In the summer of 2009, I made a list of five productivity milestones I wanted to hit in the next five years. With the recent acquisition of my thousandth short story rejection, I now have ALL of them.
- Completed Short Stories
- Novel Draft Completion
- Novel Submission
Some of these goals were obviously harder to achieve than others. I hit my 120th story and millionth word like two years ago. But still, at the time I wrote this list, I was nowhere close to any of these goals. I’d written about 300,000 words and 70ish stories and only had maybe 350ish rejections. So these goals were only achievable if I put in an order of magnitude more effort than I was currently doing.
That summer was also maybe six months before I quit drinking, I was nowhere close to getting my life in order. In fact, at that point, I was about to apply to eleven MFA programs that’d all reject me in the coming year. But, nonetheless, I went ahead and made these goals. And, in the coming years, I took them seriously. I feel like there’s a lesson here, of some sort, even though that lesson is totally counter to the advice I usually give (which is to set low-ball goals that you are sure of being able to achieve).
 Achieved on 9/9/9
 Achieved on 4/25/10
 Achieved on 5/13/10
 Achieved on 8/26/11 (nineteenth month sobriety anniversary too)
 Achieved on 9/9/10
 Achieve on 4/21/11
 Achieved with rejection by…somewhere, I dunno…around 6/30/10
 Achieved with a rejection by…I dunno…Asimov’s? Around 12/19/11
 Achieved on 4/24 with a rejection by Asimov’s
 Achieved on, I believe, 10/27/10
 Achieved w/ submission of This Beautiful Fever to an agent on 12/19/11