What I got done in 2021 – year in review

My Goals for 2021 were a bit of a washout, except for writing. That was the one area I built a regular habit, and tracked great progress. Next year I have a bunch of ideas on how to do this better, but this post got long so I will come back to it.

Last year, I spent a long time setting up my bullet journal in 2021. I posted on this blog some of the fun spreads I made and thought would be useful. It lasted for a good 6 months before I ran out of space for my weekly spreads, and I had begun to find creating the weeks more time-consuming than useful. At some point I found the Rolling Bullet Journal method, and more and more I didn’t need the rest of the spreads. So I switched to Box Press pre-printed academic diary, with half one page for the week, and the other side a dot grid to do as I liked with. This worked much better, though sometimes using it has been spotty too.

I still love the work that went into creating all the pages, but many of them I didn’t use, and I rarely looked at the Goals I set for myself.

Below were what I had loosely set into categories/Goals, with tools to get me there broken down. It didn’t really help because, as you can see, none of these are very specific, and none of them really had an end result.

    • Health – Losing weight & being healthier
    • Home – Improving the home & More regular cleaning
    • Work – Organization & New Skills
    • Money – Spending Less & Saving More
    • Spirit – Learning Tarot & Reading More
    • Creativity – Write & Blogging

At some point during the year (in the first 3 months, I think) I stopped tracking anything but my writing progress. In March I found Notion, which is a kind of linked database website that lets me do my tracking, and so much more. Many of the spreads I had made in my bullet journal became digital, and it worked so much better than any other tool I’d found yet. (Still using it, still loving it!)

So, with that in mind, what did I achieve in my writing?

I started tracking in March how many words I wrote, and much time I spent writing. (I tried to track other time, like covers, blurbs, and later social media, but it just didn’t work as easily, so I went back to just tracking writing time)

In 10 Months I achieved the following -:

    • 575 hours spent writing
    • First Draft – 137k
    • Edit Pass 1 – 165k
    • Edit Pass 2 – 99k
    • Critique Edit – 101k

That is a total of over 500k words either created or reviewed in 2021

Broken down by Project –

    • Wrote, edited, created blurbs, designed covers and published 7 Short Stories in the Ernie Smith and the Seven Deadly Sins (min 4k words each)
    • Wrote the first draft of the last Ernie Smith and the Seven Deadly Sins short stories (6k words) – Coming out next year, hopefully
    • Wrote and edited a new Ernie Smith Short Story, a long dragon day, not part of the Seven Sins series (8k words)
    • Wrote, edited, and published 5 flash fictions in Ernie Smith and the Seven Deadly Sins Series (1k words each)
    • ❤ World building and planning beats for Novellas 2-5 in Rift bloodlines series
    • ❤ Outlined, and wrote 3 First Drafts in the Rift Bloodlines Novella Series, battered by storms, bathed in frost, burned by Embers
    • ❤ Designed 7 covers for Rift Bloodlines Novellas
    • ❤ Wrote 2 blurbs for Rift Bloodlines series
    • Edited Blindsided (Book 1 Coalition of Seers) Twice, taking it from a 25k Novella to a 60k Novel, then a 83k Novel.
    • Edited Blurred Lines (Book 2 Coalition of Seers) Once taking it from a 40k Novella to a 94k Novel.
    • Created Covers, and rough Blurbs for the 4 Coalition of Seers Novels, 1 Novella and 1 Short Story
    • Completed a Beta Edit, and Proof Read on Losing Sight (Novella Coalition of Seers) to send out to a new set of betas. (final total of 46k words)

Broken down by type of project –

    • 3 Full Novel Edits (60k, 83k, 94k)
    • 2 Full Novella edit s(46k, 46k)
    • 3 full First Drafts (30k, 35k, 47k)
    • Edited and published 7 Short Stories (4k each)
    • First draft short story (6k)

I am hugely proud of what I have achieved, even if I had hoped to be publishing Rift Bloodlines and Coalition of Seers by now.

The key lessons I have learned this year have been all about being realistic with my expectations and planning. Some people can write a story, edit it in a week and then publish it and it would be good. Me? I can’t do that.

First Drafts are rough. They are a long outline of events that don’t always make sense by the time the end comes.

The First Edit takes it into somewhere near where it should have been the first time. And the Second Edit tidies it up before I can even think about sending it out to any Beta readers.

Then there will be Beta reader’s edits

And then Editor’s edits

All of this will take time, and now I know how many words I can write on each of these types of writing stages I can really plan out next year with a realistic view of what I can truly achieve.

So, while I might not be where I hoped, I have a map that will get me there. Next year I will be using some new methods. Heart breathings, HB90 course, to help me focus on my goals and what I really want to achieve.

More on this to follow in a new post.

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