Still Not Dead; Nice Try 2020

*taps mic* Hello? Is this thing on?

Hey! Hi there! Remember me? It’s been a hot minute or twelve. You probably thought I’d completely forgotten I had this thing. That’s valid. It has been *counts on fingers* like 8 and a half months since my last post. Longer since I’ve done a prompt. I don’t blame you if you gave up on me. (Spoiler alert: there were times in the last year that I gave up on me, too, but I’m still here and still writing, even if it’s not original fiction on the blog.)

2020 threw all of us for a loop I bet, and I know I did not come anywhere close to achieving the goals I laid out in my State Of The Closet post the first week of the year. Honestly I was kind of scared to go back and see what they were, to see how poorly I had stuck to them. I figured I’d be coming back here with my tail between my legs, shamefully admitting what a waste of a year it was for my writing goals, especially given I stopped tracking my word count somewhere around the first week of June.

But! I did end up writing a lot last year. It’s just that most of it was fanfiction. I’m not ashamed of it; it’s just not everyone’s cup of tea and doesn’t really fit the theme of the blog. I found a lot of joy in it and have made so many great new friendships through it. Fandom really does bring people together and even though I have not met any of these new friends in person, I would not trade them for anything. One of my goals from 2019 was to make more writer friends, and while I was a little jaded by the community I found on Twitter and decided not to make that a goal for 2020, I ended up finding new writer friends in fandom anyway. Funny how life works that way.

Though speaking of goals for 2020 and how those panned out, let’s take a look shall we?

  1. Subscribe to at least 2 short story publications.
  2. 300k word count target
  3. 300 followers on Twitter
  4. Read 35 books
  5. Finish my 2019 NaNo Novel
  6. Taking better care of myself physically/mentally

Alright, let’s break that down. We can nix the first one. I did not subscribe to any zines or newsletters. We can also laugh that last one off the list as the nightmare that was 2020 rolled a nat 20 on hitting my mental health with a poleaxe. (Side note: speaking of D20 rolls, 2020 also saw me joining my first ever D&D campaign with friends via Zoom!) Also on the DNF list is the 5th one. I don’t actually think I wrote any more of that novel at all last year.

So, the quantifiable goals. I was a bit disheartened about that 300k target, figuring I had horrendously undershot it despite coming so close in 2019 (275k, remember? Man, what a year!). I looked back at my word count tracker to see how much I had actually written before I stopped logging my daily counts. 103k in 5 months. There were a lot of zero days in there (my goal of not forcing myself to write when I wasn’t feeling it panned out there I guess), like, a month’s worth, but 100k is still 2 novels worth of words whether I wrote it in 5 months or 4. AO3 also has a stats page that tallies up the word counts of everything you post and I participated in a Wrapped trend someone started (sharing your ao3 stats for the year similar to the Spotify Wrapped trend) and discovered I’d written almost 160k in fanfiction over the course of the year. Since some of those were written before June, there’s probably a bit of overlap with the 103k on my tracker, but it’s also probably not that much. Maybe 30k. Which means I wrote an additional 130k on top of the 103k I logged before my block in June. It also doesn’t account for the handful of short fics I wrote on Twitter that I did not cross-post to ao3, which I would estimate were probably another 20k in all. Which means, dang, I still wrote over 250k in a year where I frequently found myself struggling to write.

Next, 300 followers on Twitter. This one is a little complicated. My primary twitter account has fallen stagnant since I stopped updating the blog regularly and since I made an alternate account for my fanfiction and general nerdiness (where I have since spent a majority of my time on Twitter). I’ve actually lost followers over there since the SotC2020 post (where I was apparently at 147 followers) and am now at 136. Ha, whoops. Guess when you’re not active, people don’t want to follow you. However. I am fairly active on my anime twitter (or as the kids say, anitwt) account, where I share my fanfiction and headcanons and enjoy fanart and other fan works, etc. and have made all kinds of new friends across the globe. On that account, I have 258 followers. So, while it wasn’t exactly intentional, I did end up meeting my goal of having 300 followers on Twitter. I didn’t exactly make a target for the blog (unless “doubling again” was my target? I was clear on the Twitter number, less clear on the blog numbers) but given that I stopped posting after April, I’m not surprised I have not broken 400 here yet.

Finally, my reading goals. This was always ambitious, and I don’t actually know how much I read last year. The only books I distinctly remember reading were Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I also did a quick skim/reread of Dragonflight by Anne McCafferey (as reference for a fic I was writing). Which, is significantly less than 35 books. However. I read so much fanfiction. Like, an ungodly amount. My ao3 history is 50 pages long, with 20 fics to a page. That doesn’t necessarily mean I read 1000 fics last year. Sometimes you follow a link to read the tags/summary and decide you don’t want to read it but it stays in your history as if you’ve read it (unless you’re meticulous and go through your history to delete the ones you know you didn’t read). But it also doesn’t log a new instance of a fic if you go back and reread it (though it will say “visited X times, last visit [date]”) and there were many fics I went back and reread multiple times. Several of those were 60k+. Heck, one of my favorites was 120k and I definitely read it twice. Same author has a 65k fic that I read at least 3 times. So yeah, while I didn’t exactly read 35 books, I am positive I read an equivalent amount in fanfics.

Wow. This was honestly eye opening, and high key confidence boosting. All year I kept lamenting at how little I was writing, how few books I had read, etc. and there I was, reading and writing all the things anyway. I do that though, catch myself wallowing in self pity because I think I’m not doing enough, and then my friends bust into my DMs to remind me I wrote 60k in 5 weeks (in the midst of a friggin hurricane, no less) over the end of summer or even more recently when I wrote 20k in 10 days and felt bad because I had promised one more story that I didn’t get to finish “in time” for the event I was writing for. All while working on a longform fic for another event due next month.

So I didn’t meet all my goals for the year, or I met them in roundabout ways, but all in all, the year wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. I wrote more than 70 short stories (including some novella length fics). I even got out of my comfort zone a couple times and experimented with different styles of writing, different genres (wrote my first explicit sex fic and am still a little embarrassed; I do not know how smut writers do it on the regular), and different character pairings. I was also gifted art for some of my fics! There are a few things that can make a writer’s entire day, and aside from comments, art of your work is tops. Make artist friends. It’s such a morale booster.

Other good things that happened this year, because there were good things in the midst of the chaos: I mentioned the D&D in passing. There are 6 of us plus our DM and while we’ve only had 2 sessions so far (getting everyone’s schedules to align is a challenge and a half) they’ve been super fun. It’s nice getting to hang out with my friends even if we can’t get together. I’ve also spent every Friday night since…mid-October? I think? playing Among Us with a different group of friends from back home. That’s its own blessing because it’s a weekly thing and we all hop on Discord to voice chat while we try to sus out the impostors before they can kill everyone. It definitely gives me something to look forward to every week. Also, Discord! What a revelation! I joined my first servers last year because of a fan writing event I am taking part in, and have found other communities there to meet new people and talk about common interests as well.

Non-internet related things: had a really great performance review at work over the summer. It was bittersweet because in a normal year, it would have meant a promotion and significant pay raise, but given Covid cost reductions, I was lucky not to get a pay cut or lose my job. In that vein, I was also able to pay off all my credit cards before the end of the year! (Promptly put a good chunk back on them while Christmas shopping, haha, but the stimulus will cover some of that.) Now my only debt is normal adult debt like student loans and a mortgage! Given the pandemic, we had to put our anniversary trip on hold, and we didn’t really take any vacation otherwise, but that hurricane in August knocked power out to like 80% of the state for days so we took a mini break and loaded up the cats and the contents of our freezer and fled to my mom’s where we stayed for a couple days and lounged by the pool. (Silver linings and all that.)

There are probably more things, but I can’t think of them right now. I’ve been rambling on quite long enough at this point but before I sign off, I do want to look towards the year ahead. I spent all this time making a recap post on a dusty blog, surely this means I intend to post again. The answer is…not complicated, per se, but it’s not as simple as “I am going to resume writing the prompts posthaste.” I do want to get back into the habit of writing here, but I haven’t decided what form that is going to take. Tentatively, I am looking at weekly posts. Whether they’ll simply follow the same trend as my old weekly updates where I blather on about my week outside of the prompts or wax poetic on a topic that’s been on my mind or if I’ll actually post new short stories or prompts is up in the air. Eventually, I would like to get back to the prompts. I’m just currently settled in my fanfiction writing (and have a backlog of WIPs) and am content with that.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me! Whether you’ve been here since the beginning, or only a few months, I appreciate you visiting my little closet in this corner of the internet. Here’s to 2021 being better than 2020 (the bar is so low, please 2021 you can do it)! See you soon!

PS-Like the blog? Like the short stories I write? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!

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