Wow. It’s hard to believe today is the last day of 2013. Every year time seems to run faster, and I’m constantly reminded not to take a second for granted. There’s so much still to write, to read, to do…
But, before I get maudlin, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has come to The Cat’s Cradle to read, like, and comment on my entries. I hope that you’ve enjoyed them and maybe even learned something from them. Thanks to everyone who stuck with me through the transition from Blogspot to WordPress and to all the newcomers who found me once I got here!
While I’m rather glad that 2013 is over (it hasn’t been the best year for personal complications), I am astounded looking back at everything I have managed to accomplish. It’s too easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking of all the things you could have/should have/would have/meant to do but didn’t, and I hate that loop. So I’m going to remind myself of what I accomplished this year, and encourage you to do the same. It might not seem like you’re doing much in the daily grind, but it all mounts up after a while.
SUCCESSES IN 2013:
1) I kept up with The Cat’s Cradle (more or less). While I know I didn’t update with the consistency I strive for, and even had to scale back from once a week to every other week, I still managed to churn out 22 entries (23 if you include this one). Some of them aren’t that good, but a few, like the “Influential Books” series or my review of Doctor Who, I’m pretty pleased with.
2) I kept up with my “Okami Amaterasu” fan fic. This is kind of huge for me. The farthest I’ve ever gotten on writing a fan fic was 9 chapters before I petered out. But with this one, thanks to my decision to play through the PS2 game Okami again, I’ve managed to update at least every other week. Fan fiction is like candy to me, and helps give me that needed burst of energy to keep plugging away at my writing. I had to scale back on this one as well, but I’m just so tickled with the attention and readership it’s gotten. As of today, “Okami Amaterasu” has received 48 Story Favorites, 51 Followers, 89 Reviews, and 16,150 Views. Thank you to everyone who has read, favorited, and/or reviewed “Okami Amaterasu!” You get a round of applause!
3) I sent in my first short story for publication! When I discovered that Tor.com publishes speculative fiction short stories, I was ecstatic. finding a major publishing house affiliate that will do that is hard. I have two short stories that I consider worthy of publication, so I sent one in. Alas, it was not accepted, but the attached note was encouraging, and I now have my first rejection slip!
4) I tried out the Legendary Novel Writing Challenge! If you don’t know what LeNoWriCha is, read this and see if it can work for you. Trying to stay in a writing groove can be so difficult, and we need all the help we can get to keep going. Many thanks to David for creating this for me. ^_^
5) I participated in The Dark Crystal Author Quest competition! In July, the Jim Henson company opened the doors to hundreds of eager writers, challenging them to create a prequel story set in the Dark Crystal universe. Thank goodness David found out about the contest announcement in June, so I had time to flip out and start preparing. I even got to use the July edition of Camp NaNoWriMo to get about half of the story written. Which means…
6) I wrote a novel in three months. It’s rough. It’s got issues. I really don’t want to do such a high-octane project again for a long while. But it’s a complete story. I spent two more months getting feedback, picking the sections I wanted to include in my submission, and editing it. A huge thank you goes out to my beta readers, Kei and Foxglove, for your most excellent feedback!
7) I was introduced to a whole bunch of new worlds and stories, most notably Black Jack, Mass Effect, and Doctor Who. I am constantly reading. I absorb stories like a sponge. Because I read so quickly, my retention level is low, but the emotional impact is high. Even if I don’t remember all the details of a story, I remember how it made me feel. Same with video games and television shows. And these three definitely blew me out of the water. Thanks to PrismElf for introducing me to Mass Effect and to StormElf for insisting that I watch Doctor Who.
GOALS FOR 2014:
1) Continue using LeNoWriCha each month to complete Ravens and Roses. This poor story got put on the back burner because of the Dark Crystal, and then I took a hiatus from writing for December, so now I’m raring and ready to get back to work on it!
2) Continue editing Dark Crystal Author Quest story. I won’t find out if I made it to the finalists until mid- to late-February, but I still need to have it edited up nicely if I want to publish it as a fan fic on darkcrystal.com. The cool thing is, I found out that March is designated National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo) and there’s a site for it so I know I’ll be editing like mad in March!
3) Develop a healthier relationship with the Internet, a.k.a. stop wasting time on Facebook. I derp around a lot on the ‘net, especially when I want to procrastinate. So I need to find a way to develop enough self-control to stay off the net while I’m working, or get a program that blocks social media sites while I’m working. If anyone has any advice, I’d appreciate it.
4) Improve my time-allotment skills to incorporate healthy living. The health of the mind, body, and spirit are inexorably linked, and I’ve been neglecting mine like crazy. Some of that isn’t my fault, but a lot of it is. I want to improve my physical health so I can better ward off stress and illness, which will improve my mental functioning, allowing me to accomplish more, and accomplishment leads to better spiritual well-being. This means regular exercise, regular healthy eating, enhancing hygiene, regular house-cleaning, the works. If I incorporate one or two at a time into my routine until they become habit before adding new ones, I might be able to stick with it this time. (And lose enough weight for Katsucon 2015!)
5) Spend time on other hobbies. My drawing and sculpting skills have been sadly neglected for far too long, and while I probably won’t be able to allocate enough time to get fantastic at them, I would like to improve the skills I have. Plus, I can’t have all of my entertainment and relaxation revolve around a screen or words. That’s putting all your eggs in one basket.
6) Try to branch out into other writing styles. A prime example: I suck at short stories. I should try to rectify that. I also want to write a few articles for Cracked; so I should probably buckle down and write them. And I like reviewing and critiquing stories, so I’m practicing by leaving short reviews on the books I read on LibraryThing. This isn’t a huge priority, but it is something I want to try to do.
7) Forgive. I hold grudges, against others and myself. Guilt is a huge motivator in my life, but it’s a cruel taskmaster that leads to depression more often than not. I whip myself into frenzies over things that…in the grand scheme of things…probably don’t matter that much. Or might matter, but I still don’t need to get worked up about it. I need to learn to let go of that oh-so-comfortable rage and coexist with myself and the world. Life is too short to be a hater.
So, what are your successes for 2013 and your goals for 2014?