Looking Back and Forward: 2021/22

Does the picture always have to relate? I like birds. (Photo by Flo Maderebner on Pexels.com)

2021

As I type this, it is the week of Christmas. I imagine many readers are preparing to travel, doing last-minute shopping, and toiling through a couple more pointless days on the job before getting to the good stuff: family, friends, and festivities. It’s a time of year for reflection, and for looking forward.

This year, I set out to diversify my reading life, and I did it. I found more than a wonderful suite of exciting, powerful, dynamic titles – I found incredibly talented authors who will definitely return to this blog.

We reviewed 25 books overall, in keeping with my review-every-other-week goal (more on that later).

I wrote my first piece of what amounts to the blog version of longform journalism with my pair of articles about the state of reading in America.

We revisited one of my favorite blog genres with new Twists on Tropes entries.

I wrote the site’s first connected advice mini-series in the articles about Plot Structure.

Growing little by little. (Photo by Singkham on Pexels.com)

On a career note, I did not write or send out many short stories. I focused on querying my first manuscript Shattered Hunt and writing my second The Falconer’s Daughter. Stay tuned – next week or the week after I will break down my results. Suffice it to say that it was a year of learning how to find a good fit and navigate the business-y side of the writing world as an unpublished novelist. It was great experience. However… I will have a short story in an anthology on January 31st, 2022! For the weekly readers, congrats on being in-the-know early. More on that to come as the date approaches.

This year, though modest by many standards, the site’s traffic has grown. From 329 visitors for 665 views in 2020 to 582 visitors 1185 views in 2021. I hope I can attribute some of this to branching out into actually using (shudder) Social Media*.

2022

Next year, I am going to up my reading goal: I want to finish and review 30 books, so a little faster than one every two weeks, as is this slow reader’s tendency. I want to continue reading authors from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life. I realize that with few exceptions, I am not familiar with many of the classics, the history of the fantasy and science fictions genres, my first (reading) loves. I have mapped out a reading plan to walk through select influential genre titles from the 1860’s through the early 2000s. I want to finish what I started – many of the books reviewed over the past two years are starts of series. I want to see where they’re going. Lastly, I want to read and review more books by new authors – including independent authors. The only indie book I have reviewed so far was Crier’s Knife by Neil Litherland, which I was aware of from his work on on of my go-to advice blogs. Since poking around on Twitter, I’ve learned about so many intriguing independent genre titles. I definitely want to work more in in 2022.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In my writing life, I plan to increase my failure quotient ™. I sent out 42 queries for Shattered Hunt in 2022. I loved that book when I finished it, but it had it’s shortcomings. I am far more satisfied with The Falconer’s Daughter and want to give it a good chance to leave the nest. I know more about how to find agents now. I’ve built up some emotional muscle so I’m used to the cycle of waiting and rejection. I want to send my second manuscript out 100 times in 2022.

Also, I want to take a year to focus on craft. I’ve learned a lot in the past few years, but I have a way to go. I want to find more of a writing community, and focus on short fiction for quicker feedback and the freedom to focus on a few things at a time.

Thank you, reader, for going on this journey with me. Although I believe there are benefits to writing even without a readership, it is much more satisfying with one.

*(Speaking of social media, have you noticed the end-matter update with links?)

Happy reading, happy writing, Merry Christmas, and, if I don’t see you next week, Happy New Year for you and yours.

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

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