2019: A Year in Review

Blog No. 372

downrightbreakablegoldenmantledgroundsquirrel-smallWelcome to the long post where I look back on my previous year on this blog and as a writer and feel things. Those of you who have been with me for a while (hi mom and dad) know the story of this blog all too well. Some time back in 2010 I decided that I should have a blog. I was still in the “I want to be a writer but I don’t actually write,” phase, so it fizzled out rather quickly. Then, at the end of 2012 something clicked and I actually started to do this thing (for real). I started writing stories to go up on Adventure Worlds, and I restarted this blog, aiming for a weekly post. Now it’s 2020 and I’ve managed a post a week since January 10th 2013. Most of the time it’s been on Thursday, but there was that one hiccup that I will never live down where it came out on Saturday because I was bad at organization and planning and overwhelmed with three jobs at the time. Still, it was a learning moment. I think it taught me to think long term and realize how a simple slip-up or lazy moment can blemish an otherwise impressive (if otherwise meaningless) achievement. That said, 362 posts in a row, seven years, and over 270 000 words. That’s not nothing.

There are built in stats with the blog and over the last few years things have been moving down. The bar graph has a definite peek and 2019 was not it. After a pretty good 2013, I had a worse 2014, and much better 2015, and my best year ever in 2016. It’s been a slow, downhill slide since then. Both views and visitors have been slipping, but I still managed 1600 views and 1000 visitors for last year. It sucks that I things are worse than before, but those are still good numbers. I know some folks on this site who blow that out of the water, but they also do so much more work than I do (some of them post as many as 200 different things across their social media in a month). I’m keeping positive and remembering that I’m here to do this for me first (I’d be doing this anyway) and that every person who reads these posts is a bonus. It’s helped me learn how to write consistently and it helps sell books. Everything I do here is a positive.

Neon BannerPlus, my parents say it’s the only way they know what’s going on in my life. I hope I put all that boring statistical stuff in some kind of human perspective. I’d hate to bore people (maybe that’s why my views are down) but that part is over now, so you can stop skimming and start reading again. 2019 was my most focused year as a writer. I had a plan for The Neon Heart which started in 2018 and took over the first quarter of 2019. The book was much longer than the previous Thinking Machine and it’s writing and release were a lot smoother, too. It was a bit of a bear to write as I had started it in the dreaded summer slump, but I had it finished before the end of the year and the editing (again, more in depth than with Thinking Machine) was finished with time to spare for the April launch. Not to say that it didn’t have its rough patches. It was overall a much better experience and I think, a better book.

I didn’t get to sell it at Shock Stock, though, as I didn’t get to attend. The did offer a last minute shared table, but both Christian and I were too busy and broke to swing it. I’m very hopeful that I’ll get to go this year with not only Neon to sell, but the new book, Broadcast Wasteland, too. I did get to debut Neon at the Sarnia Pop Culture Show, though, so it wasn’t a total let down. I enjoy the SPCS. The people are nice and while there isn’t a massive attendance, the people who do come are eager and looking to buy things. I hope to get back there again this year. Overall, there were far fewer events last year. We just didn’t push for them and instead focused on writing. I’ve been determined to figure out my summer slumps and make up for them and I think last year I made a big push in that direction. I discovered that the day job is the most prominent culprit. It is not only a thief of time, but it’s a thief of joy as well. Mix that in with my general laziness and it’s a potent recipe. I managed to make great strides against it with 47 000 words towards a novel.

20190215_205927Realizing the problem was helpful, but the best stride came from having help. I had not only Christian to meet with for writing sessions, but also Elly and Brittni. They were tremendous help in the summer, but even more helpful when it came time to write the third novella, Broadcast Wasteland. I had a plan. It was August, I was struggling with the novel, and I needed to get the next novella written. I’ve been trying to find a balance with all the projects I want to do in a year and generally speed up my drafting. I wanted to get the first draft of Broadcast done in September and I was willing to write every day to make that happen. With a ton of thanks to all my writing friends, I was able to get it finished in 39 days and I managed to write every day of it (except one, notice a pattern). I was sick that day, so I’m trying to not be so hard on myself, but overall, the experiment was a success. It gave me a huge push towards finishing the book before April and let me not only review another friend’s book, but figure out how to write a comic, too.

About that comic. I did slip in my timeline for it, but I submitted a second draft of the scrip to Glen, the creator and artist last week. I wanted to do it all way faster, but it was a learning process and the holidays got in the way. I haven’t heard back from him yet, but I hope he likes what I did. I expect there will be some changes to make, but for now, I’ve gotten back onto the editing of Broadcast. But this is all current stuff, and I’m writing about last year. On that topic, I can safely say that the biggest hurdle was the day job. It (and the issues that arise there in) are a key part of the summer slump, but is is also the cause of the worst period for productivity, November and December. I only work two thirds of December and it still manages to sink its claws in and wreak havoc. Not that I can do anything about it. Until I actually start to make money at this writing thing, I need the day job and where else could I write these posts at work? Overall, it’s not the worst place to work, but the feast or famine atmosphere, the idiosyncrasies of my coworkers, and the added stress of being the only one capable of certain tasks makes it a challenge sometimes. All I can do is make the best of it and keep writing.

20190427_133939Thanks to having friends to go writing with, I managed to make a dent into the summer slump with the beginnings of a novel and I wrote a 45 000 novella in 39 days. If I can keep this going (and maybe improve in other areas) I should have a pretty good 2020. If I can get some more events in there, continue to write as much as I can, and pay more attention to how long certain projects are taking me (novel and novellas) then it could be my best year yet. Not to say that life can’t rear its ugly head from time to time. I have some extra layouts to do this year (I only had one in 2019 and it was right at the end, and will still need a fix) and I hope I’ll get to do another comic with Glen, but my goals are the same. As long as I’m moving forward, taking a step every year, I think I’m doing okay. I hope you have a wonderful 2020 with me! Thanks for sticking through another long one.

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