Round-up of 2022

When initially thinking about writing this blog post, my brain told me I hadn’t really achieved anything much this year. I remembered all the times I struggled with motivation, how little progress I made on my new novel after the initial rush of enthusiasm, the despondency that came from getting a lot of rejections from agents…


But then I sat down and looked at the facts. I thought back to where I was with all my projects in January, and where I am now – and it turns out, I’ve achieved a lot!


Magic’s Legacy – this is my third novel – THIRD! So, I was already massively ahead of the curve, before I even started, and that’s something I need to keep remembering. Anyway, I finished the first draft of this in June 2021. The start of this year saw me working on revisions after feedback from my editor. Throughout the first half of the year, I completed a second draft, sent it out to beta readers, then wrote a third draft based on their comments. I got another round of feedback from my editor, polished up the manuscript and started sending it out to agents and competitions in September. Since then, I’ve revised my query package and put together a list of new agents to submit to in January 2023.


The Great Machine – this was due to be my fourth novel, but my first draft (completed at the end of January 2022) came in at only 40,000 words. I got feedback from my editor and put together a revision plan to expand it to novel length, but wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about doing that work. Then, I came across multiple publishers looking for fantasy novellas of that length, so I started submitting it to them. I received an offer of hybrid publication for it, but decided not to go ahead as it was too much of a financial commitment on my end. I also received a full manuscript request from another publisher and am awaiting their decision (it’s definitely under serious consideration). Since two out of four submissions have resulted in a positive response (and there are two more opportunities coming up soon for it in novella form), plus I feel like trying to force it to double its current length would be both difficult and perhaps weaken the story, I decided to put off any revisions until all novella options are exhausted (or it’s accepted for publication).


My biggest and most unexpected achievement of 2022 was being inspired to write a nonfiction self-help book – Meditations on Being Amazing: One Bear’s Guide to Acknowledging Your Own Worth. I came up with the idea in April, wrote the whole first draft in June and July, got feedback from various people, revised and polished it – and started sending it out to agents in December. What a rollercoaster! And that wasn’t something that was even remotely on my radar at the start of the year.


April was a very fertile month for my imagination, because that’s also when I came up with the initial idea for my FIFTH novel – Splitting the Darkness. I’m not joking when I say it came to me in a dream… I worked on the concept, the setting, the characters and the outline throughout May, June and July – then completely stalled after getting Covid. But I used the ‘smallest step’ approach to make some tiny progress in November, then inadvertently used the ‘decide to give up and thus be inspired to make a big push’ approach in December. I’m now at the stage where I’m enthusiastic about launching back into it next week, and may even work on it a bit today. It’s already by far the most complete and comprehensive novel idea I’ve had at this stage of the process and I’m excited to see it become something special. 


As I’ve mentioned before, I really struggled with focus and motivation from mid-July through to mid-December, which is what made it feel like I hadn’t achieved anything this year. But looking back (and also looking forward), I see that’s very much not the case, and I’m very proud of what I’ve done and what I’m planning for 2023!


I’ve also had a phenomenal year on the paid editing front! In my writers’ diary for 2022, my third big goal (after finishing and submitting Legacy and Machine) was to work only 12-16 hours per week on paid client work… Well, I did some calculations, and it turns out I actually only worked an average of 5.5 hours per week across the whole of 2022… Which is a bit ridiculous…


But I’m extremely pleased in the progress I’ve made with my new freelance editing career!


2020 – still working office job – 21 hours per week – £15 per hour

2021 – started freelance editing – average of 10 hours per week – average of £26 per hour

2022 – supported entirely by editing – average of 5.5 hours per week – average of £52 per hour


So, I think I can say I’m making a success of the editing so far! But it definitely demonstrates I have capacity to take on more paid work, which I’m going to focus on for 2023. I actually think I’m more productive on my own projects when I have a bit more paid work to do, as it encourages me to schedule my time better and gets me in a better frame of mind to focus and get stuff done.


Considering how defeated I felt about my writing in November, I’m going into 2023 with renewed energy and enthusiasm, a clear plan, lots of structure and support – and a much improved attitude!

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