So Long 2017, Hello 2018!

And just like that, it’s December 31st! It’s been a very light year for posting blog updates for me. For a while, I cheated and cross-posted my Instagram photos here as pseudo-blog entries, but I think I’m ready to start some (light) blogging again.

2017_ClockBut I’m getting ahead of myself, thinking about all my goals for the new year.

I want to do something in the first half of this blog that I rarely do lately — take a look back. I’m usually busy keeping up with my daily To-Do List and mapping out my goals for the futures. So… what the heck happened in 2017?

A lot of my energy through all of 2017 went into landing, and then learning all I could at my new job as a “Senior Technical Writer” (aka “Tech Writer”). I started my new gig in February, and it’s been a fantastic challenge and a lot of fun: great software, great tools, and best of all, a great team (we’re small but strong, all three of us writers against all those developers!).

Because my focus has been on work and tech writing, I haven’t done much fiction writing. I didn’t write more than a few new words on the novel I started back in… ummm… early 2016? Yikes.

Lost & Finders (cover art by Inkubus Designs)

That book is called Lost & Finders, and it’s the 2nd book in the Finder Team series of sorta-paranormal mysteries. (A secret tip to faithful readers: this book sets up a crossover with the characters in the Family Pack series!) More on that book later, in my 2018 goals.

I also haven’t written anything else, or started any new fiction project. Boo Hiss. But I did pick up the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and I actually convinced the rest of my family to play as well. So I’m learning all I can about being the best Dungeon Master ever… More on this later, also.

So I did quite a bit of writing this year, but almost all of it was technical writing for work. I got to indulge my creativity — and enjoy the creativity of my wife and two sons! — playing some D&D. And I read over two dozen novels and non-fiction books on my Kindle (standouts were Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, and quite a few Robert Crais mysteries, including Demolition Angel and Hostage).

We also sold the house back in Wake Forest where we used to live, after four years of renting it out, so that was a huge weight off our backs. We took trips to the beach (Outer Banks), to DC and Reston a few times (for work), a long drive back to the Midwest for a family reunion, two trips to Asheville, and a fun (tech) writers’ conference in San Diego. Those were two of my goals for the year — sell the other house and travel — so in those cases, mission accomplished.

My other non-writing goal for 2017 was to get in shape and healthy, and I made some good headway on this plan late in the year when I started eating better (via a ketogenic diet) and lost about 15 pounds and counting.

Which leaves me with my fiction-writing career, which got put on hold in 2017. The movie-offer deal for the comic I co-created, In Maps & Legends, just a few weeks has inspired me, however. I want to write again, and finish some of those stories I’ve started… And possibly write some completely new ones, too!

As a result, I’m setting some aggressive goals for 2018, but I figure even if I don’t hit all of them, at least I’ve tried and gotten back into the swing of writing fiction for me every day (or close to every day). Writing fiction makes me happy and helps keep me centered, just like my daily hikes in the wood with our hound dog Aspen keeps me healthy and energized.

So here goes — I thought I’d share my goals for 2018 to keep me honest:

  1. Write the rest of Lost & Finders (a novel).
  2. Outline and draft In Maps & Legends part 2 (a graphic novel). (Update: I forgot to add that I’m planning on making a print version of Maps as well!)
  3. Write Finder Pack (a novel).
  4. Write a new screenplay.
  5. Write a new novel or a handful of short stories.
  6. Publish a short-story collection follow-up to Gunning for the Buddha, tentatively titled UnWrecked Tales, featuring stories from my 2nd decade of writing.
  7. Write a weekly “D&D Dad Blog” (to help other new players and former players get started playing D&D with their families and friends). I’m still fine-tuning this idea…!
  8. Stick to my ketogenic diet and get down to my goal weight.
  9. Finish getting our finances in order!
  10. Travel! Take at least 5-7 trips this year.

The big plans start tomorrow, as I get back into my early-morning writing routine. I’m hoping to get 1,000 words (four pages) written every day, from Monday through Saturday. That’s almost 25 pages a week, 100 pages a month. That adds up!

And to keep track of it all, I’ve added counters for my current works-in-progress, up there at the right. Enjoy!

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