It’s that time of year when authors talk about the last 12 months – the challenges and triumphs, the books written and published. Amongst their posts, you’ll see quite a few that read like this:
‘Not a very productive year; only twelve books published, but then I had Covid twice and my third child was born. Oh, and we moved to Siberia to start our new business. Never mind: will do better next year’.
And, depending on your state of mind, you squint in pain at the audacity of the humblebrag, or you weep a little and flee to the woods to the moss and the stones who at least have productivity levels you can relate to.
This post is for all of us who feel there’s always a bit too much to do. It’s for the slow writers. It’s for all of us who are tired, who want to sit down and be left alone for a while. It’s for those of us who want to do less and perhaps enjoy life a little more.
So, I want you all to know that in 2022, I published no new books. Here’s a picture of them:
My last book, Seducing the Sorcerer, was published at the end of 2021, and this year I’ve been glad to see it continuing to sell. The audiobook came out in the middle of 2022, so that was awesome, and I suppose, technically, means I published something, just not a different book. Currently, the book/audiobook has over 470 reviews and an average of 4.6 stars on Amazon. I’m proud of that. I’m happy people are enjoying it. NB – it’s available on Kobo and lots of other places if you’re interested in it but don’t want to buy via Amazon.
I’ve tried to write a book this year – a fantasy m/m romance, set in alt-Victorian London. It went very slowly indeed. I’m about halfway through the first draft (i.e. about 40,000 words in) and I’m not sure it’s working. Sometimes I think it’s OK. Sometimes I don’t. As a writer, I often suffer from self-doubt, so I’m writing on anyway. Time will tell if the book will be publishable or not.
This year I switched to a new day job. I’d been in my old job for 15 years and knew it through and through. I’ve found the new job wearying. I had less psychic energy for writing, reading, or imagining things. I hope it’s just a settling-in period. I still feel I haven’t got to grips with what’s expected of me there, but at least now I can detach from it better when I leave. I’m not dreaming about it anymore, which I was earlier in the year.
Latterly, I’ve found the whole Twitter-implosion thing very draining. Twitter was my main way of connecting with other writers, reviewers, readers, cover artists, book bloggers, editors, publishers etc. I never had a huge following but what I had felt good. I’m still there and so are some other people, but I know lots who have already left. I’ve started up a Mastodon account (firstname.lastname@example.org) and an Instagram account (@leewelchwriter), so now I have four social media accounts instead of two (because I already had Facebook as well as Twitter).
So now I have four social media accounts.
My phone tells me that lately I’ve been spending about 14 hours a week on social media. Sounds a lot, doesn’t it? I mean, with all the hours I’m spending there, I may never write another book. I simply haven’t time.
So, obviously, I’m stepping back from social media again. I know I’ve been here before and I probably will be again. It’s the old pendulum swing. But, for now, I’m leaving my phone behind more. I’m checking it less. I need the headspace to delve deeper into my characters and their world. I may lose touch with some people, but that’s OK. I may sell fewer books when the time comes to publish again, but that’s OK too.
Actually, writing that last sentence about selling fewer books makes me feel a bit panicky because I DO care about selling books. But it would be stupid to continue on a course that means I won’t write another book because I care so much about selling the books I’m not writing.
Anyway, that’s me. That’s been my year.
I hope you had good years, my friends and followers. But if you didn’t, well done for making it through. Life is hard sometimes and the jobs and duties – not to mention the illnesses and life events and other things I know some of you have dealt with – are many.
Sometimes we don’t achieve all that we’d have liked.
It’s OK. We’re OK.