Looking to 2021

I think we can all agree 2020 was a disappointment. I had so many plans: my reunion with Shakespeare at Winedale, a trip to Japan… We were supposed to host Japanese exchange students, too. None of that happened. (Well, the reunion was online, but it’s not nearly the same as being back on the Winedale stage.) We missed out on family vacation, and my oldest son didn’t get his middle school graduation, nor has his start in high school been, well, what he wanted or hoped for. In short, the year was a flat soufflé.

Still, I did manage to accomplish a few things this year. I re-published two books and wrote an entirely new manuscript. I’ve somehow managed to guide my three children through distance learning. I read 67 books, and I’m slowly building views and subscribers on YouTube. And I’m continuing on my journey to better health.

Calendars are arbitrary. The end of a year and start of a new one does not automatically reset the world. However, it does bring fresh perspectives and mindsets. People seem more ready and willing to make big changes at the start of a new year. So while the old troubles aren’t gone, per se, we do in some ways feel more hopeful and empowered in battling them. And so, though I don’t set resolutions each year, I do try to set goals.

For a goal to be effective, it needs to be achievable and quantifiable. “Sell more books” is a goal, for example, but it’s better to be more specific. “Sell more books than last year” is quantifiable. I know how many books I sold this year, and I can aim for more in the next. Better still, however, is something broken down into chunks. I can let “sell more books than last year” go until the last month of the year and then panic and make a last-minute push. OR… I can set a monthly goal of x number of books sold each month, which means I see progress and rewards (and can adjust my goal if necessary) throughout the year.

Here, then, are my 2021 goals for reading and writing:

  1. Find an agent for The Ghosts of Marshley Park
  2. Finish the rewrite of Hamlette OR finish The Druid of Durosse Llwyn (I’m a slow writer, so I don’t expect to be able to do both)
  3. Read at least 30 books (I always set a low goal because if I get into my writing, I won’t have as much time to read)
  4. Post at least two videos per month on YouTube

I’m hopeful that this year—probably late in the year—I may finally get to go to Japan. It’s also our 20th wedding anniversary this May, though it’s unclear what, if anything, we’ll be able to do to celebrate.

Is it possible that 2021 will be just as bad (or worse) than 2020? Sure. But for now I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to put the worst behind us and begin to rise, and that better days are ahead.

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