Looking Back At My 2019 Goals

Awaken The Monster Within by Michael David Wilson

As regular listeners to the This Is Horror Podcast will know I’m very goal- and challenge-focussed. I always like to ensure my goals have specific metrics, so rather than say ‘write more stories’ or ‘lift heavier weights’ I quantify things. I’m also more concerned with the spirit of the goal than the actual goal, asking ‘what is the overall purpose?’ I came head-to-head with this in 2017 during the ‘one story per week’ challenge when I found myself at a crossroads, asking ‘do I write this awesome novella that’s made itself known to me or do I put it on the backburner for the sake of writing 52 short stories?’ When The Girl in the Video (available to pre-order here) comes out this April, I hope you’ll agree I made the right decision. With that said—or at least written if you aren’t reading aloud—it’s time to look back at those goals from 2019.

To have at least ten stories published

This was my number one goal and I’m delighted to say I achieved it and in record time. My tenth story, ‘The Motorhome‘ was published in September 2019 and I ended the year on a high with twelve stories published and two stories accepted for future publication, The Girl in the Video in 2020 and House of Bad Memories in 2021. I’m delighted to say I’ve now had another story accepted for 2020 with a publisher who’s never published me before, so I’m looking forward to unveiling that in due course.

Fun bonus goal

I set myself the unofficial goal of submitting to every single Hawk & Cleaver The Other Stories Podcast call. I did this because I love the hell out of that podcast and wanted to stretch myself in terms of what I’m writing. In the end, I submitted to all but one of their themes (I didn’t submit to Haunted Art in November as I was busy preparing for my return to Japan and had already completed my ’10 stories published’ goal). Rather wonderfully, of all the stories I submitted, all but one were picked up (and I’m very proud of the story that didn’t make the cut, so expect to see that someplace else in the future).

To reach 300 This Is Horror Podcast patrons

I didn’t reach this goal but we did manage to increase This Is Horror Podcast Patreon from around 150 patrons at the start of the year to just over 200 by the end of the year. Hardly a failure all things considered. Here’s hoping we can reach 300 patrons by the end of this year.

To develop a daily meditation practice

This is something I’ve been eager to cultivate for a number of years now. I’m an on-off meditator and have yet to find a meditation practice that resonates with me so much that I do it every single day. I’ve been practising using Sam Harris’s Waking Up app recently and I certainly recommend checking it out. For now, the optimal meditation practice eludes me but when I find it, I’ll be sure to let you good people know.

To surpass 30,000 This Is Horror Podcast monthly downloads

Another goal not quite met. This Is Horror Podcast attracts 10,000–20,000 monthly downloads. We’ve upped the frequency of episodes to twice per week for the entirety of January and February so I’ll be interested to see if that moves the needle. What we did do was have one of our best years in terms of This Is Horror Podcast conversations, including our epic four-hour podcast with eight guests. If you’ve yet to listen to the This Is Horror Podcast please check out episode 300 right away. We chat with Adam Nevill, Joe R. Lansdale, Josh Malerman, Alma Katsu, Damien Angelica Walters, Stephen Graham Jones, Jon Padgett, and Kathe Koja.

Listen to episode 300 of This Is Horror Podcast 

To have a novel accepted for publication

So, I didn’t have a novel accepted for publication but then again I didn’t shop a novel for publication. What I did do was submit House of Bad Memories to those fine folks at Grindhouse Press. At 35,000 words long it’s almost a novel, so if edits come back and I add another 5,000 words I may have to retroactively declare this one a win. Either way, I’m very excited about this one and am positively ecstatic that not only do I have a book out this year (The Girl in the Video, I mentioned that, right?) but I’ll have one in 2021, too. Hooray!

So there it is, folks. Technically I achieved one of the five goals I set myself in 2019. 20% isn’t the greatest hit rate but I don’t feel like a failure. With the goal I did achieve, I exceeded the original target and I’ve made good gains in all other areas. But to look at the goals in isolation is to give a disingenuous overview of the year. I overcame a health scare at the start of the year, continued to make solid ground with my writing, spoke with some dream guests on This Is Horror Podcast, looked after a kid full-time (!), and in a couple of months, I’m returning to Japan.

2019 was better than it was bad. And the entire decade was awfully kind to me, too. It’s going to take some beating. But you know what? I’m excited about 2020 and I’m excited about this next decade. I can’t wait to see what I achieve.

Catch you in the next post where I’ll be announcing my goals for 2020.

Until then, have a great great day!

Listen to Three New Stories on The Other Stories and an Audio Play on Miscreation Podcast

Things We Say on Miscreation Podcast

It’s been three months since I last shared story news with you good people and I’m delighted to say that I’ve sold a number of stories in that time, mostly to Hawk & Cleaver’s The Other Stories Podcast. Here’s what I’ve sold and where you can listen to each.

Off Track

Kenichi just wants to kick-back and enjoy a teriyaki burger after a long day at work, but his plans are derailed, and home is the last place he should be.

Listen to Off Track
Narrated by Ian McEuen.
(The Other Stories. 38.2. March 2019)

As It Was

When Dahlia announces she’s not going to the party, Harry is forced to deal with the consequences.

Listen to As It Was
Narrated by Persephone Rose
(The Other Stories. 39.1. April 2019)

Things We Say

This is a brand new audio play version exclusive to Miscreation Podcast. There’s also a quick interview with me post-story. Thank you again to Francesca Regis and Ed Heap for fantastic performances and of course to Josh Curran who made Miscreation a reality.

Listen to Things We Say (Audio Play) 
Performed by Ed Heap, Francesca Regis.
(Miscreation | An Anthology of Audio-Drama Horror. April 2019)

Should I Kill Myself or Have A Cup of Coffee?

On his thirtieth birthday, a man contemplates whether to kill himself or have a cup of coffee.

Listen to Should I Kill Myself or Have A Cup of Coffee?
(The Other Stories. 40.2. May 2019)

I’ve also just sold ‘Uxoricide 93%’ to The Other Stories for their forthcoming ‘genetics’ theme and last month sold ‘The Boy in the Penguin Costume’ for their ‘strange inheritance’ theme bringing my published stories for the year, including my novella, The Girl in the Video, to eight so just two off my goal for the year with six months to go. Not bad for my first full year as a parent.

Oh, and my wife, Joanna Baldwin, sold a story to The Other Stories, too. Check out ‘Routine’ by Joanna Baldwin. 

In other news, after my health scares a couple of months back I’m continuing to recover. I feel healthy and optimistic about the future—long may it continue.

Have a great day, friends!