2021? It Was About Following Through

It’s the end of December and here I am looking back (this week) and looking ahead (next week). Looking back at 2021, it was the year I became a full-time writer and, while its covid chaos outside my door, big things are happening inside.

My 2021 Plans

It was fascinating to go back and review my plans for the year. In truth, they happened in two parts.

Ontrye Story Universe

Ontyre Story Universe. Diagram created in Scrapple. ©October 2021, CA Hawthorne

The first, and biggest part, was in January when blogged my intentions for the year. Above all, I wanted to continue my productivity levels from the second half of 2020. In that plan, it was my intention to edit at least 6hrs/day, focusing on what I was still calling Riparia’s series (it’s now more the Carrdia series).

My drafting plan, though, was oddly vague beyond implying that I’d draft something during NaNoWriMo in November. Also noted was the ongoing problems with Following the Essence Stone. At the time, I thought I could yet again fix it by breaking it into two stories.

The other part of my writing plans was to revamp a lot of the worldbuilding resources I’ve created and which I’d neglected for years.

On a more personal note, though I didn’t mention it, I wanted to continue the meditation, yoga, and walking that’d helped so much with my mental health in the second half of 2020.

In April I clarified one point and added another. After months of editing, I realized the solution for Essence Stone wasn’t to split it, but to completely rewrite it as a bridge between the Carrdia and Pannulus novels. I further added my intention to draft the last two novels in the Carrdia series.

Meeting the Plan

The only place where I fell short of expectations was revamping some of the worldbuilding resources. For the glossary and specific geographic locations I only gathered the needed information.

I did, though, revamp the Carrdia history, updating and simplifying it. I also created one for Pannulus that went further than I’d intended. In addition, I added a resource concerning religions on the Tremjara continent and the various creation myths. Other resources, like the one for Witchcraft in Ontyre, were updated.

Three location maps were created: Arthune, Vernathia, and Sa’kōtōs.

My editing time? In the 8 months focused on editing I met or exceeded my minimum per day. Too, I not only edited the entire Carrdia series, I also edited all the Pannulus books and novellas.

Drafting? Reaching 50K in a month is the goal for NaNoWriMo. I exceeded in 6 different months. I doubled it in May alone, and tripled it in November. Those two books? Both were drafted, but that wasn’t all…

  • Following the Essence Stone (Carrdia/Pannulus novel in May)
  • A Suffragette Discovers (Pannulus short story for the anthology in July)
  • Shadow in Winter (Pannulus novella for the anthology in July)
  • Trellis House (novella in series in October)
  • Aramon Daughters (novel in series in November)
  • A Glorious Past Reimagined (novel in series in Nov/Dec)
  • Interview Anxiety (Pannulus novella in December)

    Anthology1

    Diagram: ©2021, CA Hawthorne using Scapple

As you might note in the list, another extra for the year was the creation of Anthology 1: The Techsquamic Age. I assembled the historic Pannulus short stories I’d need, but was short. I then drafted Suffragette and Shadow. All those stories became another editing project later on, which was also completed.

Takeaways

On the surface, all of the above required two critical elements. One was having the time and the other was following through.

Part of following through was keeping the internet, especially social media, to a minimum. I learned in 2020 that time spent online required even more time for refocusing. I have a new phone now, but it still sits on silent and is still out of reach. There’s nothing like achieving goals to show yourself that what you’re doing works. That, in turn, inspires doing it again.

Another part of following through was accountability. I’ve been maintaining a writing journal since the start of 2018. These days, it’s a joy to write in it, not that everything is perfect.

I also kept up with meditation, walking, and yoga, despite a smoke season here through the summer that was beyond imagining while the heat dome in the Pacific Northwest lingered. It was awful, but while trapped inside with my lung disease I spent extra time writing.

Reading? I started 49 books this year, but quit on 2, and wished I’d stopped reading a handful more. Still, while it isn’t fun, I can learn from bad books. That’s the most I’ve read in a year and that makes me over-the-moon happy.

Even though Omicron has begun to spike here, I keep doing what I’m doing. It’s been a lot like vowing to lose weight—and losing it. It’s been like vowing to take up running—and then finishing a marathon.

Now, it’s time to do even more, to raise my game to greater heights, and that means overcoming my greatest obstacle, but that’s for next week. Instead, I’ll urge you all to create your achievable, measurable goals and find your own way to follow through.

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About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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