Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Thursday, 01 January 2004

I'm starting this in the morning, although I don't expect I'll post it until evening as usual. In the next room, Jackie is working on her plan for the new year, looking at the notes she made a year ago for the year just past.

Looking back at my past new year's day entries, I see that I've never really done a "year just past" summary nor made a plan for the new year. This year, though, I feel like it.

I'm somewhat of two minds with regard to my writing. On the one hand, I'm pretty happy with the writing itself. I've enjoyed doing it and I'm very pleased with some of the stories I've finished. I'm a bit less pleased with my marketing efforts, and a bit discouraged at the results of those efforts.

With my new tracking database, it's easy to get some statistical info. I made 11 story submissions in 2003. I got 14 responses including 1 sale. (I've considered making a little automated tool to pull current-year info out of the database for including on my journal page, but I don't think I'm going to. The purpose would be to encourage me to get stories out to editors because I'd want to make the numbers look better, but I'm afraid it might have a negative effect--the numbers would be static much of the time, even if I got a lot better at getting stories out promptly, and I'm afraid I'd end up finding it discouraging instead.)

I wrote a lot over the course of 2003, but I only got 2 new stories finished, critiqued, rewritten, and out to editors. There are 2 others that were critiqued and that I expect to get rewritten and out reasonably soon, but finishing stories and getting them out to markets is obviously something I can improve at.

I need to get my stories back out to markets more quickly after they're rejected. So, there's one resolution for the new year.

The other thing that I focused a lot of effort on this year, besides writing, was fitness. There I can claim a definite success. At the start of the year I couldn't run half a mile, but by mid-summer I could run six, and did so on several occasions. I ran in two races, one a 5k race and the other a 5.5 mile trail race. I lost thirty pounds and took off three inches around my waist.

As important as making the gains, I've preserved them into the winter. I've always lost some weight and gotten more fit over the course of the summer, but most years I lose it all (and then some) over the winter. This past year, pretty much for the first time in my life, I've kept running in November and December. Looking ahead, I have great confidence that I can get myself out to run enough in January and February that I'll still be reasonably fit come spring. That will be something new--in my entire adult life I've never been fit come March or April.

One extra thing to help this next year will be a February vacation somewhere warm. (We're currently eyeing the U.S. Virgin Islands.) That gives us something to look forward to over the next few cold, dark weeks. It will also give me a week of warm weather for exercising outdoors--and a little extra incentive to exercise enough over the next few weeks so I'll be in shape enough to take full advantage of that week.

The past two weeks we've done a good job of getting to the Fitness Center every other day. I'm making gains again, particularly on the assisted chin-ups.


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