A 2021 Wrap-Up Post that is still a bit “Fuck You,” but not as much as 2020

Well…2021 kinda sucked too. Not as much as 2020, for me personally. Overall? About the same, worldwide, in a multitude of ways, again.

But I did get to see my family this year, which I Did Not in 2020.

So that part of 2021? Pretty stellar, actually. A calendar for 2020 would be covered in angry black scrawls the whole year. A calendar for 2021 would be covered in slightly less angry black scrawls the whole year except for two weeks in late May covered in, I don’t know, doodles of flowers and deer and birds and trees or something.

Otherwise, 2021 was mostly slogging through my last year of grad school and procrastinating on my coursework because I was mad burnt-out and getting anxious about procrastinating on my coursework because oh my god we are graduating in December this shit needs to get DONE and ending up in the hospital but shockingly for gall stones rather than stress, which is the reason I would’ve thought I would’ve ended up in the hospital.

(Almost my entire college career was a Struggle and not how I thought it would go at 18, so I recently wrote a “how I got my agent master’s degrees post.”)

ANYWAY. As an official “fuck you, too,” to 2021, here’s some baller shit I did in 2021 despite its general terribleness.

Writing Done in 2021

  • Wrote a first draft of The Many Buried Things of Peter Shaughnessy (aka GroundskeeperWIP) in just 79 days, my fastest draft ever.

(Side note: This is that sad, spooky story mentioned in the 2020 wrap-up post. More on the story in my last post. It took up so much of my life this year that it’s almost amazing I didn’t say more about it, except that I barely blogged this year.)

  • Revised that draft in just 34 days, also a new record for me.
  • Drafted, revised, & submitted a 3500-word contemporary short about the aftermath of a platonic breakup (and got rejected, and submitted several more times, and am waiting to hear back).
  • Drafted, revised, almost gave up on, continued revising, & finally submitted an 8500-word contemporary fantasy short about a girl searching for her missing father, merfolk, and identity.

This one was also rejected from the thing I originally wrote it for and submitted it to, but good news! After I yeeted it to a couple more places, it was accepted by GutSlut Press for their anthology Suicidaliens, due out in February of 2022. I read the email about a dozen times, then screenshotted it and DMed it to a friend like “okay so before I respond to this and make a dumbass of myself, am I reading it right?”

Yes. Yes I was reading it right. It was not a rejection. Someone somewhere wants some of my prose. Holy shit.

  • Was commissioned for, drafted, revised, sweated over the word count of, continued revising, and submitted a 12,500-word (I know) contemporary fantasy short about a girl escaping an abusive home, a transgender forest witch, and carnivorous trees hungry for the blood of abusers.

Since this was actually a commission from my friend and fantastic self-pubbed author SJ Whitby, this one is also coming out in 2022, no rejections required thank god. Keep an eye out for the AWAKENINGS anthology in March 2022!

I’m actually super in love with this story. No details about it right now, because I can’t risk my person knowing I’m their Secret Santa prior to the gift exchange on January 3, but holy shit I’m in love with this story. Not only do I love the story itself, but I drafted it in 24 hours – after spending weeks or even months agonizing over the other shorts I did this year – revised it in an additional 24 hours, ended up with a word count I don’t have to sweat over, and can’t stop thinking about the characters. I’ve even lowkey started drafting other scenes both pre- and post-story about them, and I’ve already submitted the story itself to a couple publications.

Will it expand into something more later on? Will the original get published anywhere? I’m not promising myself anything right now, but I love this story so much, oh my god.

  • Started planning against my will my next contemporary fantasy novel (“next,” a word here meaning “after I revise GroundskeeperWIP again and yeet it at some agents”), which for now is called FakeDeathgagement and is exactly what it sounds like.
  • Yeeted The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher at two publishers (one solicited, one not) because why the fuck not.
  • Also, my mother, who doesn’t care for fantasy, read about Edna and loved the story and is now a marketing team of one, like damn if this were published people would be buying it through the sheer force of Mom.

Top Reads of 2021

I exclusively read awesome books this year…when I wasn’t reading academic shit for grad school. So this is going to be more like a complete list of reads for 2021, because honestly I’m not sure I can pick top ones out of such fucking fantastic books.

Basically, just give me anything by Talia Hibbert henceforth. I had already read Chloe Brown but reread it simply because it’s a delight and a comfort, and I finally bought and read the other two books in the Brown Sisters series and read them each in a day or two. I don’t have them with me at this moment because I’m writing this blog post from my parents’ house, and honestly I’m lowkey mad about it.

Why didn’t I pack these books. How could I be so stupid.

I’ll also take anything by TJ Klune henceforth. This is the cozy fantasy I’ve been craving! Except for, y’know, the one that’s not, y’know, fantasy. But still. Anything. I’ll take it.

Other Random Nonsense in 2021

  • 84 different bird species seen or heard and identified more or less positively, which is actually higher than my numbers for 2019! I’m sure the fact that I was better about bringing my field guide with me on walks, purposefully went out during the Biggest Week in American Birding, and remembered I own binoculars had nothing to do with it. Anyway, I saw several species that were new to me, even when I was in Ohio instead of Georgia, and I wrote a cool ridiculous thread about them all on Twitter.
  • Continued to Do Things to Our House, which is now actually quite nice and considerably more functional despite not being any bigger ❤
  • Finally thought to plant native prairie plants in the super sandy, rocky bit of garden out on the corner, so fingers crossed that bit starts to look sort of somewhat maybe nice come summer!
Gif from the movie sing: Buster Moon does a drumroll on the table in anticipation.
  • despite all the bullshittery and the objectively stupid decision to take two master’s programs at once, WE DID IT, BITCHES. YA GIRL GRADUATED WITH TWO WHOLE MASTER’S DEGREES.
Photo of me in cap and gown and hoods, holding up two degrees.
You can’t tell, but I’m wearing both hoods in this picture. Even though they did actually make me take off the first one to go back and get the second.

tl;dr: TAKE THAT, 2021. You may have sucked about as much as 2020, but I still wrote and read and did a bunch of awesome shit. Take. that.

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