Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 In Review


Writing and Reading

  • As stated here at the start of 2009, I set out to read 30-40 books. I ended up reading 35, with a few more in progress on this last day of the year. Goal met. Some of these titles were classics and some of them academic texts, so I feel good about the diversity and quantity of books consumed.
  • I didn't have a specific target for short stories; I ended up reading 402. I'm excited about that.
  • My writing goal was 250k words. That didn't happen -- goal NOT achieved. I realized some time in April I wasn't going to make it and modified the goal to 150k words. I ended up coming in at 110k words, so I didn't make my revised target either. Still, I don't feel like it was a complete disaster. 110k words puts me at an average of just over 300 words a day. This was the first year I tracked my wordcount, so now I have a baseline.
  • My writing in 2010 consisted of 35 pieces, 14 stories and the rest reviews, essays and one interview. Of these 35 pieces, 14 were published in 2009, and a few may appear in 2010. I sold about 22% or 24,000 words of what I wrote. (That is to say, my total sold words for the year are about equal only to what a prolific Pro sells in a month or less!! Sigh.)
  • I didn't sell any of the 14 stories; I did receive Semi-Finalist placement for one story with the Writers of the Future and earned some Honorable mentions from them for others. I submitted to them every quarter, a goal I hadn't met in previous years. I also started seeing more personalized rejections, including some from Pro markets.
  • I submitted fiction consistently during the first half of the year and very inconsistently during the second half, so I only ended up with about 50 rejections, a lot fewer than in 2008.

The path forward for 2010 is clear; keep up the reading discipline, and ramp up greatly on the writing. Also, be much more focused on a consistent submission process. There's a ton of markets I still haven't tried once. Why the hell not? :-)


Health


SIGNIFICANT progress on these goals! I read several books on health and longevity, and implemented many practices, including aggressive supplementation and a pretty substantial change in dietary habits. I'm feeling better than I ever have. As far as controllable factors go, I intend to live a long time!

This was the first year I took running and cardio exercise kind of seriously, and the first year I tracked my progress.
  • I ran, on average, about 1.2 miles a day, or about 441 miles in 2009. I improved my running endurance a ton (I'd never run 7 kilometer mile sessions before, for instance), as well as my speed. This was the first year I even measured my speed. In May I managed a mile in under 7 minutes for the first time. Since about October I've managed the 7-minute mile very consistently, almost every time I run. I've practiced intervals and can now run on a steep incline. My goals for 2010 include continued improvement in both areas: to achieve more mileage and greater speed.
  • During the last quarter of the year I also added resistance training to the mix. This combination has always been a huge challenge for me in the past (I would focus exclusively on either cardio or resistance), so I'm really happy to have been able to integrate both.
My cardio and strength training plans and goals are part of an overarching strategy to assist mitigate the natural effects of the ageing process and retard it as much as possible. What I need to do in 2010 to take this initiative to the next level is subject myself to a battery of medical tests (originally I'd wanted to do this in 2009) so I can begin to quantify my progress in much more detail than simple things like body fat % and BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, etc. I've started work on a list for tests I want to undergo in 2010. Gots to do what you gots to do.

  • On a work-related team-builder a few months ago we went bowling; it was my second (maybe third) time ever in a bowling alley. Though I really sucked, I enjoyed it quite a bit and have been back about a dozen or so times since. I'm finding it more enjoyable than I would anticipated. It's a nice addition to the cardio and strength training routines. My high score is 179. My high score goal for 2010 is 200. We'll see :-)



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