Good morning! Welcome to 2018! Your brand new, exciting experience that welcomes you to being one Gregorian year closer to the inevitable heat death of the universe! Since 2013, my “New Years Resolution” has been a single word each and every year. I somewhat attempt to “base” my year’s experience and events on that single word in order to grow as a person. I’ve always believed that the convoluted, in-depth style of New Years resolution usually falls apart after the first six weeks or so; and that’s why I try to enter each new year with one word on my mind. To celebrate the New Year (and to uphold my promise to try and be more personable on my own site), lets take a look at the last six years of my single word New Years Resolutions.
In 2013, the word was “Digitalization” – the process of converting information into a digital format. I opened my first website, known as “The Forum” (which eventually turned into “Publish Your Mind”) to encourage indie writers to publish, you guessed it, whatever was on their mind. I had been moved by Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story (which is an excellent book concerning mental health and the arts which was inspired by the author’s own brief hospitalization for depression) and wanted to begin a medium that would allow anyone the opportunity to publish and get feedback on their own writing.
This site, which didn’t last long, very quickly changed its purpose from being a self-help short story machine to being a friendly neighborhood blog on fictional worlds created by those who served on as a “staff” board. I helped my friend, Ken, with his now-defunct history blog “History Republic” by working on a short series referred to as “The French Turmoil: Viva La France!” among others. I, working on two small blogs, turned my attention to programs that would increase the quality of my content online and began signing up for digital arts classes that would better my knowledge on the ‘arts’ of the internet. From late 2012 through the end of 2013, I earned eight certifications: Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Outlook, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Premiere Pro, CIW Internet Business Associate, and Adobe Illustrator; and I gained extensive knowledge in four others: Adobe Flash, Microsoft Excel, Notepad++ (HTML/CSS), and Adobe InDesign. Digitalization was my resolution, and I had surpassed my expectations.
In 2014, the word was “Entrepreneurship” – the process of designing, launching and running a new, small business. I began working with one of my closest connections on a massive project that we eventually learned was far too much of a bite to chew at the rate we attempted to: anarcHistory, an online “textbook” of sorts that we imagined as a humanities-based ‘Wikipedia’ that would allow ‘any student to learn history’. We created three very impressive websites from scratch (unlike my original site or the one you’re on right now) and attempted a local kick-start to get people interested. Unfortunately, “anarcHistory” failed – for now. To this day, my friend and I still use assets of the old websites in newer (and more stable) project ideas. I began student-teaching multiple different classes in my spare time and learned that I enjoyed it.
It was also during this year that I began to seriously focus on buying, selling, and trading books. I grew my own personal collection to well over 600 books (it currently rests at well over 3,000) and managed to earn enough cash to let me focus on my short story collections. During 2014 (through 2015), I wrote well over 250 ‘horror-esque’ short stories under a specific name. I published a few on Publish Your Mind and hid the rest until I was able to edit it for a more proper publication. That day has still not come, unfortunately; but one day it should. Entrepreneurship was my resolution, and although one major project fell apart, I had learned a lot and set up the foundation for many others.
In 2015, the word was “Activism” – the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. You see, I was really interested in the upcoming 2016 election cycle well before it even began. I mapped out every campaign – both Republican and Democrat – as they formed. When the “opening acts” of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, et al. all began to announce their candidacies throughout the early months of 2015, I knew it was going to be one hell of a political circus. I spent most of the early months of 2015 mapping out possible scenarios in the earlier-than-usual primary cycle. My friend (then-current-teacher) Michael Andoscia and I both agreed (in March of 2015) that it would probably end up being a Jeb Bush/Marco Rubio vs Hillary Clinton/Julian Castro match-up of extreme centrism. We were mostly wrong, obviously.
In 2015, I began nonstop election coverage on the now-defunct Publish Your Mind (which had been renamed after myself shortly after I disbanded the group). I openly endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders immediately after he announced his candidacy, but continued to push the idea that Sanders had “no chance” of winning and only entered to attempt to push Clinton further to the left. As the election got deeper, I held onto hope but fully expected Sanders to be nothing more than “the crucial next step” of political progressivism in America. Throughout 2015 and 2016, I went to local rallies and Democratic office openings. In December 2015, I transferred my rickety wordpress.com blog over to this server under its newest name and theme. In October of 2015, I also wrote my so-called manifesto “The Endless Flow Of Society”, which focused on my political and sociocultural beliefs. Activism was my resolution, and my pursuit for politics seemed to help me out.
In 2016, the word was “Productivity” – the increase of work in its quantity. In December of 2015, as I transferred my site to its new server and had further control of what I could do, I decided that my personal goal for 2016 would to “post an article on my site once a day, no matter what.” And for six months, I basically did that. Any time I missed a day I would put two up the next. I shot out posts on history, sociology, and politics rapid-fire to the point where I was gaining an audience bigger than I had ever seen before. I worked on a miniseries concerning Catherine the Great, listened to historical podcasts every day (ranging from Shaka Zulu to the anthropology of bipedality), and pumped out enough content to satisfy my quest for productivity. But, I learned very quickly that quality was better than quantity when it came to my research.
In June, July, and August, I slowed down the “post per day” idea to better structure my plans. I briefly brought back different series from 2013 onwards, focused on several personal projects (most of which were accomplished), and grew my social media following extensively. I focused on self-help, and I was finding more and more passion within the hobbies I had acquired over the past few years. In September of 2016, my server crashed and I lost everything. I was shocked, broken even. All the time and effort I had put into my site over the last ten months (December 2015-September 2016) had suddenly vanished in front of my eyes due to a faulty security update that messed with my coding. From the middle of September through the end of 2016, my online presence vanished as I searched through external hard-drives, web archives, and email chains for as many posts as I could possibly find. I recovered all of them, and came back under a new Linux-based server in January of 2017. Productivity was my resolution, and I had personally accomplished it despite life getting in the way.
In 2017, the word was “Stability” – the state of being stable through strength and security. On January 2nd, 2017, I moved to Orlando, FL and began studying for my degree in history. I didn’t have much money, any experience with the urban life, or any connections in the city itself. I told myself very early on that my so-called “New Years Resolution” would be stability in order to set myself up for the future. I found myself back in the world of retail for a short period of time before becoming the recipient of scholarship and financial aid benefits; and for the most part my personal projects were momentarily set aside so I could do something with my life. One of my first classes encouraged me to show passion in my subject through a variety of ways; and thus I began my Professionalizing History series. I spent all of Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2017 with a full course-load and (what I’ve been told to be) an impressive track record. Along the way, I’ve met some of my closest connections to date.
In June of 2017, I took on a major off-site project with one of those new connections: a book going through the complete history of ‘gaming’ and its sociological effects on western society (with a focus on video gaming, for the record). We spent months researching, planning, and identifying what we needed in terms of style, syntax, and audience. Through this project I was introduced to three more incredible connections at a local gaming store, who have been nothing but help in the early and middle stages of this project. I have a personal goal of finishing the book with my friend Pedro this year (2018), but I won’t get too far ahead of myself. My resolution was stability, and I managed to succeed. Although mental health might have slumped a bit, I feel nothing but joy at this accomplishment.
So, with all that being said and done, what is my “New Years Resolution” in 2018?
I know some people would find this confusing, as 2016’s goal was “productivity”. If productivity was quantity, then efficiency shall be my quality. I’ll be the first to admit that 2017 was a bit of a “stumble” year for me, considering my situation.
This upcoming year, I’ll be juggling my last full (consecutive) year of nonstop coursework, my aforementioned gaming book project, and a couple near-and-dear personal projects of mine that we’ve been reallocating old resources for. I plan on continuing the growth of my personal library and plan on upping the quality of content that gets published on this very site.
I want to spend this year focusing on my continuing research, my projects, and my actual writing. I want to spend this year improving not only on the quality of my work, but the quality of myself as a person as well.
This years’ resolution is efficiency, and I plan on accomplishing it.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you manage to accomplish whatever your New Years Resolution may be. What’s your resolution? You can follow me on Twitter @publishingminds or on Instagram @historypolitics.