2015 was a year in which I cared less about goals and more about habits, trusting that if I did certain things every day, they’d eventually coalesce into achievements of some kind. That more or less worked, at least more so than just staring pie-eyed at the goals ever did.
Here’s what the year came down to for me:
Novels rewritten and submitted to agent: 1, Already Won.
Miles run: 532.46, including ten 5K races.
Stories sold: 1, “The Leaning Lincoln,” to Asimov’s.
Stories appeared: 1, “Acres of Perhaps,” in Asimov’s.
Stories accepted for Year’s Best: 1, “Acres of Perhaps.”
Days written: 361 consecutive (363 total for the year), a total of 19,445 minutes (thirteen days, twelve hours, and five minutes).
Conventions where I appeared: 3 (ICFA, Oasis, and Necronomicon).
Classes taught: 2 (Introduction to Fiction Writing and Introduction to Creative Writing).
Books read: 35.
Short stories and essays read: 35.
Home projects completed for the sake of bourgeois propriety: 4 (resodding the yard, replacing the asshole built-in microwave, replacing the dishwasher, and refinishing two rooms of hardwood floors).
Emotional and intellectual discoveries made:
My father spent his whole life pretending to be better than he was and I’ve spent mine pretending to be worse.
Writing is learned by epiphany: you work, you experiment, you feel what works in a flash of recognition, and then you own it. Books and classes can put you in the way of epiphany, but you’ve got to have something going for the realization to stick.
Most people learning an art need a trusted person who will point to things and say, “Really?” And you can answer two ways, either saying “No, I didn’t mean to do that” or “Yes, I totally meant to do that so I’m going to double down to make it work.”
I’m really not that good at teaching writing to people who don’t want to learn.