IWSG #11

At the beginning of every month, as part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, I take a look at my successes (not just in writing), share the ways I hope to improve in the next month, answer the IWSG question of the month, and provide inspiration (if I have any).

November Goals:
Get car dents fixed.
finish planning for NYC
finish planning for New Orleans
figure out December travel

Other Successes:
✓ See the Colbert Show live!
✓ Visit Madison Square Gardens!
✓ Cancelled Pandora subscription (since we upgraded to unlimited phone data).

December Goals:
• Finish Christmas gifts.
• Decide on travel, if any.
• Blog year-end review.
• Upgrade to High Sierra (on my laptop).

IWSG Question/Year End Overview:

1. What didn't you complete this year? Is there a chance you will finish before year end? If you don't, will this task likely be at the top of the following year's list?

By the end of the year, I have found myself blogging and writing less. I'm not completing my reading goals and I've even struggled to keep up with blogs.Travel planning has become stressful.

So, basically, what I'm saying is that 2017 was a rough year for me. I became more involved in politics and got a job with more hours and higher pay, but it's made my personal life more of a struggle. Goals take more time to complete. And when I do have time, I don't want to work on them, because I'm tired, sick, or stressed.

2. What things worked and didn't work for you this year? If you have one, did you get your newsletter out on time? How did you do on the social media platforms you frequent? Is it time to think about dropping any and focusing your efforts in one or two places?

I was much better at handling social media this year. I made multiple attempts to track my social media successes, but my numbers kept getting deleted, so I can't really say how much better I am than I was last year at this time. Of course, last year at this time I had far more time to devote to twitter parties and such to help grow my numbers. Now, I tend to be working during twitter parties. :-/

Another thing that worked for me in growing my social media was using Recurpost. It shares posts, etc on your social media in a loop so that people who may not have been following you the first time the post was shared or who may not have seen the post the first time it was shared get a second chance to see it. If you have seen Twitter lately, you know that posts fly through your newsfeed, especially if you follow a lot of people. I feel like Recurpost reminds people that I exist. And even better when they comment on an old blog post or a twitter post about the "old" blog post to keep the conversation going. I love re-exploring old topics.

If I could drop any social media platform, it would be facebook. I dislike that Russia was able to buy ads that encouraged people to vote online rather than in polls. And then there is all of my family who disagrees bitterly with regards to politics on facebook. I just want to distance myself as far away from it as possible. I don't trust the platform. (Not that I should trust any social media platform any better.) However, Twitter, with all of its many problems, remains my favorite. I love bite size mini-blogging and sharing my thoughts in 280 characters or less. And Pinterest is great for sharing awesome blog entries and saving web pages for later.

If I could get better with a social media platform, it would be Instagram. I've seen services offered that allow you to organize your pictures so they show up beautifully in your feed, but I just haven't wanted to spend money on a service or time spent searching for a free service.

3. What do you hope to achieve in terms of writing and publishing? This is the fun part where you get to document in black and white what you will be writing and decide on deadlines.

I don't intend on doing any publishing aside from blog post entries in 2018. Maybe one day I'll put together a book, but right now my mind is blank and I have no idea what I have to say that is any more important than anything else that is already out there.

Ideally, I will work on writing more blog posts, though. I've really slacked toward the end of the year. It's frustrating having less time to focus and build my site. I'm trying to be patient with myself, though. Maybe one day I'll get my act together. In the meantime, it's not worth stressing out over. Right?

4. Is there any area or special skill set you're interested in that you could take the time to learn to enhance your personal development? This could be learning a new programme or researching a genre you may be interested in learning to write.

I'm always interested in learning more. I'd like to specifically continue working with language learning because it encourages you to think in a new way. I've kind of let up on that this year. I'd also love to continue traveling and seeing the world and the US through different lenses. Then, there is reading which helps me develop my vocabulary and voice.

I really don't think there is anything I could do that wouldn't enhance my personal development in some way, aside from doing absolutely nothing.

5. In all of the figuring you do, don't forget your personal life. Do leave yourself some wiggle room to try some fun activity that's new to you or simply time to work on being a better you!

Absolutely! Personal life is key. I believe that doing things you love will only help you as you grow and develop over time.

Your Turn

I feel like I've spent a lot of time in 2017 using IWSG as an excuse to go over my successes and failures, both in my personal life and in my writing/blogging life. It's because I feel my personal life and writing life go hand in hand; because I enjoy writing/blogging, I don't really see myself having one without the other. Furthermore, I think there is also a balance between my personal and writing life that I'm always having to be mindful of. Just because I'm struggling in one area doesn't mean I need to come down on myself; if I'm having success in another area, maybe I don't have my balance right. Or maybe the other thing is more important for that month. Maybe that's just how the balance has to be?

Do you find that you have to balance multiple aspects of your life? Is it easier some months than others? What do you think makes the difference for you?

I can hardly believe the year is coming to a close. It feels like 2017 just began the other day. Hopefully, we are winding down one year smarter, wiser, and better able to handle whatever comes at us in 2018. Are you ready?

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