The last year has been amazing. I had some ups and downs and made some mistakes, but it’s overall been really great. I’ve grown a lot, especially in the last half of the year.
In January I was buzzing from the excitement of a new relationship and working hard with Justine to prepare for Over the Invisible Wall’s launch. I was writing less than I wanted to, but I knew I had a deadline and obligations. I was spending a lot of time with my boyfriend, getting to know him. I found out in January that I didn’t get the big homeschool scholarship for free Praxis, but I did still get money off tuition! It was then that I moved my start date from July to October.
In February, Over the Invisible Wall launched. We decided to post twice a month because we lost half our team before December. We talked about starting the blog for a long time before jumping in. We tried to each have a couple of posts ready in advance. I had my first Valentine’s Day in a relationship. He gave me flowers and we spent the day together. I had started working on a sketchbook/scrapbook and showed him what I’d made so far.
In March, I started piecing together my poetry collection Inside a Writer’s Head. I initially called it Writing About Writing: Inside a Writer’s Head, but I decided later that just the second part would be a better title.
In April, I honestly don’t remember what I did at all. I checked in my journal, but I only wrote once and it was unhelpful.
In May, I joined my first Praxis Wednesday call. It was a chat with Rob Goodman about the Claude Shannon biography he co-authored. I was inspired and felt like I was on fire after that call.
In June, I committed to starting my personal blog in July. I wanted to take a month to prepare and have content ready. I didn’t want to stress myself out. I planned to ease myself into it.
In July, I turned eighteen! I spent my birthday with my boyfriend, and we watched Harry Potter and tried making butterbeer. I started my blog at the beginning of the month. I initially planned to post once a week and increase that until I was writing everyday. I changed my mind the next day and decided to jump in and write every day for as long as possible. I wrote from July 2-30. I was looking forward to starting Praxis, and was eager for it to start. More than before, because I knew I had barely any more waiting to go. I contributed a short historical piece to the Millstadt News magazine.
In August, I started the Praxis pre-program. I had some specific tasks and projects to do before I’d start in October. I continued my blog and Over the Invisible Wall, struggling to find a balance. I took a trip out to Millstadt to interview Terry Davinroy and his sister Sherry for another short historical piece for the Millstadt News. I learned a lot about journalism and making research writing trips. I really enjoyed looking into history and getting first hand information about it, too. My family took a belated birthday trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. We’d planned to go in July, but there was a conflict with Walmart that prevented it. I actually quit Panera to work full-time at Walmart.
In September, I posted more infrequently on the blog. I didn’t keep up with daily blogging for more than a couple days at a time. I struggled with some of the Praxis work, mostly feeling unclear directionally. I gave myself a break on vacation, and it made it harder to finish on time. I felt more stress than necessary.
In October, I realized I was very sick of Walmart, so I went back to Panera late in the month. I officially started Praxis! Module one was both easier and harder than I’d expected. Revising my pre-program deliverables was fairly easy, since I had some idea what needed improvement and what was lacking. The third week, we made pitch videos, and that was the hardest part. I struggled with it, but made something I’m at least mostly proud of. I need to watch it again, see if I should re-make it. I learned that I enjoyed filming and editing video, though, and started my Youtube channel this month as a result. Early on, I talked to the module advisor Hannah Frankman about the next module, the portfolio project. I wanted to make and market my poetry collection, she said I should make it before November and focus on marketing it. Brian Nuckols and Austin Batchelor confirmed, so I worked really hard to finish my module one deliverables and publish my poetry collection. I didn’t think I could do it, but I blew myself out of the water by finishing early!
In November, my poetry collection released! I spent the month posting on social media about the collection, doing my best to draw attention to it. I blogged every day as well, tying that into my project. Each week I wrote one to two posts about self-publishing generally or poetry collections specifically. The videos I made for my Youtube channel were on the same topic. I did a lot and pushed myself. I wasn’t able to run Facebook or Twitter ads because I couldn’t afford it, but I posted every day, started a giveaway, and shared the link to the Bookbaby sale page as soon as I had it up. I also voted for the first time ever! I felt involved in the 2016 elections, but this was the first year I was able to vote.
This month, December, has been really crazy. I expected the writing module to be a breeze, but it was really difficult at some points. I struggled with motivation a lot this month. I was frequently tired from working mornings and pushing myself to stay up long enough to accomplish everything else I wanted and needed to do. I accomplished a lot, but there were definitely times I could have done more if I’d been better rested and generally felt better. I made videos a few times this month, but I had fewer ideas for content and felt disinterested in video making. At least once I actually dreaded making it. I still did, but it felt like a chore. I had my one year anniversary with my boyfriend this month and we spent our first Christmas together! We started dating before Christmas last year, but it was so soon that a gift seemed a bit too couple-y. This year we’d been together, had Valentine’s Day and our birthdays together, so it was nice to have Christmas and come full circle.
I’ve had a crazy year, but it’s been really great. I can’t wait to see what the next year holds!