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So 2020 has been quite the year. I’m not going to rehash what all happened, because let’s be honest. Unless you’ve literally been living in a cave since February, you know, and if you have been living in a cave, well, you’re likely not reading this blog.

It brought a lot of change, which while not great in the how it did, change that will hopefully move us better for the future and the coming year. But that’s not why I’m writing this post. This post isn’t about the future, but about looking back at the year from my goals as an author and seeing where exactly I lined up with them. Maybe digging into a little of the why, though I know a big portion of the why already wtihout needing too much reflection on that part.

So let’s remind ourselves of the goals I’d put into motion via a post on this blog back in January:

  1. Publish at least 2 short stories in 2020
  2. Publish one full-length novel in 2020
  3. Read 50 books in 2020
  4. Relaunch jewelry shop
  5. Sticker shop – create and open

Okay, so let’s go through each and every one of these together and see how I did.

1. Publish at least 2 short stories in 2020? Accomplished! I was able to publish two shorts this year, so woo! go me!

Treasure of the Deep follows Kari, a headstrong Princess that loves to explore the ocean floor for treasure. But her heart ends up at risk when she saves a diver from a shark attack.

On the Clock is a super short read that follows an office tryst.

2. Publish one full-length novel, which did not happen. I’ve got it in editing still, though I am hoping to get some headway in it over the week between Christmas and New Years because I have it off from my 9-5 job that has gotten demanding. – Failed

I can say that I didn’t have the time, or that things came up, which feels true in most senses. But part of it has been I’ve been having trouble focusing on words as a whole. There’s not one thing that I can narrow it down to, but I will say that work has stressed me out more and I’ve found more than one night where I was working on things well past 6pm from home because I needed to make sure something gets done by a certain time. Which after the stress is gone has left me literally wanting to sleep more than anything.

Here’s hoping that getting elbows deep into the editing will mean I can get it polished and out by end of January, maybe mid February at the latest.

3. Read 50 books in 2020 – Failed

I’m gonna be completely honest, this is another fail. I haven’t had time to write, and that also leads to haven’t had time to read much. I think I read like three books this year. I’m in the middle of one that I’m finishing for a review coming Wednesday. But mostly, I’ve been using my time for crafts instead of writing or reading because there’s an instant gratification  of having it done like an hour later and it’s been really fun and made me smile.

4. Relaunch the jewelry shop – Accomplished

This one is technically accomplished. The etsy shop is up and running, though I need to dig into some serious work on getting it back to where it was. A lot of that is involving sitting down and doing a hard inventory and cleaning, but I did get the shop up and it has some items listed on it, and we did make one sale for 2020. So I count it as a win!

5. Start a sticker shop – Kind of accomplished?

So this goal kind of changed after a little while. After really working on stickers, I decided that the time it takes to design them, lay them out, cut them, make sure the print and cut is correct, that it’s time I would rather put into trying to write or read or do other crafts that I enjoy a little more. Like, it was a fun experiment. I made stickers for about two months for my self. I use my cricut machine like crazy still for other things.

But trying to keep up with designs for every week and month is a lot of work. Like full time job work. And if I’m going to put that much work into something, I’d much rather put that time and energy into my author stuff.

Now, I know you’re looking at it though and going, but Meri, you marked it as kind of accomplished. Why is that? Because deciding not to start a sticker shop isn’t technically accomplishing that goal, it’s technically more taking it off the table. Well that’s because while I didn’t open a sticker shop, I did open MBenson Creations on Etsy.

My original jewelry shop is fine gemstone jewelry. Real stones in a sterling silver or 14K gold setting.

MBenson Creations is going to be more of a catchall for my non-fine gemstone jewelry stuff. So I have some acrylic pour necklaces up right now. I’m looking to list a few bookmarks I’ve made, as well as some resin keychains I’ve made. Once I finally get books that are large enough to make into books that can be published on demand I can offer signed copies through this Etsy shop as well. A place for all my creative creations to go up on.

I could have listed them all through the same shop technically, but at the same time I personally wanted a difference in branding for the two. So it made sense to separate them.  But because I did actually create a new shop for that stuff, while not a sticker shop, I count it as an accomplished goal because it revolves around the same goal.

So looking back over, I’ve accomplished three out of five goals. Which in the grand scheme of things, is actually fairly good.

I’ve also jotted down new ideas for some shorts or novels depending on where they go once I get to writing them. I’ve started a joint novel with a friend, and she’s determined to push us to get it out by the end of next year, so goals you’ll be seeing in my next post regarding that.

While 2020 has been crazy, it’s also been a somewhat productive year between the 9-5 stress I’ve been handling. So all in all, while it hasn’t been the easiest year to deal with and learning to work at home has been interesting, more in the I’ve learned that I have problems walking away after I’ve technically clocked out and am not getting paid for the work I’m doing now, I’ve made some good strides as a whole.

Hopefully, looking back on your 2020, you’ll find some bright spots among the cloud that’s been hanging out over the year and can find some reasons to smile, take a deep breath, and move toward 2021 with your head held high and your optimism next to you.