In 2019, I didn’t have clear, quantifiable goals so I had to generalize, but this year, I have very clearly laid-out goals I’d wanted to hit on both the writing front and the personal front. The situation with the virus this past year notwithstanding, I’m incredibly pleased with what I’ve managed to accomplish.
1) 250,000 words spread between short stories, writing exercises and novels. This goal I barely managed to hit. As long as I add in blog posts, failed stories, removed words, and critiques, I’ve passed the 250,000 number with flying colors, but otherwise, I’ve come up slightly short. That being said, in 2019 I’d written less than 80,000, so instead of being upset with myself, I’m satisfied. The amount of words shows just how much time I’ve put into my writing, both in finished projects and in practice.
2) Maintain a rolling 7 submissions out at any given time. Coming to do this post, I thought I had made a goal of 15 or 12 or 10, and was utterly shocked to realized that I’d only demanded 7! 7 concurrent submissions out at any one time, with the number never going below. I’m beyond stoked because by mid-year I had gotten myself to a rolling 10/12 (that shrunk slightly during the Odyssey Workshop) and then shot all the way up to over 20 in the last quarter of the year. I am at a pretty stable 15 at the moment, with a couple of holds and a couple more that feel like holds. My total submission number ended at about 97. [After writing this I received an acceptance for a story that had been sim subbed to three places, so my total submissions number is actually at 12 at the publication of this post.]
3) Attend at least 2 conventions (I toyed with the idea of requesting to be on panels, but I’m allowing myself to not fulfill that eventual goal.) This one, which was most assuredly the hardest going into the year, ended up a little easier thanks to COVID. So many conventions took to doing virtual experiences because in-person was cancelled, that I ended up having opportunities I never thought I’d have. I did not attend Balticon because I couldn’t figure out what they were doing and by the time I did I had committed to DreamFoundry, which was the weekend before or after and Odyssey was about to begin so I was super stressed. However, I did participate on my first panel at DreamFoundry. (I was awful and only just signed a release form for it to be posted, because I had to first swallow all my anxieties about it.) I also attended the Nebula Conference as I’m officially a part of SFWA, as well as WorldCon—ConNewZealand—and Capclave, none of which I did panels for, but I did attend kaffeeklatsches, which I think is just as brave in terms of social anxiety practice.
4) Not disappear off social media. Sooo, I did sort of disappear off FaceBook. I don’t like FB at all and there’s a good possibility I might just link my blog posts over there and ignore the whole platform other than that. I also struggled with blog posts in the back half of the year. However, I did slowly begin to be more social on Twitter, which I’m quite proud of, as well as joined a few Slack and Discord channels, which, while my participation is still spotty, I am striving to exist. This is a goal that I think I can do better this coming year, but am pretty happy with how far I’ve come this past year.
Quantifiable Writing Achievements:
I submitted a total of 97 times. Of that, I received 3 acceptances, the first of which was published in October 2020. The second two are forthcoming in 2021. All three of these stories were written in 2020.
Drop Shipment Standard Procedure
to Dark Matter Magazine
Dance of Wood & Grace
to Zooscape Magazine
I am again going to skip counting social media posts because the only ones I truly think are worth counting are blog posts, but there I know I didn’t do as well as I would like.
I read many more recent publications across both short stories and novels, though not nearly as many as I would like.
I graduated from the 2020 Odyssey Workshop!
I also joined the slush teams at two magazines: Apex Magazine, which reopened a few months ago, and khōréō, a new pro magazine dedicated to showcasing immigrant and members of diaspora voices. Both have been incredibly eye-opening experiences that I’m glad to have and be a part of.
WRING GOALS 2021
For next year, I hope to complete:
1) Approximately 300,000 words, spread between novels, short stories, and blog posts. Have one novel drafted by end of July.
2) Maintain a rolling 14 submissions, with a secondary goal of reaching a consistent concurrent 20 submissions by year end.
3) Attend at least 3 conventions. Attempt to be on another panel sometime this year. Attend kaffeeklatches to force myself to actively speak with people so I don’t turtle.
4) Craft a more consistent social media presence, including more regular blog posting, not disappearing, and striving to be up to date on current events within the industry.
5) Read at least 20 novels published in 2021. Read at least 200 short stories published in 2021. Craft a good routine for slush reading.
Slightly stronger goals than last year, with the bulk of the intent to keep me going at the success and pace I’ve achieved, while also pushing me to become better at organizing my life to accomplish even more.
I’ve already worked on and created a good time-blocked schedule in order to give myself a chance not to over-worry about everything I’m not doing at any point. This will hopefully lead me to focusing more on what I am doing.
I don’t feel comfortable making too many plans for this coming year, partly because of the issues surrounding the virus. This past year as been tough. For the bulk of it we did school-at-home and my partner also worked from home. Going into 2021, this arrangement is still ongoing. One child is thriving on the school aspect; the other is not. One child is thriving on the online social aspect; the other is not. They are both struggling in different ways, but we are striving to be healthy and happy despite the difficulties.
I’m hopeful that whatever schedule I craft will weather all the problems going on and whatever changes happen in our schedule.
Socially—mentally—I have done better at continuing to maintain friendships. I don’t think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth too badly or for too long. I’ve been keeping up with my journal. Keeping up with my mental health. Generally keeping up with physical health (yes, I can do better there). There is definitely room for improvement though.
PERSONAL GOALS 2021
1) Last year I wanted to say yes more often. This year I want to work on balancing. To say yes only when I feel like saying no out of fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Say yes when it will be good for me. Say no when I can’t possibly add something more to my already bursting plate.
2) Buy a freaking house! This is a goal we’ve been working on for many years, but we are prepared to accomplish this in 2021, though it’s probably the WORST time ever to do so because the housing market has gone up because of people fleeing cities to buy more houses in more suburb and rural areas. Yay… But still, we want to buy a house, to have enough space for the four of us and to finally stop renting.
3) Respond to all personal correspondence within 0-5 days. [This one should probably not terrify me as much as it does, yet it does. Like, I need tiiime. But I also know the faster I respond, the more likely I will. I’m hoping to decrease this time to 0-2 next year.]
And that’s probably enough to keep me busy :) Good luck on your own goals going into 2021. Maybe the new year be as blessed as 2020 was cursed.
<3 Marie C.