2016 was a crazy year for me. Following the advice of Tim Ferriss, instead of drafting a New Year’s Resolution, I’m going to do a review of 2016 and all of the weirdness that may entail. Bear with me…
In 2016 I wrote and published book #4 of The Corsair Uprising Space Opera Series: The Lost Corsair. I also put out a compilation of The Corsair Uprising books #1-3 on Kindle. I also wrote some short stories that need some more work before they can be published. This was not my best year from a writing standpoint, but in my defense, I had a lot of distractions. More on that later.
I’ve been working toward a Master’s Degree in Business for two years now, and have just one more year left. It’s proven to be a major time-suck, but some of the things I’ve learned have helped me to make 2016 by most lucrative writing year ever, despite writing less than I wanted. Perhaps one of the most useful things about the program was the reading list. You can check out my 2016 and 2017 reading list here.
I’ve been skeptical of higher education since I was about sixteen, jaded with the constant search for the ‘right’ college and major. I always knew what I wanted to do, but there was a much harder path to making a living through writing in 2003-2005 than there is today. Despite my reticence, the MBA will be my third degree. If I were to advise someone else about the pros and cons of college, I would say this: almost every syllabus from every college is available in some form online. Get a library card and the kindle app, read the books, and absorb as much as possible. I was always a reader growing up, sitting with a good book on the floor of a Barnes & Noble while my dad did a book signing, but I never read so enthusiastically as I did after graduating with a Bachelor’s in English and tearing through volume after volume, realizing that I could learn an incredible amount all on my own.
As for the MBA, the classes themselves are mostly pointless (save for the practical entrepreneurship classes). The most important parts for me were the books and the contacts I made in my community. If you decide you absolutely need an MBA, I would find one that focuses on practical knowledge and building relationships. That being said, an online program might be able to impart practical knowledge, but is probably not the best for making business contacts.
I was able to visit distant family members in Italy last June. The only things better than the wine were the food and company. My great-grandfather lived in a small town in southern Italy and some of our relatives are st
ill there. To prepare for this trip, I completed most of the Italian Duolingo Course as well as a number of grammar books and parsing my Italian-English dictionary for necessary words (mostly types of food and bad words). Nothing, however, was more helpful than Facebook messaging back and forth with family there. If you’re going to learn a language and don’t know any native speakers, there are tools like WeSpeke that can help.
I rarely talk about my military service, though someday I expect I’ll write about it here. In 2016 I was promoted to Staff Sergeant (finally) and spent a lot of weekends looking at a screen
like a true cyber-warrior.
For a while, I worked for an advertising agency (though despite my penchant for social media, doing it for work proved less than desirable). One of my many jobs was photographing events for our clients. With Tesla coming to the area, it seems like every big event in Reno now features the raffle of a Tesla Model S. Hey, I’m not complaining, but one of these days my ticket had better be called, that’s all I’m saying.
Saving the best for last, 2016 was also the year I met my future wife! Out of respect for privacy, this photo is all you get.
All-in-all, 2016 was a pretty successful year for me! I may not have accomplished everything on my list, but when my list was a moonshot that’s understandable. In 2017, I intend to broaden my knowledge base through aggressive reading, finally finish my MBA, and with that, focus more on writing and other pursuits. Oh, and I’ll probably get married too.