A Month in a Writer’s Life – January 2017

Back in December 2016 I was looking forward the New Year with excitement and many plans. I’ve joined the 365 Writing Club (which changed its name from the 365k Club to emphasize the writing routine instead of high word counts) for the third time, and I wanted to focus on polishing my existing works while still planning some new writing.
Of course, as usual, life decided to interfere and within the first days of 2017 it threw me off the track.

First, my beloved laptop gave its last breath. I’ve spent the New Year’s weekend troubleshooting but after that it became clear I had to do one last backup and search for a replacement.

A day later we’ve learned of a death in my husband’s family.

A week later, the engine in our truck broke, requiring a long and expensive fix.

All those events had affected any routine I’ve had and even though I had my old Mac while I waited for a replacement laptop, I didn’t get much writing done. It didn’t seem worth the effort to transfer all my projects to a Mac for the mere 2-3 weeks I’d be using it, and then to transfer them all again to the new machine. So instead I worked on some random bits of texts, story ideas, and similar non-serious projects.

I still wrote every day (yay!) and met my monthly word count. At the same time, it didn’t feel that I did much in January. I lowered my daily goal to 500 words for this year, having planned to focus on editing my existing project, but the laptop troubles affected my schedule, and I only managed to log about 10 hours of editing: much less than I anticipated.

On a positive side, my story “The Arcanist and the Mage Killer” was published by a Canadian magazine “Phantaxis” which was a brighter moment among all the negative news. I also had a quest post at Bridget’s blog in which I reviewed “Spectral”, an original movie by Netflix.

I didn’t do much art either, aside from the final touches to my “Let’s Dream About Dragons” art (and putting it on Society 6 and Redbubble), but to lift my own mood, I’ve pulled out my polymer clay. I didn’t try any ambitious projects, though. Instead, I played around some glass beads, creating simple pendants. It turned out that white polymer clay is a pain to work with (it catches every speck of dust and it shows!), but it was still fun.

I was happy to do some reading, though, and even though I’ve only finished one book (it’s in Polish, so I can’t even make a recommendation), I’ve found a non-fiction piece that managed to keep me both interested and excited. But then, the title “The Strangest Tales of Dublin” was already promising when I picked it up back in Ireland. I’m glad I did.

January was also a month when I was desperately searching for a new series to watch. I mostly watch (re-watch) movies, but a good series is a time to not only reset my brain but also to do some artwork. Sadly, nothing from the available titles have grabbed my attention, so I ended up re-watching “Baccano!” with my husband. It’s a superb anime series with non-linear storytelling that still amazes me, both as a viewer and as a writer. I’m hoping to write a post about it one day, because it’s definitely worth the time spent with it. Following in the anime’s vein, I also watched “K”: a series not without flaws and a bit of disappointing ending, but nevertheless very interesting.

On a more personal level, I’ve achieved my goal of having more days when I’ve been working out than those I haven’t. With the laptop transition I haven’t been playing much of anything, though I did try the new machine out with a bit of “Civilization: Beyond Earth” – a beautiful strategy game that is bound to devour me some time in the future (as all the Civilization games do).

So, the start of the year prove quite bumpy for me, and even though I can’t complain since I’ve done quite a bit, all in all I had a feeling of a lost month. Let’s hope the rest of the year won’t be the same.

How about you? How did your 2017 start?

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. sjhigbee

    Blimey! Bumpy is one way of putting it… it sounds like a really grotty start and I very much hope it all starts getting A LOT better very soon! I’m so impressed at the manner in which you have overcome the obstacles strewn in your path and kept up your writing wordcount, Joanna. Let’s hope this coming month is a smoother one.

    1. melfka

      Thank you, Sarah! It did get better and we’re looking at things becoming more positive (fingers crossed!).

      1. sjhigbee

        I’m delighted to hear it! All my good wishes go with you, Joanne, my friend!

  2. J.R.Bee

    Blimey, you’ve achieved a heck of a lot considering your utter bashing at the beginning of the year. Here’s hoping you have a much better rest of the year!

    1. melfka

      Thank you 🙂 I can’t really complain about what I managed to get done, but it was still frustrating to go somewhat against the wind.

      1. J.R.Bee

        It always is, and you had rocks that wind too, but I’m glad you can see how far you’ve come 🙂

  3. saraletourneau

    :S I remember Tweeting with you about your computer troubles, so I’m glad to hear that was taken care of. But… wow. That was a tough month. I hope February is much kinder to both you and your husband, and good for you that you managed to get some writing and editing done despite the bumps in the road.

    1. melfka

      Thank you for your kind words, Sara!

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