2021 was another exciting year. I could do without excitement for a while, to be honest. My writing year had some ups and downs, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on that and my 2021 journey and look ahead to 2022.
I participated in the Get Your Words Out writing challenge again this year, with a Journeyman level goal of 240 days with at least 20 minutes of writing during the year. Signups for that go through the first few days of January, if anyone is interested. I think I’ve gotten what I need from the challenge over the past couple years, so I’m going to move to a personal goal tracking method based on the fancy spreadsheet made available through Get Your Words Out. I’ve learned a lot about spreadsheets and formulas in the last year, so I’m going to try some of that out.
As for 2021, here’s some stats about my creative production this year. I say creative production because I also tracked the time I spent on cross stitch and sewing projects this year, so if I spent at least twenty minutes in a given day either writing or doing one of those two things, it counted as a creative production day.
Total Days: 294
Days of Writing: 260
Approximate Total Hours: 398
Approximate Writing Hours: 179
Writing Projects Worked On: 12
Days by Month:
It’s interesting looking at the numbers like this. I appear much more consistent than I felt like I was across the year. Granted, a large part of the non-writing days happened in the last few months of the year, which may be coloring my perception.
I started out 2021 on a roll from my NaNoWriMo 2020 project, which I started writing character sketches and pre-novel scenes for in late September 2020 and I kept writing straight through into January and even a bit into February, though I spent a good chunk of those two months on another project as well. That’s probably the longest I’ve worked on a project continuously since the sequel to Strong Fort Spathí (which I’m still working on, if intermittently).
I seem to be ending 2021 a bit burnt out to be honest. My NaNoWriMo project didn’t go as expected and I’m not sure I’ll ever return to it, but I think that has a lot more to do with everything around it than the story itself. By November the stress of seventeen months in pandemic isolation and then three months of transitioning out of that into a hybrid work situation had caught up with me. And that’s okay.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year was that it’s okay to be tired or unmotivated and to take time to rest. Pushing through is only going to make things worse. That means putting some of my writing projects on the back burner while I do cross stitch (which is very mentally soothing in its regularity and patterns) and while I don’t love taking time away from my writing, I know it’s an important part of keeping my writing brain and myself healthy.
Burnout is something that’s starting to happen to me in a lot of places in my life, and where I can, I need to take good care of myself and ease back so that I can avoid the worst pitfalls of burnout and then rest and recover so I can come back stronger.
However your writing productivity has gone in 2021, I hope you can do what you need to have a productive 2022, even if that means not starting up right away in January. Here’s to a happy new year.