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What a Rollercoaster


I know we must all be looking back on 2020 and thinking what a shit-show, with our fingers for a better 2021. Last year was many things, but I want to take a minute to reframe the way I look back, and shift away from all of that negativity and disappointment.

The fact is, no matter how bad a year has been, there will always be highlights and fond memories thrown in there somewhere, and they have been greatly overshadowed by exceptional struggles and loss. As an exercise in positivity, I like to try and think over the positives and accomplishments. This is a really useful tool in working to restructure the very pathways in your brain to create a brighter, happier future, and I encourage all of you to do the same.

I am proud of myself for surviving the chaos and being able to say that 2020 was not a complete and total loss. I had successes, even if they didn't measure up to all the hopes I'd had at the year's beginning.

More than anything though, I'm excited for the year to come!

Highlights of 2020

Nano Success

During the April lockdown, I set myself to work on the task of 50,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo, and succeeded! 

 

Moving for Massey

In July, I moved back across the country to finally return to study after my two-year break! If all goes to plan, 2021 will be the final year of my degree. I'm looking forward to the combination of writing and Japanese papers lined up.

Social Roots

I've been re-acclimatizing to a new city, and stepping back into my old student life - only to realize, there wasn't much of one to step into. I'm putting myself out into the student community to make new friends and thrive in new experiences. I'm incredibly lucky to be able to do this here in New Zealand with the current state of things, and I'm so thankful.
 

Grades Abound

Despite a very stressful transition back to study under some less than ideal circumstances, I managed to pass all of my classes with a B or above! 

While there were successes to celebrate in 2020, there were many more things that I didn't manage quite manage to achieve. A lot of my goals were left unfulfilled; I didn't succeed at the November Nano, I didn't finish writing a book, I didn't read a book every month, nor did I stay on top of my blog, my newsletter, or the many other tasks I had hoped to pursue.
I can't change what has been, but I am always aiming to do better going forward. That being said, I'm making some changes around here! Keep reading to find out what my plans are for 2021.

Things to Come

My Final Year

If all goes according to plan, 2021 will be my final year of study. I cannot put into words what a relief it is to finally reach this point in my plan. 
This also means this year is my last to get involved in everything University life has to offer, and I intend to take advantage of everything I can, while I can.
 

Changes Abound

Change is coming to my author platform. I'm working with a close friend to help me redesign my platform and really define my image. This re-branding will be changing the way things look around here, and I can't wait to see what we come up with.

Volunteering

I've gone out and signed up! I'm getting involved in every opportunity I can. This year, my focus is on experiences and growth. This includes volunteering at my university, teaching English to refugees and immigrants, writing with and for the elderly, and other opportunities I have yet to discover!
 

Jet Application

This year is finally the year I will be applying for the Jet program, to go and teach English in Japan. For those who don't know, I've been working towards this goal for almost three years now, and I couldn't be more excited!

This year it is of vital importance that things run as planned. My top priorities are passing all of my classes and acing my applications to teach English in Japan. Put simply, writing isn't my priority this year. 
Don't get me wrong, being an author is absolutely my life-goal, but this year it simply doesn't take precedence over the things I need to achieve to finally enter the next phase of my life.

Taking Off the Pressure

I'm lessening the pressure I put on myself to build my platform. You may or may not have noticed, I haven't been the most active poster. This is in part due to an overwhelming pressure I feel to post regularity - but since I can't commit to maintaining a constant presence, I sort of fade away and stop posting at all.
Less than ideal, I know. But this year, I'm removing that expectation from myself. I am giving myself permission to simply do what I can manage, and I honestly expect to be a lot more productive as a result (without that crippling pressure of performance). 
Ultimately, my platform and my writing will still be here in a year's time, when life-changing grades are not on the table.

So what does that mean?
This means I'm changing my newsletter schedule to be twice yearly, instead of trying to make quarterly reports on content I simply don't have. 
Don't worry, I have lots of content brewing behind the scenes! Content will come - it just won't measure up to some of my more idolized authors who are really on top of their game.
I hope you'll stick around for the journey and see what I achieve in the coming year.

Starting Your Manuscript:
Creative Writing III

An advanced study of the process of writing that consolidates knowledge of creative writing craft, expands understanding of genre, and analyses aesthetic and/or cultural aspects of published manuscripts across genres
In 2020 I produced two short works for my third level creative writing class.

It was a lot of fun to be challeneged to write beyond my comfort zone again, and I produced one creative non-fiction and a short story spliced from a current novel in progress.

Saccharine Reminiscence

This creative-non-fiction delves into the story of my first love: a secret, passionate gay relationship. This letter-style essay relives half-forgotten memories after rediscovering a love letter, ten years old, walking the reader through cherry-picked moments of a romance as it bloomed and perished. I explore the fickle nature of memory, musing over unreliable nostalgia as memories are replayed again and again.

Grade: A (80%)

Don't Go Chasing Vampires

An Excerpt

This short story is an excerpt from my novel-in-progress Condemned, featuring the terrifyingly alluring Antonio as Sandra searches for answers about her mother's disappearance.
Sandra came seeking answers, but is she prepared to pay the price?

Grade: A (80%)

I will be addressing both of these stories in up-coming posts on my site, so if those synopsis' have piqued your interest, keep an eye out to get a look at the complete work!

Feedback from my Tutor


Saccharine Reminiscence:
"This draft is honest, clear, and more self-aware of the role sentiment plays in clouding/inventing the past. This strikes me as a substantial change. In this draft you start to ask the hard questions that I think readers are most interested in, such as queries about how invented this particular memory is."
"There is no question about your skill in writing"

Don't Go Chasing Vampires:
"An effective and concise (but also notably brief!) extract from a longer work of vampire genre fiction. To my mind, the most successful aspect of this extract is the way you generate an engaging kind of erotic suspense in the interaction between your narrator and the vampire. This suspense is intriguing, and I can see that it will be central to the longer narrative."
"Seeing you work across both fiction and non-fiction this semester was eye-opening, as I realized that you have notable skills across both genres. This is quite an achievement. If you are ever inclined and ready to make the commitment, I have no doubt that you could be a successful postgraduate student in creative writing."

Phew! That's all I have for you for now. Thank you for taking the time to browse; if you want to see more, check out more content on my blog!
 
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Ace Parks · None · Palmerston North, Manawatu 4410 · New Zealand

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