2016 Year in Review

What a year, right? 2016 has been something else to say the least. From the highs and the lows, it has been a whirlwind year. This year started out literally with a bang and came roaring in like a lion that could not be tamed.

We lost some pretty significant people in our lives and the lives of people who we saw in the celebrity space. The political climate has changed significantly and it seems like there is more of a divide among people. But, as I always say: things start and end with Faith. We have to believe in the things that keep us going and the things that keep us sustained on a daily basis. Is it your spirituality? Is it your Faith? Or is it getting up in the morning knowing that you have a purpose? Each of these things resonated with me in 2016.

I began 2016 filled with hope and purpose. I said: "I'm going to do things differently this year and take my blog and business very seriously." The feeling that I had when telling myself this overwhelmed me with joy internally. Even though I did not know where to begin or what my next steps were in regards to my blog or business, I knew I wanted to do things differently to reach more people and collaborate on different levels. I was certainly nervous as I am somewhat an introvert/extrovert - weird I know!

As I worked through my fears of stepping out there a little more with my writing and my blog, I ran across several posts on social media that spoke to me and I joined Facebook groups that helped with the process. Goal setting clearly rang true this year as I've stated in other blog posts that my thoughts were everywhere and all over the place - post it notes, journals, pieces of paper - all over. After 3.5 years of blogging, 2016 was my year of taking my writing seriously and I was a sponge - taking writing courses, online webinars, joining social media groups from and with some of the best people in the business of writing and goal setting.

In previous years, I've noted my favorite blog posts, the blog posts that received the most hits and your favorite posts by comments or engagement. This year, I will note those blog posts in a separate post and email communication (Be sure to join my email list!). I wanted to take this 2016 year in review a step further. I am sharing the information that I learned from all of the courses that I took and my word for 2016 was Focus. I was truly focused on getting better and keeping in line with the goals I set for myself. The biggest goal I set for myself was to connect and collaborate with more people as I came from behind the computer a little more while still being engaged with other people.

How I Spent My 2016

In January, I laid out a plan for myself to write more from the heart and really dig deep and pull out my inner-most writings. I first started with the title of the blog post or piece that I wanted to write and expand on.

In February, my Weekend Inspiration on the old blog kicked into high gear with a weekly dose of inspiration to get you through the weekend.

In March, I began having thoughts about making a change to the way I share my blog posts and content. You see, I was shy about sharing my writings and pretty much kept them hidden in my old blog space. I made a change to my Blogger template at that time thinking that would force me to do better. It did for a little while...

In April, I was itching to collaborate with others who blog and have a business and, I wanted to come out of my shell a bit. I was already receiving emails and newsletters from three of my favorite bloggers. In one of the emails, the opportunity was offered to join a Facebook group which helps people set goals and stick with them. I knew I was in need of "something" and what that something was, I had no idea. Coming out of my shell and coming from behind the keyboard was very scary at first. I started thinking: "How could I get myself out there slowly but surely?" Was establishing a brand the answer? One day in one of the Facebook groups I joined, the question of "What do you need help with?" was put out there and I jumped at the chance to ask for my brand for A Life With A View to be established. I needed templates and a signature for A Life With A View so that people could find me and I could also find others who share the same or similar interests in writing, blogging and collaborating. And, with that - wallah!! I met Bee Fells Creative who has been so instrumental in bringing my brand to life.

In May, I started feeling comfortable joining larger Facebook groups where authors, bloggers and writers collaborate. One of the groups that I joined, I met a content marketing strategist and I began coaching sessions with her which lasted from June until the early Fall 2016 time frame. This was life and business changing for me. It really became clear during that time that I had some work to do if I wanted to be more than just typing up a blog post and telling my friends about it. I was given homework and not just your typical assignment. I researched social media, consistency, website platforms - you name it, I was all over it since I wanted to take my vision for my blog to the next level.

In June, as a writer who blogs - I participated in several webinars geared to writers who blog. I would say these were more of master classes where we took actionable steps while in the course or online to make our writing more authentic and more intentional. With words, phrases, things that I had in my journal, I really took the time to dig deep into my writing and make my writing stand out when I would read and re-read what I wrote.

In July, half-way through the year (and what a year it was!) - I continued to take courses, participate in online Facebook groups and think about the direction of A Life With A View. What did I want to do? I was still struggling a bit with being visible and my content strategist coach gave me a real pep talk. When it got real, I got to work and started thinking about my next move...

In August, it was clear that I needed to put into practice all that I've learned over the first 8 months of this year. It was time to deliver! I wrote up a strategy to move forward and I realized that I had "stuff" scattered all over the place. Stuff = blog content, journal input and output, website stuff; you name it - it was everywhere. I took a chance after all of the coaching, webinars and classes to ask that a central website be designed for me so I could reach more people. This leap of faith put me on center stage! After all that I learned, I knew it was time and faith was the number one thing to get me there along with peace, positivity and self-care. I even wrote a blog post about it and you can find it here.

In September, I spent time preparing for the new website launch by cleaning up my old blog site and working to become consistently named across social media. What a task this was! I was "mslynda_" on one site, "FIRE" on another site and "alifewithaview" on other sites. It was something else. This was another good tip from my coach who told me that I should be easy to find and my content will be also. So, I went about changing my name and reference to A Life With A View on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ and just like that, I was easy to find!

In October, my vision came to life. My new website was ready and A Life With A View is out there for the world to see. I took the time and thanked the people who gave me the courage to make this happen and I could not have done it without their encouragement, coaching, branding and technical assistance.

In November, it really became clear that I was now ready to publish my second book. This is something I was thinking about for all of 2016 but just never got around to taking the steps to make it happen. And again, in one of my Facebook groups, a young lady was offering her services to help her followers write 15,000 words in 30 days (500 words a day). This was for National Writer's Month which I did not know that November is National Writer's Month. I pulled together what I had for the second book (which I hadn't touched in almost a year) and I started writing. Amazingly, I finished with just over 15,000 words while also participating in another writing challenge sponsored by a blogger who I truly admire. This really pushed me forward and I started thinking about the goals for 2017 and what I wanted to do. I purchased two journals to get me set up and began thinking about my vision. I know that I want to inspire others to do the same - following their dreams and creative passion. With this, I started my own Facebook group - Inspiring Creative Passion.

In December, oh December - the busiest month of all! I saw my following on social media grow by leaps and bounds and it really became clear what I wanted to do for 2017 and beyond. I hope to continue inspiring people to follow their dreams and tap into their creative passion of writing, blogging, becoming and author - whatever ignites their passion. I worked to lay out my vision for 2017 and also write in my journals to gain clarity of where I wanted to be in my life. The one theme that continues to ring true is that I want to help people as I have been helped and how I've helped myself; I want to share what I've learned along this journey.

I am so excited to hear from you! Please share how you spent 2016 and I hope you found this post inspiring and also uplifting. Happy New Year to you and your family and I look forward to seeing you in the new year. Thank you for reading!

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