Yesterday was a strange day. Well, the last month or so has been strange, but yesterday, particularly so. For the first time in a long time, I participated in a Twitter chat. If you don't know what that is, it's basically when you follow a specific hashtag (ex: #BBUChat) at a set time and have a focused conversation about a pre-determined topic.
I see them taking place all the time, especially if the topic relates to writing, blogging, marketing or industry issues. But I rarely participate because of my schedule and my inclination to devote my time to one of the many, many, many items on my To-Do list. But yesterday, I was there and raring to go. Except, I discovered very quickly, I was not on the same page as so many others.
While everyone was recounting their "wins" for the year as a blogger/writer/entrepreneur, I came up blank in my attempt to contribute in the long list of 2017 successes. I couldn't help but wonder: "Do I really have nothing to show for my year? Has my career (or worse, life) been so stagnant and unremarkable I can't think of 3 things that make me feel like I've moved forward in some way in 2017?"
Of course, I've accomplished some things this year. Just not at all what I thought I'd accomplish. And if we're going to fall into the end-of-year cliché of counting our blessings and tallying our wins, I can add my share -- but only with a great deal of effort and a knowledge that with every win, there came a lose.
Last night, after the Twitter chat, I made a list of successes for 2017 in hopes that it will make me feel as if all were not lost. Because of the low-key chaos of late 2016, I didn't officially announce any goals for 2017, but along the way, I made plenty and kept them to myself. Perhaps by noting that I did have some wins this year, I won't go into 2018 feeling so unsure about what lies ahead.
So here's what my mini-brainstorm came up with:
+ Wrote for a new publication, including my first cover story.
- Technically, I wrote 4 pieces for them. 2 are not yet published, but the 1 article I was proud of that has my byline in the last issue was so mangled by the editor, I can't put it in my portfolio and I'm not hopeful about how the 2 as-yet-unpublished pieces will turn out.
+ Started Project Management Professional exam certification classes and completed the 10-week course.
- Couldn't move forward with taking the exam because I learned much too late that I'm expected to pay for the exam out of pocket, and should I pass, then I will be reimbursed by the NJ One-Stop Center. So I had to stop studying and preparing for the exam to dive into as many freelance assignments as I could handle in order to earn the funds to pay for the $550 price tag.
+ Gave a solid Powerpoint presentation to a new client who then hired me to create a newsletter for their business.
- The process of creating the newsletter was unnecessarily difficult and the client proved ... problematic. Although the final result was something I can be proud of and place in my portfolio, my anticipation of working with the client again has significantly diminished.
Lest you think all the positives has a substantial negative attached, here are some non-career-related wins where the losses were negligible and, or at least, acceptable.
+ Attended AfroPunk and had a really good time!
+ Started attending Black Bloggers United meetups that helped me get out and interact with a wonderfully supportive group. Hope to continue to see them in the new year!
+ Saw Jonny Lang in concert! :-)
+ Served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Newark Pride Festival and Parade. Although there was a steep learning curve, I did well enough that they invited me back to serve in the position again next year. :-)
+ Attended three plays and one special theater event: Jitney, Kinky Boots, Shear Madness and the 24-Hour Plays. That's not as many plays as last year, but I feel lucky to have had any chance to partake in such an expensive passion.
And of course, last, but not least:
+ Visited Paris for the first time. I may not have had the time to do all that I planned to do -- damn jet lag!, but I explored at my own pace the Musée Rodin, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Café de Flore, the metro, the Latin Quarter, and so much more.
So see! I can count a few wins in there. Most of them aren't career-related, mind you. And certainly not blog-related. But they are there. And I have the Twitter chat to thank for reminding me to take stock, as well as putting me in the mindset to consider what I want to make happen in the new year.
Here's hoping a brighter day awaits!