This has been a pretty crazy, busy, productive year for me! I have done some pretty amazing things, if I do say so myself, and most importantly to me, I stuck to my plans and completed the things I set out to do. For those of you that have been with me all year, at the start of the year I made a commitment to a couple of things.
Firstly was sticking to writing a blog post every week. In some ways, blogging is the thing that has been with me the longest, as a regular practice. When I first started blogging, I was mostly writing to myself. I would blog, but I wasn't sharing my posts much. I sort of figured if someone stumbled across them, that was great, but I was still quite shy about my writing and about my ideas, so I rarely shared my blog posts.
Then, I joined my first Blog project, and that helped me blog regularly. That was the first year I did a weekly blog post, and I shared my blog with the others in the project, but again, rarely outside of that. It still felt sort of raw and new, and I had a lot of fear about what other people would think about what I was writing.
The next year, the Pagan Blog project shut down, and I tried to do keep up the blogging with others on one of the forums I am part of, but that sort of dwindled out after a couple of months, and I didn't keep the commitment to myself to keep up the blogs, so last year I didn't blog much at all.
But this year, I decided that I needed to hold myself accountable, and that I needed to be more proactive in sharing my blog. It was a big jump for me, to share my blog....especially to share it publicly and not just in Pagan groups. But I was challenged to put myself out more in July as part of one of the retreats I participated in, so I took the plunge and shared my blog with different groups, and had a great response!
Sharing my blog with more people definitely helps keep me motivated to write, and to keep up with my own schedule. When I started my Patreon to help start turning my writing into something more than a hobby, it doubly encouraged me to keep up the writing. I absolutely love it when people respond to my blog sharing posts with comments about how they liked what I have written.
The second big project I did this year was my moon phase posts. I had this idea, at the end of last year, that I could work with each phase of each moon, looking at the meaning of the full moons (where each full moon represents a different energy), and then applying that energy to each of the phases. I planned on keeping my own journal and working through them, but also decided I would share what I had uncovered, and thus my year long project was born.
It was hugely rewarding, I learned a TON, and most of the time I looked forward to writing the posts. It was way more involved than I thought it would be. It doesn't seem like it at first, but moon phases pass really quickly. I hadn't really thought about the fact that I would be writing something every 3-5 days, along with the blog posts (and sometimes those lined up and I ended up writing two things on the same day, which could be challenging). But now that it has come to an end, I am so grateful that I did it.
It was really interesting to see how each cycle manifested differently because of the energy of the full moon. I was worried at first that it would get repetitive, and yet as I journaled each phase, I came to new places in looking at each phase. I found new ways to think about the different energies, and how you might use those energies in your personal practice to enhance your life.
Another big, but short, project that I have done now for a decade is NaNo. 50k words in a month, sounds huge, and the first couple of years it was. Each year brings new challenges, and I've done different subjects on different years. This year's made me change the way I thought about NaNo, and definitely the way I wrote. I was writing for a purpose, and it wasn't to create a story per say. I was writing to create background for a roleplaying game I will be running in the future, so I was coming up with back history for all the characters that my players might encounter.
This was a lot of fun, but again, a lot of work. On top of all the other things I was doing, by the time all was said and done, I had written almost 80k words in November...and was just a little frazzled. Then of course, December brings holidays, gifts, and other commitments.
One commitment that I hadn't planned on was writing for Wyld. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of it, and I feel that writing articles for a Zine (or the mini-articles for inbetween issues) is a very different sort of writing from blogging or writing fiction. Also, having hard deadlines, for people that aren't just me, adds a bit more pressure, but also more motivation to not only do things on time, but early if I can manage to help make things easier on them.
I wrote at the beginning of the year about how I was using a calendar to plan my days, and I absolutely would not have been able to make all my commitments without it. It is interesting to flip back through now and see how different months have different levels of scheduling. I also like that I can look back through and see what I was up to throughout the year.
This next year will bring new projects and new challenges. The first thing I'm doing differently is my calendar. This year I just got a simple monthly view desk calendar. So I had a little box for each day, and I used it to jot down tasks for the day. But each day only got a tiny little box, and sometimes that wasn't enough. I did use a digital app to help remind me about things I did every week, like the blog, weekly planning for an online group and a photo sharing project I did this year. And I had a moon dial to help track the moon phases and my own cycles.
Ultimately though this meant that I had things noted down in several different areas. I want it all in one spot, and with enough room to help track all the things I am doing, plus more room for big projects (like a yearly book tracker and exercise goals). So next year I am using a composition book, and giving Bullet Journaling a try.
The symbols and system really appeal to me, and I will be adapting a few things. I will be adding my moondial right into the book, probably before each calendar month (as I realized that often the moon dial will straddle calendar months). I also bought a cheap calendar that I can use to have foldout month-view pages (for larger projects). Then I will be doing weekly spreads to give myself more room for daily tasks. Everything will go in this book, so I have it all in one place, and I will be checking in with my book at least every morning and night. This will let me do gratitude and planning, keep my daily draws all in one place...and add in weekly/monthly divination as I feel necessary.
Because that is my other big project for the year. This year it was moon phases, but next year I am doing divination. I have some interesting ideas saved for tarot journaling, and I want to delve deeper into working with my collection of decks and other divination tools (I am a huge symbol fan, so have several rune sets and other symbol based divinations). I like the idea of doing regular planning spreads and having those right in my calendar book so I can reference and reflect upon them easily. But I will also have a divination journal where I can gather up all my other observations and things.
Then, I signed up for a year long art-journaling project, with weekly prompts. I am pretty excited about this, I started working on my smashbook yesterday, the container I will use to work in. It's something that is new to me, and a bit outside of my comfort zone. But I want to do more art, I enjoy playing with paint and doing artistic things, and I think that the structure of being part of a group that is doing it will help me add more art into my life.
And of course, I will be continuing to blog and to write for my Patreon. So there will be a lot going on in the coming year! Several of the groups I am in have talked about picking a Word of the Year, sort of like a focus for the coming year (instead of resolutions), and after some thought I have settled on Harmony. Not only do I have a lot of different things going on that I want to blend together into a workable whole, but I often feel like there is a lot going on around me and I need to be that island of calm so that I don't get stressed out. Harmony fits both, and has some additional musical inclinations, which is great as well!
I am excited about the coming year, and I hope you all are too! I'd love to hear what everyone else is up to. Was this year a good one for you? Do you have big plans for next year?