This year I opted in for the bullet journal method instead of my traditional daily summary notes. Unfortunately, I gave up on the BoJo mid-February so most of this year went on undocumented and I had to scrap various sources to remember what I was doing in 2019.
Journalling was a hit and miss. Surely, me giving up on the personal diary was quite a flop, but I got a larger traveller’s notebook and was working on the quotations from the books I read. I enjoyed collecting the thoughts I underlined in the first reading into a concise form, but it was more burdensome than I expected. I must revisit this idea in 2020 with a better strategy.
Collecting the new and exciting words is another struggle. I tried a new iOS app designed specifically for that, but I can’t recommend it as it has an annoying habit of sometimes not saving the words to the lists and overall being slow and producing mediocre definitions. It has a quiz mode, though, which kept me more engaged in the wordplay.
I’ve been working with few new and old pens and developed a new handwriting style that’s more concise and easy on eyes. Reading through my older diaries I often struggle with deciphering what I meant so having a consistent style is crucial for the longevity of my notes.
The beginning of this year came with a huge anxiety bomb. I isolated myself from everyone, although now I know it’s one of the symptoms of clinical depression. Later this year I wrote The Slumber: my take on how it feels to be depressed. Luckily, being a tulpa it didn’t hit me hard enough to require professional help, and I could recover on my own. I also learned the importance of writing out my thoughts instead of letting them brew inside me – especially when I failed my exam (more on that later).
My ‘professional’ life stagnated throughout the 2019. I don’t know if that was caused by the depression or it was the reason I was getting depressed in the first place. I wrapped up my short story – Amongst the Wolves – in early March, got the professional feedback, critique, ordered the covers and everything, and just before publishing the story I figured I don’t like it anymore. I got back to the drawing board, but it wasn’t until the 2019 NaNo when I figured what’s wrong. My writing largely falls in two buckets: spontaneous ideas and the ‘werewolf world’. The latter is the playground for my major novel writing attempts: The Feral Lust, Amongst the Wolves, etc. I’ve been working on stories set in the Feral Lust universe for three years now with disappointing results. All my NaNos stagnated around the 20 000 words mark and generally I felt little connection to my characters.
The wolf mindset is just too alien for me to write in – at least for now. I ended up with characters the feral Shin could totally relate to but the human Shin found uninteresting. Wolves live by different rules and what seems like obvious decisions for humans are completely different in the animal world. Not being able to relate to my protagonists resulted in bland storytelling and overall disappointment with the plots. As I moved my werewolf characters to support roles I regained some enjoyment of writing, and another rewrite of Amongst the Wolves is a proof to that; I even cried a bit when I got to write the finale and typed ‘THE END’.
Unlike prose, my poetry is getting better, especially when compared to my older works. I can clearly see the progress, the words become more contextual and elaborate; they carry more meaning and they sing to me in the same tones I hear in my mind.
I distanced myself from the tulpamancy community and my blogging activity reflected that. I don’t pay as much attention to /r/tulpas anymore and unfortunately I gave up on the creative side of the weekly posts I curated.
Violin. Ehs. I failed the exam this year, and the failure hit me especially hard, given how my violin teacher was convincing me I got it (he expected a high pass or a low merit from my performance). I analysed my reasoning for taking this exam in the first place and I think I’m ready to start studying towards attempting it again in 2020. After all, it was a fail, but it wasn’t too bad of a score.
I’ve progressed in my music theory studies, composition and actual performance but I feel more progress could be made.
I’ve read a lot of books this year. I wandered through the mists with Brandon Sanderson; I dived into the sci-fi skies of Hyperion and watched Shrike move trough space and time; I wondered if John Dies at the End; navigated the world of the blind people and three-feet Soviet oil plants; flew in an out of Hogwarts with the owls. I cried when Carrie died, and I turned into a fox with the kutsunes of Kitsune-Tsuki. I’m finishing this year wondering if Frodo will reach Rivendell and I have a whole lot planned for 2020 (it includes gigantic sandworms).
Finally, the major part of 2019 was Fox. I was lucky enough to find a guy who understands me on a subliminal level, makes me smile, makes me cry, shares my passions and sorrows. I must admit that I spent a whole lot of time cherishing this relationship but he was also the one motivating me to work more on myself. Many successes in 2019 are direct results of his work on me.
So, 2020, what will it be?
The theme of 2020 is focus. Getting back to keeping a diary and making sure I can retrace my steps easier. Less distractions, more understanding where I need to spend my time.
I plan to revive the personal section of my blog. Even with the tulpamancy notes drying up I have many personal notes that could find their audience. I’m not much interested in numbers lately so if you’re my regular reader I’d love to know what you find interesting in this blog and what other subjects could I breach.
The musical side is going to see much more practise on the composing side. I feel comfortable about the performance level I have right now (even though the ABRSM examiners don’t think so), so I’ll be focusing on honing the skills I already have and trying for the exam again. In the meantime I’m more interested in writing and performing something more lively and exciting than the board-approved exam pieces I’d been stuck with most of the 2019.
The writing side is going to see a drastic shift. I plan on giving up on novels completely, and I won’t do the NaNo 2020 – at least the traditional goal – but I’ll focus more on the short stories and finishing. The finishing part is the key; I want to see my writing going from an idea to a final draft published in here.
Thanks everyone for supporting me through this year, for inspiring me with your example, for distracting me from my occasionally grim thoughts. As my nerds say, ‘hope is not a strategy’, so let’s not hope for a better 2020 but work on making it better!