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My Past Year on Vocal and a New Plan

My Vocal Goals for 2024

By J. Delaney-HowePublished 3 months ago 4 min read
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My Past Year on Vocal and a New Plan
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

From the end of 2022 through 2023, I didn't write much. I lost my mom in February of 2023 after a battle with brain cancer. From September 2022 until she passed, my sister and I were her caregivers. That didn't leave much time for writing, though I did write a couple of pieces for my mother. After her death, I struggled with not having a purpose, as I no longer had anyone to care for. I fell into a deep, long-lasting depression. My auntie, who was a rock in our family, passed in December, a few days before Christmas. Grief has no specific time or place and pops up now and then, but going into this year, I am choosing not to sit in my sadness from now on. I believe while our emotions can't be chosen, how much room we give our emotions is what we can control. So, while last year was a bust, I intend to make up for it this year. This challenge piece is the road map for my next year on Vocal.

What Will I Write More Of?

I aim to write something daily, whether a couple of paragraphs, an outline, or an entire piece. Journaling is separate. Aside from improving my writing, it will give me a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Both are needed in my personal life in this new year.

I want to explore fiction. I think I have great ideas, and I will get halfway to three-quarters of the way there, and then I struggle with tying up the endings. The fiction pieces I have published on Vocal often have very weak endings.

I want to write for and publish more in a couple of communities. The Potent community, as I feel with all the states legalizing recreational use, which I am all for, there isn't a lot of talk about the healing properties and medical uses of cannabis and the varied uses for the hemp plant. I want to write a couple pieces for the Swamp community, as I have much to say about the current political climate in our nation. I would also like to write more personal narratives in the Psyche and Marriage communities.

Improving My Writing Skills

I am always working on improving my grammar. I want to learn how to use perspectives better. (First person, third person, etc.) Often, in my fiction pieces, I find I am switching perspectives throughout a story unintentionally. I use Grammarly, and it is an invaluable tool for me.

Challenges help me develop my skills as well. Vocal challenges are the reason I signed up for Vocal+. I think I only entered two challenges in all of last year. As previously stated, grief kept me in a pretty dark place, and I was not writing. It just wasn't flowing, and I have three pieces started that I did not finish. This year, my goal is to participate in every challenge. Writing for challenges that are always different in scope will broaden my writing style.

Participating in the Vocal Community

I am an administrator of the Vocal + Assist Facebook group, and the entire admin team reads posted stories in the group as much as possible. I am finding that I have more time on my hands, so I would like to start reading other's work on Vocal more. Reading other people's work can inspire and encourage the piece's writer. I am trying to set aside thirty minutes each day to read other's work. Some days it will be more.

I will support other creators in a couple of ways. The first is reading other's work. Instead of just reading, I will comment on every piece I read. If it is a piece that speaks to me and is a great work, I will tip that creator. As an administrator in a popular Vocal group on Facebook, Vocal + Assist, I will continue to share articles, read articles posted, and celebrate and share Top Stories. I will also continue to foster community in my Facebook groups. Facebook groups are invaluable for sharing, reading, and supporting each other. Our group is also on Discord.

My Impact on Vocal

I love Vocal. I want to give in to Vocal as much as I get out of it. I want to engage with a community of writers and continue fostering community where and when possible. If one person on vocal can relate or is moved by something I have written, that is a success.

So there you have it. The reasons why I tanked in 2023 and my new plan for 2024. I printed this piece and hung it on my bulletin board to remind me of what I am committing to.

Here is to a better 2024!

Thank you for reading my work! I appreciate every read, heart and comment, and would love to hear your thoughts. If you wish to leave a one off tip, it would be greatly appreciated, and help me create more work on Vocal.

To read more of my work, it can be found here.

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About the Creator

J. Delaney-Howe

Bipolar poet. Father. Grandfather. Husband. Gay man. I write poetry, prose, some fiction and a good bit about family. Thank you for stopping by.

Queer Vocal Voices on Facebook.

Find me on Facebook.

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Comments (18)

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  • Sandra Tena Cole3 months ago

    My heart goes out to you!! ❣️ I'm glad you're in a state of mind that allows you to write again, bc you're really good!! Best of luck with your goals x

  • Daphsam3 months ago

    Much luck with you reading your writing goals!!

  • Oneg In The Arctic3 months ago

    You got this. And we got you ❤️💪

  • Tiffany Gordon 3 months ago

    Happy New Year Jim! Good luck on accomplishing your 2024 writing goals.

  • I’m sorry for your losses in the past year. I’m glad you’re out of the depression and in a better place. Good luck in 2024 I look forward to reading your work

  • Rachel Robbins3 months ago

    A lovely piece of reflective writing. Best of luck with your goals. Life has been very hard on you so I hope you start finding some lightness.

  • Kelsey Clarey3 months ago

    These are great goals. Best of luck with things this year!

  • River Joy3 months ago

    Great goals! I hope 2024 goes easier on you.

  • D. D. Lee3 months ago

    All the best this year Jim!

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    Best of luck to you in the new year Jim. You are a deeply compassionate person who puts family first. I respect that. And, very sorry for your recent losses, my friend. They will continue to shine with you!

  • Shirley Belk3 months ago

    Heartfelt hugs your way. Losing your mom and aunt is devastating. Being a caregiver extremely difficult, but rewarding. Walked these journeys, too. That's why I write...to heal.

  • sleepy drafts3 months ago

    I am so sorry for your loss. "Grief has no specific time or place" - this is so true. This was a great piece - also, heck yeah to exploring the Potent community this year, lol 😉💚 You have absolutely made a positive impact on the Vocal community, even when you yourself were going through a dark time. That says a lot about someone, in my opinion. I'm excited to read more of your work this year. Thank you for opening up with this piece. It was incredibly insightful and I'm excited to see all you accomplish in 2024.

  • Sarah Danaher3 months ago

    I am sorry for so many losses, it can really be difficult. I lost both my grandmothers in six months, a few years back. One was due to cancer. Grieving is never easy. I am glad you are writing again and your goals are good. I hope this year goes better though.

  • Thoughts & prayers. I'm sorry for your losses. May 2024 become a banner year for you & may you do more toward accomplishing your goals than you ever dreamed possible.

  • Paul Levinson3 months ago

    Wishing all best luck with your excellent plans!

  • Judey Kalchik 3 months ago

    You are one of the brightest parts of my Vocal experience. Your writing voice is authentic and raw. Love you, Jim

  • Rebecca Patton3 months ago

    I'm sorry to hear about your mother. 2023 wasn't a super great year for me either (not comparing my year to yours by any stretch of the means), but I also plan to do better this year. Though if there do happen to be bad days, let's promise not to beat ourselves up if we fall short of our writing goals!

  • Donna Renee3 months ago

    I’m so sorry that you had such a very hard road there for a while. I hope that this year is amazing and that you accomplish your goals! ❤️

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