A Cautious List of Accomplishments for 2018 (so far)

As the year begins its gradual slide into the next quarter, I thought it would be a good idea for me to list down my accomplishments for the year. It’s easy to dwell on defeats and I’ve been feeling very defeated by life. And this has been a year of bereavement and disappointment. But, other things have been happening as well. It’s just like 2016, that other year of bereavement — and I felt I was bloody under-performing for most of it but I had publications nearly every month. I look back in awe at that year but it was also really emotionally exhausting and harrowing. I had less publications in 2017 which was my year of illness, but two of those publications were in Clarkesworld and that’s definitely something to write home about. No meteoric rise to fame, me. And I still don’t have an agent. But I haven’t done too badly, all’s said and done.

Fiction/Poetry

  • 2 pro publications, 1 semipro publication (Fiction).
  • 4 fiction acceptances  (2 pro, 2 semipro)
  • 3 queries for a full for Watermyth, which I finally finetuned enough to be ready to be sent out as a full.
  • Reached 80k in Rosemirror in about a fraction of the time it took me to get there with Watermyth. I’m counting that as a triumph since I’d like to be a novelist who completes a novel a year if I could just bloody get an agent argh.
  • 1 poetry acceptance
  • 16 poems written so far.
  • The most poetry submissions in a year. Pity they’ve almost all been rejected.
  • 7 new short stories drafted or partially drafted so far.
  • 2 interviews this year for me as an author: 1 podcast/radio, 1 in the national papers

Academic

  • 5 sole-authored academic articles submitted (one was rejected)
  • 2 co-authored academic articles submitted (one as corresponding author, the other submitted by the student)
  • 1 book chapter written from scratch and submitted.
  • 2 conference papers written from scratch and presented (with very positive feedback)
  • Monograph proposal submitted  FINALLY and now in the process of finalising sample chapters to be sent for peer review. I guess that’s an achievement even though I feel very unsure/insecure about my chances? But at least I pushed this through the door, I guess.
  • Making connections with other universities through conferences and collaborations.
  • 2 research grant proposals submitted (one rejected, one pending). I’ll likely submit another 2 before the year is done because I need to head a research grant or 2 again for academic survival.
  • 3 PhD students submitted their dissertations. This one is HUGE, I feel.

Personal

  • My 6th month of calorie-counting every day, despite sourpuss naysayers (there’ve been many!) and various temptations.
  • I have lost 13kg since last year. It’s not a constant because I might have lost more had I not had weeks when I was travelling, at buffets, or had more than 2 cheat days in a row. But I’ve learned to forgive myself for these days and just get back on that horse.
  • Weightloss has resulted in: looser clothes, blood sugars reducing to the point that I no longer need insulin, a better heartrate, regular periods (albeit scanty-ish) again after having a fright for two years. I think my days of heavy periods are drawing to a close though, and well, I’m 43 so that’s to be expected.
  • I don’t know if I want to call my most social year to date a “success” because I feel grief has made me more social and that could be me running away from sadness. But it is true that I have been able to make more connections this year because I’ve been able to let people in to a degree I haven’t been able to since my return from Australia in 2011. I don’t know if it’s because grief broke me or what. But I finally feel like I can cautiously have friendships again and don’t feel like I’m going to implode. But careful, open communication and checking in with people seems to be key — so far. Also I guess, having people understand I’ll need to go off the grid every now and then as we grizzled introverted hermits need to do from time to time. I also need to acknowledge that I am bloody paranoid and can be quite skittish and that is something I need to constantly check in myself. But I do feel that I have climbed a huge mountain in terms of interpersonal communications this year and came down on the other side. So a cautious pat on the back for that?

I suppose at some point I’m going to look back in awe at what I’ve achieved this year. But right now what I’m feeling is tired, and frustrated because I don’t have more fiction/poetry acceptances, that my academic submissions have not been accepted, that I still don’t have an agent (I’ve been querying for over a year now). I also feel like I haven’t lost enough weight but that’s good because it’s motivation to keep going. I have a lot of weight to lose. It’s not a vanity thing — it’s because I want to ensure I am taking good care of my internal organs and not putting too much of a strain on them.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Reading a bit, writing a bit, and then to bed.

Listening to: Sheherazade: Ouverture de feerie — Maurice Ravel