with the coming year, but they are secret and you will find out about them when I’m ready for the Internet to know about them.