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Onward, Ever Onward

Or Oof 2020 is Almost Over; 2021, Please Be Kind

So, I always try to glance back at my previous year end journal before I start the current one, but last year’s started out “2019 was a year of ‘Fuck my life’” and I had to stop and laugh and laugh and sob in 2020 like you would not believe. Well, y’all probably would believe considering 2020, but still, it was a surreal moment to say the least.

In all honesty, 2019 was rough considering infertility and back to back toxic jobs, and in some ways, I handled it far worse than I’ve handled 2020’s fuckery. Possibly because 2019 was so rough for me, now that I think about it. But still, 2020 was… hard, y’all. We all know it. And frankly, I don’t want to focus on how hard it was, but rather on what I accomplished.

Because, to my shock, when I think about it objectively, I did in fact accomplish some things. Not as much as perhaps I’d planned to and announced as my goals for the year back in the sweet innocence and ignorance of January 1, 2020.

So, to remind myself that I accomplished these things (and likely others I haven’t recognized truly as the accomplishments they are):

· I started therapy – which may have been what made every other accomplishment possible, let’s be real.

· I wrote words and finished some stories, and started others I haven’t finished yet (like you do LOL).

· I read books and reread more books and rediscovered just how much I love audiobooks as a format (authorly bucket list item DEFINITELY added).

· I handled a failed IVF retrieval attempt and managed to plan how we will move forward in the coming year.

· I survived an assault and have worked on my trauma and have healed far more than I expected (thank you therapy – oof).

· I paid off a credit card and think I could have the other paid off fairly soon.

· I escaped the second of my back to back toxic jobs and started a new one with a manager and team I really like and work I know I can do, especially from home.

· I ate herbs and tomatoes I grew myself, and expanding the garden will be happening.

· I turned my office into a comfortable place to work with more plants and my altar and my pictures and all the items that make me happiest surrounding my desk.

I survived and loved and laughed and cried and… I’m here. Considering the depths my mental health hit, that’s one hell of an accomplishment all on its own. I’m here, and I can let myself plan for the coming year, too.

Thus, I present: My 2021 Goals - Gentle but Accomplishable I Think!

1) Write 150k words for Get Your Words Out yet again. I… obviously didn’t manage it for 2020 either LOL but I still really like tracking what I’m writing and trying to keep an eye on which months I do better and also what kinds of things I’m writing. It’s just a nice mental organization method somehow. As always, I know I’ve managed to write that many words a year BUT there’s no pressure/punishment if I don’t manage it which helps too. As expected, several of the next goals will be done with said words, just FYI. Every single word counts as long as it’s writing related including: book reviews, blogs, short stories, novels, and fanfiction. Maybe someday I’ll play with including graphic novels or scripts or even essays, but for now, these are what I’m working with for now.

2) Write one complete YA novel. I recently realized that all three of the novels I’ve completed drafts for (the novella too now that I think of it) have been adult books, which is fine, but knowing I read YA more than anything else and love it as an age category, I really do want to successfully finish one. I think I’ve decided on which idea I’m going to focus on, and I’m really excited. It’s a concept I had that I just couldn’t focus on as an adult book, but I think I have a fun way to shift it to YA and I can’t wait to get started on it. Since it was originally adult, I will be starting from scratch, and I think it might be a better option for my brain at the moment than trying to work on one of my other WIPs even if part of me feels like I “should.” Post-2020 life is NOT a time for should, I don’t think LOL.

3) Write 6 blog posts. I tried for a blog a month last year, but it felt like too much pressure, so I’m backing up to one every other month which will still keep me producing content to post here. However, it won’t take up so much of my writing and thinking time so I think it’s a good option. We shall see.

4) I have, and will possibly regret LOL, signed up for the glorious Susan Dennard’s new #storyamonthchallenge and so will hopefully be writing twelve short stories next year. Shorter stories definitely were easier for my brain this year, and I figure I might as well take advantage of that next year, too, and see how far I can get with this challenge. I know I already have one anthology I absolutely want to submit to, and I also have a monster list of SFF literary magazines it would be one to try as well, so I have a lot of options for homes for any of the stories I end up especially proud of. Mixed in will also be some fanfic one-shots because why the hell not. I will try to alternate each month’s story genre, I think just as a personal subchallenge. Otherwise I definitely could see myself writing solely fanfic LOL, which while fun is not actually what the challenge was intended for LOL.

5) Finish up another revision round on the trailer park thing, complete my submission packet, and start sending it out to agents. I did force myself to pitch it via some twitter pitch events this year, but didn’t officially query, and that’s definitely my next step. I’ve struggled a LOT with the “why even bother with this genre” feels over 2020, but all of these things really are skills I need to work on for every book, even if this one doesn’t snag me an agent. Querying is HARD, and I know it, so I need to practice. Right? Right.

6) For #BeattheBacklist again: read at least 52 books (or a book a week) from my already owned physical TBR and resist buying any new book unless I’ve already read at least 5 books off said list. I haven’t decide which books will be making up that list yet. Part of me feels like I should tackle the same list as last year considering I only managed 10 or so of the official list and wayyyy too many rereads and non-list books. But honestly, I think a mostly new list drawn basically at random from the pile might help re-spark my interest than looking at the same ones that have been staring at me from my “goal” pile. I do want to knock out the ARCs I have since I know most of those I will pass on to reader friends and/or local Little Free Libraries, so those will probably be on the list again, but otherwise, I just want to enjoy what I’m reading and hopefully end the year owning less books than I started with. It’s an unlikely goal but who knows, maybe a reading miracle will happen LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

7) Pay off the credit card/get finances more in order. We’re waiting on some news/paperwork that might knock this one out a lot earlier than expected, but if for some reason that falls through, I want to keep paying down that balance and saving more. Financial adulting is my least favorite kind of adulting but one that’s always worthwhile in the long run, after all.

8) Attempt IVF again, but this time with egg donation. Enough said there, I think. I’ll keep y’all posted about the journey as I have news to share!

9) Work on learning how to cross-stitch. I got some kits from my MIL as gifts, and I’m really excited to keep trying this. I realized over the past year that I need a non-bookish hobby to let me distract myself when writing and reading isn’t going the way I like, and I’ve enjoyed the little stitching I’ve done so far. Wish me luck.

10) Grow another vegetable garden/expand the garden we have in the backyard. Growing things really was another level of therapy this past year. It just soothed the soul in ways I’d always heard it could, but never really thought I was capable of. Not everything I’ve planted lived very long, but a lot of things are still alive and making me happy, and that’s the important thing for my mental health. Plus, who knew I actually like tomatoes???

11) Increase my activity level. Working from home lends itself to a much more sedentary lifestyle to me, and considering I stopped going for my walks after the assault, I’ve been even more in-active than I was during the spring of 2020. I know I need to be exercising more in some shape, form, or fashion, so I’m working on finding YouTube vids/workouts I will actually do on my own, going for more walks in different places than where I now feel unfortunately unsafe, and possibly even getting an active video game set up like a DDR pad or something random. Not sure yet what it will be, but I want to pledge to get up and do 20 minutes of SOMETHING at least 3-4 times a week. My joints need it too desperately for me to slack off on this goal again this year. Plus, as much as the lazy side of me hates to admit it, I do, in fact, end up feeling more energetic when I exercise. Drat it all. LOL.

That’s it, I think! A lot of goals (and a lot of words on this journal – I’m impressed if you made it through the whole thing LOL), but ones I think I can make good progress at even if I don’t finish all of them. Just little by little, I can get things done, and I think that’s enough to be proud of.

I don’t think I’m going to give myself a word thing year, though. I like the concept, but somehow that has seemed a bit more like pressure than just the goal list, weirdly enough. Who knows – it’s still two days until 2021. I may change my mind and decide on one if I stumble on one that that really resonates. But for now, I think I’m happy with what I’ve got here.

I wish you all a healthy and hopefully 2021. See you next year!


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