There Is Too Much, Let Me Sum Up

So, here we are in the last week of 2021. Congratulations on making it this far!

It wasn’t the year we necessarily wanted, but it was the year we had, and the year we made of it. What did you write and publish this year? What did you read that you absolutely loved? What did you pull off, whether hijinks or cross-country moves?

This year, like last, I focused on process over goals when it came to writing and weightlifting. The process for writing was simple: write every day, 5 days a week. (I learned from last year: not only is 7 days a week impossible to maintain due to schedule conflicts and sickness, but also sheer wear and tear on the wrists.)

The result was the most productive year yet: Two books out and one short(ish) story that’s about to be published in the Tales Around The Supper Table II anthology. Also, I’m over 10K each into two different stories that I’m hoping to finish next year.

On the weightlifting front, it’s been a year of recovery: I caught Kung Flu for the second time early this year, and that wiped me flat to the point I had to restart with bare bar (45 pounds) and build back up. As I’m neither young nor male, rebuilding muscle and reserves is harder, but a persistent 5 pound increase at a time, then 4, then 3, and now 2 skinny little one-pound microplates… I’m back to rack pull of 175 pounds. I may, at this rate, make it to a rack pull of 185 pounds right at the anniversary of being able to do that just before the idiot virus hit.

I may not be near as good as the shining examples in either field, but I’m persistent. Persistently showing up and putting in the effort has a way of forcing growth and inspiration, and arriving at new personal records.

But process without goals is easily sidetracked, and hard to restart when it gets knocked out. After I published the second book, I had a writing drought of over a month, because I had nothing left to say. I know some of the luminaries in the field say that ideas are everywhere and they’re constantly bombarded by them, but I am not so blessed.

So, too, the plan to “eat a better diet”: without clear milestones to work toward, I started the year with the vague intention to lose 5 pounds. I now have 11 to go…

Well, this is the week to take stock of the dying year, to eat the joyous fruits of my accomplishments and drink the bitter dregs of my failures, and make goals, milestones, plans, and processes to put in place and follow again. Next week is a new year, a new challenge, and I shall rise to meet it.

See you there, on the path to a better world. Even if we have to build it one stone, and one written word, and one barbell rep at a time!

21 comments

  1. My plan is to set up a “schedule” for the week. So, one day for prompt response, three days for blog posts, that sort of thing. If I say that those must be done on certain days, I know I’ll get them done. I also will be writing on actual book projects every day. I’m not going to tell myself that at 1pm I must sit down and write…I don’t respond well to that. But a goal of a number of words each day, with more on the following day, is how it will be structured.

    That’s the plan right now. Let’s see if it survives contact with the real world…

    1. The entire point of schedules is to set up the preconditions to make it easier to do the processes that lead to the milestones and goals (and maintenance) that make your life easier and better. So set it up however works best for you… and once you’ve done it for a few weeks, evaluate & adjust fire for better effect!

  2. I started the year by kicking three things out the door. Then my writing careened off into a spin off series that turned into a bad case of popcorn kittens and a scattershot of six different stories. I published one in late August, one in late September . . . zingged off into a Murder Mystery in the spinoff universe for NaNoWriMo . . . that turned into three short mysteries. Published the first one a few weeks ago, and if I’d hustle the formatting, I could get the next one out before the New Year when I have some family duties coming up. . .

    I have no plan, I worship Chaos. It works for me.

    Oh, and reading? I finally got around to reading these books by this Dorothy Grant person. Lost a lot of sleep what with re reading, and then going back to the favorite parts . . .

  3. Write every day.

    I should try to get back into the harness to insist that outlining doesn’t count. It fell away in 2020.

    1. Likewise. I am so brilliant at my infiltration that they’ve actually let me have a driver’s license, a mortgage, and custody of a kid. They will never figure out that I’m not one of them!

  4. Wrote 2-3 books, plus an unplanned novella, published same. Also wrote a handful of short stories, and 68k on a different book. Didn’t lose the weight I wanted to, but I’m back to lifting the weights I did before March ‘20.

    So it’s been a productive year.

  5. This year I wrote: 4 novels, 2 novellas and a handful of short stories. I also got out 2 German translations and a handful of things I’ve had sitting in my “finished, publish asap” file for almost 2 years. 12 titles out total.

    Next year, I’m aiming for 1,000,000 words which will (hopefully) finish the series I started this year, launch a new-to-me genre and expand an existing universe.

    I also want to explore additional income streams because, well, that’s a good idea.

  6. This year, got too wrapped up in politics. Honestly, not a lot I can directly do about it, and it was just making me angry. Will try to keep the local stuff to a decent level of sanity, but should stay clear of the world bondfire we’re heading towards.

    Also managed to write a novela length fanfic thing. Plan it to keep writing every day until I finish that story arc, learn the craft then start writing and putting out my own stuff.

    Don’t know if it will ever replace my day job, but after this year, I need an outlet. The weirdest thing has been realizing that antagonists that learn from their mistakes is probably the least realistic thing about my stories, but it’s not like I’m going to stop engaging in that fantasy; it’s depressing when after some gigantic trial the characters go right back to doing the same stupid thing that got them there in the first place.

    1. What’s the point of fiction if it’s just like real life? We can get real life, straight, twenty four hours a day.

  7. This year I published my first book (yay me!) and I have an outline, titles, and covers set for the other two books in that trilogy. I was hoping to finish writing the first book in another series before the year ended, but I’m not sure that I can pull that off in five days – if not then it will be one of the first writing goals I’ll achieve in 2022.

    For next year, I’d really like to get back into riding my mountain bike again. Writing-wise, I want to finish Book 1 of the fantasy series, Book 2 (and maybe Book 3 – dream big!) of the fantasy series, Book 2 of the sci-fi trilogy, and get a blog going.

      1. Thanks! And yes, far too late to – I mean, nah, I can quit any time I want. Honest! Just have to finish all these story ideas first. 😄

  8. 2021 was my first full year as primarily a writer (I’d retired in September 2020 in part to write full-time). I wrote nine short stories and submitted 11 (some more than once): ten rejections, one acceptance. I began a couple of others but filed them away for future reference. I resumed work on what someday will be a series of short mystery novels set in 1920s England (2-1/2 drafts so far). Last but not least, I pulled together a set of children’s stories that I had been producing now and then over several years and got them edited, illustrated, and published. 2022? More of the same, I hope, Deo volente.

    1. Dude, most excellent on the writing, and the publication! Understand the more than once part – I know some short writers line up their markets on a spreadsheet so the moment a rejection comes in, it’s right back out in the mail (email or physical) to take another shot at lining up with the theme for an issue, the length an editor needs to fill, and getting accepted.

  9. Is it bad that not seeing our favorite monkey posting on a Monday caused a knee jerk “has he been sent to the camps?” thought.

    Asking for a friend.

    1. He’s good. Well, he’s travelling, which is always an adventure, but he’s homeward bound.

  10. My goal this year was to publish 3 novel, then write 3 new drafts to replace those in the queue. The writing went pretty well; I finished the third book last Thursday. The publishing…not so much. I got The Harper out in October, but I didn’t even read the beta comments on the next book.

    I’m proud of myself for the writing, but I don’t know how much good it does to write these books if I don’t get them out in the world where people can read them. Next year, my goals are going to focus on publishing/marketing. I plan to do NaNo, and I’ll try to work on the occasional short story for marketing purposes, but most of my time and energy is going to be devoted to edits, formatting, and just getting it all out there.

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