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2016 Retrospective/2017 Resolutions

This is a year that sucked for a lot of people. In many ways, for me, too, the world is a darker, scarier place than it was a year ago.

And yet, I had some personal successes this year, and I wanted to document them.

Last Year’s Resolutions

Looking back to this post (and man, was I in a dark place when I wrote that), these are the things I wished for the year:

I want to finish Lioness (it’s at 91k words), edit it, and begin querying agents.

✨ ✨ ✨ I FINISHED LIONESS!!! ✨ ✨ ✨

Although, to be fair, it’s really a partial success by the standards set in my resolution — I’ve only just begun editing, and thus no queries yet, either.

I need to get more in touch with my squishy meat body. I didn’t do too badly with this. As I’ve written about with the Less Lise Progress Report, I’ve been working significantly on modifying my diet and exercise since April of last year. In the process I lost ~25 lbs of said squishy meat body. I took up running (although I’ve fallen out of the habit due to the season), and generally feel fitter than I have in a long time.

In further meat-body news, I found out in August that my vitamin D levels were very low — at a time when they should be normal/high — and started taking D3 supplements. I’m feeling this is helping somewhat with the seasonal depression, along with semi-daily applications of my sunlamp.

I want to get a tattoo. Still haven’t done this. I think I’m delaying because on some level I don’t want to do it, so I need to backburner this and examine why.

Considering I spent much of last year plagued by depression, this is not terrible?

Other Cool Stuff Wot I Did in 2016

  • Wrote about 29k words on Lioness
  • Wrote an ESO fanfic, “A Study in Ebony”
  • Submitted my short stories “Remember to Die” and “Powder of Sympathy” five times, and got two personal rejections (down from 2015, I know)
  • Read 28 new books
  • Visited England and attended Imaginary Consequences
  • Walked to the town library
  • Visited Old Sturbridge Village and the Mystic Aquarium for the first time
  • Wrote one new poem, “I, Shalott”
  • Finished my “read three history books (any time period)” goal
  • Acquired new bedding for the master bedroom — it no longer looks and feels like a college dorm room bed, hooray!
  • Finished Code School’s Angular courses (and now have no desire to ever use Angular)
  • Made a presentation about JS frameworks and Angular to my team at work
  • Hosted my semi-annual Strawberrypalooza/July 4th party
  • Played in four new-to-me theater-style LARPs
  • Traveled to the Chicago area to play in Cafe Casablanca
  • Wrapped up my NPC gigs in Shadows of Amun and Cottington Woods
  • Began NPCing for Madrigal 3
  • Signed on as logistics staff for Tales from the Cotting House
  • Made an orc shaman costume for Mad3
  • Was a bridesmaid in Mel and Will’s wedding
  • Got both my templar and nightblade to V16 in ESO before they removed vet ranks. And then promptly stopped playing.
  • Started playing WoW again instead; and got my lock and my shaman to 110 (the latter helped out by a level 100 boost)
  • Attended the Stratford Festival with my mom
  • Traveled to Durham, North Carolina to visit Matt’s dad while he was in the hospital

And probably more stuff I’m forgetting!

What I Want to Do in 2017

I facetiously wrote the following on Facebook:

While this is good and important and makes my life better, it’s probably not going to change me in any way. So let’s have some real goals.

I want to complete edits on Lioness and query agents. Lise, note to self: that last bit is also part of the goal. I admit to many moments in the past year where my thought process was, “eh, I’m still on track, I have all year to finish Lioness!”, forgetting that I had specified, yanno. More beyond that.

(I have begun edits, btw, and as usual, they suck. I’m actually writing a post about why they suck, but that will have to wait for another time).

I want to hone my short story skills. After I edit Lioness, I am going to need a new writing project to work on. While I have other novel ideas I could tackle, I’m thinking short fiction would be better at filling the gaps (sometimes looooooong gaps) in the query and submission process.

Short fiction is also something I enjoy reading, but lack experience at writing. It arguably provides a better try-fail cycle for writing than novels, as there’s a smaller turnaround time between writing and the feedback of submission. Shorts are less so these days the way to “break in” as an SFF writer, but they still have some value in that regard, too — it’s certainly much more likely for a magazine to buy a short story for 6 cents a word than for a publisher to invest several thousand dollars (+/- an order of magnitude) for a novel advance.

All those are good reasons, but that’s still not really a concrete goal, is it? So let’s break it down.

  • Write 4 new short stories this year (and edit them, and submit them ’til hell won’t have them, etc)
  • Participate in one of the Codex flash fiction challenges
  • Read 50 new-to-me short stories

Other things I want to do this year that I don’t have terribly concrete goals around them

Continue to stay in touch with my fleshy meat body. I plan to continue my low-carb diet, personal chef (i.e. my husband) willing. I’m getting back to running as of this week, and I hope to continue running (or other exercise) 3 or more times a week. I’ll continue to take vitamin D and use my sunlamp to keep away seasonal depression.

See more of my mom. As some of you know, my mother was diagnosed this year with a rare and potentially fatal lung disease. If nothing else, it limits her mobility, as she has to be on oxygen. I’m not sure what “more” is, per se — a lot will depend on her — but I’m budgeting vacation time this year to be able to visit her.

Read more books. I didn’t meet last year’s Goodreads challenge, which I set at 35 books. I’m going to try for 25 this year, since I’m also going to be trying for more short fiction.

All right, that’s more than enough to keep me busy. I’ll let you know how I do in a year or so!