I guess it’s that time of year (now that I’m back from fishing). A chance to look back on what we’ve done, and what we still hope to do. I’ve accomplished a lot since I decided to bring this blog back (ahem baaacckkk!!) last February, but of course there is still so much more I’d like to do.
I was definitely worried about over-promising and under-delivering, but I think I managed to stay pretty consistent while (IMHO) also remaining flexible and pursuing new opportunities as they arrived. There were definitely a few things that I didn’t get around to or did not turn out the way I wanted them to because I had to rush or because I didn’t know what I was doing. Such is life . . .
As I write this post I’m still deciding where I need to ease off, and where I’d like to lean in, but more or less, I’m pretty proud of all the stuff I’ve done in 2021, and am definitely looking forward to new experiences in 2022.
I think from here, I’ll go into the recap and what y’all can hopefully expect for the future.
This was good year for me reading wise. I managed to read 43 books totaling 15,340 pages. That was 34% more than my original goal of 32 books read (granted I didn’t really distinguish between novellas and novels. If it was on goodreads I counted it!). The most popular book I read was DUNE by Frank Herbert (no surprise there). And the least popular was Death Dogs: The Jackal Gods of Ancient Egypt. I’m sure you can guess which I enjoyed more. I rated most books 4 stars, and Brandon Sanderson’s Rhythm of War was the highest rated that I read.
You can see all the gritty details on my My Year In Books page on Goodreads. Most of these books were 2021 Hugo Nominees in preparation for voting for Worldcon 2021 / Discon III (recap of that to coming soon). Please feel free to check out my reviews of all the Hugo nominated works I read in 2021. I would love to know if you’ve read any and what your thoughts were.
I had a pretty ambitious year planned out for 2021 writing wise. And honestly I think I did alright. My goal was to write 500 words a day in 2021, with the caveat that I would write 1667 each day during November because of Nanowrimo. If I had stayed on track (and participated in Nanonwrimo), I would have written something like 230,000 words by the end of the year.
That did not happen.
If my trusty writer-bot on Discord is correct, and I logged things properly and the bot didn’t screw up too bad keeping track (it’s not that trusty hahah), then I ended up writing 142,341 words this year.
Honestly, not too bad.
That’s only 323 words shorter than Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. A bit of a weird metric but I’ll take it.
Tracking where all these words went is pretty much too confusing for me so I didn’t really attempt to. I can tell you that 63,786 of them are on this blog. The other 78.5k? I’m not sure but they were probably part of various projects I’ve been working on which I’ll describe below.
Writing Projects (mostly) Completed in 2021!
Aegyptosaur 1st Draft Complete!
So, perhaps the biggest accomplishment of 2021 was finally finishing my draft of Aegyptosaur (though I’m not married to that title), my Ancient Egypt and Dinosaurs novel. I’ve started many novels in the past, but this was the first I’ve ever finished a full draft of.
A couple of things allowed me to do this, the first was probably that I wasn’t going out really because of Covid. Second, I joined the “Novel Round” in my writing group in which we all agreed to read and critique each other’s novels. I had to have something finished by July so I set a deadline for myself to finish April 1st . . .
As you can see by the tweet, I missed that deadline by 29 days, but was still able to finish, proofread and edit it down to 119k. I got a lot of feedback from the group, some good, some not so good, and so my plan for 2022 is to do rewrites and start pitching to agents and publishers. We’ll see how that goes. I’m giving myself until the end of 2022 to make it happen. If it doesn’t . . . Amazon lol.
Narmer and the God Beast Self-Published on Amazon!
My second achievement, was that I published a short story, Narmer and the God-Beast on Amazon. This book is set in the same world as the novel mentioned above but thousands of years in that world’s past. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, and I’m hopeful it will have some success.
I’m also in love with the cover I had created for it, so . . . yea. Enjoy!
I did a series of posts here on the blog in which I talked about my influences for the piece as a kind of “Lead up” to the story’s launch. It was really fun, but also put a lot of pressure on me to keep up consistent posting here. I can’t really say whether it was a success or failure as I think I’m still new in the author world. Anyway, feel free to check them out. I enjoyed writing them:
- Pharaoh: The Boy Who Conquered the Nile (Book Review)
- Who was Narmer IRL?
- Dinotopia: A Remembrance and Review
- Paralititan Stromeri: The Tidal Giant
- Death Dogs: The Jackal Gods of Ancient Egypt (review)
- From the Primordial Ooze: The Genesis of an Idea
- The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypyt (review)
Last awesome achievement: I got my newsletter started!
The last thing about 2021 that I’m really excited about accomplishing was finally setting up my newsletter. I’d like for the newsletter to be where people following me can get info like what I’m posting in this year-in-review, meaning updates about my life and writing, inspiration, and announcements about new projects (and maybe even discounts!). So far I’ve used it to tease a few ideas I have for new projects, and posted a few completely free newsletter exclusive short fiction pieces. Here’s a sample newsletter I posted to my blog with the story Master of Secrets.
In October, I posted one other original piece about a house haunted by a Victorian-age AI. I’ve done a preview of Boutilier House on my blog too, as well as a glimpse of my revisions for it.
At the end of my Bear and the Nightingale review, I had hoped that I’d have a second short story for you all on January 14th, involving witches, mystery, and Russian fairy tales. However, it seems that story does not want to be short-story length and so I’m hopeful I can still give a good preview for everyone, though it won’t be a short story.
Anway, if any of that interested you, please sign up for my newsletter!
For the blog!
I’m starting to get tired so I’ll make this part quick, but there were a couple blog events I took part in this year which were really fun. Mostly they’re just hashtags I followed and tried to post content for. I’ll list them, and describe briefly what they are. The linked text will go to the posts I wrote for the events but I definitely recommend looking them up on your own on twitter.
- #wyrdandwonder – A celebration of the Fantasy genre during the month of May.
- #DinosaurDay – June 1st, a day to celebrate dinosaurs!
- #JurassicJune – A month long celebration of all things Jurassic Park
- #smaugust – This is actually a drawing challenge in which you draw a dragon every day for a month based on some prompts. I WROTE something dragon related for four Fridays based on the prompts.
- #dinovember – Just a celebration of dinosaurs during November. I mainly just posted any dino content I’d already written.
- #scifimonth – A celebration of the Science Fiction genre during the month of November.
Looking at 2022
Looking at 2022, I think I’d like to pare back a little bit. My priorities are:
- Read 40 books in 2022
- Write 145,000 words. It’s a smaller goal than 2021, but still more than I actually achieved in 2021.
- Finish edits on the novel and pitch it to an agent or publisher (why the above word goal is lessened)
- Participate in the hashtags I’ve listed and try to do one more new one
- 4 newsletters (hopefully with at least 2 newsletter exclusive short stories)
- 1st draft of a second (much shorter) novel involving the Russian-Fairy-Tale-Mystery premise. (maybe during Nanowrimo)
- Start Narmer and the God Beast 2 . . . ?
Looking at this list, I’m not sure I’ve actually pared back at all, but only time will tell. One complicating factor that really put a lot of stress on me was going back to work in-person. Presumably, this will be the case for 2022 as well, so I may have to pare back even further, but we’ll do it live and see how things go.
Wish me luck!
So that’s it folks. My major accomplishments in 2021, and what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2022. Please let me know your thoughts. Too much? Not enough? Advice? (Please post advice!). And as always thanks so much for reading all this. Please post any thoughts or opinions in the comments.
See you next time!
Happy New Year! Good luck with your goals. They may be ambitious but I think it doesn’t hurt to set big goals and strive for them, rather than smaller goals that are easily achieved (as long as one doesn’t make themself miserable trying to achieve said goals…!).
Thanks Jenna! Yea definitely goal number one is to not be miserable lol. If I can achieve that everything else will fall into place haha