I feel like I started off 2018 with some lofty goals and at least two of those crashed and burned, but I did release my fourth novel, Iterate, this year, and I also wrote the rough draft of its sequel, Reiterate. I also managed to blog quite a bit this year, even if that wasn’t terribly apparent until a few weeks ago if you only followed this blog. This year was also the first time I traveled internationally, which was a super cool experience.
As for what’s in store for 2019, I’m not sure yet, but I have some ideas. 2018 made it pretty apparent (if it wasn’t already) that Facebook is a scummy company, so I’ve been trying to make sure it’s less a part of my life than it has been in the past. I deleted the Facebook app weeks ago and the messenger app more recently from my phone and my iPad, but I admittedly did not delete (Facebook-owned) Instagram. I do still visit Facebook in a web browser on my computers, but it’s far less often, and I don’t particularly miss it. Through 2018, before I ever deleted the apps, I slowly began to scrub my data from the platform, removing likes, interests, personal information, demographics, etc, even though it feels like a waste of time since I have very little doubt that Facebook retained that data internally. Even if you’re not on Facebook, they’ve got a shadow profile on you. This is completely aside from the fact that for the past two years, I’ve had to unfollow dozens of people to remove crappy opinions from my timeline (note for the uninitiated that unfollowing someone means you’re still Facebook friends, you just don’t get that person’s updates anymore. If that sounds crappy to you, that’s because it is). Anyway, less Facebook in 2019.
On a similar note, I am also trying to cut back on Google services right now and in 2019. I definitely trust Google more than Facebook, but the fact of the matter is that when you are the product instead of the customer, the data that these companies collect on you is not insignificant, and that type of data is a target for misuse, theft, and exploitation. I’m not saying that a company having data on you is bad, but rather, this is a judgement call on two particular companies who haven’t proven super reliable lately. People have been really upset about Apple’s price hikes this year, and while I do think some of that negativity is justified, I also believe that their privacy-first approach not only warrants a certain price premium, but is exactly part of the reason why some of their competition is cheaper (the data Google collects has monetary worth, thus it makes sense for them to provide their products at a lower cost to get them in more hands).
Tech stuff aside, I probably followed more podcasts in 2018 than I ever have, which has been great, but I feel like I have been missing out on music for a while now, so I may try to make music a little more important in 2019.
As for goals that actually take effort, I want to try to read more in 2019. This may come as a shock to hear from a writer, but I just don’t find a whole lot of time to read novels (most of my reading is random stuff on the Internet). My biggest issue with reading is finding time that I’m not mentally exhausted to pick up a book. During the week, my brain is on constantly from the time I wake up until around 5:30 PM, so when I get home, I just need to shut down and watch TV or play a game or something. If I read when I am mentally exhausted, I end up reading the same paragraph three times because I just can’t absorb anything. I used to read every day during my lunch break, but now I use that time to write, which consequently means that even during my break, my brain is still very much turned on and not resting. I realize that a lot of people find reading to be relaxing, which I won’t disagree with, but it does require a certain level of engagement. For that same reason, I can’t do audio books because reading is something I need to give 100% of my attention to. I have no idea why my brain is fine with listening to podcasts, but is unable to focus on an audio book. So, I’d like to find some time to maybe read a book per month in 2019. That’s not incredibly lofty, and there are two books I’ve got on my list right now anyway.
Finally, I do have more international travel coming in 2019. This is less of a goal and more just a cool thing that I’m looking forward to.
I hope 2018 has been to great to everyone and that 2019 can be even better!