How Was 2021?
Hands up who had a brilliant year. Yeah, me neither. 2021 was the poor sequel to the horror franchise opener that was 2020 - and I wasn't a great fan of horror to start with.
Even so, we're through another year and I'm not going to begin to hypothesise about what 2022 will bring with the you-know-what. I can't do much about that, but I can look at what I achieved in 2021 and see how that sets me up for another year as an indie author.
As I explained back in September, I haven't released a new book this year, yet I haven't been as idle as I sometimes tell myself I am. Let's break it down.
Somehow I've worked on five different novels this year:
1st draft of Erin/Rachel (finished in February)
2nd draft of Stevie/Grace (finished in April)
1st draft of Laurie/Shell (almost finished, 48,000 words as of October)
Multiple drafts of 'Max'
1st draft of Valerie Series Book 4 (almost finished, 50,000 words as of today)
Looking at it like that, I don't feel quite as unproductive as I did before. Like most authors, I have another job that takes up a lot of my time, so getting all this work done is positive. I could've done more, certainly, but the last two years have been like wading through sewage at high tide so I'll take it.
The good news is that 'Max' is almost ready for release and I've got big plans for other projects in 2022 as well. More on all that after New Year.
I Am Allegra Bartlett
2021 was also the year when I finally decided I was going to release my Victorian serial story - in instalments, just as a Victorian audience would have originally read it.
The website is now live and the first (free) instalment has been published. Pop over there if you have the time.
Rhubarb Writing Shed
I made the difficult decision in the autumn to put Rhubarb Writing Shed on the back burner for now.
As much as I do want to work with other authors and create an inclusive writing community, it wasn't the right idea for me at the right time. I developed a bit of a camera phobia (something of a hindrance when you're looking at a video course) and so the future of the project may be in written courses and booklets. If that's something you're interested in, please express that interest!
Newsletter and blog
It's been a goal of mine for over a year to get back into sending newsletters to my subscribers regularly and to blog weekly on here too. It might have been a long time coming, but the end of 2021 has finally let me get into a routine.
Newsletter subscribers receive an email from me on a Monday talking about some element of my work, life or something else that's caught my fancy. Plus, subscribers will receive discounts for I Am Allegra Bartlett as well as direct notifications of any new releases and sales I hold, so that's useful. You can sign up using the tab at the top of the screen if it sounds like something you'd appreciate.
This blog is a little more eclectic and is published every Tuesday. The last few months have covered NaNoWriMo, Stephen Sondheim and singing doctors - who knows what the next year will hold?
2021 has also been about trying to get myself back into working patterns that work for me.
I discussed in April how I was starting to make writing the most important thing I did every day and, while the idea of the quota system faded a little as the year went on, I want to get back to it as I found it very productive.
Similarly, after trying to get going with Notion at the beginning of the year and dancing with ClickUp too, I've reverted back to Airtable to keep track of my projects and other parts of my working life. It's ironic that I first started using Airtable at the beginning of 2020 then abandoned it as the pandemic took hold. It turns out it's just the software I need to get me organised during a pandemic.
It's easier for me to look back on 2021 as a failure because I haven't published anything and I shelved Rhubarb Writing Shed. But I've achieved far more than I thought I had and all during the blisteringly frustrating global pandemic we've still got going on.
Maybe I should cut myself some slack in 2022 and just crack on. What do you think?