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Five years ago, I was a vastly different person.

Library Pirate

Okay, maybe not that different.

Five years ago, I hadn’t started in my current job. I was almost a year out of college, working part-time at Borders, and hoping desperately for a second job, because it was almost time to start repaying my student loans. Plus, rent, food, and other things that are sort of critical to life.

Borders was fun, but ended up being a dead end. The company went under less than a year after I started there. Even now, attempting to access their website redirects you to Barnes & Noble, once their chief competitor. I don’t regret it. I had some incredible experiences, and I learned why I hate working in a corporate retail environment (support your local indie bookshops, folks).

Since I was only working part-time, I needed some way to fill the void in my days. I’d always said that I wanted to write, and I’d been toying around with an idea for a novel. Someone I knew had recently started a blog of her own, and I decided it sounded like a fun experiment. I thought it would give me a place to brainstorm while leaving myself a little more open to the views of others.

Five years ago today, I published my first post on this site. I know this because wordpress showed me a little trophy icon and wished me a happy anniversary when I signed in today. Looking back now, I find it really hard to believe how quickly those five years flew by. It really was all me talking to myself in the first few months. Eventually, I started to find like-minded people. People like Sonia introduced me to monthly and weekly writing challenges, and I started to craft new microfiction pieces. My earliest posted one is here. Later, I’d add challenges by the folks at the sadly defunct Trifecta and the fiercely entertaining Chuck Wendig. I started to grow.

I got my first job at my library, a foot in the door. I met incredible people, and traveled to amazing places. I inspired others to start writing as well. I’ve developed a much better grasp of my own style. I’ve attemtped NaNoWriMo.

 

Now, five years later on, I’m still very much me, but I’m a better version of me. To those of you who are still here, thanks for sticking around. For those of you who are new, welcome. Let’s see what the next five years will hold for us all.

Last year, my posts on here dropped off dramatically. Between the ending of the Trifecta Writing Challenges in March of 2014 and taking on a larger number of substitute shifts at work, I lost a lot of my motivation and time to write. And it showed. Compare my 51 total posts in 2014 to my 12 total posts in 2015.

So far in 2016, I’ve written more than 2/3 of the number of posts I wrote last year, and I don’t intend to slow down again. Am I any less busy? No. Not by a long shot. But I’m getting better at balancing, and protecting my writing time. I’m seeking out new writing challenges and getting back into some like Chuck’s Terrible Minds Challenges.

It’s going to be a fun year. Thanks for sticking around.

I’ve got a lot to look forward to this year.

I’m going to get caught up on Welcome to Night Vale. I’m only about a dozen episodes behind right now. That’s not too shabby for only having started listening to the show back in February. I’m also reading the novel, which I received for Christmas. It’s proving to be just as much fun as the show itself.

My high school class will be holding our ten year reunion this summer. Despite most of us still living within a few hours of our hometown, we haven’t spent a lot of time together since graduation. It’ll be good to see old friends again.

When you’re a part of it, Ren Faire is always just around the corner. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Colorado Renaissance Festival, and to celebrate, we’ll be open for nine weekends instead of the usual eight.

I found an amazing book challenge via one of my facebook friends. Take a look. I’ll be working through this checklist as I work toward my goodreads goal of 100 books.

2016 Reading Challenge

I’m looking through potential titles to read for all of these, and I’m not going to allow a single title to fulfill multiple requirements, even though some certainly could.

I’m going to learn Numenera. I bought the boxed set last summer, and I’ve been wanting to really get into it. It seems like an absolutely incredible RPG, and I love learning new systems. I’m also hoping for some more stuff from Wizards for 5th Edition D&D.

And there’s my goals for this year.

I’m pretty damn excited for 2016. I look forward to having you along for the ride.

Well, it’s not quite what I would’ve liked it to be, but here’s a summary of my slowest year since starting this blog.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2015 has been an incredibly big year for me, but not so much on the writing front. It’s become painfully clear to me over the last few weeks that this needs to change. I’m not typically one for New Year’s Resolutions, though. Sure, they’re a good way to plan out some of the changes that you’d like to make over the coming year, but how many of them are abandoned? According to research, about 92%. So it’s not good enough to make this just a 2016 resolution. It’s got to be more than that. So, here we go.

1.) Write more. I know, this one’s fairly obvious. I didn’t get a whole lot written during the course of the past year, and I need to focus on that. I’ve neglected my blog, and therefore neglected you, dear readers. That’s not fair to any of us. If I’m going to be a writer, I have to write. “Art harder, motherfucker.” Part of this includes starting up a journal again. It’s been nearly two years since the last time I kept a regular journal, something that I used to work on every day. At the very least, it’s a way of ensuring that I write something (anything) more frequently. It’s all about developing a rhythm. Writing needs to be my strongest habit.

2.) Submit more work. I’m totally okay with getting rejection letters, but I have to, you know, actually send stuff in to publications in order to get said aforementioned rejection letters. And who knows. Maybe somebody will like what I send them (I’m open to recommendations, by the way).

3.) Draw more. It gets my creativity going, and I know that’s been a major issue as far as #1 has been concerned. I’ve been trying to get back into it, since I’ve always love to draw. I found my art supply tote from college, and so I’m going to be breaking out the charcoals again for the first time in a loooooong time. I also want to get back into pencil drawings (way less messy and so much easier to take on the go—and an example of some of my work from high school can be found here).

4.) Communicate more. I’ve been kind of in hermit mode for a lot of the past year. While I did see my family a lot (having two sisters get married in the same year will do that), I didn’t get to spend as much time with some of my friends as I would have liked, especially considering that some of them have moved closer. Some will also be moving away soon, and I want to see them before they go.

5.) Vote. What? It’ll be a presidential election year. If you’re eligible to vote in the US, get out and fucking do it. This applies every year, but since more focus is given to presidential elections, I’m making a special note of it. I’m not going to go into any sort of depth on my political viewpoints here. This isn’t the place for such things. Those of you who know me well should have a pretty good idea of who I’m rooting for anyway.

6.) Get full-time employment. You’d think that with almost five years at my current employer this one would be a gimme. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Fortunately, I’m getting a lot of substitute shifts. Substitute shifts are good, and definitely help to pay the bills. However, locking in full-time would give me a great deal of job security. Is it the ultimate solution to financial woes? No, but it’s better than hoping that another one of my co-workers gets sick or goes on vacation or has a baby or what have you.

7.) Read more. I’ve knocked out 187 books so far, according to Goodreads, and I’m pretty pleased. My goal for the year was fifty. And yes, many of them were graphic novels, but I still got through all of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, along with several other longer novels. I’d still like to read more. I’d always like to read more. One of the best parts of my job is knowing that everything that I read is helping me provide better guidance to library patrons looking for their next book.

I’d say that’s a pretty good start to planning my year. Stick around, dear readers. There’ll be new stories coming your way soon.

And hey. Thanks.

I quit my job.

Well, one of my jobs. As many of you are aware, I’ve spent much of the past two years working for a local bookstore in addition to my job at the local public library. For better or for worse, the bookstore and I have parted ways. The time had come, and so I turned in my two weeks notice for the first time at any job I’ve ever held. My official last day is going to be on January 2nd, but as things currently stand, I may have already completed my last shift, dependent on Friday’s as-yet-undetermined schedule.

I’m not certain what 2015 will bring. A lot happened in 2014, both good and bad. I had to say goodbye to far more people than I would have liked, and there have been great periods of painful silence. Still, a great number of positive things have happened too, and I’m hoping to see much more of those things in the future. My life is going to be changing drastically in 2015, and I can’t wait to see what else this year has in store for me.

Neil Gaiman said it best, and so I’ll leave you with this quote.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” -Neil Gaiman
Happy New Year, everyone!

 

So, September totally got away from me. I had August under control, with bills paid early instead of on time, lots of writing done, and so on and so forth. September? Well, I thought I was ready, but looking back at the last four weeks, it’s pretty clear to me that I was not. So, a little recap to get back up to speed before I start dropping microfiction and poetry on you again.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending my sixth Nan Desu Kan. NDK is held in Denver every September, and was the very first convention I ever attended. My girlfriend and I have gone together every year, and as always, we had a fantastic weekend. There was cosplay (of course), meeting randomly with famous voice actors (hooray for encountering Sonny Strait several times over the course of his first ever trip to NDK), supporting local artists (Sariochan, thank you for coming back every year!), entering the balcony decorating contest for the first time, and great times hanging out with friends.

The rest of September was a great big blur. I finished reading Saladin Ahmed’s The Throne of the Crescent Moon, knocked out a bunch of comics I’d been working on reading (including the first trade edition of Pretty Deadly), and watched a lot of anime. I watched all of Gurren Lagann for the first time, dug through Death Note again, and started on Knights of Sidonia and Deadman Wonderland. I also finally saw the first season of True Detective (lots of mixed feelings on that one).

Now it’s October first. NaNoWriMo is weeks away. I’ve got a Colorado Capitol Couture fashion show to do a little design/modeling for before the end of the month, and lots to continue to read. It’s October. I’m going to read Horns. 

I’ll be back soon.

So apparently June was a thing that happened this year. I’m not sure exactly how I missed it, but I want to apologize. I’ve not been writing lately. I’ll make all manner of excuses. Working at the Ren Faire again this year eats my weekends, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Faire’s a whole different world, and it gets even better when you get to know the people who make the magic happen. I moved, too. Not far, only about five miles, in fact, and my shortest move from one residence to another in over five years. Now I don’t have the workout room that I was finally utilizing at the apartment, and I don’t have the pool, and so on and so forth, but I have a house that my roommates and I can spread out in. We have space. So much space. SPAAAACE.

I’m closer to my favorite cemetery. I’m closer to work (all three of the various things that I do that people pay me to do). I’m closer to most of my friends (with one notable exception [the one who would go walk in said aforementioned cemetery with me if circumstances would allow]). It’s going to be a good opportunity for me. I’m really very happy about things (except as mentioned above).

My room’s coming together nicely, so there’s that. On the other hand, I’m still more than a little sleep deprived (for all of the best reasons). I’ll post a picture of the new setup once it’s all done. I’m pretty proud of the whole thing.

Anyway, I’m going to get my ass in gear and knuckle down on my writing again. It’s not been fair to you, dear readers, especially after tolerating my poetry for the last few months. New original stories are coming. I’m also hoping to get into some more writing challenges. Stay tuned. This is going to be big.

Thanks.

Dear Readers New and Old,

Thank you! I’ve officially passed 200+ followers here. Thank you for your support, and for taking the time to stop by to read once in a while. You are all amazing people (even you, followers who are potentially actually robots). Keep doing what you do, and I’ll keep doing what I do.

Sincerely,

Philip

Today’s my third anniversary with WordPress. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working on this blog for the last three years, but here we are. It’s been fascinating to see the evolution of my writing over the course of those three years. I’m feeling more confident in my writing now than ever before, and it’s all thanks to you amazing readers. Those of you who’ve been around since the beginning? Thank you for continuing to believe in me. Those of you who are new? Welcome, and thank you for letting me share a bit of the crazy in my head with you. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.