Ranking Side Projects for 2020

Dec. 29, 2020

Looking back at side projects in 2020

The year-end is obviously a good time for reflection. Needless to say, the year 2020 is anything but normal. I have always been a bit on the insecure side but 2020 surely kicked that feeling up a notch. The fear for an uncertain future and the (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime pandemic made for a case to double-down the focus on projects outside of my full-time job.

As a result, this year I completed more side projects than ever before and completed a few new commitments. I re-read James Clear classic 'Atomic Habit' for habit development for the new commitments. I extended the working relationship with LinkedIn Learning for a few more courses and signed new contracts to translate my book into traditional Chinese (more on this later).

All in all, I would like to use this post to reflect on some of the goals and commitments in 2020 and pick the one that I feel is the most significant. Here are some of the finalists:

My Pick for the #1 Project is...

I am proud of all the projects I completed and goals accomplished in 2020. I worked hard on all of them and there is a little bit of me in every single one. But that truly is near and dear to my heart is the translated copy of 'Mastering Python Networking 3rd edition' into Traditional Chinese:


There are many reasons for picking it as the #1 project in 2020 for me. At the top of the list is that it is something I have been wanting to do since I arrived in the United States as a teenager. I have always wanted to be good enough in both Chinese and English to be able to translate between the two. This is arguably a goal 20+ years in the making.

This project also creates a bridge to the land I spent the first 13 years of my life on, with family and friends who are still living in Taiwan. Now I am able to point to something tangible for a field that I feel passionate about.

This is also something I took the direct initiative from start to finish. This edition is the second time I solicited the idea of translation to 'Dr. Master Press' with them turning it down the idea for translating the second edition. After their acceptance, I worked with the rights team at 'Packt Publishing' to complete the contract. For the project, I went thru my book cover-to-cover 4 times and various sections multiple times.

Lessons from the Goal

So what is the number 1 lesson I learned from achieving this goal? The number 1 lesson for me is to be disciplined and persistent. As mentioned, they turned down the idea before, I am sure if they had turned down the idea the second time I would have still pursued the idea with other publishers.

Being a first-time translator and someone who only completed elementary school in Taiwan, the translation work was not part of the plan originally. However, when they proposed the idea I was more than happy to accept and promised myself to work harder than ever to make sure I complete this with quality and on time. We ended up releasing the book 3 months ahead of schedule and rank up in the Python best-seller list within the release.

That is my brief review of my 2020 projects. Like many, I am looking forward to 2021 and hope for a return to somewhat normal lives.

Hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy.



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