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A Month in a Writer’s Life – January 2018

January meant entering the fourth year of the writing challenge, and I even though I have my routine sorted already, I couldn’t resist joining again. 365 Writing Club does miracles when it comes to accountability. This year’s theme is “The Daily Writer”, focusing back on building the habit to write every day, and even though last year I missed only 4 days, I decided I could do better. Did I manage?


As I mentioned back in the December post, with some serious changes in my life on the horizon, I was cautious in setting up my writing goals, but in the end I decided to raise my daily goal back to 1000 words. With 2017’s focus being mostly editing, and great job I did with wrapping up some of my projects, I figured I needed new words to keep going before I run out of projects to work on. Not that such thing is possible, but I did feel a bit lost with my writing goals in January.

365 Writing Club - monthly goal
365 Writing Club badge for meeting my monthly word count.

The end of the previous year saw to finishing some big projects, like Humanborn – my novel set in Ireland destroyed by a magical cataclysm and war, and a fantasy romance I’ve been working on when I didn’t have energy for anything else.

365 Writing Club – daily writing badge

With those two out of the way, I felt… accomplished, but at the same time I wasn’t sure what should be next on my priority list. In the end, I wandered from project to project, with nothing really grabbing my attention. This was when I decided to work on something “for fun”, without stress. It worked as a charm, and even though I’m convinced this project won’t go anywhere, it got me through the regeneration stage.

I still barely met my monthly goal, sprinting through the last day to get the missing 2700 words. I’m hoping to do better in February!


It seemed that January was all-round creativity-rejuvenation period, because I wasn’t drawn to art either. I played around with a bit of polymer clay, but I didn’t seem to get in the right mood to create something unique and satisfying.

I did have a bit of fun with graphic design, playing around with the Motivation Fuel idea. As usually, it’s available on Society6 and Redbubble on a variety of products (mugs, t-shirts, stickers, notebooks, and so on).

Other Happenings

At the end of the month, I was excited to finally spill the beans about the anthology I was a part of. I’ve been waiting to share the news since September last year! I also received my author copy of the anthology, so I’ll be able to put in on my bookshelf.

I also managed to read several books in January which gives me hope that maybe for the first time I’ll be able to keep up with my Goodreads challenge. On the other hand, I always have good beginnings and fall behind as the year progresses.

How was your January?

As you can see, this time I don’t have much to report, so instead I will ask you: how did the beginning of 2018 treat you? Do you have any goals? Are you making plans? Or maybe, like me, you’re still recovering from the intensive 2017?

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 12 Comments

  1. sjhigbee

    It seems to me that you have been very sensible in not panicking as you gave yourself some downtime:)). What sings off the page is the fact that you now know your own creative process and how you tick, so you give yourself a chance to recharge your batteries. Good for you! I watch so many clever talented people literally tear each other apart by imposing completely unrealistic expectations for themselves.

    1. Melfka

      I think I’ve gotten used to the “writing mood” swings by now. And the 365 Writing Club really helps when it comes to learning about oneself. Daily/Monthly tracking of numbers provides a lot if insights (for example, my weekend wordcounts are usually much lower than the week days ones).
      I also tend to set unrealistic goals for myself, but at the same time I’m conscious they are unrealistic – this helps me to prioritize and make choices.

      1. sjhigbee

        Oh yes – I am a huge believer in unrealistic goals, because it drives me to work harder than I otherwise would.

  2. sjhigbee

    And huge congratulations for being part of a worldwide anthology – I LOVE the cover. It is always hard going keep shtum about those types of projects when there are long lead-times involved…

    1. Melfka

      Thank you again :).
      I like the cover too, it has something mesmerizing to it.
      I’m kind of good with keeping things secret, though mostly it stems from not announcing anything until it’s certain. I had a publisher (back in Poland) announce an anthology, with all the authors and titles, and then they ended up scraping the project.

      1. sjhigbee

        Oh that is a miserable experience:(. It’s why I am always a tad wary before jumping up and down too much – I had a publishing deal with a micro-publisher back in 2008 which fell through so that it all came to nothing…

        1. Melfka

          It’s said that with all the rejection and general trial&error we already face as writers we have to add cancelled projects to the list.
          Yet, it did teach me to share the good news only when I’m certain they’re actually happening. And, on a more positive side, it also means I never have to deliver the bad news that something didn’t go through. 🙂

  3. J.R.Bee

    Seems like less is more sometimes. A break can do wonders. And congratulations on your anthology release! It must be wonderful to be able to see your words in a book 🙂

    1. Melfka

      It is! Whenever I get to hold a printed copy with my text in it, I feel like a little girl during Christmas. 😉

  4. saraletourneau

    I feel like I’m going to be repeating the other Sarah a little here, but I’m glad that you interpreted the creative indecision you were experiencing as a need to take things easy for a bit. And even though you might have worked on a project that might not go anywhere, you still wrote. You kept up your daily practice, and that’s a good thing. 🙂 Have things changed so far this month, in terms of finding a clearer direction with what to do next?

    Also, congratulations once again on being included in the anthology!

    1. Melfka

      It’s not “repeating”, it’s “reassuring”.
      As for the “going nowhere project” – it’s fun and this is what matters. It’s been something I’ve been sitting on for years, trying to figure out the plot problems with it. It had time travel, an equivalent of conscious reincarnation, two separate world/dimensions, and a complicated dual timeline on top of that. And for some reason, I finally figured out how to make it work. It doesn’t have time travel anymore, but I was glad I could make the plot work without it.
      I don’t mind it might not go anywhere – such projects remind me that I love writing and it’s so much fun. And in the end, you never know what will work. My fantasy romance was exactly the same: a fun project that will likely go nowhere. One revision and some beta-readers comments later, it seems I should put it on my schedule because it has more potential than I thought. 🙂
      And yes, things got much better when it comes to the direction I should take… So from “roaming freely around the words” I went to “too busy with all the words I should and want to write”. 🙂

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