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Turning the Page: 2019 and 2020

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2019 was a pretty up and down year for me. I made a lot of personal goals, but also felt like I didn’t make much actual progress. I had a lot of uncertainly, but also a lot of success at my day job. I took an amazing trip to Ireland.
But let’s look at my actual goals for the year before the Page of Awesome resets for 2020.

Podcasts: 24/75.
In the end, I just don’t have as much time to podcast as I expected this time last year. I had planned to launch some new podcasts, but didn’t have much success. Still, I managed about two episodes of Nostalgia Pilots a month, and as we move into 2020, I am pleased with what we put out.
Short Fiction Submissions: 50/50. New short fiction: 5/10. Published short fiction: 1
Wattpad posts: 200/365
eBooks: 1/?
While I didn’t get quite as much writing done this year as I’d have liked, I made my goal on submissions, sending the last one out in the afternoon on New Years Eve. That particular story had been sitting in various editing piles for the last three years, and it was such a huge relief to finally get it out into the world, or at least into the hands of an editor.
My other big writing project was “Everyday Drabbles” and while I didn’t write every single day, I learned a lot about my own process and also learned that Wattpad has a strict 200-chapter limit. I’m continuing the project going in to 2020, with a few modifications. A qualified success.
Blog Posts: 150/150.
I made this goal this year, again, just under the wire. However, I didn’t make most of my goals for specific categories of posts.

So what are my goals for next year?
Steno Practice: 500 hours.
My day job situation this year taught me that I need more stability. And the only way I’m going to do that is prioritizing study and practice in the new year.
Write every day (300 days).
Edit every day (300 days).
It’s important to know that I’m not always going to succeed. Some days will just be too busy, or I’ll not be up for writing. I’m going to set specific goals for wordcounts and editing time month by month, but my goal is to build good writing habits this year.
Short story submission: 60. New short stories: 6 New Freelance Hunters stories: 6.
This year I made 50 story submission. Perhaps they were a bit scattershot, as I only made a few sales. But if I’m going to be writing and editing every day, I should be able to submit a new short story to markets every other month. I also have a bunch more Freelance Hunters shorts sitting in my editing drawer. When I’m not working on new stories, I’ll be working on them.
Nostalgia Pilots podcast episodes: 25
Everyday Drabbles audio podcasts: 50
I’d like keep up the schedule of putting out a new Nostalgia Pilots episode every other week this year. I can’t really audio edit more than that with my other jobs and commitments. This also fits with how often the four of us can get together to record.
Since I’m moving Everyday Drabbles away from Wattpad and onto my blog, I want to do something a little special to replace the Sunday Fiction post. I played with doing audio versions of my favorites during December, but had to step away due to holiday and end-of-year business. But I’m coming back to it in 2020.
Blog Posts: 400
Everyday Drabbles and other fiction posts: 250
Hugh Likes Review Posts: 50
Podcast reposts: 50
Other posts: 50
This is a pretty ambitious blog schedule, but discounting the Everyday Drabbles posts, it’s pretty doable, I think. The challenging part will be the ‘other’ posts. I’m going to try and write more personal blog posts and non-fiction writing on my blog this year. It’s not a kind of writing I’m very comfortable with, and I’d like to get better at it.
Other Goals:
1 or 2 self-published books.
1 Novel-length manuscript ready for agents.
Visit & Network at 3 conventions.

These are my goals for 2020. What are you planning for the next year?

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Hugh Likes Comics: Top 5 of 2019

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Die

Die
Written by Kieron Gillen
Drawn by Stephanie Hans
Published by Image Comics

Gillen’s story of a group of adults returning to the magical world they escaped as teenagers is a mix of It and the ’80’s Dungeons and Dragons Saturday morning cartoon. Hans brings a unique, painterly style that makes the world feel as strange for us on the readers. The comic itself is a deep, emotional examination of trauma and the rules we live and play by. But as the characters move across the fantasy world, Gillen repeatedly pulls off the trick of exposing the bleeding heart of what Fantasy is and why we make it.

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Fairlady
Written by Brian Schirmer
Drawn by Claudia Balboni, Shari Chankhamma, and Marissa Louise
Published by Image Comics

An intriguing mix of mystery and fantasy, Fairlady mixes a modern sensibility with pulp stylings to great effect. A sort of fantasy private eye, Jenner Faulds solves mysteries, bickers with her co-worker at her day job protecting an absent wizard’s tower, and gets bailed out of trouble by her seven-foot tall cat-man bestie. Each issue is a single mystery, and they’re all clever and interesting. Unfortunately, the book was canceled after issue 5, but the trade is available, and this isn’t a book to let pass you by.

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House of X / Powers of X
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Drawn by Pepe Larraz and R. B. Silva
Published by Marvel Comics

House of X and Powers of X were a big gamble, and it’s safe to say at this point that it’s paid off. After years of protecting a world that hates and fears them, the X-Men are trying something new, and approaching their enemies as a new force. The idea of a mutant nation has been tried and failed in the Marvel Universe, but this one has a lot of new, big ideas going for it. I can’t wait to see what Hickman and crew get up to next.

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Invisible Kingdom
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Drawn by Christian Ward
Published by Berger Books

The incisive writing of G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Air) and the art of Christian Ward (Black Bolt, ODY-C)is a heady mix. And the intertwined story of a cargo ship captain working for a monopolistic space corporation and an acolyte in a religious order with dark secrets is a little bit Alien and a little bit Star Wars in all the best ways.

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Lois Lane / Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (Tie)

Lois Lane
Written by Greg Rucka
Drawn by Mike Perkins
Published by DC Comics

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen
Written by Matt Fraction
Drawn by Steve Lieber and Nathan Fairbairn
Published by DC Comics

I couldn’t pick between these two standout books, both of which came out around the same time, but are only slightly connected. Both are deep studies of neglected characters that are very different in tone and style from D.C.’s usual fare.
Lois Lane is a hard-boiled story about the world’s greatest investigative reporter as she delves into a conspiracy that cost one of her colleagues her life, with help from Renee Montoya, AKA The Question. It plays the Journalist as superhero part to the hilt, and it is something worth cheering for.
Jimmy Olsen is a more comical and surreal update of the silver age teen sidekick, as he goes into hiding after thinking Lex Luthor put out a hit on him. But this is also the comic where Jimmy Olsen finds himself in a prank war with Batman. Fraction is writing at the height of his Hawkguy powers here, and it’s strange, fascinating, and hilarious.

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