Looking Back on 2020
At the beginning of the year, I wanted to build an audience by completing my weekly content and writing 12 Frank Mason short stories; then I had stretch goals to get some novel writing done and get stories accepted by magazines. There is always more to do, and I thought about doing podcast interviews and other collaborations as well, but getting the weekly stuff done was job 1.
I got 53 out of 104 stories written (a little over 31000 words of fiction published), 21 out of 52 blogs, 17 out of 52 reviews, and 15 out of 52 podcasts. I self-published three 5000 word pieces (1 story and 2 anthologies).
Less than half of what I wanted to get done, and I can’t blame the pandemic for that as I started the year pretty badly.
So, was 2020 a failure? It has been remarkably terrible as a year, but from a writing point of view, I published more than I ever have before. 31000 words of fiction this year is a marked improvement on ~14000 words of fiction (32 stories) from 2019.
As for the audience, the website had four times the traffic of the previous year, reaching 3,600 users for the calendar year.
Almost all of the trends are positive, and yes they are nowhere close to what they need to be if I’m to make a full time living from fiction writing, but they are going in the right direction.
The more I write, and the larger my backlist is, the easier it is to get my daily jobs done (or catch up on the weekend if need be). Knowing that I have successfully written to deadline in the past makes it easier to hit it in the future. I have been saying for two years that I need to have reserve content ready to publish when life gets turbulent, and it is just as true today as it always has been. But it’s also true that it’s easier to find the ‘muse’ with practice, and I think that this year has proven that I’m finding it easier to hit those targets.
For two years now I have had the same plan: do the work on time, then tell people about it – if they like it, they will come back. And for both years, I have struggled to do the first part and as a result, not pushed the second part. If I ever want to get traction in my career, it’s time to do those things.
Next week I’ll look forward to 2021.