2017 Goals Revisited and 2018 Goals

Last December I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish over the course of being 30. I turn 31 during the first week of January (the 7th for anyone who likes bestowing good wishes). Despite 2017 being even more of a dumpster fire than many people anticipated, this year was a very good one on a personal level. But according to The Goals, how did I do? Let’s find out.

Read 100 books. Check. Easy check, actually: I completed this goal before starting my new job (uh, spoilers?) in July. I read nowhere near a hundred more books over the course of the second half of the year, though; I’m at 133 books as of this post’s writing.

Start editing a book. This can include a rewrite of an existing book. It’s a stretch to say that I actually edited a book in 2017. However, I did spend both Camp NaNoWriMo sessions planning and doing character development for the two novels I’ve been working on most intensely: Anxiety Girl novel and the Parallel Worlds and Photography novel. I’ve reached a standstill for both of these things, though. Unfortunately my main solution to both of these problems is writing yet another draft. That seems like overkill since this would be the third draft for each novel, though.

Publish something. Uhhhh. *looks around* I made no progress toward this goal.

Go back to Night of Writing Dangerously. Check! It was amazing, as usual. I won a word sprint. One of my fellow @NaNoWordSprints leaders had made me a sushi hat (seriously!). I visited the NaNo office once again and rolled up all the posters for the event. I went to a couple of write-ins, saw some old friends, made some new ones, and finally put names to faces for people I’ve known on the NaNo site for almost a decade. (And occasionally had a few people recognize me, which is still weird.) I talk more about NaNo in this year’s NaNoWriMo summary post.

Travel somewhere new. I went on a trip to Asheville in February, but that’s it in terms of new places. I did return to several previously visited places: Charleston in August for the total eclipse (where clouds blocked our view just minutes before totality), that cabin in western North Carolina for NaNoGiving, and of course San Francisco and Berkeley for Night of Writing Dangerously. Still, this goal was technically fulfilled.

Learn basic Korean. Uhhh, I thought about it? And looked up a couple of sites? Duolingo came out with a Korean course just before NaNoWriMo, but I haven’t had a chance to explore that yet.

Stay employed and decrease debt. This should have been two separate goals, but I didn’t think of that during this time last year. The first half of this year was a financial challenge due to a decrease of freelance work and my roommates moving out. The situation was dire enough that I started looking for an “actual job” and started one in July. I talk about that more in the pre-NaNo State of the Sushi post, and most of the content there is still the same. As for decreasing debt, well, remember barely getting by during the first half of the year? Well, I’m still paying off my 2016 taxes for this reason; when the choice is “pay your rent” or “pay last year’s taxes when you can get an installment plan”, then the first one usually wins.

Begin training for a marathon. Hahahahahahaha I’ve barely thought about this one.

The lack of achieving goals aside, this year was a pretty good year, despite the bumps in the road. That financial groove I mentioned at the end of last year went away in early 2017, when business got really slow, and I was struggling for awhile until starting a full-time job mid-year. But now it’s safe to say that I’m in a good spot, financial and otherwise.

One other thing of note: Remember when I added “Take a class” to my goals in 2016? Despite not doing this in 2016, I did take a class during the first half of 2017 when the freelance business was slow. That class was a course in logic and set theory at my alma mater. I knew the professor and he invited me to sit in on the class. It was a great time and if my schedule were more flexible, I’d sit in on another class in a heartbeat.

Let’s start thinking about 2018 goals, shall we?

Sushi’s 2018 Goals

Read 80 books. “But Sushi,” I hear you say. “You’ve read over 100 books per year for the past four years. Why lower this goal?” Simple: I have less time on my hands than I did when reading a book every two days last year. It took nearly two weeks after starting the new job to finish reading a book. After taking into account the fact that I barely read in October and November, 80 books comes out to eight books a month over the course of ten months. That’s still attainable, especially with audiobooks, but it’s a challenge all the same. Of course, my dream goal will be to reach triple digits again, but we’ll see about that.

Rewrite a book. Whether that’s the third draft of one of the books mentioned above or the roomba novel from November (which people actually want to read for some reason), I hope to write something that isn’t a first draft, something that will take me toward a version I’m happy with.

Travel somewhere new. As I’ve mentioned over the past few years, I’m not especially well-traveled, so this one stays on the list.

Go back to Night of Writing Dangerously. This one is gonna stay here forever.

Stay employed. Yes, this one stays on the list. As long as I don’t screw things up too much, I should be fine here.

Decrease debt. If I keep letting autopay do its thing, two of my student loans will be paid off this year. Woo! I’ll re-evaluate them in the spring and see if I have enough extra cash to pay them off early. Sure, those two small loans won’t make a huge difference in interest in the long run, but I’ll take that psychological win to keep going (and the extra money to dump toward bigger debts).

Begin training for a marathon. Yes, this one stays too. I hope to use this winter’s run commutes as a way to warm up to running in the cold (or what qualifies as cold for someone used to southern weather). And since the real goal is a 50k race (gee, wonder why), the marathon is a good start at around 42k.

2016 Goals Revisited and 2017 Goals

Last December I made a list of things I’d like to do before my 30th birthday in early January. (The 7th, if you like keeping track of these things.) How’d I do?

Read 250 books. Check! I finished this one in October, and I’m ending the year with 275 books read. I also finished reading the entire Baby-Sitters Club series, which is where over half those books came from.

Write 500k words. Check! 250k of those words are from NaNo, as planned, and I sailed past 500k total for 2016 at the end of November. I also reached 2 million lifetime November NaNoWriMo words this year. I forgot about redrafting something outside of November, although I did write a second draft for NaNo this year.

Continue running/staying in shape. I fell off the wagon a little during NaNo, but for the most part, I consider this a success. As for the quantifiable goal, I ran six races, including four 5K races (one in April, two in May, and one in October where I beat my personal best by two minutes), one 5-mile race (April, where I got third in my age bracket), and one half marathon (December).

Decrease my debt. I don’t have actual numbers on this yet, but I have paid everything on time this year (that I know of), so I consider this a success.

Go back to Night of Writing Dangerously. Check! And had the time of my life.

Travel somewhere new. I went to a new Georgia mountain in March, Washington DC in June, a cabin in a new-to-me North Carolina town in November, and a few Bay Area suburbs that were new to me in November. Check.

Take a class of some kind. I dropped the ball on this one. Oops.

Be awesome. Looking at all the above accomplishments, I’d say this one wasn’t a failure at least.

Despite 2016 being a dumpster fire for many people, this year was a good one for me on a personal level. I accomplished a lot of things that I’ve been wanting to do. I’ve settled into a nice groove when it comes to work and paying my bills in a timely fashion.

So what would I like to do in 2017? Let’s see.

Sushi’s 2017 Goals

Read 100 books. Yes, this is way less than my 2016 total, but I currently have no plans to read entire children’s book series in 2017… yet. I’ve read at roughly this pace for the past couple of years after subtracting the BSC books, so this should be challenging but doable.

Start editing a book. This can include a rewrite of an existing book.

Publish something. This can be a short story, an essay, or even a novel, but I do want to have something published by the end of 2017.

Go back to Night of Writing Dangerously. This is going to stay here forever, let’s be honest.

Travel somewhere new. I’m not particularly well-traveled, so this stays on the list.

Learn basic Korean. My mom keeps talking about going to Korea to visit some of her family. I don’t want to go to a new place and not speak the language, so getting started on learning the language will be my 2017 mission.

Stay employed and decrease debt. Because this has been a challenge some years, it stays.

Begin training for a marathon. I was considering running a full marathon in 2017, but most of the ones I could get to easily are in March (meaning lots of winter training) or October/November (NaNo season and summer training). Running a marathon has been on my bucket list for years, and while I could theoretically start training now for a March 2017 marathon, I’d much rather do a little more winter training so I can learn to adapt first. In either case, something has to give, and I need to figure out what.

You might notice that there’s no yearlong word count tracker on the goal list like there was in 2016. There’s a good reason for that: I want to concentrate more on editing than pure output this year. Tracking all my writing this year has taught me a lot, but now it’s time for more dedicated, refined writing practice.

Here’s hoping that 2017 will be even better, both for me and on a worldwide scale.

Writing 500,000 words in 2016

I mentioned in my 2016 goals post that I want to write 500,000 words in 2016. That’s half a million words, which sounds a little daunting even to me. It’s not the numbers. If I write my anticipated goal of 250,000 words in November, that leaves less than 750 words per day for the rest of the year. That’s less than 25,000 words per non-NaNo month. Come on, self. You can write 25k in less than a day.

The challenging part, as always, is making writing a habit. I’ve been terrible at making writing a habit, something that I don’t think about doing. In the same way that I go to the bathroom immediately upon getting out of bed, then make breakfast and tea, writing should come just as naturally. I want to sit down at the computer and start writing without thinking about it.

I plan on tracking my writing progress across four areas in 2016:

  • Fiction (NaNo novels, anything else that I make up)
  • Posts to this blog
  • Major updates to Wikiwrimo (more than correcting a few typos or updating a region’s page, at least)
  • My paper journals

The paper journal progress will be the hardest to track, as I don’t fancy counting up the words every day. I’ll probably do that for the first few entries, then take an average and use that for convenience. After all, if something is convenient, I’m more likely to continue doing it.

And because I love accountability, you can follow along and hold me to this goal. I’m tracking my writing progress on a spreadsheet created by @HillaryDePiano, the Northeast New Jersey NaNo ML. You can view my 2016 spreadsheet here and follow along, then poke me with sticks if I get more than a few days behind. You can also get your own spreadsheet from that link. Since the spreadsheet will think I’m behind all year long until November, I’m using the monthly goals as a progress benchmark until NaNo.

So why am I doing this? I have no idea how much I write outside of NaNo novels. Sure, the notebooks pile up and I could go back and collect word counts of every post here I’ve written this year, but that doesn’t give me the whole picture. I want that whole picture so I can try to improve as a writer and hopefully turn writing into a profession. Since I thrive on accountability (and okay, not disappointing people), sharing my progress will keep me going. It worked for my very first NaNo novel, after all.

Besides that, I just counted one page’s words in my current paper journal. 220 words. Even with smaller notebooks than this current large one, that’s still 3-4 pages per day, depending on that specific notebook’s words per page. I’ve written something in there all but one day in December as an attempt to rebuild the habit lost during NaNo. Sounds like it’s working so far.

Let’s do this… and then set a bigger goal for 2017.

Sushi might have accomplished things: Looking back on 2015

Longtime readers may remember my post around this time last year on what I wanted to accomplish in 2015. Now that 2015 is almost over, now seems like a good time to look back and reflect on what I’ve done.

Update this blog at least once a week. I was really good at updating for awhile, but like every year there were times I fell off the wagon. I wrote in here less often this year than last year, but I didn’t totally forget about this site. Good enough, I guess.

Read 60 books. I’m on track to triple this goal by the end of the year. Very check.

Get a (better) job. Check! I’m still doing freelance writing/marketing/other content curating stuff, but now I have projects that actually pay the bills. Hooray!

Get moving. I started running and did 5k events in April, June, August, and October, as well as a 10k on Saturday. I didn’t really run in November because of NaNo, so I need to get back into that. Still, this is a win.

Edit at least one novel. I didn’t even start this. Oops. Moving to 2016.

Write more code. Kind of? I didn’t write as much code as I would have liked, but at least this year wasn’t a total fail there.

Attend Night of Writing Dangerously again. My bank account said no, and I was super bummed because of all the people I hadn’t met there before. Next year for sure, though! I’m already making plans.

Plan something awesome for Wikiwrimo’s 5th birthday in June. I almost completely forgot about this. Oops.

Write at least 100k for NaNoWriMo 2015. Very check. I managed 300k and a new personal NaNo high while working full-time and with very few days off. Check, check, check.

What’s up for 2016? I’m still figuring out some of the goals and settling on some big ones since 2016 marks my last full year in my 20s. Stay tuned.

Sushi must accomplish things: 2015 goals

It’s that time of year again: the times where every blog features articles like “X trends to watch out for in 2015” and “Y ways to evaluate your 2014 results”. I was going to evaluate my 2014 goals until looking through my archives for a 2014 goals post… and there was none. Oops.

But I do have some things to work on in 2015. Here are a few of those things.

Update this blog at least once a week. Sometimes I get really really good at writing in here regularly, and then there are those times I drop off the planet for awhile.

Read 60 books. “But Sushi, you’ve read over 100 books in 2014, and the year’s not over yet.” I know, but I also have no idea what my 2015 schedule will look like. Sixty should still be doable even if I suddenly have a lot less time. And who knows, I might accidentally read 120 books.

Get a (better) job. Which reminds me, if you know anyone who needs a content/user support/marketing/geek of many trades in Atlanta (or remote), send them my way!

Get moving. Most of my hobbies involve me sitting on my butt. And yes, I’ve tried walking while writing, but it wasn’t very productive. So it’s time to get moving. I live near multiple multiuse trails, so let’s set a goal of getting out there and walking at least once a week. It’s not much, but it’s something.

Edit at least one novel. This will probably be The Shuttershock Worlds, which I rewrote during NaNo 2014.

Write more code. Build a thing to share or that other people can use.

Attend Night of Writing Dangerously again. It’ll be my fourth one if I manage it! The subgoal here is to win a word sprint there again, but that depends on too many external factors, like who else is there.

Plan something awesome for Wikiwrimo’s 5th birthday in June. I’m not sure what yet, but there will be a thing.

Write at least 100k for NaNoWriMo 2015. Exact goal is to be determined, but I don’t want to break my six-digit streak, which should still be doable even if I get a lot busier.

Most of these things are on my goal list every year, which means I’m not doing much to work toward them or that I want to work on these things every year. I’m not sure which. To 2015! Or better yet, can we fast forward straight to spring? I would love that.