My 2017 review is divided into 3 posts.
- The first focuses on my personal and creative updates.
- The second concentrates on my online presence.
- The third includes my new year’s writing goals.
#3 New Year’s Goals
These are general statements. The specificity is private. As are the targets after which they are meant to gallop.
- To assign a daily log-in (and a log-out) time for networking on social media, unless I have something professional to share.
- To post fortnightly in the Notebook segment of the journal.
- To finalize 1-3 manuscripts during the year and send them to publishers.
- To improve my Arabic in order to translate from English to Arabic, not just the other way around.
- To begin the research phase for a nonfiction project, and to conclude the year with a comprehensive outline and bibliography, so I can begin writing it in 2019.
- To update my readers list once a month (and to continue sharing gifts and exclusive content with my subscribers).
- To study Hebrew 3 days a week.
- To read fewer books this year, and to focus instead on rereading and studying seminal texts.
I wanted to be completely different by December 2017. Therefore, I focused on changing from within. For instance, I had a deep aversion to regular appointments that, I felt, endangered the very essence of my being. Yet I went from despising recurrent weekly commitments to a full schedule of regular events. It was difficult in the beginning to set aside chunks of valuable alone time to share with family and friends, but toward the end of the year these gatherings and meetings became events I awaited eagerly. And of course, I challenged myself every day to stick to regular activities and to develop and maintain new (spiritual) habits.
Letting go of past baggage was a very beneficial commitment. I let go of boxes of journals dating back to 2003, and just as many boxes which contained gifts, souvenirs and trinkets that went back even further. I trashed everything, but a few selected photos. I cannot describe the heaviness that has been lifted. It’s not a metaphor to say that holding on to anything slows down one’s forward momentum. It’s a tremendously tangible consequence.
I also worked on my mood. The shift occurred in the second half of 2017, and I’ve been able to handle negative emotions more maturely since then. If I could sum up the transformation in a single line, I’d say 2017 was the year I learned to let go expectations and to take responsibility for my actions and reactions.
If you’d permit me another line, I’d add: the antidote to feeling sad is connecting to my higher purpose, which I connected with on a more spiritual angle this year.
I am grateful for all the new friends I made, the ones I unfortunately lost, those who remain by my side through thick and thin, and you, my online community, for hanging with me as I found my path and voice.
May we all continue to evolve in healthy and hopeful ways.