Looking Back and Looking Ahead Or on 2019 and 2020


I doubt I’m alone when I say that if 2018 was the year of a sullen “meh,” 2019 was a year of “Fuck my life.” There are very few folks I know that had a great or even a decent 2019, and I’m definitely not one of the exceptions. It’s been rough, y’all. And I can only hope that the coming year may pull the Wheel of Fortune back around to the side of “not so sucky.” (Yes I know – that’s a low bar, but honestly this year’s bar was FAR lower.)

So how did my 2019 go, anyway? Well, I’m honestly not even going to glance at my goals for last year – I already know I didn’t meet near as many of them as I liked, but I did accomplish things. I got out of the extremely toxic job I’d landed in (unfortunately only to land in another job that is going toxic though at least it’s a slower slide than the previous one was); I wrote less than half of my goal word count (though this was at least more words than in 2018); I started infertility treatment which is ongoing with no end in sight yet; I read more than my goal of a book a week (though it was fewer books than last year); I didn’t learn tai chi, but did start a fitness program through work which I will definitely be continuing; I managed twelve blog posts, though not at the one a month rate I’d expected; I didn’t pay off the credit card I hoped to, but didn’t add any debt and did pay down a decent amount: I didn’t finish a single short story, but I finished a first draft of a book (oh holy FUCK I FINALLY finished a first draft of a book again).

Maybe it wasn’t the year I’d hoped for, but in retrospect, it was better than it could have been. It was rough – I got hit with anxiety and depression harder than I ever have in my life complete with crying jags and moments of suicidal ideation – but I came through the other side, and while 2020 is starting off with some of the same anxiety-inducing issues, I’m more prepared to handle them, I think.

So what are my goals then?

  1. Same as last year, my word count goal for Get Your Words Out is still set to 150k. I have done it before even if I haven’t the past two years, and it’s still a modest enough goal that I don’t think I’ll be terribly intimidated by it.

  2. With those words, I’d like to finish another first draft. I am unfortunately struggling to decide on which of my pile of them to focus on, so that decision is another goal, preferably for early in the year.

  3. I’m also continuing the one blog a month/twelve blogs total minimum for the year. Again, I know I’m capable of this, and hopefully it will keep my hands moving and keep me focused on my blog.

  4. Finish at least a few short stories. This was one of my goals I didn’t even come close to last year, but I’m hoping to make progress with it. I have one already started that could mean some really cool things for me that I am absolutely going to finish, and any others would be game for anthologies or lit mags possibly.

  5. Less on the true writing side (though I likely will need to add words in the process for sure) is my goal of revising the trailer park book (which is the one I finished a draft of this year) and getting it into the query trenches in hopes of getting an agent. I’m trying to keep my hopes reasonable here: I know an agent is never a guarantee and am well aware that urban fantasy is a pretty flooded market, but I feel I’ve got a fun twist on the genre. At the very least, it’ll be practice revising, querying, pitching, and writing synopses again: all of which are skills I need for traditional publishing, even if this book isn’t the one to take off for me.

  6. Read a minimum of 52 backlist books off my TBR shelf (and a minimum of half of those by POC authors) with current books and/or eBooks and/or ARCs only being read after I’ve read my “required” book for the week. Audiobooks are still going to be included, though with the time it takes to listen to them, they’ll be off the schedule. I mostly want to get my shelves under control, and the only way to do that is by reading what I already own. Resisting buying myself more will… be a challenge for sure LOL.

  7. Cut down if not cut out Dr. Peppers. I love these stupid things, but they don’t love me back and I need to get past my stress dependency on them. I know it sounds like a silly thing, but I know it’s one of the big reasons for my poor fitness, and I want to get it under control to the point that I can have them as a treat within turning around and drinking a case in less than a week.

  8. Continue with my fitness program. I’m in the midst of figuring out a style I enjoy (I recently stumbled onto the Mori Girl style and love it & am seeing if I can tie it into a slightly witchy style too) and trying to love my body more as it is (hello more nights out dancing in my future), but I do want to increase my fitness. Getting to the point that climbing more than one flight of stairs doesn’t leave me winded is a pretty light goal, but one I think I can achieve and that will help boost both my confidence and my health. I’m also hoping to work on eating better as due to stress I’ve been reverting back to the eating habits of a broke college student. I am still trying to get pregnant, and I need to be as healthy as possible for that.

  9. Related to the above: we are continuing with infertility treatment wherever that may lead us. We’re still trying IUIs, but IVF and adoption are both on the table and being discussed. I’m going to do my best to be more vocal and honest about what I’m going through in relation to this, in particular. Seeing infertility discussed online actually did help me keep centered. In addition, I am going to start seeing a therapist for the first time for both the infertility stress and the work stress that’s been slowly eating away at my mental and physical health. I have a list of therapists to approach; I just have to get up the courage to do so.

  10. Finally, I do want to pay off one of my two credit cards this year. I know I can do it and have it in the budget; I just have to focus and stick to said budget to get it done. Getting our household more financially stable will make the promotions and raises we’ve managed in the recent past actually have a positive impact on our finances as opposed to me still looking at my bank account after bills are paid and wondering why I’m immediately broke LOL.

Mostly, I think I want to make progress, on me as a person, as a writer, as a wife. Just move forward and feel like each year I’m getting better and better than the year before. So that’s my word for the year I think: “Progress.” Little by little, bit by bit, I want to keep going.

I mean, they say every little bit helps, right? I’m aiming to prove that right.

All content © 2015 by C.L. McCollum unless otherwise noted.

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