2019 Writing Year in Review


A lot of writing happened this past year, and a lot of good work toward my writing goals both generally and on specific projects.

I made a Get Your Words Out habit tracking pledge of 240 days for 2019, and missed it by 17.  Considering I’ve gone months without writing in previous years, I think that’s pretty fantastic.  I’ve made the same pledge for 2020, and have confidence I can push through and make it this time.

I spent a good deal of time working on the second book in my series as well.  I spent almost as much time on revisions for that as I did on my November novel draft, which is pretty impressive since I spend most of my free time working on the novel in November.  I also spent almost as much time on book three.  That leaves book 2 very close to ready for final copy-edits and book three ready for a major revision similar to what book 2 has been through.  I’d like to release them fairly close together and if I’m able to really focus on the project during the first few months of the year, I’m confident I can get things much closer to publish ready sometime this year.

I experimented with planning before drafting this year, both with the major revision (basically full rewrite) of book 2 and my attempt during NaNo to have a plan and outline before writing my first draft.  These had varying levels of success.  Book 2 is so much better for it (and all the wonderful feedback I got from beta readers).  The NaNo project is a bit meh at the moment, but it’s also not finished, and I didn’t manage to stay with the outline the entire month.  But the two attempts left me feeling confident enough that planning can work for me that I’m trying to develop an outline for book 3 so it will come out better than book 2 did pre-outline-driven-rewrite.

I worked on 19 different projects over the course of the year (with smaller things like the blog’s image prompt responses counting collectively as a single project).  Most of these were novel drafts of some form or another.  Many were in the same world as Strong Fort Spathí.  I spent over 200 hours on my writing over the course of the year (at least as far as rough tracking goes).  I’m willing to bet that’s more time than I’ve spent on writing in a single year since before I got a full-time job.  I’ll be curious to see if my total will be significantly different for this coming year, especially if I make the 240 days of writing goal.

Overall, I’m proud of the work I’ve done in 2019.  But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to rest on my laurels and not keep working.  My priority goal for 2020 is book 3, so that I can polish up books 2 and 3 and get them published sooner than later.  I’d also like to continue trying out planning and outlining before I write or shortly after I start to see if that improves the quality of my first drafts.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing bits and pieces about both of those goals as the year unfolds.

Do you have any writing goals for 2020 you’d like to share?

Where I am From: 2020 Edition


Happy New Year to all my readers.

This is my yearly version of the “Where I’m From” poem prompt.  You can find my original prompt here and the versions from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.  If anyone else wants to try their hand at the poem prompt, I’d love to read your results, so feel free to leave a comment.

Where I’m From

I am from a wood-toned TV tray, from a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and plastic storage bins.

I am from the two-bedroom, cave-like, poorly-lit, half-basement, apartment with the bookcase wall and the box-filled office/crafting room.

I am from the deep pink Christmas cactus, the philodendron in the pot with bubbling paint.

I am from steak on Thanksgiving and unruly hair, from Catherine Cameron and Jane Elizabeth and Kenneth Hadyn.

I am from the collecting of postcards and the making of family photo calendars.

From watch where you’re going and don’t read after bed time.

I am from stained glass windows, sacred groves, thuribles, solitary altars, and wooden crosses.  From simple wooden buildings, rich fabrics, and everyone welcome at the table.  From silent nights contemplating the moon, solitary practice, and the universal divine.

I’m from Monroeville and Scotland, Scotcheroos and pumpkin rolls.

From the night it didn’t occur to me to get off the crib mattress on the floor, the crying I did wishing my mother would come, and the fondness my mother always shows when she tells the story.

I am from Shutterfly sites, plastic bins of honeymoon keepsakes, shelves full of books passed down through the family, files upon files on hard drives, and collections on shelves in closets.

From the memories that they invoke, the feelings they bring, and the people they bring to mind.

From stories, pictures, postcards, trinkets, and shared experiences.