Originally, I was just going to do an overall check-in with my writing and see how it’s changed, but then I got to thinking. I track my writing every month, and there have been a lot of changes this year that stick out very specifically in each month, so I think it might be more fun to check in with each month instead of a general overall one.

But first, some stats! Last year, in 2020, I wrote somewhere around 430k words. I wasn’t specific with how many words I’d written in the first half of the year other than “around 30k to finish sister witches 2”, so that’s not exact, but I did start marking exact numbers halfway through the year, so close enough. This year, as of the third week of November, I’ve written somewhere around 223k words, which is just–wow. I feel like I could end the post here, and you’d be able to see very clearly how my writing has changed.

January

January ended up being identical in ways I was not at all expecting. In both 2020 & 2021, I started a new job immediately after the New Year. In both years, I desperately needed to get away from my previous job, and though the 2020 job was more of a I’ll take anything, just get me out of here, and I definitely ignored some red flags, that was not the case for the 2021 job. I did need to get far away from my 2020 job because it was toxic and overwhelmingly full of harassment on all sides, but I made sure that my current job was the right fit before I took it. And, let me be the first and loudest to say, it so was, and I love my current job so damn much.

It looks like I was also doing revisions for sister witches in both years! The second sister witches was really tough, and I ended up needing to write a lot during revisions, and I can take myself right back to this past January and how hard I worked on elevating that story. Thankfully, it’s come a long way, and I’m really proud of where it’s at now.

February

It’s going to be weird in 2022 when I’m not working on revisions for something at the beginning of the year. Andrew’s book is going to take me well into 2022, maybe even looking at 2023, which is even stranger, don’t even get me started, though I imagine I’ll probably take a break in between somewhere to write something else. At least, I hope I will because he’s a lot.

It looks like I was just wrapping up writing SW2 in February of 2020, but revising it in 2021, which is kind of hilarious if you think about it. It’s all cyclical! This February, I also started writing Andrew’s book, which honestly just makes me cackle because ahhh, so here’s where the trouble begins.

Let’s talk about Andrew real quick, my vampire detective. In 2015, his name was Lucien, and he had amnesia. Until about late 2019, I think, he still had amnesia, and I was struggling hard core with his story until one of my friends said, “But does he need amnesia? Because that doesn’t make sense.” And, well, that changed Andrew’s entire story arc, and it suddenly made me realize that I had to tell not only the 600-year history with his final lover, but his entire 2000-year history, and I feel like you can imagine exactly how trying that is to write.

March

Oh, what a sweet summer child! I was just starting the third sister witches in March 2020, which is so adorable to see. Wow, how little time has passed, but how much time it feels like! I honestly feel like sister witches is my far distant past sometimes, so it’s always strange to see that it’s really recent.

This March, however? This was really the beginning of a long struggle for me. Here’s the thing. Last year, I had limitless time to write. Actually, for the last five years, I’ve had limitless time to write. Two jobs ago, I had very little work to do, and the work that I did have was easy and quick to do. I ended up having an obscene amount of time to write, and I’m kind of glad that I didn’t track it in 2019 because yeesh, you think 400k is crazy? Don’t even get me started, I wrote four books in 2019.

2020 was similar because my boss didn’t trust me, which he admitted was his own issue and nothing to do with me, but he didn’t feel like working on it and trying to trust me, so he just didn’t allow me to do anything instead. I know. But I had a lot of time, especially with being home for the pandemic, and now, here I am in 2021, with a job that keeps me consistently busy for the first time in five years, and I’m a dumbass over here confused about why I’m not writing a lot.

DUH MARY

April

In April 2020, I was trying real hard to write Andrew’s story. This was probably around when I was about to give up and write a novella for him first because I was trying to write a 2000-year-old vampire without actually knowing any of that history. I thought writing a novella might help, but alas, I just had to write the whole damn thing.

Similarly, this past April, I was feeling pretty confused about a lot of things, and it was because I couldn’t quite figure out how to nail down Andrew’s story. (Lol, see above?). I wrote 22k words for Saintsverse, that’s how lost I was, my goodness. I ended up writing a decent amount this April, but most of it was useless to me, and who knows if I’ll ever return to any of the projects I was working on.

May

Oh, honey. Sometimes, I read back on my words, and I just want to give myself a hug. I was working on the end of the third sister witches in May, and that ending still gets me now. It was tough letting go of those characters. I’d been with them for three years at that point, and though I’m still working with them, it’s not the same as writing new scenes for them. It was hard coming to that end, and I procrastinated a lot.

May 2021, though? I was finally on board with writing Andrew’s story the correct way. 2000 years told through the lens of eight lovers, and I thought, heck, let’s do a POV for each lover because why not! Well, ya dummy, because if Andrew’s the one telling the story to Rafael, how the heck do we know what the lovers were thinking? We don’t! And because I hadn’t consciously realized that, but my subconscious was well on her way to sabotaging me so that I would realize that, I started another new project this month.

Are you starting to see a pattern? Andrew’s a jealous asshole.

June

I bawled my eyes out over those last five chapters of the third sister witches. Actually bawled. There was a point where I couldn’t see the screen because I was crying so hard, and I had to set aside my laptop for a bit and just breathe. But I finished writing it in June 2020, and I did what I always do, which is completely reasonable, and immediately start a new project about five days later.

Honestly, I’m really proud of myself for getting any writing done in June because my reading was so terrible that I thought everything was just broken. And that awful month of reading really set me back for the months to come, which, as I’m reflecting back now, also puts a lot of things in perspective because if you’re not refilling your creative well, what are you pouring from when you’re creating? Wow. Huh. Here I am, in November, mad at myself for not writing for two months straight, and yet, I a) had a lot of tough emotional things going on this summer and b) was reading so few books because I hated most of my June ones, so I didn’t have any inspiration to pull from. Also, lol @ myself for saying the lovers after Alexander would be short. I WISH.

July

It’s the novella month! Last year, in July 2020, I wrote the novella for Andrew that I thought was going to solve all my problems and give me the ability to write the modern version of his story without digging into his past. (I was so wrong.) The novella was a lot of fun to write, and I can’t wait to be able to refer to it again next year when I’m finally arriving at Rafael’s portion of the story.

We’re aligning really nicely, too, because I also finished Andrew’s second lover this July. See, I knew I was going to be working on his story for a few years, even if I hadn’t quite known it last year. I just had to get through a bunch of speed bumps with him before I finally admitted this was going to be a two to three year story.

August

HELLO FREDDIE! What a chaos monster. This psychotic little librarian truly said “heyyyyyyy I’m gonna fuck shit up!!!!!!” and took over my life for four months straight. Because, when the world is mean, and I couldn’t figure out Andrew, I decided I’d write an entirely brand new duology to piss off my subconscious until it would get its act in gear and actually write Andrew (it kind of worked), especially since I gave Andrew a cameo in Freddie’s book, obviously.

This was the start of an insane four months, too. About half of the 430k that I wrote in 2020 happened in these four months while I was working on Freddie’s duology because yes, I am a masochist, and I wrote 70k words every month, and I regret nothing.

And this was the beginning of my real troubles with my writing, so buckle up. Something big happened in August that I only just recently put the pieces together and understood what had really happened to me. Around the end of July, the other yoga teacher at the gym that I teach at got in a really bad mountain biking accident, and she was abruptly unable to teach for several weeks. We weren’t sure how long it was going to last, but long enough that we didn’t want to cancel the class and wait for her, so I took on her class. That meant I was doing three thirteen-hour days in a row with my only free weeknight taken up by chiropractor appointments, and it was way more than I was expecting, as you’re about to see.

September

Heyyyy, here I am, finishing Freddie’s book two months after I started it, holy shit. This was another 70k month because Freddie is a monster, and he would not leave me alone. I also had about three hours of work per week to do at this time because my boss was also a monster, but not the good kind, so I just wasn’t doing anything except writing for six hours straight before I closed my laptop to read all night.

Here it is, the first month that I didn’t write anything at all. I didn’t write a whole ton in August, and what I did write was yanked out of me, tooth and nail, but I totally gave up in September. I wish I had realized what was going on, too. When you’re working 55 hours a week, 15 of which requires you to be all the way on and interacting with people constantly, that’s a lot. It’s definitely too much to also expect yourself to write a ton on top, or at all, frankly. I was exhausted, and while I was starting to realize that, I didn’t connect it with why I wasn’t writing.

October

Oh, interesting, I only wrote 40k in October, I wonder if that means looking back at November in 2020 is going to make me feel ill. This was the beginning of the sequel to Freddie’s book, which I did not expect to start at all, but which makes total sense for his batshit character.

Hi, it’s me, the ninny who didn’t realize that adding an extra class onto her roster for ten weeks straight was going to mean that my writing disappeared because I was barely alive enough to read, let alone write, and when I finally got to give that class back to the other yoga teacher, it took about a week before I started writing again.

I also had some big emotional upheavals happening in October–my best work friend left–so it was tough all around, and if I wasn’t falling asleep on my feet, it was because I was crying.

November

And here we are at NaNoWriMo! Last year, in 2020, I wrote 63k words, which is nowhere where I’m going to get this year. Currently, I’m at 20k words, and I’m really happy with it. This year has been so far off from what last year was, but the circumstances are so incredibly different that it makes no sense for me to hold them up against each other and get mad at myself for not doing what I did last year. Bro, 430k words in a year is stupid, and the only reason I was able to do it was because, frankly, I didn’t really have a job. This year, I have a job that I not only love, but that’s always keeping me on my toes, and I don’t have the luxury of writing for six hours a day anymore. Admittedly, now that I’ve got my head screwed on right with Andrew, I am finding more time to write, but there were so many changes in 2021 compared to 2020 that of course I haven’t been writing as much.

For so long, I was mad at myself with how lost I was feeling, and it drove me up a wall that I “wasted” two months with no writing, but you know what? I’ve known Andrew for six years, and I keep thinking that’s a long time, but for someone who’s 2000+ years old, it makes sense that it’s taken me a full six years to finally understand how, exactly, his story needed to be told, and I’m happy with where I am now. Honestly, I’m really proud of how far I’ve come this year. I’ve gone up against a lot with my writing, and I’ve managed to come out on the other side.

I don’t think that I’ll get 50k words for NaNo this year, but it wasn’t my goal to do so anyway, and given that I’ve already accomplished my actual goal as of yesterday, well. My writing has changed a lot since last year, and I’m glad that it did. Here’s hoping it continues to change in 2022.

Posted by:Mary Drover

she/her | yoga teacher | Tibetan Buddhism | part-time witch | full-time author | astronaut in a previous life

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