Category Archives: Goals

Goals & Resolutions in 2021

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.

WRITING FRONT

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.

The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café
to Cast of Wonders

Drop Shipment Standard Procedure
to Dark Matter Magazine

Dance of Wood & Grace
to Zooscape Magazine Continue reading

Into 2020

I never made proper goals last year, so I don’t have a clear comparison. No way of showing whether I had a good year, a bad year, or some amalgamation of the two. I’m going to crop it all up to being good though, for I’ve had a lot of new beginnings, focused on what I (and we, meaning Steve and I) want out of life.

WRITING FRONT

I had three hesitant ideas back in February.

Firstly, to start submitting my short stories again. On this, because I had been focused on novels for the past few years, I had to first dive through all my old work, dividing everything into piles set for the trunk, for further consideration, or good and just needs a quick cleanup before being sent out. In conjunction with this, I began to do writing exercises with the intention of hopefully getting some flash first drafts that could be eventually included in my submission process while I was sifting through everything else. I didn’t keep up with my exercises as much as I would have preferred, but still completed between 60-80, with at least 10 of them being worthy of edits and submission.

Secondly, I wanted to read more. More specifically, fantasy and science-fiction in the novel and short story departments. I wanted to read more new books, more old books, wanted to become familiarized with newer series as well as test out lesser known authors to find more I enjoy reading. One of the other positives in this respect was to improve my own vocabulary and writing capability, which I think grows with everything experienced. As of yesterday, I’ve read a total of 89 books for the year, not counting those I gave up on, and read a little over 100 short stories, which is not nearly as many as I’d hoped. I’ve also read more nonfiction articles as well, but I unfortunately kept no count on those and honestly, will likely not keep count next year either. All in all, I’m happy. The books went beyond fantasy & science fiction, ranging from nonfiction, to classics, to graphic novels, to even my first foray into YA in an attempt to find good ones since I’m trying to create a shelf full of age-appropriate fun books the kids can grab as they shift from middle grade.

Thirdly, I wanted to begin putting myself out there socially. This was the scariest of all. I talk a little more about this in the personal section, but the shortened idea is that I’ve been conquering my shyness one conversation at a time in the past decade. I will never not be scared, and I accept that, but I subscribe to the belief that practice makes permanent. So I made a reddit account and began commenting. Tried to post once a month on Facebook. Drove up to Balticon and listened to panels because I haven’t quite gathered the courage to make the leap of asking to actually be on any panels myself. Was going to attend Capclave, but a wedding Steve was officiating took precedence, so it’s on my goal sheet for next year.

Quantifiable Writing Achievements:

2 sales and publications: Cessation of Civilization to DreamForge Magazine and I Thought Them Starlight to Flame Tree, both short pieces I like very much.

80,000 words written (this is the bottom level amount that I kept better count of and doesn’t include a lot of writing exercises). Not even 1k a weekday, so I can definitely do better here.

55 submissions.

I’m going to skip counting social media posts because I did not do well. My attempts there were sporadic and scattered.

WRING GOALS 2020

For next year, I hope to complete:

1) 250,000 words spread between short stories, writing exercises and novels.

2) Maintain a rolling 7 submissions out at any given time.

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.)

4) Not disappear off social media.

Capable goals. Not too arduous or terrifying I don’t think, but perfectly good at keeping me going in the right direction. Wish me luck :)

PERSONAL FRONT

As a family, one of our biggest goals a few years ago was to begin traveling more, focusing on experiences with the kids. In November ’18 we bought an pull-behind RV so that this year we would be able to take home with us, so to speak, and make it a little more affordable. We took three trips total. First, to Williamsburg for a few days over the kids’ spring break where we did tours, saw and talked to most of the shops, and attended the trial of Israel Hands one evening. Then to the Outer Banks during the summer, which is where my family vacations once a year. We hadn’t been in three years and the kids ended up falling in love with the freedom of biking around the KOA. Lastly, we went and stayed outside of Philidelphia for a few days in September. Did downtown Philly, Liberty Bell, etc., one day, Longwood Gardens, including the light display at the fountain one night, and then visited one of my aunts further afield and took a hike up Hawk Mountain.

Socially, I’ve also been working on reaching out to try and maintain or cultivate friendships. Along with a sister-in-law, I started a tiny book club that meets every two months. We do trivia games for fun and I get to chat about books in a few different genres. Steve and I put in a patio (I think I mentioned this in another post because, wow, was that a lot of work and I didn’t even do half of it) and began inviting people over for a few cookouts before the nice weather disappeared. I’ve been working on saying “yes” more often as well. Said yes to a number of events I would normally shy away from: school events, work events, even library events I never would have gone to without making this resolution and coming leaps and bounds over the past few years. Even sucked up my fear enough to host a party for my son and his friends over Halloween. People are still scary, but I’ve learned a smile goes a long way.

Speaking of smiles, I have to mention health for a moment. I’m so thankful for finally discovering what’s been wrong with my face for the past year and a half. With my cracked tooth gone, the nerves in the right side of my face have healed and no longer throb and I’ve found a whole lot more energy that I didn’t even realize I’d been missing.

PERSONAL GOALS 2020

For our New Year’s Resolutions, the girl decided hers would be “to smile all year” and I liked it enough that I think I’m stealing it. So we’ve got:

1) Brave the cold and don’t limit my exercise to the warm weather. I can wear plenty of layers if need be, because this goal is more about not letting the winter derail good habits.

2) Keep saying yes, even when all I want to do is say no.

3) Remember to smile.

There you have it! Hope your 2020 is glorious and successful however you define success :)