It’s been a long time since I gave any attention to this website (which is stupid since I’m paying for it yearly), so I figure that I should start investing time and energy into it—that is, until the universal New Year’s lust for introspection and dedication fades away, as it often does by mid-January. (Amiright?)
I don’t want it to, of course, which is why I’m forcing myself to redesign the place a bit (already done), connect it with Facebook and Twitter, seek out followers, and hold myself to posting as often and substantially as possible. (Social media = narcissism, after all).
In particular, I want this post to serve as a new introduction of sorts, as well as a formal declaration to myself—since I doubt anyone else cares, but read on if you want—of what I hope to accomplish in 2018. I really want to hold myself to at least putting my heart into all of this; even if it doesn’t pay off, I’ll know that I tried. So, here’s a breakdown of what I want to happen with each facet of my life this year:
Teaching – I’m actually pretty comfortable with this aspect. I consistently have courses at my top three schools, which is good, although I suppose I’d like to teach a larger variety of classes. I also wouldn’t mind adding another worthwhile (i.e. well-paying and intellectually satisfying) school to my arsenal. I always put 100% into teaching, but I can sometimes feel overwhelmed and/or discouraged by certain factors (as will any teacher). I just need to remember (1) how fortunate I am to be doing this, (2) I am qualified to be doing this (fuck you, imposter syndrome), and (3) that no matter how bad it can seem at any point, the semester will eventually end, I’ll get a break, and the next semester is a fresh start.
The Bookends Review – This is one area I really want to enhance. We’ve grown a lot since 2012 (more than I realize, I’m sure), and it’s humbling to see how many people know about us and want to be published by us. That said, we could definitely have a bigger following on social media, so I want to try to have at least 1,500 followers on Facebook and Twitter by the end of the year. That sounds like a big goal, maybe—and even 1,500 isn’t much—but I’ve been slacking in terms of promotions. I think that if we do some other things—our first contest, merchandise, live readings, themed collections, etc—we could pull it off. I want to do all of those things and more (maybe expand what we publish and how often), and I hope my editors are with me (if any of you are reading this, LET’S DO IT!). I want Bookends to be a recognizable journal within the indie landscape; maybe it already is in a small way, but it’s not even close to where I think it could be.
Creative Writing – Along those lines, I want to FINALLY finish and publish my first collection of poetry and fiction. I’ve really been slacking in terms of writing, revising, and submitting pieces. This year, I want to focus on that again and get over whatever mental hang-ups are keeping me from it. From there—and like my goals with Bookends—I want to be as known to my indie lit “friends” as they are to me. I still feel like I’m an outsider looking into that world instead of being a part of it. Of course, that’s my fault since I’m not putting the effort into, you know, becoming a creative writer. I want to stop being envious of their successes and start making my own in this way.
Music/Literature/Pop Culture Writing– I still consider myself a music journalist above all else, and I’ve come really far over the last decade. Last year, I started contributing at bigger places (Metal Injection, The Prog Report, and PROG), and I want to do more of that. I started at another place (that shall remain nameless) that—as fellow writers warned me about—fucked me over by (1) not paying me for anything I did and (2) cutting me loose as soon as they hired me. Oh, well, it’s their loss, right? I plan to pitch a lot of other places (Pitchfork, The A.V. Club, Noisey, Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, etc.) this summer, if not sooner. I’m optimistic that if I keep pushing and come up with a good idea at the right time (to the right magazine), I can start freelancing for some more major places. On that note, I also want to push myself out of my comfort zone in terms of what I cover. I still want to prioritize progressive rock/metal coverage, but maybe go beyond reviews/interviews to do more features and essays. Also, go beyond those genres—and music in general—to be more of a pop culture writer. I think my positions at PopWrapped and PopMatters will help with that. Lastly, I want to do outside freelance work (like press releases, biographies, etc.) to make money outside of the publications themselves. In general, still want to teach to a certain extent, but I also want to come closer to my dream of being a professional music critic. I do make some money at it, but I’d like to make a lot more (say, a quarter of my yearly earnings, at least). I know, I know. I can dream, right?
Friends– Pretty simple here. I want to hang out with my closest friends as much as possible, reconnect with people I’ve drifted from, and weed out people who clearly don’t care enough about bonding with me. Outside of that, I want to be more social in general, like going to Meetup kind of events, see more local music, etc. Get out there more and stop spending so much time alone in my apartment (talking to my cats, who are terrible conversationalists).
Family– Even simpler. Spend more time talking to them, if not being with them.
Love– As Homer Simpson said (about alcohol), the cause of, and solution to, [most] of life’s problems. I’m not going to ramble on about this since it’s the most personal and revealing part of my life. Basically, I want to date as much as possible, not take things so personally, and feel consistently comfortable being single. I mean, there’s no set rule for any of this shit, right? People get married at 23, break up at 33, never marry by 43, etc. So what if I’m 30 and single? Fuck it. At least I can do what I want, when I want, and there are so many other awesome parts of my life.
Neglected Spoon – Yup, I have a music project that I haven’t done anything with in years. I should focus on recording and refreshing myself on music theory. Become a better musician overall and put out a debut collection. At least I’ll want to hear it.
Self– Above all else, I want to work on my mental and emotional issues (the aforementioned imposter syndrome, which was formally diagnosed, and the self-diagnosed anxiety and depression). I need to really look outside of myself to see how great my life is even without certain things, not feel so goddamn inferior to others, and push through those moments of self-loathing and hopelessness (which are getting less severe and frequent, honestly). I want to stop relying on alcohol as a solution and instead push through those moments on my own, in a healthy and constructive way. Learn to deal with the bad thoughts and ignore/battle them until they fade away (for the moment, anyway; anxiety and depression never go away completely, obviously). I’m sick of feeling this invisible weight on me and this intangible hesitation when it comes to things (especially creative writing, for some reason). I’m not sure why I get in this moods, but this is the year that I really try to stop it (if not on my own, then with outside help.)
There you go! Not too neurotic, right? RIGHT? Check back soon for more updates, and follow me on ALL THE PLACES!