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.

Happy New Year 2018

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What’s that, you say? It’s not even October yet? No, you must be mistaken. 2017 was a terrible year and, on my friend Aimee‘s advice, I’ve decided it’s over. Let 2018 be marginally better.

2017 was a bad year for many, many, many, MANY reasons, both local and global. In my personal sphere, my cat, who had lived with me for 19 years, was given two months to live in March. She died in May. In July, my childhood best friend, who was three months younger than me and whose triumph over leukemia was short-lived, died suddenly just a day before starting her next round of chemo. In early August, my uncle who I love very much and who I’ve been closest to of all my aunts and uncles, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is in hospice and has perhaps a few days left. I said goodbye to him today.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 4.30.35 PM
I concur.

So yeah, I’m done with 2017, and given everything, I’m sure you’re done with it too.

Let’s see. What are my new year’s resolutions? I had a shorter time this year to achieve my goals than in previous years, but that’s okay. Let’s be real, I wasn’t going to reach my goals anyway. Here were last year’s goals:

  • Write an average of 500 words a day (for real this time)—Haha no, I didn’t achieve this. This is hard to judge, since I’ve stopped keeping track of my daily word count, but looking at what short stories I’ve finished, I’ve written a total of roughly… 34,200 words? I’m pretty sure I’ve written more than that, but not a lot more, so let’s round it up to 35,000. Divided by the 260 days of 2017, that makes about 135 words per day. That’s miserable, but a lot of my annual word count comes during Nanowrimo and oddly 2017 didn’t seem to have one of those, so I’ll cut myself some slack.
  • Finish and polish all 37 short stories that I started this year—Noooope.  I finished two of the 37 short stories. However, one of those turned into a novella, and I’ve picked away at a number of them, and I started a couple fresh new short stories. AND I sold two short stories, so that’s pretty decent.
  • If I don’t blog more often than 2016, at least don’t blog less—I wrote 19 blog posts in 2016. This posts makes an even 10 in 2017. So, goal failed.
  • Average of 7,500 steps per day—I stopped wearing my fitbit at some point because the band is uncomfortable, but I can tell you I did not walk nearly enough to reach this. I am a sedentary person.
  • ONE PULL UP. JUST ONE.—No.
  • Draw more often. At least once a month?—I did not draw once a month, but I did a little bit of drawing, and I also started a new hobby of composing music, so I’ll count that as a win.
  • Finish that cross stitch project from last year—Ok, technically I did achieve this one. I just need to fix one thing on it though, so that’ll probably take me another year. And I started a new cross stitch project that I have not yet finished.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 4.31.35 PM.png
The MBMBAM show was one of the highlights of the short-lived 2017.

GOALS FOR 2018:

  • Write a novel during at least one of the two Nanowrimos that 2018 is projected to have, assuming 2018 doesn’t go poorly and there’s another schedule change.
  • Finish 5 short stories. Ideally more, but at least 5.
  • Compose more music. Say 5 more songs, just to quantify it.
  • Get a Y membership and start taking classes again. There’s no joiner’s fee this month, and I’ve been holding off because I’m morally opposed to the joiner’s fee and also I’m very lazy, but now I have no excuse.
  • Start rock climbing again, once I start getting active.
  • Start jogging again.
  • A SINGLE PULL UP.
  • Ideally I would say “sell at least one short story” but that’s not within my power, so instead I’ll say my goal is to make sure to have at least one story out on submission at all times. Don’t let that ball drop.

There. My goals are in place. Happy New Year, everyone!