Goodbye 2020! You will not be missed
I know you've read a million times at this point that 2020 has been hard for everyone. This post is going to reflect that. When I skimmed the post I wrote at the beginning of 2020, I realize that I did not accomplish nearly as much as I had set out to. Big things happened, but there was also a lot of empty space where I didn't write at all. Like many others, my mental health took a hit this year. And I've also done a ton of adulting with graduating college, figuring out my post-grad plans, having them fall through with late notice, moving twice, getting a new job, and dealing with the continual effects of a pandemic. It's definitely taken a toll on my creativity. And I'm coming to terms with that. It's been a hard year. It's okay that I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to.
I used to do new year writing resolutions, but last year, I changed to doing something similar to Brandon Sanderson's State of Sanderson where I review all my writing projects, where I'm at, and where I hope to be with them in the future. I'll continue that theme with some variations this year.
I want to start out with something postive, so here is a quick list of what I accomplished this year!
Graduated College! - so weird to not be in school anymore
Wrote the first draft of the Labeth Prequel - was supposed to be 20,000 words and ended up being 43,438! There's a lot more story to tell about this character than I had anticipated.
Wrote/Revised 24 poems - not my best year but also not my worst.
Read 24 books [the most I've read in like 3-4 years] - almost made it to 25 but I decided to get some writing done on New Years' Eve rather than read.
Finished between about 2/3rd to 3/4ths of The One and the Other Series Bible
I finally published The One-Sided Coin this year! It was five years in the making, and it's so weird to be moving on from it. I'm honestly a little lost without it, but I'm excited to work on new things. This year, I wrote the first draft of the prequel to the series and made a more detailed outline for the rest of the books.
In a previous post, I detailed this huge plan I had to finish the series bible and outline TOATO2 before November so I could draft it for NaNoWriMo. That did not happen. The series bible has taken so much longer to write than I could've ever dreamed; I'm not fully finished yet (and it is definitely not my favorite thing to work on).
Creating the series bible is giving me a better appreciation for how much I've created in this series. My friends and family tell me all the time how they don't know how I wrote a book, and I tell them that I don't know how I did it either! It's incredible all the little details I've come up with and am creating for this series.
I mentioned in my 2020 post that I realized while outlining the sequel that there needed to be a prequel novella about the character Labeth. I wrote the first draft for April's Camp NaNoWriMo, during the lockdown. I vlogged the whole Camp NaNo experience so you can watch it here. It gave me something fun to work towards that wasn't my school work, which I greatly needed during that time. I finished the first draft in May, and I've since re-read the manuscript and took notes. I've started revisions, which is by far my favorite part of the writing process! My plan is to finish this round of revisions before drafting the sequel.
The One and the Other Volume 2 (TOATO2)
I've outlined the first couple of episodes and might do the rest here and there as I work on the Labeth prequel. I also want to draft it in a different way than I have for any other novel. In the past, I've had a basic outline, fast drafted, and then revised a lot, but this time, I want to make an extremely detailed outline so I can hopefully work out some of the kinks in the story before I put hands to keyboard. I don't know if this process is going to work for me since I love editing way more than drafting and outlining anyway, but it's worth a shot to see if it allows me to complete a book faster. It's become very apparent to me that the most successful self-published authors publish A LOT, so I need to learn to write books faster.
I really doubled down on this project over the summer and revised some poems and wrote many others. It's hard for me to work on both fiction and poetry for some reason, so I have to block off time for working on a novel and time for working exclusively on poetry. I wanted to have the finished first drafts of every poem by the end of last year, but that didn't happen. Around August, I totally still had that intention, but the end of the year sneaked up on me so when I remembered that I wanted to do this, it was too late. I rearranged the manuscript so the central focus has shifted. I'm brainstorming the new poems I need to fill in the gaps and how I want to end this collection.
I am still considering traditional publishing for this collection, though like I said in the 2020 post, self-publishing isn't out of the question. I want to submit to literary magazines again this year, because lit mag publications could help me attract the attention of publishers later. I didn't have a lot of success when I submitted a few years ago, but my poetry's greatly improved so it's time to try again *fingers crossed*.
This was my NaNo 2018 project. The first draft is written, and the new draft is outlined but I put it on the backburner. I don't think I've touched this project this year :/ nor will I be doing anything with it soon either.
So this is new. All of my story ideas occur in one universe even though they do occur in different realms of that universe. I have SEVERAL ideas that will come together and connect multiple series. It's pretty daunting, and I need a better plan. I've been going off of vague ideas, but if I want to give this shared universe a good chance, I need to figure things out more (though I don't think I have to figure out everything).
I have a Scrivener file dedicated to the universe bible, and something I've wanted to do for a while is to write down everything I know about every story in one place. I'm updating the map for Azain, the world of The One-Sided Coin and Chervaux, and I intend to do some serious worldbuilding so I have a better idea of how things will come together for the overarching story arc I'm cooking up.
Since I've graduated college and have started working, I've had more time to focus on my writing (though I haven't always been using that extra time to do so this year). Something I implemented a couple weeks in the fall was trying to work on something writing related 10 hours every week. Not only that, but I would "clock in" and "clock out" by documenting when I started writing and stopped writing. This habit helped immensely. I accomplished so much more in the weeks when I did this than the ones when I didn't. Unfortunately, I didn't keep up the habit, but I want to make this a permanent thing I do this year.
That's a wrap for 2020 and what I aim to do for 2021. I'm praying this year will be better than the last (I know we all are). But if 2020 showed us anything, it's that life is unpredictable. This is my plan but it very well may change. Tune into the 2022 post to find out ;)
Happy New Year!
Mary K Gowdy