Thursday, December 30, 2021

I Did It! 2021 (Apocalypse Year 2) Edition

For the past eight years, I've tracked my annual accomplishments via an annual I Did It! list, originally inspired by writer Lisa Romeo. Previous posts can be found here: 2020 (Apocalypse Year 1), 2019 (including decade-in-review), 201820172016201520142013

This year has felt strange, like suspended animation (or, perhaps, like college friends and I used to joke, animated suspense). Part of that has been the ongoing (never-ending) pandemic, of course, but also the limbo phase between having a book accepted for publication and actually seeing it in print (for all of you who keep asking me, "Isn't it published yet?" believe me, I feel your pain). Book work over the last year has been marked by long periods of waiting punctuated by brief flurries of activity (copy edits, proof review, etc.), which makes it hard to feel like I've accomplished anything at all. Let's review the last year and see if that's actually true.

Writing I-Did-Its!

There were the aforementioned layers of review of The Book, as well as inroads into promotion, reveal of the cover, and corresponding updates to my website and various profiles. (Do go here to pre-order if you haven't already.)

I also finished drafting a second book, a collection of essays on nature and motherhood. For some reason finishing this book felt anticlimactic. Maybe because three-fifths of it had already been written and published, so most of "drafting" it involved revising words already on the page. Or maybe because I expect the road to publication to be steeply uphill. But none of that means I don't deserve a little pat on the back, so here it is: pat, pat.

As far as short pieces go, I'm still struggling to both write and submit/publish. My submission stats for the year:

  • Submissions: 8
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Rejections: 6
  • Publications: 1

"A Review of World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil" Literary Mama, May/June 2021

I know this is supposed to be a positive post, but oof, that's painful. Possibly the worst since I started this tradition. 

Other writing accomplishments:

  • 11 Newsletters
  • 36 blog posts (plus this one, which puts us one ahead of 2020)
  • I worked on a novel (a different one from the one I worked on last year), getting to 14,000 words before deciding I can't stand it. One day I'll make it all the way to 60,000.
  • I continued editing the Literary Reflections department at Literary Mama as well as being a senior editor, helping to bring each issue to publication.
  • I started training to become a book coach. I didn't get as far into the program as I would have liked due to time management issues, but it's my goal for 2022 to complete the training and start bringing on clients.
  • I got back into teaching nature journaling, with one remote workshop and two in-person, including one at a nature journaling conference in Acadia National Park, which was a delight.
  • I gathered a group of Maine writers I know (some of whom I only knew from the internet), who all happen to be knitters, and formed a writing group called Maine Writers and Knitters. I hosted our first get-together in October, which mostly involved getting to know each other and eating, but also included a fun and slightly woo-woo writing exercise. We clicked really well and had a second get-together early this month, this time with actual writing workshops, and we have a third planned for February. It feels so good to have some actual writing community.
  • I (virtually) attended a poetry festival and a crime writing conference.
Travel and Adventure I Did Its!

Again it wasn't much of a year for travel, but I got out a bit more than I did last year.
  • We resumed our annual Hermit Island camping trip after a two-year hiatus (one year because of the pandemic and one because of work), and I resolved to never let a crappy job get between me and my family again (ultimately quitting that crappy job).
  • We went on a fair number of kayak and canoe trips on local lakes and ponds (some of which I did solo).
  • I swam across a nearby pond with a friend once or twice a week during July and August.
  • I went on a solo hike to a tiny cabin at a nearby nature preserve.
  • I drove all the way to Colorado and back, all by myself, to help out my parents for a couple of weeks in November.
Arts and Crafts I Did Its!

My word for 2021 was "finish" and I had a list of 21 things I wanted to finish this year, many of them craft projects (some of which were WIPs and some of which were mere ideas). These are the crafty things that got finished:
  • Some handmade dollhouse furniture.
  • That '70s quilt
  • Wavy charms quilt
  • Chalk painted furniture
  • New bedroom curtains
  • Birds & blooms quilt
  • Little bird embroideries
  • The endless knitting project that I'd started at the beginning of the pandemic I put down sometime last spring and didn't pick it up again until October. It's nearly done, but I'm at a stumbling place and not quite sure how to go on, so it will have to hold off until next year's list. I also have another needlework project that's so close to being done, but not close enough to make it onto this year's list.
  • Finally, I started doing illustrations for my second book (mentioned above). I'd hoped to finish them up this month, but all of my time got sucked up by holidays, child transporting, and pandemic/ democracy anxiety.
Household I Did Its!
  • My big accomplishment here was my bedroom refresh and reading nook
  • I also deep-cleaned the living room and finally replaced our 1990s college student decor with a real couch and two swivel/glider chairs (I can't believe I don't have any photos or a blog post of these--probably because they are not the beautiful midnight blue velvet couch and orange patterned chairs I dreamed of but rather boring tan, gray, and beige). 
  • I made some more inroads into basement cleaning (two steps forward and one back in that department, always--E moved out of the room he shared with Z to the basement; and lives sprawled between the main area and M's room; then this month M moved all of his stuff home from college in preparation for a semester abroad. And everyone throws anything they don't want down there.)
  • I continued to expand my Fiesta ware collection, but at a more sedate pace than the previous year (I think this is a topic that deserves a blog post).
  • I cleaned up the sunroom, repotted several plants so now almost everything is in a pretty, non-plastic pot, and repainted two ugly plant stands a lovely bright turquoise (again, gonna need a blog post on this!).
  • expanded my pollinator garden and kept it semi-weed-free.
Nature I Did Its!
  • I did a lot of birding, especially in the spring (110 eBird checklists and 118 species), and C and I did the Christmas Bird Count for something like the seventh year in a row. I even got a couple of life birds right here on our own property, as well as one in Colorado.
  • I did a little bit of butterfly-ing and dragonfly-ing, but not as much as I would have liked.
  • I kept track of all of the wildflowers (starting with tree flowers) as they emerged in the spring and early summer (falling out of the habit in July/August) with a photo on Instagram.

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