For the last five years I’ve done an end of year review were I look at what I accomplished in the year before, and where I will be going in the coming year. Generally this has to do with my writing, how much I wrote, what I published, and what I have already started for next year.
This year things are a little different.
I wrote a total of 50,000 words last year. That is for the entire year, something I usually do in November for NaNoWriMo all by itself.
For comparison: in 2019 I wrote 230k words and published three novels. In 2020 I wrote 141k words and published one novel and a short story (while also dealing with being sick for part of that year.)
So what happened in 2021? The pandemic was in 2020, my tumor was in 2020, you would have thought that would have been the year to drag me down, and yet it wasn’t. Or rather… It wasn’t right away.
Stress has a way of building up and weighing you down. Sometimes you won’t notice the effects right away, but when it does start to effect you everything starts to go downhill fast.
For me this started at the beginning of 2021. I was feeling better after surgery and it was time to get a “real” job. After all, we needed money to move back to Seattle, and since my then BF was still obligated to work for the person we were staying with for room and board (and nothing else) I decided I would go back to work and earn some extra money for truck rentals and gas. Our savings has already been depleted and I wanted to help.
I think getting that job was the best thing for me, physically, because it helped my recovery after surgery progress faster. It was a very physically demanding job and I had to get strong or fall behind.
But as a consequence I was tired… A lot. My body had just been through a major ordeal. I lost 50 lbs, and had been on a starvation diet for a few months because the tumor didn’t leave room for food, so my body had a lot to recover from.
For the first few months of 2020 I still managed to fit a little writing in between work and falling asleep. When I couldn’t consentrate on words anymore I started drawing… A LOT.
Then in April we moved back to Seattle to stay with my ex’s parents. They are lovely people, and I still care about them, but my life was changing. Again. The stresses were building up and it seemed there was no real solution.
The stress was so bad that writing became difficult. More difficult than it had been in a very long time. I will even admit part of it was a sense of failure on my part. I tried to make it as a writer. I wrote, marketed, and advertised. I did what I knew how to do, and it wasn’t enough. I didn’t find that key piece that I needed to make it work. To make a living as a writer.
That sense of personal failure and the constant reminders around the Seattle area that we were in a pandemic and you should “be afraid” all the time were getting to me.
For the rest of 2021 I didn’t write a lot, but I did draw quite a bit. I published three books in 2021, all of which were art related. I felt comfort in art when I could not find any in the written word.
Then November happened. My boyfriend broke up with me, and I had to move to North Carolina because I had no where else to go. That’s where I still am.
On the bright side… The weight that had been settling over me for the last year started to lift. In December, in amongst all the issues I was having, and the sadness of loosing something so important to me, I wrote 8K words, and 13k in January of 2022. The block that had been plaguing me for a while has become something of an annoyance instead of a permanent fixture.
I still have a ways to go. I have three novels that I want to finish this year, and all of them are in various stages of completeness. I also have a few more art pieces I want to do, and possibly another coloring book to complete.
The three books are Vertigo and Steel Code from my LitRPG series, and a third book in the Half Blood Sorceress series. All three have about 50k words already written so I think I can finish them this year, it’s just going to take some perseverance. Something that I am relearning.
The sudden shift in my life may have hurt, but it was probably for the best. Even if I can’t see it all the time. I sent so many years living for others, and supporting their dreams, that I set my own aside. Time to work on mine.