Hello Lovelies, and welcome back to the blog. Today I want to spend some time reflecting on my year. While I always feel like I’m working really hard on a fairly regular basis, I don’t always get to the end of the year knowing what I even accomplished.
I tried to do better tracking this year, to track more than just my word counts, but what I actually achieved. I think I mostly accomplished this, but I also thing I need to make sure I’m writing which projects I’m working on, including when I start and end them, and how many words I write into each project.
So let’s get into the breakdown for this year.
2020 Focus Word: Perseverance
For the last three years, I have chosen one focus word to represent what I want that year to be about. In 2020, that focus word was Perseverance. I knew I was going to have to do some hard things this year, like sending my draft through multiple revisions and putting myself out there to find a literary agent. I wanted to push myself to persevere, even through the hard times.
First Quarter: Burnout is For Real
In previous goals posts, I’ve talked about how I had a very slow start to 2020. This is because my 2019 focus word was Hustle and I hustled so hard that I was in complete burnout mode at the beginning of the year. While I did finish the fourth draft of ODUM in the first quarter, it took me the entire quarter to get back into the flow.
Second Quarter: ODUM
I worked on three major projects this year, the first of which was my Adult Urban Fantasy novel, Utopian Melody, the first book in the Oblivion Duet. I knew I was close to having this book publishable. I knew I needed to put it through its paces.
In second quarter, I did just that. ODUM went through a round of critiques, and three rounds of edits in the second quarter. I am hoping it will be my debut novel, and it is currently out on submission for literary representation.
Third Quarter: Pitches and Agents
Third quarter was mainly about finishing ODUM and also learning as much as I could about literary agents, pitching books, and querying. That took longer than expected, unfortunately, so I only sent my query to 13 agents this year.
I did, however, also take part in Pitch Wars over on Twitter. I pitched in September and in December, but got no response. It’s been a tough year, and there’s so much good out there right now. My novel hasn’t found a home yet, but I will continue to pitch it and continue sending it out until it does.
Fourth Quarter: WIB
Also on Twitter, I’ve been whining about my vampire novel, Written in Blood. I so badly wanted it to be a standalone novel, with the possibility for other standalone titles in the future. It isn’t. Written in Blood is actually the second book in a trilogy. Now that I am three scenes from a finished first draft, I can definitely see that it could never tell a satisfying story in just one book.
In fourth quarter, WiB got a preliminary outline, a more detailed outline during PrepTober, and over 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. The draft is nearly complete and I plan on having it finished by early January.
Things I didn’t work on but are in the wings:
I have a lot of drafts and partial drafts and other concepts that I’ve put on hold in order to focus on bringing ODUM to publication. While putting additional projects on hold was absolutely necessary, I do intend to write them in the future.
I have a first draft of three novels in a Children’s Sci-Fi novel series. These books, targeted to kids who enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time, are about three children who are bored in Grandma’s house for the summer. They go on an adventure one afternoon, and in each book they explore a different type of theoretical multiverse style.
If you saw Utopian Melody and thought, “Wait, first book in a duet?” Nether Harmony is the sequel book. I always planned on this story to run for two books. Nether Harmony has a partial draft, but I put it on hold until events in Utopian Melody were more secure.
I have a concept for a Hawaiian Monarchy Series, borne out of my love of the islands and the desire to write a historical fiction novel about the place I still consider to be my home. It’s just a concept in its infancy, as I have a lot of research to do before I even write book one. I am planning it to be an eight book series, one for each island/monarch.
I also have a partial draft of the first book in a Dragon-based YA High Fantasy Series. My writing partner and I currently plan it at five books but we are still mostly outlining and character dreaming.
So many other ideas and concepts are also in the wings. I want to make it an eventual goal to barebones outline each of the ones I think I could make a whole novel out of, and do a more detailed outline if I decide to write them.
Total Words Written
I think the most telling thing about any year in general is my total words written. It speaks to my mental stability and is a mark of how much work I can get done in any given year. While a full-time Author might have numbers that are triple what mine are in a year, I can still look back and feel proud of what I’ve accomplished despite not being full-time yet.
This year, I wrote over 133,000 words. This is compared to my Hustle year where I only got 107,000 words. That feels significant. I somehow managed to both track my words written better and write the most words I’ve ever written in one year… without the burnout I experienced after 2019 and with having struggled to do anything at all the entire first quarter.
Overall impressions and feelings
So I feel that, even though it was a very stressful year at work, in my personal life, and just the world was stressful in general, I stayed relatively healthy throughout the year. I didn’t have the crazy up-down motivation rollercoaster I’ve had in the past, but worked steadily throughout the year toward my goals.
2020 sucked. Still, I found a much more healthy balance this year, and it’s something I’m really proud of.
Drop a comment below and let me know how well you did on reaching your goals in 2020. Got any goals for 2021 you want to share? Have you used a focus word in the past? I’m still searching for my 2021 word and would love to have some inspiration!