Same Shit, Different Year…?

According to my extensive internet-based research, a blog post at the tail end of one year or the beginning of the next is legally obliged to include some kind of list. Top ten achievements, number of words written, number of kilometres jogged* – that kind of thing.

So with that in mind here’s a list of blog-relevant stuff I didn’t do enough of in 2017.

Writing.

End of list.

2017 was a very weird year for me and subsequently 2018 seems to have kicked off with the inevitable hangover. Somewhere during the course of the year I misplaced my ambition and I’m having a bugger of a job finding it.

Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t an awful year and I feel very lucky that it wasn’t filled with events that so many people will have had to deal with such as bereavement, illness and so forth. If I focus on one aspect – running – it was actually my most successful year by far. But equally if I shine the spotlight on what I achieved professionally or in a writing sense, 2017 was pretty dire.

Subsequently I’ve done a lot of thinking over the two week Christmas break as I simply cannot start 2018 the way I ended 2017.

The root of the problem is a simple one – I’ve allowed myself to stagnate. It’s an accumulation of many things over a long period of time but really it boils down to mutely accepting my career path and rationalising the portions it lacks. In short, I put my ambition down for a bit and now I can’t seem to locate it.

The kicker here is that I’ve realised over the years that I need to be stimulated in the 9 to 5 (haha – like that normal job exists) time period in order to be stimulated in other areas. If not, any time spent on more creative pursuits starts to feel like a chore – and when that happens it’s a whole lot easier to have another bottle glass of red and not bother with them at all.

My challenge for now is simple. I need to work out exactly what it is that I want to spend my days doing and to then have the balls to make it happen. Bemoaning the fact that I’m almost 45 and am getting too old to change, hiding behind endless excuses or blaming others for where I am are all easy options and, like a hobbit who remains unsharpened for the entirety of his natural life, ultimately pointless.

I do still believe that I have stories to tell, and I also believe that I will rediscover the feeling of magic that sometimes happens when one word follows another on to a page. Much like my working life however, I need to decide what it is that I love, what it is I want to achieve and then go and make it happen. Sucking at the dopamine tit of instant gratification is not why I started writing and that’s really what I need to rediscover.

But enough of this whining. One thing I haven’t done is to say thank you, and that’s really the most important part of any words I commit to virtual paper this evening.

The reason I’ve kept the thank you part until the end is so that it bypasses one section of the subscribers to this blog – you know the type, we’ve all got them – I’m talking about the zanybadgergifs and insanelycuteandfluffycreaturepics dot coms that we all count on our list of followers. If you’ve managed to get this far you are without doubt one of the wonderful, real people who have, over the last twelve months and beyond, “liked” something I’ve written and, in many cases, taken the time to write me a few well-chosen words. Even if those words are to simply say “give up and find a new hobby” the fact that you took the time to write them down means a great deal to me.

So thank you to everyone who has crossed my virtual path in 2017. I hope to have a little more to offer in 2018 than I did last year but far more importantly than that I wish you all a year where you fulfill your ambitions, whatever those may be.

Assuming of course that in most cases they will be within the confines of the law and/or not require more than a small tub of goose fat…

*2089 give or take.

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19 thoughts on “Same Shit, Different Year…?

  1. Write a novel! just do it – sit down and write a sentence – then write another one and then another one and then suddenly they will write themselves. I did. Happy new year and stuff. – Write a novel

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It can be very easy to lose that motivation and incredibly hard to get it back. If it’s meant to be it’ll come back, don’t force it though because then you won’t enjoy it and what you create might not be your best, or it might be, these things are never black and white. Well done on the running by the way, your physical prowess makes me sick to my stomach with jealousy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Lee – you are spot on about it not being black and white but I do think there was an element of me giving up a little easily on the writing last year so I hope to work a little harder this time around. And cheers for the running nod – I often feel sick to my stomach at the end of one so we’re a good team 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nik.
    Best wishes for 2018. I am not one to dish out loads of advice for other people. It doesn’t work, I know; the other day I stood in front of the mirror determined to win at least one argument this year, but that spineless face just agreed with everything I said. I tried looking away – no good – I had to look back to see what he was doing. Smiling, laughing – why doesn’t he just let me be?
    A german friend has the same problem:

    Wie viele Neujahrsvorsätze kann ein Mensch ertragen? (How many New Year resolutions can one bear).

    Die ersten Tage des neuen Jahres. Erwartungen flimmern durch die Köpfe noch leicht verkaterter Menschen, Erwartungen die viele schon seit gefühlten Ewigkeiten mit sich herumtragen, die sich aber bis jetzt nicht erfüllt haben. Mir geht es bei manchem Projekten ähnlich, schon wieder stehen sie auf meiner Liste für 2018, obwohl sie auch 2017 und teilweise 2016 zu meinen Vorsätzen gehörten. Also frage ich mich: Was wird dieses Jahr anders? Warum habe ich es bisher nicht geschafft, diese Ziele zu erreichen?

    Now if you get round to translating this, which there is no need to as she basically suffers the same problem you allude to (as you have done above) every year. Having the same project, year in and year out that is never achieved. She ends with: Why have I until now not managed to achieve these aims?

    I believe the poor old Germans are stuck in an increasing spiralling loop. If you note that they watch the same play, “Dinner for One” (decades old), and it is repeated every year and by most TV channels on New Years Eve. But wait, here is the best bit – they crack up laughing at the punch line – “”the same as every year, M’ Lady”” wink wink.
    I’ll admit I do have a DVD copy and I have even seen a live performance during a British Fair at Burg Linn, near Düsseldorf, Germany.

    My point is; “Shit happens” if you want to change the consistency – change the input.’
    Please don’t take that as advice, just an observational point on my part.

    Good luck with your running this year and please conquer your writer’s demons.

    James.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Best to you also for 2018 James – an utterly fantastic bilingual comment (there’s probably a single German word for that entire sentence). Writing the post was good for me – not because I wanted everyone to feel sorry for me to try and fix it, but purely because the act of writing it down made me think a little more deeply about what matters. Things will change this year – whether this translates into more writing remains to be seen, but I’m certainly not going to just drift along and pretend to be content. Thank you as always for taking the time to comment – you’ve thrown many words in my direction as far back as the Shortbread days and it’s always great to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s a madman in the Whitehouse; when you write it’s so damn engaging I can’t stop reading and you make me laugh more than anyone else in WP land. Somehow those things feel related… January is an odd bedfellow.
    Sometimes writing has to happen off the keyboard. All that stuff last year was just your work revving through the gears. What you write this year couldn’t have happened (weird tense) without it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Damn Jac – why did you have to go and say nice things? Now I’ll never be able to retire…

      Thank you 🙂 Not sure I’ll get a better compliment this year than the one about making you laugh! I’ve spent the last couple of weeks actively changing things professionally and my headspace is slowly returning to that strange space where all the weird shit spills out onto a keyboard…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Locating that ambition can be a total bastard, I feel you.

    Especially with writing, my creativity and ‘can give a fuck’ goes through bursts and sustaining it is mighty difficult. Being content in the rest of life sure as hell helps too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like it’s slowly seeping back into my bones so who knows, maybe a return is imminent…

      I’m definitely learning that I need some clear goals in order to retain focus – not so rigid that it sucks the joy out of writing, but enough ambition so that it makes me want to write when I don’t want to write.

      Cheers for the comment – we’re all variations on a theme as writerly types aren’t we?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Loose goals works for me.
        A full on rigid schedule only ever worked for me when writing a first draft…
        Also creativity gives no fucks for time and convenience it’ll show up when the hell it wants lol

        Like

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