Turning Up the Heat on Achieving Progress: My Third-Quarter 2021 Goals Check-In

What a difference three months makes.

Or perhaps more accurately, what a difference one week makes.

The third quarter of the year has come and gone. Q3 is the one that contains two full months of summer, which for me is usually a good time for getting things done. This is due to both longer days and having time off work for vacation.

But this summer wasn’t a typical summer, not least due to the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic. To be frank, Q3 was … challenging. How so? I explain below.

My goals for 2021 and progress over Q3 are as follows:

1) Writing life goals

  • Query my completed novel – Paused (Q1: In progress, Q2: In progress)
  • Read four key reference books in support of my next novel – 40% (25%, 40%)
  • Draft my next novel – 25% (~5%, approaching 20%)
  • Start researching my next-next novel – Begun yet paused (0%, begun yet paused)
  • Read the first draft of my WIP’s sequel and make general/overall revision notes 100% (completed)
  • Make a beat sheet for the next draft of my WIP’s sequel – 0% (Q2: 0%)

Summary of progress: To begin with, it wasn’t all bad. I didn’t do any querying at all this quarter—but this is due to having received R&Rs from a few agents. R&R stands for “revise and resubmit”, which sometimes happens when an agent sees the potential in your novel’s concept and your writing, but for some reason they feel the book is not quite there yet.

I received some feedback from three different agents which, while all different, would call for basically the same sort of revision to address it. So I’ve been working on that for two months now and am currently about two-thirds through. My goal is to finish this month and to resume querying, which I’ll continue into next year as necessary.

I didn’t read any reference books in Q3, even though there are still three that I wanted to finish by year end. Part of this is because the time I usually did this reading, 5:00am every morning, is now when I work on my R&R.

But that’s only been since September. For the whole month of July, I physically could not get up at 5:00am due to lasting effects from the major event that happened at the end of June.

The Pacific Northwest Heat Dome.

This was an unprecedented weather event for the PNW, including Vancouver, BC, where I live—a dramatic manifestation of the climate emergency the world is facing.

For an entire week, temperatures soared to 35+ degrees Celsius (95°F) along the coast (even higher inland), with the coastal humidex measuring as high as 46°C (115°F) degrees.

There was no wind, no rain, no dramatic cool-down overnight. In my apartment, and so many homes in typically cool and rainy Vancouver, no air conditioning. No relief whatsoever from the unending sensation of sitting inside an oven, with so much humidity that your sweat never evaporates.

Hundreds of people in the province died. It was a traumatic, mind-altering, and life-altering experience.

And all this during the fourth wave of the pandemic.

I could write so much more about the horror of it all, but suffice it to say that when the dome finally lifted a week later and the weather cooled down (and it really only cooled to “normal hot” for the summer, which was still hot), for weeks I was left utterly exhausted, as wrung out as a damp washcloth.

I couldn’t get up early to read. I could only do so much work on my new WIP. I’d tried working on it during the heat dome as a distraction, with predictable abysmal results from my 46-degree brain.

I deleted every word I’d written, which honestly wasn’t that many to begin with.

When I went on vacation back home to my parents’ house, I spent an inordinate amount of time sleeping. It was “summertime hot” there too, and the feeling of never being cool weighed on me endlessly.

I’m now back home and it’s autumn in Vancouver. I’ve never been more grateful for the need to put on a sweater.

I’d already paused at researching for my next-next novel back in Q1. It was hard enough holding three different stories in my head then; I certainly wasn’t about to try doing so in 46 degrees.

Neither have I started making a beat sheet for the next draft of my old WIP’s sequel. I’d really like to do this, but honestly am not sure I’ll get to it this year.

Once I finish my R&R, my biggest priority is my new WIP because I feel like it’s something really special, and that right now is an ideal moment for this sort of story.

2) Real life goals

  • Get more exercise (closer to my pre-pandemic amount) – Maintaining current level with increased strength/endurance (Q1: In progress, Q2: Maintaining current level)
  • Make a will – 0% (0%, 0%)
  • Miscellaneous career goals – 100% (completed) (Q1: In progress)
  • Finish de-cluttering my apartment (continued from 2020) – 0% (0%, 0%)

De-cluttering Checklist:

    • Living room

[ ] Bookshelf
[ ] Desk
[X] Armchair
[X] Magazine box
[ ] Couch

    • Dining room

[X] Table
[ ] Side chair

    • Kitchen

[X] Fridge
[X] Cupboards
[X] Drawers
[X] On top of cupboards
[X] Behind the oven
[X] Behind the fridge

    • Hallway

[X] Coat closet
[X] Shoe trays
[ ] Storage closet

    • Bathroom

[X] Shower caddy
[X] Medicine cabinet
[X] Cupboard under the sink

    • Bedroom

[X] Closet
[ ] Top of dresser/ornament shelf
[ ] Dresser drawers
[ ] Smallclothes drawers
[X] Bookshelf
[ ] Nightstand
[ ] Under the bed

Summary of progress: Because first it was hot and then I was away, both my motivation and opportunity to work on some of these things was limited.

I didn’t exercise at all during the heat dome. This seem supremely unwise to me, although I did see others jogging and cycling, and profusely sweating away their precious body fluids.

However, I did resume running after that. I continued to run while away as well, which yielded a great surprise: I felt stronger.

The area I was visiting was very hilly and I was worried I’d find it challenging. But I didn’t. I even enjoyed myself in the process, which is not something I’d experienced with running since discovering that I’m anemic back in January. And this enjoyment has persisted since I’ve returned home.

The breakthrough, I think, has come as a result of a change to my supplementation regime. All along I’d been taking my iron pills with orange juice since vitamin C aids in iron absorption. But I don’t really like orange juice, so I started taking a vitamin C pill instead. Where 250ml of orange juice yields about 75mg of vitamin C, the pills I’m taking are 500mg.

Now that the cooler weather of autumn has come and I’m back home, I’m committed to making true progress on the other real life goals.


(Image source)

4 thoughts on “Turning Up the Heat on Achieving Progress: My Third-Quarter 2021 Goals Check-In

  1. I wonder if future generations will exist to look back on ours and wonder that we missed so many signs – and did nothing because politicians only really care about the next election.

    If next year is the same as this one for Vancouver, what will you do?

    Good to hear of the writing progress. I finally got an assistant (the only way I can make progress with my energy levels), and we are slowly hacking away at some of the stuff accumulated during the pandemic – or still left over from the move to California.

    It is worth a thought: if you had a bit of help, wouldn’t you plow through a whole bunch of these little annoying tasks quickly, and get them off your list forever? I do – because I admit I need the help, and even if all they do is sit there while I do the work and keep saying how I wish I were more organized – and the stuff gets done because I’m paying someone for her time. A lovely college senior, fully vaccinated, from our church – I consider every penny spent helping me get things done is a penny well spent. Guilt – that I can’t do it by myself with a major chronic illness – makes me use her time as effectively as possible. Cutting myself slack doesn’t get drawers sorted.


    • Future generations will definitely judge us harshly, as they should. We let this happen. I’m not sure what I’ll do next year. I’m trying to obtain a second tower fan so I don’t have to keep carrying the one I have with whenever I go to a different room but right now there are none to be had. I suppose I should be looking for one of those window air conditioner units too.

      I’m glad you got yourself an assistant. That will be a great asset to you. I am committed to getting these tasks tackled now that I’m physically able to again. I’ve already recommenced the de-cluttering!


  2. That heat wave was no joke. I was down in the Puget Sound. It hit 110. Walking across cement was like a full body experience reminiscent of taking a tray out of an oven. It just kept going.

    I know it’s been a while, (and several moves for me) since I last commented on one of your posts. Glad to see you still here!


    • Great to hear from you! Yes, I’m still here, less frequently than before but still on something of a schedule. That heat wave seriously altered something in my psyche. I don’t think I’ll ever love summer again the way I used to.


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