Retro’s Perspective #1: Pluses and Minuses

Two Saturdays ago – that’s New Year’s Eve, in case you’re reading this on any subsequent Saturday – as my roommate and I sat on our couch, surrounded by the pungent scents of mentho-lyptus and miso soup, slowly dying from a cold straight from the tenth circle of hell, I decided that then was as opportune a time as any to wax mainstream-like and “reflect” on the year formerly known as “this year.”

I then fell asleep while watching her play Skyrim, and now over a week has bullet-trained itself right on by and I am working on what I will call “draft N-plus-or-minus-M,” because I’ve lost count and if I were to venture a guess I would probably be wrong. This delay is partially because I’m only just sitting down and really committing to it, and partially because I was determined to keep my original opening paragraph, despite how progressively-more obsolete it was becoming. And that, more or less, leads to the biggest lesson I must learn from 2016: I need to let things go.

To pinpoint purpose, I’m referring to my writing. I cling to structures, scenes, plots, and points far more often and for far longer than is healthy. After all, it took me a week to finally move past my first paragraph’s first draft, and as I delve into Draft N-plus-or-minus-M, I’m still trying to let go its current title: “(Emotional) Rollercoaster Tycoon.”

I had originally planned to make this an extended rollercoaster metaphor. Luckily for both you and me, that, of all things, was easy to let go.

However, I still have trouble when it comes to taking stock on my career so far as a writer. Several times this past year, I felt so confident that I was just one step away from all my dreams coming true. But each time I took that step, I stumbled. I went to RTX2016 in Texas so sure that I was going to leave with a potential job.

I left with no job.

I went to PAX West 2016 in Seattle again so sure that I would leave with some kind of paying work.

I left a day early and with no job.

And I let that crush my confidence more than anything ever has. Even more regrettably, I let the stress of self-expectations detract from the fun I should have been having with my closest friends. I will not make that mistake this year. I am resolving to redouble my efforts in writing, streaming, and doing everything that I need to do to make my dreams come true. I’m excited for all the projects I have planned, all the stories I want to tell, and all the nights I’ll spend falling asleep next to my roommate while she plays video games.

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