Blog Post No. 527
Since January of 2013, I’ve written a weekly blog post on this website. (It was the tenth post overall). Ten years is a nice round number and a recognized milestone, so I’m really happy that I made it this far. Not to say I have any plans to stop, but ten years and over 500 posts seems like a lot while I look back on it. It’s kind of like that game Lemmings. There was an option to assign one of the little sprites to build a set of stairs. It started off slowly, pulling planks from a sack and laying them down on top of one another. Eventually, they would run out of material and if you were on top of things (and not looking towards the next obstacle on the map) you could select the same worker to keep building before it just walked over the edge.
2022 was my first full year back at the day job and for all of you who read these posts semi-regularly, you’re well aware of what a time-sinking, stress generating, mess that place can be. I’m on the brink of another big shakeup there, but I’m a little better at rolling with the punches and not getting too excited until things are finalized. As it was, between the regular shifts, the rentals returning to pre-lock down levels, and my increased time at another centre, I ended up working more than average last year.
It was tricky for writing, especially since I’m not going out to Tim Hortons several evenings a week for writing sessions with the Writing Wrecking Crew. I have started meeting up with Christian once or twice a week at the local library, though. With the option for a private room and an open space without people eating and loudly talking (as much as a restaurant, at least) I feel more comfortable meeting up there. Christian is also nice enough to mask up for me, too. The library is a great space with really nice librarians, but the hours are limited. It’s been a nice (restricted) step back into the world.
Meeting up has always made writing and editing a little easier, especially when I have to work most days. I had built up a good routine when I was stuck at home, but it’s so hard to sit down at my computer at the end of a long day or before a long evening at the day job. I did manage to keep at it some at home in 2022, but last year was all about editing (not my favourite part of the process).
I started the year by finishing the edits for Snow from a Distant Sky (the current final novella in the Synthetic Albatross Series) and then I jumped right into editing the Invasion Novel. I did manage to write a few short stories (two I had previously started and one brand new one aimed at an open call). After getting a beta read from Christian, though, I was back at the Invasion Novel. I definitely was burnt out on editing by the end of the year (not that I’m done, yet). I still have to finish the Invasion Novel, but with a potential anthology and a new novel to start this year, I hope I’ll have more of an even workload between writing and editing.
The one short story I’d written for the open call was my first submission and first rejection. At one of the writing groups I used to go to, some of the folks would clap and cheer for rejections. I thought it was odd. I understand applauding the attempt. Rejection is a huge part of writing. The reaction at the group was kind of eerie, though. Like it had started out well-meaning, became a bit of a joke, then twisted into a ritual. My rejection was met by simple comradery and encouragement from the Wrecking Crew. Exactly what I needed.
On the business of the blog itself, I had a bit of a rocky year. I didn’t miss any weekly posts, but up until the last couple of months of the year, I was way down on views and visitors. I was worried that it would be the worst year I’d had since releasing No Light Tomorrow in 2016 (still the top year by a long margin). By the end, I wasn’t able to reach last year’s big uptick but I did manage to out do the 2020 low for views and I had the third best year for visitors ever. Thanks to everyone who stopped by in November and December.
Since the start of the pandemic (and without events to write about) I’ve tried to really come up with interesting topics. Overall, the blog is still about my writing, but I can only update my word count or editing progress so many times before it’s boring. Some weeks are tougher than others, but I didn’t really feel the strain last year until autumn. Maybe there’s a correlation between struggling and getting more views, I don’t know (and to be honest, I’m too tired to care that much). The three guest posts I had from Brittni, Christian, and Justin were good for views, so I might find a reason to do that more often.
Without the tether of the novellas, this year is going to be interesting. For the last five years I’ve had the backbone of a regularly released book to hang the rest of my writing around. Even with the Invasion Novel close to done, there may not be a new book from me for a long time. (The publishing process is a long one). It was already strange to not drop everything in August of last year to start the new novella. Interesting can be exciting, though.
Strangely, I’m kind of over the novella series. Without writing one last year and without selling many of the last three books (and with even fewer reviews) I don’t really want to spend any more time on them. I should get around so sending out some of the copies of Snow that I owe to people, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic when the majority of the series is in a void and I’ve moved on to working on other things. Don’t get me wrong, I love them and I’m sure as soon as I’m back to doing events, I’ll be more invested again (or maybe I’ll find a home for them at a publisher). It’s kind of nice to look at my growth through those books and feel like I’m beyond them, though.
I think most people felt burnt out with 2022. It’s become old hat to say that every year has been worst than the last since 2012 (but much more so since 2016). There were a lot of struggles trying to get back to normal while the pandemic is still going on and the old normal is gone. Everything is always changing, but we had three years of accelerated change that’s left us all exhausted. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to watch out for those I care about and to not struggle to cut out those who aren’t worth the effort. Also, I can still work on being less judgemental (which ties back into the previous sentence). If I can keep my head down and focus on writing, I’ll kill two birds with one stone. Thanks for sticking with me for ten years (or as long as you’ve been here). I hope we’ve both grown a bit in the last decade.