And that’s it for 2022

Welcome to the last day of the year. It’s been an interesting ride!
If you haven’t already, pull out some folders and start setting up your filing for 2023 before it arrives. Don’t forget the folder for all your 1099’s and other tax forms that’ll be coming in over the next month. Your 4th quarter 2022 tax payment deadline is Jan 17, 2023.

While tomorrow is traditionally the time for making resolutions, it’s rather pointless to make goals and milestones without knowing where you’re at, and what you’ve accomplished so far. So today is a good day to take stock. Reach pack through the paper stacks, or the distant halls of memory, and try to recall what you planned to accomplish the year, back in January. Not only the goals, which you may or may not have hit, but the milestones on the way there… how did the year go?

Doing the After-Action report, and the lessons learned, will help you have a clearer picture of what to do in the year ahead.

My goal in 2021 was to write 10 words a day, 5 days a week, and publish 3 stories. Which I managed, despite everything, with 2 novels and a short in an anthology. My goal in 2022 was to build on that and “complete 4 stories”, in a fit of hopeless optimism that having reached a benchmark of 3 finished & published, I could not only maintain, but forge ahead.

I also changed my process: instead of working on new things, I picked up a story that had refused. to. die. It kept popping up again and again, for 7 years. It’d require, I thought, writing in a different genre, and with more of a cast. Optimistic that I could grow as I went into having the technical chops to tackle finishing it, I started in on it in November last year, then put it aside.

Because I was intending to have a short story for the Can’t Go Home Again anthology. Except that it was more story than a short could contain. Months and tens of thousands of words later, I published Glitter and Gold this year.

I then picked back up the old project, and… have been working on it ever since. It’s not a different genre really, so much as a callback to the pulpy days of Leigh Brackett and Andre Norton, when you could have fantastic alien ruins, strange worlds, psychics and horror and hope all mixed together. It won’t be finished this year.

I did get a short story written, so that’s 2 of the hoped-for 4 completed.

But that’s not purely process: I lost the better part of two months of writing this year when I was dieting. I wasn’t calorie counting, just cutting out almost all snacks, doing recommended portion sizes, aiming for low carb combined with my work schedule… When I found myself physically unable resist eating after work, and too exhausted to fight it, calorie counting revealed that was because, with the after-work snackage, I was getting 600-900 calories a day. Total.

Still didn’t lose any pudge, just lost the ability to write. You know when I lost fat? When, on the advice of my weightlifting coach, I started aiming for 3,000 calories in a day, of which 238grams need to be protein. Gained 14 pounds of muscle, lost 2 inches on my waist, and the writing came back. Go figure.

So what have I learned?

1. Eat more protein and calories, not less. If the words stop coming for longer than a week, figure out what broke.

2. If I do that, 2 novels and a short in a year is possible.

3. However, picking up old stories and reworking them definitely takes more time and brain than writing afresh with familiar characters. Given there’s another partial Combined Ops story that needs major rework before finishing, if I pick that up next year, I certainly won’t expect 4 stories completed in 2023.

What were your goals, and what are your takeaways from reviewing the year?

14 thoughts on “And that’s it for 2022

  1. Whew! Congrats.

    When I was hit with chemo 3 years ago I decided to seize the advantage of the involuntary weight loss and have been dieting hard ever since. 3 years – 60 lbs, with 10 to go before I stop at BMI 25 (nothing has ever worked at all before, so I’m delighted). At my height/weight/age/gender, the daily target for equilibrium was <1500 calories, so a hardcore diet means under 1000/day. By god, it does work, but backsliding is like original sin — it is always with you, and you have to learn to accommodate it rather than beat yourself up.

    If I'm losing weight it makes me so happy, mind and body, that all things improve, especially things like writing.

    What worries me instead is the race against Alzheimers. It's all over one side of my (deceased) family, and it's impossible to tell if memory lapses are just age-appropriate (bad enough) or the approach of something much more sinister, like a storm cloud on the horizon. I'm in a mental race against time, and rather tired of the resulting existential dread.

    But I'm stubborn. Stubborn is valuable. It won't keep you out of the grave, but it'll help you with the fight to leave as much behind as you can. I can sit and gloom out about it, or I can leave another book behind. And another. And another… Until it no longer matters.

    I do hate the random unnecessary harassing obstacles that appear, however, like Quickbooks deciding to stop selling software in 2021 in order to do online-only at a monthly subscription price too high for me to justify, so that in addition to the usual tax records for 2022, I will have to recreate the last 10 years of Perkunas Press's accounting as pivot tables in Excel. I really didn’t need that unnecessary burden this tax year….

    1. Congrats on the weight loss!

      I don’t worry too much about the things that take out women in my family… because I’ve lost far too many friends and acquaintances to worry about 30 years out, when it’s just as likely a drunk driver or Texan on Icy Roads will take me out long before then. Life rarely obliges by hitting us with the thing we are focused on!

      But yes, being stubborn in the face of entropy, and getting done what i can today, as and when I can – here’s to one foot forward!

    1. Glitter and Gold was the working title of Between Two Graves, and was referred to it a lot by that name in prior articles. The only reason it didn’t go to press under that name is because my alpha readers (quite rightly) judged it was “too girly” for my male MilSF readers.

      Should have clarified that, Sorry!

  2. Yeah, dieting can turn off the words.

    I published eight things of various length, most of them things that had been hung up, and I finally finished them. But a satisfactory amount of new words.

    New Years resolutions? Do all the business stuff I’ve been putting off. Get out of the writing rut, I’m in, and do something different. And sequels. I’ll have to find out if I can still write Martian lawyers . . . Stone and Doctor Inferno need closure as well.

  3. I’m pretty sure Glitter and Gold was the working title for Between Two Graves, which I highly recommend.

  4. Last year my goal was to get a bunch of stuff out the door. I wanted to publish at least three books. That … didn’t happen. I got one out, but that was it.

    But on the plus side, I did manage some things that I wouldn’t even have thought to put down as goals. I taught myself to write short stories, and finished roughly a dozen of them. I got good enough that I felt confident enough to submit a few and ended up getting one published in the Saints of Malta anthology.

    Next year, I want to build on that success and write a bunch more stories and see about submitting more. Any idea on where to find submission spots? I’m keeping an eye on the “open markets” section of the “Book Club With Spikes” discord, but I’m wondering if there are other places I should be looking too.

    I also plan to get Books 5-8 of the Seelie Court series out the door, ideally one a month throughout the summer, and then get my Little Mermaid novel finished and published–ideally about the time Disney is releasing their live-action Little Mermaid movie, so the Mouse can do some of the marketing for me : – )

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