New Year’s Resolutions 2021

Happy New Year! Wow, 2020 feels like it went by very quickly. Somehow it still feels like it’s March 12.

An assortment of furniture covered in plastic sheeting, in a room with bare white walls. Outside the windows, there is snow.
My year started with electricians rewiring my entire house.

I ended up doing a lot last year. It turns out that the thing I find most onerous about my job is simply the commute. Getting rid of it only gives me an extra 1.5 hours to my day, but somehow gives me 4 more hours of energy. I no longer feel like my day is over when I walk in the door at 5pm and I have to collapse in a stupor in front of YouTube until it’s time for bed.

I had two short stories published: “And She Rose in the Sky on a Pillar of Flame,” which was published in Fusion Fragment Issue #1 in March, and “A Bridge from Sea to Sky,” published in F&SF in the July/August issue.

A dark wood planter with a six foot tall trellis on the back. In front of it is a wooden chaise lounge with a brightly colored cushion.
I built the chaise lounge and the trellis out of wood left over from my deck demolition.

I did a LOT of projects around the house. I tore up my old wooden deck and laid a brick patio; extended my gardens and did some landscaping; painted every room in my house; built some patio furniture; refinished some other furniture; set up a 5 gallon and then a 20 gallon aquarium with a betta fish, four snails and three shrimp; carved a headboard; learned how to smock a pillow; learned how to crotchet (I did that one literally a few hours before midnight on Dec 31, coming in just under the wire). I finished the Turkish course on Duolingo and started learning Arabic.

A long rectangle carved in an intricate floral design, hanging on the wall over a bed.
It’s carved out of insulation foam.

These were last year’s resolutions:

  • Read 50 books – I read 51. I really got into audiobooks this year, because I can listen to them while I do other things around the house. I used to find them difficult to focus on, but I did a lot more physical projects like painting rooms and making art this year, which is perfect for audiobooks.
  • Finish 12 short stories – I did do 12, although I didn’t finish all of them. I did finish a first draft of 10 of them, though, which is quite good.
  • One story on submission at all times – I did manage this again, though partly that was helped by submitting to a couple markets early in the year that then took the rest of the year to respond. One of my submissions is now on day 300, as of today.
  • Finish novel revisions and start querying agents – I did this.
  • Start one regular physical activity – When quarantine started, I started talking walks every day that it wasn’t raining. I even did the Run Across America 50k challenge, where you walk or run 50 kilometers between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I have cold-induced asthma that makes it very hard to spend much time outside when it’s below 45 degrees, but it turns out that masks help with that a lot. Who knew!
  • Blog about my various projects – I did not do this, but I thought about it. Does that count?
  • TWO PULL UPS – Well… no. I can do one and a half.
A bright blue betta fish draped over a rock with his face buried in gravel.
His name is Balığı and this is how he sleeps. Don’t worry, he’s fine.

Overall, that’s a pretty good showing. Now for this year’s resolutions:

  • Read 50 books – I think this should be pretty simple if I keep up with the audiobook thing.
  • Finish 20 short stories – My actual goal is to attempt writing a short story a week, but from past experience I know I won’t end up with 52 short stories. So I’m lowballing it and hoping to finish 20.
  • Finish 2 novellas – These are already in progress. I just need to finish them.
  • Send out 50 short story submissions – Last year was my least productive year in this regard, with 19 total story submissions. In the four years before that, I averaged about 30 per year. But I want to dramatically increase that this year.
  • Walk 750 miles – This one is kind of extreme, but it’s only about 2 miles a day. I know I won’t manage that every day, but I also can do more than 2 miles a day pretty easily, so that should work out. I’ll be happy if I reach 500, but I’m going to try to push myself to get 750.
  • Blog about my various projects – I went so far as to write a bunch of posts last year, but never published them because I felt no one would be interested. But I’d like to actually document them this year. (If you’re interested in my projects, I tend to post them on Instagram.)

Let’s hope that 2021 is a good year for a change.