2018 Year in Review
I normally keep my thoughts on every passing New Year’s personal, reflecting on the year and things I could focus on in the coming year. I’ll do something different this year.
I could espouse on the passing of the year, the good and the bad, but why? There are plenty of blogs and media outlets doing their own Year in Review. Frankly, those are better places for such things. I want to talk about my writing journey and where’s it’s taken me so far.
For those of you who are interested in math, here are numbers:
I wrote 245,191 words in 2018 among four projects.
My highest writing month was November (NaNoWriMo time!), with my second highest writing month in March at 35,024 words and January at 30,953 words. My least productive month is actually December at 6,023 words, followed by February (10,253) and July (11,189). Most months averaged over 10,000 words which surprises me.
I had a goal of 150 words per day, which is low, but I hadn’t set a daily goal before and I wish to cultivate a daily writing habit. I averaged 671 words per day in 2018, 447% more than I planned (wow!). Did I write every day? Almost, but not always.
The bulk of my writing went into three projects—the fourth being a writing prompt bucket project. Writing includes (besides the manuscript itself) notes, plot threads, outlines, ideas, thoughts, world building, and notes for revision. It does not include words written in 2017 when I wrote a rough draft for Matrix Trigger and started the rough draft of Invisible Enemy.
Matrix Trigger (book 3 in series): 156,406 words written
Invisible Enemy (military science fiction novel): 38,375 words written
Rise of Avalon (book 4 in series): 47,396 words written 1
I published nothing in 2018. After drafting Invisible Enemy, I spent the bulk of my time writing and revising Matrix Trigger where the story is much more complex than the previous novels. I’ll write more on that when I am close to launching, so I won’t go into it here. I am set to release both Matrix Trigger and Invisible Enemy in 2019, in that order. Rise of Avalon will consume the bulk of 2019 and so I’m planning to release it in 2020. After that? I don’t know how well Invisible Enemy will be received, so perhaps a sequel will happen. If not, I have another SFF series planned and the first portions written.
It’s been a better year for sales, doubling what I achieved in 2017 from a standing start. I moved away from Amazon KDP Select to see how the wider markets were—to mixed results. I haven’t achieved overall positive ROI yet, but I expect that to turn in 2019 and to at least have my novels pay for the work put into them. That’s just the business side of things. For the amount of writing I did in 2018, I should have published, if you consider an average SF novel is around the 100,000-120,000 word range. I wrote enough to be two to three novels, but released nothing. Why? Matrix Trigger (for me) is complex, and the story needed to feel that it would evolve naturally. Or maybe I‘m just too much of an amateur to know better. I drafted Invisible Enemy when I should have worked on Matrix Trigger. Lesson learned: always have one focus at a time, especially if time is a premium. Notes and ideas abound; I have a place for those, but for a new writer, it should be one thing at a time. Full-time writing may never come about, so I need to finish every project when I can.
You can see this is short of the 50,000 novel total, but I had completed the rough scenes and had been inspired to write a 3,000 word short story in the middle of NaNoWriMo. It went into the writing prompt bucket project. I’m a rebel.