At the beginning of 2020, I was working a job that I hated. On my down time, which was more down than up, I would write parts of my story that I had been kicking around in my head for over ten years. Like always, I would start and stop. I would write random scenes with no real direction, and for some inconceivable reason, I was writing in Comic Sans because the internet told me it “boosts creativity”.
What a load of crap.
After having only poked around the gaming communities on social media for years, I discovered the sprawling online communities of writers out there. It singlehandedly shifted the tide for me. Not only did I discover a support system of fellow new-writers, but I learned so much more than I ever expected about craft, story structure, and writing with heart. It changed everything for me.
Here are some incredible things that happened to me as a writer in 2020 and my goals for 2021.
Somewhere around May, locked in my house with a ton of free time on my hands, I started re-outlining my novels and I had discovered a gap in Hagador’s backstory. If you don’t know, Hagador actually started as a character in my novels.
So when I realized this, I just casually started writing it out like a brain dump. That’s when I was struck by the biggest bolt of inspiration I’d had in a while. “I should write his origin story as a short story and publish it!”
The rest is history. It may have gone through and is still going through changes, but Hagador’s story will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first thing I ever published. It was the first story people who I don’t know have read. It’s the first time people paid money to read what I created. Thank you to everyone who is coming along with my on his journey!
National Novel Writing Month
At the end of August, it was a really harsh reality check finding out that I wasn’t going back to the office in the fall. The pandemic was still raging on, but I was well entrenched in my working-from-home/writing routine, so I realized around September that I should participate in NaNoWriMo!
I had tried and failed in the past and the reasons for that were nonexistent now; commuting to an office, no free time outside of work, and, oh yes, NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING.
Over the last year, I took it upon myself to learn about the craft of writing and story structure every day. I watched videos, I spoke to people online, I read books and articles, and I took notes. I owe all of my success with finishing 50,000 words in a month to the prep-work I did in October. If you are interested in reading more about that, like how outlining on giant cork-boards saved my life, I wrote about it in this article, “I Won NaNoWriMo! Here Are Some Things That Helped Me Succeed.”
“The Novels Of Undetermined Length and Titles”
That should be the title of my book!
I have made more progress on my novels this past year than I have in the last ten. Not to mention, I started sharing it with the world for the first time! I have a Pinterest Board with inspiration boards for all of the countries, characters, and cultures. At the beginning of 20202, I created this website where you can meet some of those characters and understand the plot and world I am building. I totally overhauled my social media accounts to make them author focused. Above all else, I started writing every day! I bought Scrivener to make my life easier and I changed my mindset; if I want to be an author, I can’t wait until I am one. I have to make it happen, and treat it like a job no matter what and if I work hard enough, I can turn it into a job.
New Writing Friends
Being secluded since March has been tough at times. I am very good at being alone, but there are times where it definitely weighed on me, but I am very grateful for the friends I’ve made online this year. Whether they were fellow writers or readers of my story, it is a community I am honored to be a part of. There are so many creative individuals out there and they inspired me every single day.
I also need to give a shout out to my editor, Christie Stratos! We began as high school friends, and just before I started seriously writing, Christie launched her own company, Proof Positive Pro, and it felt like kismet! I didn’t hesitate hiring her as my editor and I can’t thank her enough for being Hagador’s champion through all the forms his story has taken over the course of this year.
My Writing Goals For 2021:
- Publish The One-Horned Heretic as a novella, the format that it always should have been!
- Finish the first draft of my first book. I have an entire year ahead of me. I can do it.
- Write every day!
- Think of a new idea. I have been on this one concept for so long, I’d love to start another project.
- Grow my social media presence as an author by 100 a month (hopefully!).
- Read one book a month.
Thank you all for your support during this crazy year. You gave me the confidence to keep going, to keep writing, and to keep telling my story. What are some of your goals for 2021?
Have you joined my newsletter?
If you answered yes, I adore you. If you answered no, you have a chance to redeem yourself and gain my undying adoration. I send out updates twice a month, including news on my writing and the all powerful cat pics.
I had no idea that Comic Sans boosted creativity. Clearly I’m doing it wrong haha. I love how much you’re doing and how far you’ve come on your writing journey. It’s been really awesome to follow along with you and I can’t wait to see what comes next. (Also, super cool that you and Christie went to high school together. That’s epic.)
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I wish you goodluck on your goals for this year Lily