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?