Farewell to 2022, Hello and Welcome 2023

Farewell to 2022, Hello and Welcome 2023

When I opened last year’s blog to start this one, I couldn’t help noticing my first line was ‘I hoped 2021 would be less crazy.’ I suppose I’ve given up believing that things ever get less crazy than they have been. I’m not sure if this was always normal and I just notice more after the slowdown of the pandemic, or if we’ve created a whole new level of crazy by picking up a second set of hobbies and trying to maintain them as the world opens back up.

I’m not going to lie, 2022 was an interesting year. I set a very ambitious list of goals and I tried to stay focused with it as the year went on while still setting aside time to rest and take care of myself. I ended up encountering a lot of health problems – but that also lead to me getting myself into a better, more healthy position than I’ve been in for awhile.

In many ways, I think my brain is still back in 2020. With each year that passes, it’s hard to believe the calendar has advanced. I’ve given up trying to predict what the new year might hold for me, though I’ll never give up hoping it’s good stuff.

As usual, I want to ring in the new year by taking a look back at last year and the things I accomplished. And of course, I have a whole new list of goals for the New Year!

Writing Goals for 2022

~Finish writing Visions Unlike they Seem (the third installment of The Aruvalia Chronicles)
~Edit The Beast’s Wicked Gleam (the second installment of The Aruvalia Chronicles)
~Polish Once Upon a Dream (the first installment of The Aruvalia Chronicles)
~Write the first two thirds of Beyond the Moon’s Beams (the fourth installment of The Aruvalia Chronicles)
~Write and Edit The Empire of Eternity (the final book in the Eternity’s Empire Series)
~Write and Edit Everyone’s Child (the first book in a brand new series!)

I eliminated my word goals for this year because I thought I had pretty much maxed out. It would figure that the year I finally stop trying to do a million words of work, I actually manage to nail it.

I’m pleased to announce that I finished pretty much all of these goals. I didn’t quite finish editing the first book of Everyone’s Child, I simply ran out of time. But I’m confident I can complete the first editing pass during my first work week in January.

Considering that I always go into the year assuming I’ve planned too much, that’s pretty impressive.

One of the most emotional moments of the year was certainly finishing the Eternity’s Empire series. I started working on it way back in 2014, shortly before my husband and I moved back to Canada from England. Overall, the series was 8 books long and spanned 460,958 words.

It’s always bitter sweet for a writer to say goodbye to world and characters they’ve ate, slept and breathed for years. But it felt amazing to finally share the epic end of this story. For now, I’ve left the world of Eternity’s Empire behind to start a new project, though I hope to revisit their world again in the future.

A look at my biggest project

Much of my time and attention was devoted to the Aruvalia Chronicles this year. It’s the first time in awhile that my major novel projects (writing, editing and polishing) were all devoted to the same series. I’ve been planning this story in some capacity since 201l, so it feels good to finally get some of the ideas onto the page.

The story has grown quite a bit beyond what I initially anticipated, which means that each stage of the project has been harder and taken longer than anticipated. But so far, all of the effort has been well worth it. My betas provided me a lot of good feedback on the first three books. And I’m confident that has allowed me to build a fine foundation for the longer story I hope to tell.

This is the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken, with 15 total installments planned and 11 so far written (at the end of 2022). This is a generational story with a lot of moving parts, and it has proven a lot harder to keep track of than I anticipated. But the first draft of the final ending is in sight, and I can’t wait to have it all in some finished form – no matter how big a train wreck it starts out.

How the rest shook out

Since I finished the Eternity’s Empire series this year, I wanted to get a head start on my next project. I have a bit of a publishing buffer for my bigger projects. (Soul of the Sun has been ready to publish for over a year now.) But the production schedule for my other two publications every year is pretty tight.

The second Eternity’s Empire box set will be coming out in April next year, and this provided a little bit of leeway for getting a jump on the next series.

I started Everyone’s Child, an epic high fantasy novel in a brand new world, back in August. It was planned and written entirely on stream. And while I don’t think I’ll be able to continue sharing the production of the entire project (I already had to give up on streaming the edits), it was fun to offer my viewers this insight into my process.

I spent three weeks creating a world and characters for this project, one week planning it and five weeks writing it. I only had three weeks to devote to edits in 2022, and I’ll need another week in 2023 to finish. But that’s still a pretty impressive speed to move through a project. It’s far faster than I work through the Aruvalia series!

I am, however, planning to slow my production speed for this series slightly. Now that I’ve established the desired publishing buffer, that should eliminate the need to rush or cram. And as always, my primary concern is with the quality of the book I’m producing.

Though the first draft of the first book in this series was extremely rough, the vision has begun to emerge from the edits, and I’m excited to get the first book into your hands sometime next year.

Publishing Goals for 2022

~February: Duality (Book 4 of the Celestial Serenade)
~April: The War for Freedom (Book 7 of Eternity’s Empire)
~June: Unity (Book 5 of the Celestial Serenade)
~August: The Empire of Eternity (Book 8 of Eternity’s Empire)
~October: Harmony (Book 6 of the Celestial Serenade)
~December: Song of the Spheres (Book 2 of the Celestial Serenade Collection) (A box set)

I’m pleased to announce that each of these books is available on Amazon in both ebook and paperback formats. (You can also read them on Kindle Unlimited.)

In total, across all my projects in 2022, I did 1,058,887 words of work. 720,788 of that was new words.

After trying for 2 years to reach the magic million and then essentially giving up on it, it feels really amazing to have hit it this year!

Other Goals

Of course, writing wasn’t the only thing I did in 2022. I started streaming in November of 2021. I had no idea how it was going to work out as a long-term activity, but it’s gone pretty well. I hit 500 followers on my twitch channel at the beginning of December, as a matter of fact!

During the course of the year I undertook two unique projects that I worked on almost solely on stream, and I learned a lot from both of those experiences. I’m going to be reviewing what ended up working and what needs to change so I can put together a more comprehensive list of goals for my twitch channel this year. But that’ll appear in another blog post.

While I’ve made some strides on marketing, I think I still have a lot of work to do in that area. I feel like some of my focus in that regard fell by the wayside last year because I got caught up in a busy production schedule. So I’m going to try to make that more of a priority this year. (Especially during the second half of the year.)

And of course, since I made so much progress on self-care and maintaining my health in 2022, I’m going to work hard to make sure I don’t reverse any of that progress in 2023. Sometimes this will mean falling behind on projects in favor of rest – but I’m learning to be okay with that! I’m hoping I picked up a few life hacks in 2022 that will allow me to better deal with such situations.

Writing Goals for 2023

~Finish writing Beyond the Moon’s Beams (the fourth installment of The Aruvalia Chronicles)
~Edit Visions Unlike they Seem (the third installment of The Aruvalia Chronicles)
~Polish The Beast’s Wicked Gleam (the second installment of The Aruvalia Chronicles)
~Write Frozen Within a Scream (the fifth and final installment of The Aruvalia Chronicles)
~Write and Edit Each One’s Wayward Niece (the second installment of Everyone’s Child)
~Write and Edit Book 3 of Everyone’s Child (no working title yet, sadly)

At some time in the distant past, I got a bit behind schedule. The goal has always been to start the new year editing instead of finishing up writing the previous year’s big trilogy. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to catch up on that this year, but I’m going to give it a try! It’d be nice because it would make my summer schedule easier to manage if it involved polishing instead of heavy editing.

Publishing Goals for 2023

~February: Smooth Jazz (Book 7 of the Celestial Serenade)
~April: Eternity’s Empire Part 2 (Book 2 of the Eternity’s Empire Collection) (a box set)
~June: Careless Electronica (Book 8 of the Celestial Serenade)
~August: Someone’s Suffering Child (Book 1 of Everyone’s Child)
~October: Headstrong Heavy Metal (Book 9 of the Celestial Serenade)
~December: Soul of the Sun (Book 3 of the Celestial Serenade Collection) (a box set)

I feel pretty good about this year’s publishing goals since all of these books is ready to go except for one.

What are you plans / goals for 2023?

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