Year in review—2021

Oh, boy. 2021 was not a great year for me in a lot of ways. I feel like I escaped it by the skin of my teeth, and in some ways, I feel like I’m still stuck there, trying to get out.

I wrote that first paragraph before things went bad in 2022, but I do think I finally escaped 2021 at the end of the year. I started off 2022 in a way that feels good. It didn’t last, but at least the issues of 2021 didn’t linger past their expiration date.

If there’s anything I learned from the mess I made of the year, it’s to not wait when I’m stuck in a book.

Looking back, I can see in February 2020 I was having an issue with a book that didn’t get resolved until I sat down in 2021 at the end of the year and made myself just claw my way through the material until I had something that worked. A lot of the stuff I was unhappy with ended up in the end product. It wasn’t bad. I was the problem. And the hardest truth is the one that says if I had just tossed all those words back in 2020 (multiple times if necessary) and started over from any point that felt like a good place to restart, I could have finished several more books instead of staying stuck.

2021 was my worst year for production of words since I started keeping track in 2012. It edged out 2020 by 1,515 words.

Two bad years in a row could be a death knell for my career unless I can improve dramatically in 2022.

The first half of 2022 has been just as bad, but I do still think I can recover.

Here’s the plan.

1) Start a 1,000 words a day streak. That would get me about 183,000 words before the end of the year.

2) Focus on finishing each book quickly instead of jumping between projects.

3) Work on more than one project at a time. This doesn’t contradict number two, because it is based on working on the same multiple projects each day. I have two pen names. I also have three types of stories under one pen name (novels, short stories, and my experiment with a serial). I also have different series. I will settle on a way to choose which projects get worked on and then I’ll work on them until they’re done.

I’m not going to post my month by month word counts for 2021. Too much trouble, and no one cares to be honest.

I published a novella, started a serial, and published a short story in 2021.

2021 words: 34,134

Year in review—2019

I wrote 239,236 words in 2019.

January — 577
February — 1,573
March — 15,742
April — 50,137
May — 52,460
June — 10,272
July — 966
August — 24,113
September — 24,609
October — 19,168
November — 22,797
December — 17,322

My slow months are the same as in the past.

Over the entire time I’ve been tracking, January, December, and June are my worst for word count, and even though 2019 numbers are just a little different, the pattern held. Early and late year months are off, and the middle of the year dip extended into July.

Otherwise, I’m not too disappointed with 2019. It ended up my third best year for word count.

2012 — 146,821
2013 — 268,191
2014 — 217,641
2015 — 250,011
2016 — 220,071
2017 — 126,581
2018 — 92,198
2019 — 239,736
All years — 1,561,250


How many hours did I work last year on writing?

I figure about 40 hours per book for publishing tasks. I can double that to 80 if I want to include every last thing I do like studying book cover design and process tweaks like creating new Word style sheets and so on.

I wrote 220,071 words.

My speed range is 250–1200 words per hour, with the vast majority coming in between 400–600. My all time average back when I was tracking that was 541 wph.

That’s 407 hours for the writing.

I wrote 3 novels and 2 novelettes last year. I’m going with 80 hours each because I don’t want to undersell the effort I put in.

That’s 400 hours on publishing.

That’s 807 hours total.

That’s 15.52 hours a week for 52 weeks, or 16.14 hours a week for 50 weeks.

So 16 hours a week.

Holy crap. I’m barely working a part time job.

The numbers make me feel pretty good about the money, but it shouldn’t. I mean, no matter how much I earned per hour, I still only worked about 16 hours a week. My gross income is nowhere near where I want it.

Then there’s this: There are so many books I want to write, and I’m not getting them written at my current level of effort.

Next year, I’m going to revisit this calculation.

This year I’m going to be trying to level up. :)

We’ll see how it goes without timers, schedules, or goals to direct that effort. Honestly, I haven’t done all that well in years past using them, so I’m not that worried it’s going to hurt anything. I expect it will help (in the long run).

End of the Year Thoughts

Now that it’s only a little over a week until the new year, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve done in 2013 and how I want to improve in 2014.

Things I want to do

Write one million words in 2014 (and publish most of them).

Put out a new book every 6–8 weeks.

Find someone to re-cover all my novels.

Find a first reader for my books.

Find someone trustworthy to copy edit my books so I don’t have to worry so much about errors slipping through. (I can already tell you, I’ll still be doing the final read-through copy edit, because I’m just that kind of person. :D)

Stop writing so many plot holes into my books.

Make more writer friends.

Become a better writer/storyteller—the learning never stops.

Make a lot of money. :D

Difficulties I’ll face

To write one million words I’m doing to have to write for about 5 hours and 30 minutes every day.

That’s every day.

I still haven’t succeeded in writing four hours a day, most days.

I don’t see plot holes.

I’m a cheapskate when it comes to paying for services I think I can do myself. Handing over that money? It burns!

I don’t want to pay $350 for someone to read my book and mark up a few typos. (That’s a real quote.) See above comment about my cheapskatedness. (I claim dibs on that word!)

I don’t make friends easily. I’m honestly not sure how likable I am. :D

It’s hard work to make a lot of money. Sales are out of my control. I don’t market. I don’t discount. I don’t—never mind that one, I just added a mailing list. Yay for me. Sales are still out of my control though. :)

And that’s about it for now. This post took way too long to write, because I mostly wandered and then wandered away before coming back. If I think of anything else, I’ll update.