Another year is drawing to a close. I’m not gonna lie, 2018 has been kind of a mixed bag. Law school is still really hard, the news is soul-crushing, I still don’t know what I’m doing after law school, I didn’t write as much as I wanted, I didn’t get back in shape. I can go on and on about the ways I feel like I failed in 2018. But if I actually look back at 2018, that’s really just me beating up on myself.
This year, I finished my second year of law school, and I’m halfway through my third year. I spent a month working at MIT’s Office of the General Counsel last January. I learned French and studied artificial intelligence. I worked for two months at NIST in Maryland, then came back to Cambridge and worked for five months at Analytical Space while studying for my fall classes, taking and passing the multistate professional responsibility exam, and starting my job search for after I graduate. At the same time, I faced the worst writer’s block I’ve ever dealt with, and I beat it. I finally finished edits on my middle grade fantasy novel, and I started querying agents with it. My story “The Year of Salted Skies,” which was third runner-up for the Dell Award back in 2017, was published, and I got some more good writing news I’m hoping to be able to share with you after the new year. I also put in a lot of effort to actually learn to cook something besides pasta (there’s a blog post coming about that I swear). And as of today I’ve read 174 books since January 1. I stress read.
Fine, there are some things I didn’t do that I wanted to do. I didn’t write as much as I wanted. I didn’t get in shape. This blog as basically become a place for me to rant once a month about what I’m reading. But that’s why there’s 2019.
And I have big plans for 2019, people.
- I’m going to be finishing law school, graduating, studying for the bar, taking the bar, moving somewhere, and starting a new job. A lot of things need to happen for all of this to work the way it’s supposed to. So my first goal of 2019 is to do my best to not freak out. I’m not saying I need to stay 100% calm about it all. But I don’t want to be a walking ball of nerves for the next twelve months either.
1A. I want to get a job. To some extent this is outside my control, of course, but it is in my control to keep going. P.S. If you have space law leads for an entry-level attorney, let me know.
- To help with the first goal, I want to get back in shape. I’ve been spending too much time sitting and studying and when things have gotten really rough, surviving on diet Pepsi and goldfish. This will not get me through the next year. Exercise is a huge de-stressor for me, so during the spring semester, I want to build good exercise habits that I’ll be able to carry into studying for the bar over the summer.
- I’m setting my reading goal for 100 books in 2019, the same as it was originally in 2018. I contemplated trying for 200, but as I’ve already discussed, I have a lot going on this year. Also, I’m not sure it’s totally a good thing for me to be walking around constantly with my nose in a book, figuratively speaking of course.
- For writing, I plan to get to the next complete draft with three major projects: the middle grade sci fi novel, the memory-wiping academy novel, and the WWII Italy novel. My plan is to have a completed first draft of the MG sci fi novel by graduation, then to work on all the edits for the memory wiping academy novel over the summer in my non-bar-prep time (if such a thing exists), and then in the fall to finally do the rewrite for the WWII Italy novella. I’ve also been working on a short story collection set in my Phoenix Song universe, and I would love to finish first drafts of all the short stories this year if I can, but that’s above and beyond.
4A. I would love to get an agent in 2019. Of course, this is also to some extent outside my control, but I will continue to query and enter contests and network and all the other things you’re supposed to do to get an agent.
4B. To get all this done, I’m going to take a friend’s suggestion to set weekly goals for myself that are achievable, along with a weekly stretch goal that I get some reward if I complete. For example: my goal for the first week of January is to finish chapter 8 of my middle grade sci fi book. My stretch goal might be to write chapter 9, or to outline a short story, and if I also meet that stretch goal I get some reward. This system seems like it will work for me, so I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes. There’s also this #100DaysOfWriting challenge on Twitter I might try, but that might have to wait until I’m done with law school and the bar. There’s setting challenging goals for myself, and then there’s insanity.
- I want to blog more, and I want to blog about something other than books. Books are great. I love books lots. But there are so many cool things I want to talk about. I’d like to do some more posts from Neutron’s point of view, and I’m about halfway through that post about my cooking adventures I’ve been promising you for forever. I’m going to aim for weekly blog posts again, maybe every Friday. If there’s anything you’d like me to talk about, do let me know.
Spelling all that out, it definitely feels like there’s a lot I want to accomplish in 2019. But I also feel like going in to the new year feeling like I can accomplish all of this is the way to start out. So what are your 2019 goals?