Every year, at this time of year, I take the time to look back over the year that has just finished and check-in on my progress towards my ultimate dreams. It's a time when I remember the little wins that I might have forgotten in the wake of the chaos of life. And just like every year, 2022 was definitely filled with chaos.
Covid came into my house—twice.
Early in the year, covid came into my house. Hubby brought it in from work. And don't get me started about how peeved I was about it, too. It had nothing to do with the fact that my husband was sick. Dare I say it, it was bound to happen. But the politics that were going on at his work at the time regarding RAT testing... GAH! Even now my blood boils about it.
But to carry on with my tale about the chaos that covid unleashed on my family…
At the time my husband brought covid home, New Zealand had policies in place that meant the entire household was in self-quarantine if one person in the household had covid. I was totally onboard with that, and kind-of prepared.
When hubby started presenting symptoms, I told him that he wasn't allowed to take a covid test until I had a chance to go to the grocery store… and I was out the door at 6am in the morning to get to the store as soon as they opened. He couldn't get to the testing center until they opened at 8am. Two-hour window, and by golly, I used it!
Ironically, even with my hubby using my pillow as his sweaty wipes, I didn't come down with covid at that time. Neither did my daughter, but my son did.
However, roughly four months later, covid came into the house for a second time. It was my daughter who brought it home… and she gave it to me. Because of the changes in the rules at that time, my husband and son were free to go about their daily lives while my daughter and I were self-isolating and feeling miserable.
(How exactly is that fair? I was cooped up for 10 days because my husband was sick, but when I got sick, my hubby could go to work?)
MailerLite for Writers was launched—twice
In January 2022, I launched my second online course: MailerLite for Writers. I worked hard to meet my self-imposed deadline on January 31st. And for a full month, I was in merry bliss.
At least that was the case until MailerLite announced in early March that they were replacing the old interface with an entirely new system, to be launched on March 22. No joke. It was a fast rollout with little warning for the public. So, I was suddenly in a position where the course that I had just launched would be redundant within the first two months of it being live.
It turns out that MailerLite is maintaining their Classic interface system for some time yet, because they don't have the migration tools in place to move all users from the Classic system into the new system. But I was still in the situation where my course wasn't going to be suitable for all users of MailerLite.
So, as soon as MailerLite launched their new interface system, I was on fast-track mode and launched a second version of the MailerLite for Writers course.
(I'm so glad that I had put all that planning into the first one, because it made the second course so much easier to generate.)
I gained a Diploma in Small Business and Project Management
In January, a friend of mine—another writer—convinced me that it would be a good idea to take a business course. Of course, it was because she didn't want to do the course on her own, but it sounded like a good idea… so I enrolled.
Well… It was a journey.
The business course forced me to examine my business in ways that I should have done long ago, forcing me to properly strategize for business growth. But at the same time, the assignments put it in my face that I was trying to do too much—and that idea came back and bit me in the ass multiple times throughout the year.
(It didn't help that I had a massive personality clash with the course coordinator, but that's beside the point.)
The course is now done, with the last assignment turned in last month (during NaNoWriMo). All that is left now is to wait until April next year for graduation… and I'll be graduating in absentia. (I've already had three different university graduations. I really don't need a fourth.)
Other courses are in the works
Because of the business course, I now have a few ideas for other courses, one of which will be designed to help writers get their heads around the idea that if they are publishing (self-publishing or traditional), they are running a business. And that friend who convinced me to do the business course in the first place… she's going to be helping me piece it all together. It'll likely take us a few years, but we'll get there.
But I also want to put together something that is related to writing itself (not just the business and marketing side).
I had intended to release a craft-based course this year, but as I started working on a few ideas, I realized that the style of course I wanted to do wasn't going to work as a video-based course. I needed something that could incorporate worksheets and exercises. Everything was put on hold as a consequence.
I still want to generate the learning materials, but it will likely take me several years to put everything in place.
Writing became slow in 2022
Oops. For the third year in a row, I failed to hit the "write a novel in 1 year" goal. Gah! It happens, I suppose, but this is one goal that I really need to figure out how to achieve.
But this was one of the things that suffered in the wake of the all-consuming business course I was doing. Between the assignments, the course projects, and client work, I didn't have much time for myself. At times, it became a choice between writing and spending time with my family—and my family is more important than the writing.
It was more than just time management that came into play. Certain aspects of the course made my stress levels go through the roof. I really don't want to do into the details—particularly on a public platform—but I recognize that many of the issues I had were a personality thing, and quite clearly, I'm of a different personality type than the other students who typically do the course.
When it became so clear that I wasn't going to get much out of the course, I stuck it out anyway… because I'm a dog with a bone and have never quit anything that I had set out to achieve.
The course is over now, and I can consider it a learning opportunity on a more personal level—reminding myself that the business was never meant to be a full-time venture.
Goals for 2023
The new year starts in a few days, and 2023 will mark a new chapter in my life and in my writing career. There have been recent changes on a monumental level, but I'm ready to face the challenges ahead of me.
My word for 2023 is Health.
When setting goals, I like to encourage people to think of a word that becomes connected to everything that you do. For the past 5 years, my word has been protect: protecting my writing time; protecting my family and friends; protecting my business; protecting my online reputation; protecting others by sharing my knowledge. Everything that I did could be connected to the word protect.
But during the pandemic, I became unbalanced on multiple levels. For the past few years, I had been ignoring the situation, living day to day without any real look towards the future. For 2023, there needs to be a shift in my ethos. While protect is still a huge part of who I am, this coming year needs to be a year about health. I need to take the time to focus on my physical and mental health, the health of my relationships with my family and friends, the health of my finances, and the health of my environment.
Getting back to my writing roots is a huge part of this. For me, my main motivation to write is to help me process the world around me. If I didn't write, I would go a little coo-coo and grumpy. My family noticed what not writing was doing to me, and the hubby is encouraging me in a big way to reconnect with that part of myself for my mental health. So for 2023, getting back into a regular writing routine needs to be a priority.
I still have a goal of finishing a manuscript within the span of one year, but that won't be the driving force behind the writing. I'm shifting from the short-term yearly goals to a focus of the long-term goals that will likely take me years to complete. My big focus for this year is to work on putting the cogs in place, so I find the joy in what I do and keep feeling that joy.
Shifting focus for Black Wolf Editorial Services
A big part of who I am is the drive to share my knowledge and experience with others. To disconnect from that aspect of myself (which started to happen during 2022 because of the mounting stress levels) would be like electing to remove a limb for no reason. But during my business course, I realized that I really want to shift my business model to a writing-coaching focus. To do this well, I need to get my name out there, and one facet of this is to start generating and pitching informative materials. I need to start pitching to host workshops or write blog series for external parties.
I have already successfully pitched to the Women in Publishing Summit for 2023 (going live in March 2023). And the topic they've chosen from my three pitches: The Antagonistic Beats of a Story. It's a topic that I know intimately well, which was why I pitched it in the first place, and I'm glad that I can now consider this a successful pitch. And even better... I'll be able to build on that successful pitch to pitch to other places too.
And I need to look at updating my websites to embrace new technologies and the reading habits of my readers. Both my personal website (this website) and Black Wolf Editorial Services are starting to look old and outdated. It's not just the themes or overall feel. It's the content and the images used too. But I'm not in a rush. I'll just start chipping away at it when I want mindless work to do.
I'm reconnecting with the nonfiction too
I said it above that my main motivation for writing is to help me process the world around me. And with that in mind, I'm having fun diving back into the technical side of my personality, looking at the world with that scientist's critical view. Not only am I enjoying writing informative blog posts (post that my readers will soon get to read on this blog or over on Black Wolf... or some other location when I start pitching to external sites), but I'm giddy again about some of the weird places that my logic has taken me—sparking ideas for the fiction, which in turn demands more research and more logic leaps for this scientist at heart.
While 2022 was a "downer" year, already 2023 is looking to be a year with a much happier overtone, and 2023 hasn't even started yet.
What about you? How was 2022 for you? What goals have you set for yourself for the coming year? What will be your word for 2023?