Taking Stock

It’s that time again. Time to take stock of 2005 and plan for 2006. If you’ve been following this blog for at least a year you know I’m big on setting goals, writing them down, putting them out there. Now it’s time to pay the piper, assess the situation.

The things I wanted to do in 2005 with results were:

1) Drop one size by April and maintain it throughout the rest of the year (Success! I totally did this, maybe not by April, but completely accomplished. By the end of the year I was hovering around the lost two sizes mark, meaning somedays I’m in and somedays I’m not depending on water retention, lol, and this with little effort on my part. I credit living in a two-storey apartment, daily walk abouts town for mail and supplies, very little eating out, and generally making healthier grocery choices)

2) Attend the WFNB AGM in April no matter where it is held in New Brunswick (It was held in Moncton and I went, even though financially I was a little strapped at the time. In past years I likely would’ve missed it due to lack of funding, but I didn’t let financial woes stop me from doing much in 2005)

3) Attend the Northrope Frye Festival in Moncton this spring (Again, financially strapped but totally went and had the best time)

4) Move to an apartment by June (signed a lease in April and moved to Sackville in May)

5) Go to a U2 concert no matter where in Canada, hopefully Toronto (too financially strapped from the move to plan for the U2 tour I realised pretty early on, just couldn’t put together that kind of cash and time even to get out there. But by fall I had recovered enough to take in the Rolling Stones and book a trip to Toronto to see Bon Jovi coming up a couple of weeks into this new year, satisfied with that progress, will catch U2 the next time they’re around)

6) Attend the Alden Nowlan Literary Festival in Fredericton in the Fall (there wasn’t any, however I did take in some Fall events like the Whiskey Fest in Fredericton and the Wine Fest in Moncton that were tons of fun and totally on my radar for 2006)

7) Submit my fiction to magazines at least once a month (failed, semi-miserably, one third completed this, submitted four short stories with no response as of yet, they’re all still out there)

8) Finish writing my novel, to have a complete draft done by December (failed big time, i wrote little on the novel this year, refuse even to call it a novel anymore, it’s a book and I have no idea what I’m doing with it . . . but I KNOW what I’m NOT doing with it, I’m not showing anymore of it to anyone until all the gaps have been filled in, because most people can’t follow what I’m doing when huge chunks are missing between point A and point B. Not their fault and totally understandable but I tend to expect too much of people, so it kinda pisses me off, which is counter-productive to the book)

Overall I did pretty well with doing the things I wanted in 2005, except for those last two points regarding my personal type writing. But to be fair there was a lot of activity in that area of my life that I hadn’t anticipated. In March I gave what I would consider my first “real” public reading by participating in the Read an EBook Week event at the Fredericton Public Library. And Joe taped it for broadcast on his radio show (yeah, I know I sound like Jacqueline and not at all like me because I was so freaking nervous, but still . . . it’s something) Thank the goddess he had the foresight NOT to tell me before I read that it was being taped or I likely would’ve passed out. In April at the WFNB AGM in Moncton I emceed the Friday night readings, became a Director on the Board, and read publicly again (and with more success) for open mic at the Cafe Felix. Beginning in late May I took a 5-week writing workshop at Mount A with Christina Decarie. In July I attended the Maritimes Writers’ Workshop at UNB and received the Goose Lane scholarship, which I’m told went to the best piece of writing submitted over all the categories. During that week I read again (and with no recollection of whether I had my voice or someone else’s) as part of the Odd Sundays open mic at Molly’s. By September I was an active member of the Sackville Writers’ Group. I think it was October I gave my first writing workshop at the Access Centre in Blackville, which has led to further invites and workshops scheduled in 2006. In November I went to Catherine Bush’s reading in Moncton, attended Sandra Phinney’s workshop in Sussex, and hosted/attended Beth Powning’s workshop in Sackville. In December I organised another workshop with Yvonne Trainer in Sackville and even though it covered poetry, took it too. So yeah, I did a lot of things that totally freaked me out and made me very uncomfortable, lots of growth in this area, 2005 seems like a big year in retrospect.

Okay, out with the old! In with the new! This is my absolute favourite part of cracking the spine on the new calendar. I do a more detailed proper goal setting exercise on paper, (you should too, cuz writing it down makes a difference) but for here just a brief (and incomplete) list.

The things I will do in 2006 are:

1. Make more money. Yes, it’s the Year of the Dollar (or Buck if I want to put a double meaning on it . . . which could be interesting and worthwhile) and I’m jumping onboard! (see how that double meaning could be pretty exciting?)

2. Spend less. It may be shocking to some, but I have not been living very frugally (or even realistically) this past year 😉 I need to tighten up my purse strings and focus on paying off some bills if I ever hope to do something completely nuts and out of character like . . . buy a house. Why the hell not?! Everybody else is getting one. Real estate is a pretty safe investment. Sooner or later (several years down the road yet) I’ll want to own a home and I need to start positioning myself to get one.

3. Read more books. I used to read for personal pleasure at least 20 minutes everyday, but somewhere in the hectic schedule of 2005 I stopped reading and I MISS IT BIG TIME! I’ve got tons of books on the shelf that I haven’t read, great bookstores in town, a library very close by — there’s no reason why I can’t be reading.

4. Make an effort to attend more events on my own and meet more new people. I’m talking about the Film Society movies on Thursday nights, the jazz bands at George’s Roadhouse, gallery openings, etc. Initially I missed a lot of these things last year because they seemed to happen only when I was out of town, but as winter settles in and I’m not out of town as much and there are even more events happening in conjunction with Mount A, it would appear I’ve fallen into a comfort zone where I pretty much invent any excuse NOT to go to these things alone. What’s up with that?! I’ve never minded going to things alone. Some things I’ve even preferred to go alone. I know it’s healthy to enjoy spending time with yourself, but hermit-like antisocial behaviour is not healthy at all. This changes, right here, right now.

5. Get my passport. I don’t have one, pretty much can’t leave the country without one, and Italy looms on my horizon. I need to prepare for world travel. First logical step would appear to be a passport.

6. Attend the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. Every year I list events I want to attend. I’ve never listed this one though . . . and I’ve never attended, despite always wanting to, and sometimes even being in Fredericton when the event happens. So this year, it’s the only event officially making my list.

And that’s it. That’s all I’m listing for this year. Some big things that will take a lot of time and energy, some tiny things that I can do easily. Nothing health and writing related, but never fear, these things exist in extensive detail in my “real” goal setting. It’ll be interesting to look back next year and see how I’ve done with these six things though.

Happy New Year!

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