5 Years of Lola By the Bay/2018 Year in Review

WordPress sent me a reminder last night that it has now been five years since the formation of this here blog/website. That’s half a decade of running this thing in the six years since I made the decision to start pursuing my writing more seriously, and look how much has happened since then.

But this post isn’t to serve as a retrospect of the last five years. Instead, this is a look back at the past eleven incredibly speedy months of the year 2018. I say this in some way or another at the end of every year, but it is absolutely crazy how fast this year went.

No new book came out this year, and yet I’ve provided more insight than ever before into the different kinds of writing I do and the struggles that I encounter along the way. That has ranged from prioritizing my third novel (before eventually shelving it), taking a second look at all the journal writing that I do, why I prefer writing articles over transcripts, and about finding trust through collaborations.

Even though I didn’t release a book this year, there have been numerous other writing projects that have gone on; some of which I’ve been more open about than others.  Apart from the shelved novel, I had two more short stage plays I wrote produced this year (one of which I devoted a commentary to), I have written a screenplay adaptation of An Absolute Mind, and much more recently, I started writing a new novel. I also managed to squeeze in an author-related event this year, when I took part in a book fair for my very first time.

Outside of my own writing projects, I noticed that I’ve become much more contemplative about the general nature of storytelling, as I’ve expanded my own horizons. I devoted Thoughts About subjects ranging from the act of telling a story in another person’s universe, feeling responsible through my stories, revisiting previous subject matter, and making mistakes in writing.

The world continues to exhaust me with all the BS that goes on, and so there have been plentiful instances where I’ve provided material for Recommended Analyzing; such as reading how author Mike DiMartino overcame resistance when writing, watching a video explaining how “Black Panther” is more than just another Marvel movie, and reading and listening to a fascinating short sci-fi story about identity and tourism.

Even with the occasional fillers on the days I just didn’t have the energy to write, I got burnt out, and given that I had gone nearly five years of blogging every weekend without ever taking a break is not too surprising looking back on it. So I took a hiatus for two months, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and this blog.

There has just been so much going on that I haven’t always gotten to mention on this blog, let alone frequently enough anyway. I started a Ko-fi campaign in order to receive support for all the writing I do. I’ve become quite a bit of a content creator (as evident by my What Did I Miss? posts) through my ongoing contributions to YOMYOMF and Multiracial Media, by way of conducting interviews, writing think pieces, and spotlighting creatives that are making waves. I’ve done some freelance work for the first time in a long while. I worked on three stage productions and two feature films. If anything, this past year may have been my most fulfilling year since 2014.

That’s not to say this year came without its fair share of challenges; many of which I’m channeling into how I can improve myself in the coming year. My trust has been toyed with a number of times throughout the year, and in the past, I’ve had a tendency to throw such individuals under the bus. But going forward, depending on what kind of person they are, I’m not going to be impulsed to do so anymore. While they’ll still be in my life, I just won’t trust them as much.

I’m also striving to get better at asking for help. This, more than anything else, is the most challenging for me to do, for people tend to not offer it the few times I ask for it. With the fact that I’m going to start submitting my screenplay into film festivals and fellowships in the upcoming year, I’m going to need some eyes on it that can help me improve it. The more people who can lend a helping hand, the more grateful I’ll be for them in the long run. The more people who stand idly by are the ones that will be left behind biting the dust down the line.

In the past few years, I’ve pushed myself to take part in creative collaborations. I’m not going to push for that as much with everything I’ve got going on this coming year, but if an opportunity were to arise where I can collaborate with someone on a stellar project, then I’d be completely open to it. (For example, if Wong Fu Productions were to hit me up and ask me to write a short for them to produce, I’d be on it in a heartbeat.)

This coming year brings with it some changes and decisions that have been made within the last month alone, and I approach the challenge of conducting a balancing act. I want to be able to devote myself to executing several writing projects at once, all the while maintaining all three jobs I have (being a writer obviously being one of them). It’s not going to be easy, I’m going to get tired and stressed, and I’m definitely going to have to turn down more outings with friends than before, but it’s all to benefit my long-term goal of being a full-time, multi-medium writer… and of course, I’ll be documenting all this, and then some, on this blog along the way.

So I’m ready for 2019 to start already. 2018 was fulfilling for me in so many ways, but this coming year, it’s all about grinding and hustling hard and showing what I’m made of.

If you are able to, I hope you can go support me in all that I do by leaving a tip over on Ko-fi. I do a lot of writing that I get paid very little for or not at all, and so this is a way of showing your support other than just reading my content. Donations of varying quantities and frequencies are greatly appreciated.

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