Social Media by Kyra PYesterday was a strange day. Well, the last month or so has been strange, but yesterday, particularly so. For the first time in a long time, I participated in a Twitter chat. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically when you follow a specific hashtag (ex: #BBUChat) at a set time and have a focused conversation about a pre-determined topic.

I see them taking place all the time, especially if the topic relates to writing, blogging, marketing or industry issues. But I rarely participate because of my schedule and my inclination to devote my time to one of the many, many, many items on my To-Do list. But yesterday, I was there and raring to go. Except, I discovered very quickly, I was not on the same page as so many others.

While everyone was recounting their “wins” for the year as a blogger/writer/entrepreneur, I came up blank in my attempt to contribute in the long list of 2017 successes. I couldn’t help but wonder: “Do I really have nothing to show for my year? Has my career (or worse, life) been so stagnant and unremarkable I can’t think of 3 things that make me feel like I’ve moved forward in some way in 2017?”

Surely not.

And yet…

Of course, I’ve accomplished some things this year. Just not at all what I thought I’d accomplish. And if we’re going to fall into the end-of-year cliché of counting our blessings and tallying our wins, I can add my share — but only with a great deal of effort and a knowledge that with every win, there came a lose.

Last night, after the Twitter chat, I made a list of successes for 2017 in hopes that it will make me feel as if all were not lost. Because of the low-key chaos of late 2016, I didn’t officially announce any goals for 2017, but along the way, I made plenty and kept them to myself. Perhaps by noting that I did have some wins this year, I won’t go into 2018 feeling so unsure about what lies ahead.

So here’s what my mini-brainstorm came up with:

+ Wrote for a new publication, including my first cover story.
– Technically, I wrote 4 pieces for them. 2 are not yet published, but the 1 article I was proud of that has my byline in the last issue was so mangled by the editor, I can’t put it in my portfolio and I’m not hopeful about how the 2 as-yet-unpublished pieces will turn out.

+ Started Project Management Professional exam certification classes and completed the 10-week course.
– Couldn’t move forward with taking the exam because I learned much too late that I’m expected to pay for the exam out of pocket, and should I pass, then I will be reimbursed by the NJ One-Stop Center. So I had to stop studying and preparing for the exam to dive into as many freelance assignments as I could handle in order to earn the funds to pay for the $550 price tag.

+ Gave a solid Powerpoint presentation to a new client who then hired me to create a newsletter for their business.
– The process of creating the newsletter was unnecessarily difficult and the client proved … problematic. Although the final result was something I can be proud of and place in my portfolio, my anticipation of working with the client again has significantly diminished.

Lest you think all the positives has a substantial negative attached, here are some non-career-related wins where the losses were negligible and, or at least, acceptable.

+ Attended AfroPunk and had a really good time!

+ Started attending Black Bloggers United meetups that helped me get out and interact with a wonderfully supportive group. Hope to continue to see them in the new year!

+ Saw Jonny Lang in concert! 🙂

+ Served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Newark Pride Festival and Parade. Although there was a steep learning curve, I did well enough that they invited me back to serve in the position again next year. 🙂

+ Attended three plays and one special theater event: Jitney, Kinky Boots, Shear Madness and the 24-Hour Plays. That’s not as many plays as last year, but I feel lucky to have had any chance to partake in such an expensive passion.

And of course, last, but not least:

+ Visited Paris for the first time. I may not have had the time to do all that I planned to do — damn jet lag!, but I explored at my own pace the Musée Rodin, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Café de Flore, the metro, the Latin Quarter, and so much more.

So see! I can count a few wins in there. Most of them aren’t career-related, mind you. And certainly not blog-related. But they are there. And I have the Twitter chat to thank for reminding me to take stock, as well as putting me in the mindset to consider what I want to make happen in the new year.

Here’s hoping a brighter day awaits!

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