The Halfway Mark 2021

Well. Halfway through the year already. My goodness.

This year has certainly been a strange one. I didn’t think there could be much more upheaval for me personally than Brexit drama and a global pandemic but life likes to keep things spicy. Who knew that going into lockdown would be a lot easier than coming out again? I mean I, as many introverts did, liked to joke about that a lot at the start but I truly wasn’t prepared for the emotional and mental toll it’s been taking. It turns out as well that there may be another issue contributing to that but I need to get to a doctor first before I’d feel comfortable talking about it (it’s nothing to worry about, just something that might explain a few a lot of things). It’s not been the easiest environment to focus on my writing goals.

So, in the middle of everything that has been going on, how have those 2021 goals been progressing?

  1. Write 1 short story per month – This has completely flopped. I managed two and then it all went wrong. Oh well. I tried! And I’ve not (totally) given up. The “per month” part might be dead and buried but I can still bash some out before the end of the year. There are a few old short stories that I’m planning on refurbishing and posting up here for your viewing pleasure and there are a few that I’ve got ideas for that I may eventually get around to scrawling somewhere. 
  2. Get something beta ready – Actually going well! No one would have expected at the start of the year (especially not me) that I’d stick working on one project for 8 months straight but here we are. Looks like The Halfway House just really speaks to me. I’m about three quarters through what is for me the slowest and least enjoyable part of editing, and then I’m on what normally feels like the downhill. I don’t want to jinx it but this one is currently ahead of schedule.
  3. Read new books – I’ve not kept up with my goal (and I’ve given up on hitting it) but I’ve managed to chalk up a few on this one. Hopefully without any big beta reading obligations for the rest of the year I might increase pace a little but I’m not holding my breath just yet.
  4. Keep Through the Black on submission – Technically yes. A few months I’ve left it a bit longer than was probably reasonable to hear back before sending it out again but I have kept up with sending it out, even if I’ve dragged my feet for a couple of weeks here and there. I’m still classing this one as on track, considering, well… everything.
  5. Keep up blog posts – Whoops. You haven’t heard from me since mid-May, so I think we know how this one’s going. That aside, I haven’t been doing too bad for me and I’ve got a backlog of ideas I just need to get on paper. Then hopefully I can post weekly for a while to catch up. So shaky, but I have hope on this one.

Moving on to some non writing related ones:

  1. Draw 1 piece of art per month – Failed this one too. Currently at four months out of six. However, some of the pieces I’ve made I’m really proud of and I can see a marked improvement on where my art was last year. A fail on paper but not one I’m too broken up about. Again, I’m hoping to ramp this one up again once things become a little more normal again. Just…  just don’t watch the news, okay?
  2. Weight goal – It’s gone in the right direction? That counts. Not enough yet to help with dysphoria but I’m taking that as a win for where we are in the year.
  3. Voice Therapy – I started it, just need to get consistent and then get the courage. I was even relatively consistent for a bit but fell off the wagon. Still, it’s a starting place and I’m building up my skills again. Gonna mark this one down as on course. 

Not the most hopeful midpoint of a year I’ve ever had but I like to think that I’m doing pretty well, considering. It’s been a rough year and I hope you’re all doing well. We’ll get there together.

2021 Goals

Hoooooo boy, here we go again. New year, new goals, though a lot of them are going to be veeery similar. Still, I find announcing them makes me more focused and less likely to abandon them. 

  1. Write 1 short story per month – Writing short fiction is not something that I do often, nor is it something that I’m good at. It is, however, a good way to improve your writing and a much quicker way to get samples of your writing critiqued, which is an invaluable thing for developing as a writer. As such, I want to try and write at least one piece of short fiction per month, be it as a random prompt or for specific submissions. 
  2. Get something beta ready – I don’t want to commit to a specific project this year as things happen and the way I feel at the start of the year certainly won’t be indicative of what I want to be working on later on. I want to commit to getting another draft beta ready, but this time around I’m not going to commit to a specific one. 
  3. Read new books – Another in the essential tasks for honing my writing skills. I’ve fallen into the bad habit of constantly rereading old favourites which, while safe and enjoyable, aren’t helping me broaden my skills. I’ve a set number of books I’ve never read before that I’d like to achieve before the end of the year.
  4. Keep Through the Black on submission – Fairly self explanatory. I don’t want to let myself get disheartened or lazy. This is something I need to keep on top of and plan to, no matter how harrowing it gets. 
  5. Keep up blog posts – I know if I don’t keep some accountability for this one is going to go straight out of the window. In 2020 I got more blog views than I have done any other year! Moving into 2021 I want to keep up that momentum and do more interesting posts about writing and resources (for example, my Trello post that got a lot more engagement than I’m used to!) and hopefully some more stories as well. 

Moving on to some non writing related ones:

  1. Draw 1 piece of art per month – This was a success last year and not only made me keep up with my practice and facilitated a real, visible improvement in my art but it gave me an awesome collage at the end, and I’m a sucker for a collage. It also gave me the confidence (lol kinda) to finally bring to the canvas some of my characters(!) which has been one of the main reasons I wanted to draw anyway. Bringing up those skills to give my favourites faces is definitely an end game goal and one I intend to keep working towards this year! 
  2. Weight goal – Yup, the usual one. It’s a lower priority one but one I want to deal with to keep on top of dysphoria and stuff. 
  3. Voice Therapy – Same as above, although this one has been SEVERELY neglected since I moved away from my local GIC. Time to get back on it properly. If I get the confidence to talk over Discord again while I’m gaming before the end of the year, I’ll consider this one a success. 

So there you have it, my goals for 2021! I’ve tried to keep it easier this year so no big, specific goal really, just little things I can chip away at throughout the year. I have a few manuscripts that are close to beta ready and one that isn’t but I’m completely obsessed with currently, so with any luck and a bit of work at least ONE of those will be ready by the end of the year. 

I’m anticipating a pretty rough start to 2021 thanks to the UK handling Coronavirus like a toddler handling Gran’s favourite porcelain and some essential staff at my place of work moving on to better pastures, but after last year I’m moving on with a new attitude. None of this new year “fresh start, clean slate, all gets better from here” nonsense. Going through 2020 was like going through the washing machine, and I’m fully expecting 2021 to be the spin cycle. I’m keeping my head down, eyes on what’s in front of me, and am just going to do what I can.

Happy New Year everyone!

2020 Goals – The Review

Many, many, many people are saying this about 2020 but I have to add my voice asking “what in the everliving fuck was that?!?” Whatever, let’s grab a big glass of vermouth and have a look at how I did on this year’s goals.

1.) Start doing blog posts again – For this one I managed to post 73% of the planned blog posts for the year (one every two weeks) which, in this year of 2020, I’m counting as a win. As Meatloaf would say, 19 outta 26 ain’t bad.

2.) Finish TE1 synopsis (by 28 Feb) and keep on submission – Success! Not only did I finish the full query packet but it’s been on submission ever since and the rejections are piling up! Yaay! I mean, every one of them is a gut punch but I’m treating this like my training montage right before the film KICKS OFF. That’s how you do it, right?

3.) Get Fishperer beta ready – I made a lot of progress on this at the start of the year and then in the second half it kinda went out of the window. Still, it’s a lot closer to being done than it was so that’s something I suppose. 

4.) Complete a Goodreads challenge – Yeah, this one never recovered. It’s not been a good year for reading new books at all. This year was far too much about the comfort zone. Oh well. There’s always next year?

5.) Do enough art to do the end of year meme – I DID IT! I made enough art and made the meme. Despite September to November being very phoned in, I’m still very proud of myself for it. The best thing about this goal is that I can look at my January art and my December art and actually see a difference. I’m hoping to make this one a tradition because I finally feel like I’m making some progress with my drawing skills and I don’t want to lose it again.

6.) Hit weight goal – Zero shits given about this one. It’s 2020. I’m just along for the ride. This one will probably be back next year as I want to achieve it for my dysphoria but if we’re up for 2020 2.0 then I’m not going to stress about it too much.

If we include the very shaky “win” for goal number one, that’s a 50% hit rate. Sod it, it’s 2020. I think I did good. Happy New Year everyone, let’s raise our glasses, cross our fingers, and enter the brace position because like it or not, here comes 2021!

The 2020 Halfway Post

It’s July, which means it is time to review how I’m doing on this year’s goals! As I’m certain most of you are also feeling, this has been a very odd year. This post feel about 9 months overdue and also about 3 months early at the same time. Seriously, 2020 really needs to get its act together. Anyway, on with the post!

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1.) Start doing blog posts again – This has gone well so far! Two posts were one day late but aside from that, we’ve been rocking and rolling. I’ve managed to keep this up through some pretty rough patches so hopefully the momentum sticks and we keep going for the second half of the year.

2.) Finish TE1 synopsis (by 28 Feb) and keep on submission – You may have guessed from my last post that the time lines were derailed on this one but good news prevails in the end. I hit the original deadline of 28th of February but then… Just didn’t send it out. Working with my therapist has been really helpful though, progress has happened and as of June 15th Through the Black has officially been on submission! I also have packets ready for the next couple of agents for when this one comes back. There’s a plan in place to keep up this momentum so there’s no stopping me now! 

3.) Get Fishperer beta ready – This is on track! Been working away at it and all of the comments have now been addressed. It’s scene by scene time now, then it’s onto the big print out and check, then bish bash bosh we’ve got a beta ready MS! Just need to keep at it. Handy that a certain Camp NaNo event just started, amirite? 

4.) Complete a Goodreads challenge – This is one that has started terribly but I’m hoping to pick up a little in the second half of the year. I don’t know with so much time wasted if I’ll hit the endgame goal but I’m determined to make a decent dent in it regardless.

5.) Do enough art to do the end of year meme – Some months have been better than others, and at least two have literally only had ONE piece of art, but that still fits the criteria so I’m counting that as a win. What I do count as a big win is that my folder for 2020 art now has more in it than any other year since… well, since before university. And we’ve still got six months to go! Let me tell you, that’s a great feeling and I can really see some improvements with my stuff. I missed art so much. It feels great to have it back in my life. 

6.) Hit weight goal – Not great progress on this one but with everything else that’s been going on in my life and the world in general, I’m not too surprised or worried about that. 

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Overall and considering the on goings both personally and not, I’m pretty pleased to have gotten to where I am. Some things are going slower than I would like but everything is moving forward. I hope you’re all out there smashing your 2020 goals, but if you aren’t I’m pretty sure there was never a better excuse.

Take care of yourselves and do what you can. Personal progress is nice but in the face of a global pandemic, looking after yourself and those close to you is the number one goal.

First Success of the Year

The synopsis is finished! The first thing ticked off the Goal Post! I even earned myself a box of doughnuts out of it thanks to a very kind and encouraging co-worker who promised me them if I hit the deadline. They were delicious.

Success has never been so yummy.

This marks another large step on my journey. This has been blocking me for a long time and honestly has taken far longer than it should have done but unfortunately the way life has been, I’ve just really struggled to prioritise it and work on it to the level it needed. That is behind me now though, and my life has been far more suited to actually pursuing my creativity again. I’ve gone from no capacity for it, to the parts that I enjoy, and now finally to the struggles and hard parts that just need to get done. I’m at the point now where I can dedicate the time and energy to really pushing for what I want. And that’s to keep pushing and move through the “writing” part of this journey and onto the “publishing” part. 

Unfortunately, this part comes with a lot of tense waiting, a lot of hurt and disappointment, and rejection. Then a whole lot of getting back up off the ground and going headfirst back into it again. Is this really what I want, I wonder? Yes, it is.

What are the next steps for me?

  1. Submissions! Eeeep! Time to start sending Through the Black off to agents and keep it on submission. I’m hoping to have a quick turn around from hearing back from one agent and getting it out to the next. This step is going to need thick skin and a lot of chocolate. I fully expect to spend a lot of it questioning myself and wondering why I’m bothering. I’ve worked hard for a long time to get to this point though, and I’m not going to let feeling bad make me give up now.
  2. Focusing on other projects! I mentioned at the start of the year that it was time to get The Fishperer beta ready, and now that this synopsis is out of the way I can actually get back to some of the fun parts of writing! Huzzah!
  3. Relaxing! I’ve been pushing pretty hard since the start of the year on several different things, so with the releases of Rune Factory 4 and Animal Crossing, you can expect to hear from me again in about 6 months.