Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Whatever else I can say about the year 2021, it was absolutely amazing for my writing. I had not set out with the goal of writing every day of the year, but as the streak started to build in the first couple of weeks, I fully committed, and in the end, succeeded. 2021 became the first year where I managed to write even a little bit all 365 days of the year. The absolute rush that this ended up giving me – the feeling that not a day went by that I did not hone my writing skills was one of the most accomplished I’d felt as a writer. As an aside, I don’t by any means think this is a necessary thing to do, in fact, it can even be unhealthy if you put to much pressure on yourself, but for me personally, I’m so glad I achieved it.
With great day-to-day productivity came great total productivity. When it comes to the final word count at the end of the year, here too the previous records were smashed. My most productive year until now was 2020 when I clocked in at just over 150,000 words. This year, I more than doubled that amount to 330,000. Again, this was something I could not predict at the beginning of the year but was absolutely stoked by the result.
This also means the story is not just about total days but the average daily productivity this year. Out of the days I wrote, compared to last year, the average word count was 902 versus 718 for 2020 I also had 174 days with 1,000 words and more versus 58 the previous year, and only 38 days where I wrote less than 200 words.
All of this is not just about numbers, but being twice as productive as my previously most productive year led to some important milestones as well.
My fantasy web novel that is coming out on Royal Road in two weeks was hardly even started in January, but is now approaching 80,000 words. The children’s adventure story Cassia and Mateo, which is just a side project for my kids, became the first writing project to surpass 100K words, and then the first draft of my second novel followed suit only a couple of months later. That draft should also be wrapped up in the next month or so, leaving room for the first major milestone of 2022.
This was also the first full year where I have been posting The Bloodlet Sun continuously both on this blog and on Royal Road. And it’s been my most productive year in terms of updating this blog on a weekly basis.
That’s not to mention that a variety of little side projects found their way into my year, including catching up on writing down some stories I’ve been making up for my kids, and then launching a few short story and novel ideas that will hopefully take hold as future projects.
Let’s also quickly have a look at the bullet journal entry that provides a visual representation of my writing production for the year:
Nothing really stands out as far as patterns go except you can quickly spot my June/July burnout which I talked about here, the November kitchen renovation which took all of my energy, and the Christmas slowdown where I had a bunch of under 100 days that were mostly used to just keep the streak alive. Also looking back at this now I noticed that January wasn’t the strongest month either, so I have a good opportunity to have a quick start now and get ahead of last year’s production early.
Overall, I think the story of this year has been consistency – from daily writing, to regular updates to not dropping major projects in favour of the newest shiny thing that has happened to cross my path. This had allowed me to gain confidence over the last twelve months and even just by the shear force of the volume of my writing I felt like I’d significantly improved over the year. And this improvement is not just confined to the quality of the writing but to my comfort with it – I’m finding that I’m able to power through more difficult sections with increased ease and find myself getting stumped less and less.
No writing year before has had me so pumped for the year that’s ahead. I have to remember to set realistic goals in the face of this success – just replicating the writing production of 2021 in 2022 will be enough, but if I can average out at 1,000 words per day, that would be my new Everest.
Looking forward to everything I’m going to be able to write in 2022, and hoping that with increased productivity follows the increased chance that I might write something good enough to be accepted for publication.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.