The Year Of The Offensive – The Climb #344

The Year Of The Offensive – The Climb #344

Sunday 31st December 2017

2017 was a funny old year.  It was my Year of the Offensive … a year for me to push myself and claim the rewards for my hard work.  As I said back then “it’s going to be a year where I happen to it rather than it happens to me”.

I really pushed myself in 2017 but whereas 2016 was a year where I was trying to keep momentum going, 2017 felt like a year I was very much in the driving seat.  In 2016 I’d felt overwhelmed by self-doubt.  In 2017 I worked on building my confidence both in my swordfighting and in my writing.

Writing

My aim for 2017 was to get book 2 done and a first draft of book 3 complete.  I figured without another round of rewrites although I think it was day job stress that slowed me down more than anything else.

But I did get a first draft of book 2 done, and I’m half way getting the first edits finished with a view to getting it to beta readers in the next month or so.

I’d really hoped that I’d get to this point and be talking about Black As Knight.  I’ll admit that I end the year a little frustrated:  frustrated that it hasn’t moved further along, frustrated that edits took me so long.  I feel slow, and one of the reasons 2018 will be my Year of Priorities is because I’m going to have to make some hard choices with how I use my time.

As 2017 progressed I was really wanting to write more short stories and decided to read more.  I definitely read some but never read enough.  As 2017 ends I’m in a bit of a mental quandary over whether I want to write short stories because I think that’s what I should be doing, or because that’s what I want to be doing.  Either way, I do want to up my reading in 2018

Swordfighting

Last year my aim for 2017 was to teach as I felt it would help me improve.  This proved a completely right call and probably one of the things I was most proud of.

“There will be a short term hit (something that someone will have to remind me between April and August) but I think by the time we get to Sweden next year my gamble will have paid off.”

Actually there wasn’t any hit at all, and I placed in the quarter finals or better in every tournament.  I finished 17th in SwedenI won a silver medal in Rapier & Dagger, and a bronze in Sword & Buckler.  It was a busy year but I think I surprised a few people.

With the introduction of World Rankings, getting myself up to 57 felt like a massive achievement

The downside was that by the end of November I was completely burnt out.  Trying to do 101 things for Swordfighting, coupled with edits and the day job and a load of other things meant I underperformed in my last two tournaments.    I hate that I ended the year on a comparative low but I think actually taking a couple of weeks off was a good call as I feel refreshed and ready for 2018

Health

I had a major health scare in early 2017.  If anything it just validated a load of my musings, but it was enough of a shock that I made some personal lifestyle changes.  I think I did a good job of not going off the rails and channelling my worry.  It meant that this was a huge year for personal development for me.  I overcame some of my anxieties  (particularly with body image), I cared less what other people thought, and I allowed myself to have a bit of fun.  I’m in such a vastly different place to where I was 12 months ago.

I found diet and swordfighting often clashed with each other.  I needed the carbs for energy, and so the latter part of this year haven’t been so good.  I end the year feeling fat from Xmas.  However, I continued to work out and I feel really strong despite issues with my lower back setting me back.

For the first half of this year at least I want to be good on diet and exercise.  I need to work on dropping body fat and that’ll mean being very strict.  And when it comes to tournaments, I need to be better at finding the right balance with diet.

Also, less cake and alcohol.

Travel

I went storm chasing again in 2017, and this year we did it by ourselves.  Our forecasting was great and whilst we didn’t see any tornadoes I got to visit 10 states as well as Canada.  I also vlogged the whole trip.  I’m hoping to go back again in 2018 but it’s still early days.

I also managed to get back to Sweden.  The introduction of World Rankings meant that I wasn’t good enough to get in the initial registration (it was limited to those ranked 100 or better) but I improved after I got in through the second rounds of registrations and went to the competition well inside the top 100.

My other foreign trip was to Romania, a place I’d probably never have been to were it not for the opportunity to accompany Pim there to teach.  I loved my visit and I look forward to more teaching opportunities in 2018.

There were also trips inside the UK.  I went to Eastercon in April, and Fightcamp in August

Social Media

I put considerable time into social media in 2017.  I started The Climb very early on in the year and documented my progress.  I knew when I started it that it doesn’t get interesting until Black As Knight gets picked up and people start wondering what goes into writing and editing a book.  That’ll prove even more so when it comes to Book 2 as the entire process has been documented there.

I’m still very much playing the long game with The Climb, but I think if it did me anything in 2017 it made me comfortable with who I am as a writer.  It used to bother me that I’d largely been forgotten by the writing community and I would find myself trying to fit in.  The Climb really feels like me trying to do my own thing rather than copying everyone else and I like that I’ve grown enough as a writer to I’m feeling comfortable to walk my own path.

My experiments with Snapchat never really resulted in anything.  But I think Instagram really took the wind out of Snapchat’s sails in 2017.  I found my Instagram content gravitating towards Swordfighting in the latter part of the year but I don’t have much in the way of visual content when it come to the writing.

I’d like to do more stuff with live in 2018.  It’s one of the ideas I had in 2017 that I never really found time to progress.

I also intend to use Twitter more in 2018.  However, I think I’m going to be more ruthless on who I follow.

2018

2018 is more about balance or making hard choices over my time.  I feel that 2017 has been a success.  I took the year head on to such an extent that I’d pretty much completed a lot of goals a couple of months early and then ran out of steam.  If 2017 was a sprint, then 2018 is the marathon.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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