Oh Vocal, Vocal, Vocal- you want me to set goals? And stick to them? My wife will laugh.
It's not that I can't commit, or plan meticulously, or overthink about the near and far future (my strong suit). I can do all that without even blinking. If anything, I've probably achieved a majority of my goals in my life thus far and I'm pretty damn proud of myself.
I just... have a hard time... finishing things. Life is a journey, ya know? It's not just a destination. Dreams come and go, start and end, and that's okay. Life is all about movement and the unexpected. We try so hard to plan in a certain direction and then fate, or destiny, or life, or taxes, just throw a wrench in things and we go swinging. Ain't that the point of it all?
Don't we constantly preach flexibility, adaptability, and going with the flow?
But I digress, and as usual, I'm avoiding the question. That happens a lot. Mostly because I don't really pay enough attention to just the question, and then I don't remember what it was. I went to check the Vocal challenge again and got distracted. Ended up opening and closing Facebook two more times (on my phone and laptop each), and checked my Neopets account. Checked my work email too, because I'm home sick with strep throat and one of my students realized they could "message" me through our Google Classroom. It's extra funny cause they call me "CEO[enter teacher name here]". And I respond back with "CEO[enter student name here]."
Look at me digressing in that last paragraph. So cute, so distracted. Did you think I went to check what the challenge was yet? Nope.
But c'mon Oneg, get serious.
[insert another distracted adventure to open the right tab to see what the challenge actually says.]
Okay, so Vocal, you want to know what my aspirations and goals are for the year. Got it.
Do I have any? Great question. [oops ended up on Instagram reading about ICJ's decision on Israel's genocide against the Palestinians]
I'm not going to lie, I am most definitely writing this during an ADHD activation because I didn't eat when I was hungry and now the cat has the zoomies too. Thankfully my wife gave me a banana so I can keep writing and not bother her while she makes breakfast at 1pm. And I ran around with the cat a bit.
Now that I've settled down a bit more, let me actually take a moment to consider what my Vocal goals are, because to be honest, I didn't think I had any.
I've always been one to struggle with a deadline until the last moment. Someone who crawls to the finish line and only in the last 10 meters will I sprint. So thinking in January what my goals could be for all this year, is tricky. I'll get the job done. I might just take a bunch of side quests, detours, and long ways to get there.
I will say that my main writing goal is to finish editing my novel and submit it to publishers by May.
I know that's not a Vocal goal, but Vocal definitely helped me get to this point. I started writing my novel in 2020, like many who found solace in storytelling during the start of the pandemic. Magically, I actually finished writing it in October 2023. It's probably one of my proudest moments. And I couldn't have done it without Vocal. Mostly because I posted chapters here and people actually were interested and egged me on. Huge shout-outs go to Mel Ingoldsby and James U. Rizzi for this continuous meaningful support. Without them, I don't think I'd ever finish my novel.
I know I haven't talked about a Vocal goal yet but hold on, I'm stalling can't you see?
But there's a reason I'm going down this route. Without the incredible and supportive writers that I've met here, I wouldn't be the writer I am today. There are so many people and stories I've come across that my life wouldn't be this full had I not come across them on Vocal. I think that's absolutely magnificent.
So here is my actual Vocal goal, are you ready?
My goal is to support more writers as they have supported me. My goal is to build more connections with new and seasoned Vocal creators. My goal is to be the foundation and support of another writer who one day hopes to write their own novel and feel the satisfaction of completing it. I aspire to give what I have been given. To provide the love and cheering that was provided to me. I've interacted with probably over a hundred creators here on Vocal, but there are so many more. There are constantly new creators joining and putting their stories out into the world. Each one can be a gem waiting to sparkle if just given the light.
Sometimes I feel like a Vocal veteran. I've been on Vocal for about 5 years now, and though I know others have been here longer, I've seen a lot of change. Not just in the Vocal media's site, but in the folks here. I've seen creators disappear. I've seen creators reappear. I've seen creators blossom and move toward formal publishing. Some creators have been featured in podcasts, have written resources for Vocal, some are now probably working in Vocal's offices right at this moment! It's quite a unique experience. And I'm so grateful for it.
Dear Vocal Creator,
This year I aspire to read more of your work. I aspire to shine a light on your beautiful story. Because every story matters. Every writer matters. And even if you feel that you have not quite "made it big" yet, I hope I can be a part of your team to make it happen.
Cheering For You Always,
Oneg in the Arctic