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A Month in a Writer’s Life – September 2018

Another month bites the dust, getting us closer to the end of the year. It’s been another strange month. I haven’t done as much as I had hope to, but at the same time, many things saw slow and steady progress, making me hopeful for the future.


At the moment, I’m so behind with my goal for 365 Writing Club, I don’t even want to check the numbers. In theory, I could still catch up before the end of the year, especially if I give in and do NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, but I’m trying to be realistic. I also learned that with all the editing and freelancing, 500 words a day is a more manageable goal for me, and I’ve been writing as much on average.

In September, I managed to write over 16,000 words, and work on some revisions as well. That included a short story re-write that I hadn’t been able to tackle for the past year. I knew what I had to do, but the “how” was a problem that I couldn’t solve, so I kept staying away from the story hoping to approach it with fresh eyes. Finally, after a year of thinking about it, I reread both the text and my beta-readers’ comments, and faced my nemesis. The battle was tough, but I emerged victorious, and I’m much happier with that short story now.


I spent a lot of time doing art as well. Some of it isn’t ready to be shared with the world yet, but I managed to finish one piece I’m particularly happy with.

Back in May, I’ve redrawn We’re All Mad Here twice, because I wasn’t happy with the uneven lines, and then fixed them some more in Photoshop. But I had trouble deciding how I want to color it. I ended up doing it bit by bit, focusing at one detail at the time and reworking it until I was satisfied. Finally, in September, all the elements clicked together. I was very happy how it turned out – and even happier that people responded to it the same way, when I shared it on social media, and added it to Society6 and Redbubble stores.


I also returned to polymer clay. I made a new batch of pendants, as I’m enjoying them, but I also tried something new: a set of candle holders made from big springs Inq had brought me. They are still missing the bottom piece, but I love how they turned out.


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Post udostępniony przez Joanna Maciejewska (@melfkathewriter)


It seems that September is turning out to be a social month for Inq and I, even though we don’t plan it that way. Last year, when we were in Arizona, we drove down to Phoenix to meet up my friends from 10 Minute Novelists group, and this year we were traveling around to meet Inq’s family, immediate and extended one. We helped with moving houses and attended a birthday celebration in a traditional Italian restaurant.


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Post udostępniony przez Joanna Maciejewska (@melfkathewriter)

As much as I enjoyed both events, my inner introvert was left drained and demanding a promise that was enough social gathering for at least a year…

We also had a bit of weather turmoil. Ultimately, Hurricane Florence didn’t make it to Virginia, but we got intense rains, and the aftermath were the tornadoes that formed from its leftovers. We had several warnings about them, but thankfully, none got close to where we live. On the plus side, I got to learn how to proceed in case tornado was getting close – free research and food for thought for a writer, isn’t it?


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Post udostępniony przez Joanna Maciejewska (@melfkathewriter)

Taking a break

At the end of them month, all these happenings mixed some life-related stress caused me feel drained. I ended up withdrawing from social media, and taking things easy in general. I didn’t even write my 10 Minute Novelist post, and I skipped a blog post here as well. I focused on enjoying things I like, and in the end, it paid off. My mind rejuvenated, and my thoughts are more positive now. I keep making plans, and even if I won’t catch up with everything before 2019 knocks on the door, I hope to be left with a feeling I got somewhere with all my goals.

And what about pansies, you ask? After blooming consistently since July, they finally showed their last flowers, and now are just a wild bush of leaves. But I’m already looking forward the next year when I’m going to sow some more. And perhaps some vegetables as well?

How did your September go? Anything exciting to report? Any struggles that require a virtual hug?

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 9 Comments

  1. saraletourneau

    I hear you on the need to take a break for a bit. I haven’t done much on social media for the past couple days because I’ve been super-busy and, as a result, trying to conserve some personal energy. Plus, when you come home from work to find out that there’s potentially a building-wide water leak and you might have to have a bathroom wall taken down… Yeah. I know I’m a homeowner and I have to expect that stuff like this will come up now and then, but it doesn’t make things less frustrating.

    On a different note, I’m glad you’ve found a positive perspective on your writing progress. Sometimes we set a goal for ourselves, and during the year we realize for one reason or another that we might have to dial down our expectations and/or shoot for something slightly lower. But it’s better than coming to a complete halt altogether, right?

    And remember, you did have two short stories published this year. 🙂

    How are you enjoying Inktober, btw? I haven’t had a chance to comment on your Instagram or Facebook posts about it, but it seems to be inspiring you so far.

    1. Melfka

      Oh no! I hope you didn’t have too much hassle with that leak! Any issues with home (especially the one you own and you have to pay for everything in) are always nerve-wrecking and money-sucking. 🙁
      And yes, part of being successful as a writer is being able to manage one’s own expectations and capabilities. I long stopped comparing myself to others, though sometimes I use their successes as goals or motivation. 🙂
      And I enjoyed Inktober immensely, though some of the prompts were giving me a headache. I think focusing on art also helped to regain love for my writing.

      1. saraletourneau

        The leak actually “disappeared.” It apparently dried up, so when the plumber came back to check on the water damage in my neighbor’s bathroom, he wasn’t able to trace the lead back to its source. (*whew*) Maybe it was just splashover from one of the bathrooms above hers? (We live in a three-story building, and all of the bathrooms on my side of the building are “grouped together” so the plumbing runs altogether, if that makes sense.)

        1. Melfka

          That’s good news! The less work needs to be done – the less stress and expenses!

  2. Alchemy Ocelot

    Love the little Cthulhu candle holders. 😀

    I know that drained feeling. I learned to reduce it by doing less. I dropped Facebook, Twitter, all forums and the idea of joining any of these commitment-websites for writers. Now my life oscilates between writing, transcendental caffeination, biking and the occasional games evening. I don’t miss the mental clutter.
    September was for me the last spurt to finish structural edit of act two of my novel. Then I went for a bike trip to Toskana and now comes the final run for the act three edit. I actually enjoy the editing process more than I have thought I would. It’s good to see a project take on some finished form.

    1. Melfka

      I like social media because if done well, they offer a lot of opportunities and long-lasting friendships. I’ve found supporters, fans, and beta-readers through them, and commitment is sometimes good – without my writing group I’d be definitely writing less, not more.
      But it sounds like you’ve found what works for you – and that’s great!

  3. sjhigbee

    Well, it’s all been happening in your neck of the woods, hasn’t it? Sorry I’m a bit late in turning up and commenting – but I’ve been jaunting off. No wonder you became stretched thin – but I think you’ve been very wise in listening to your body and your own frame of mind and giving yourself time to recharge. The one thing I’m having to learn that as I continue to write, I must take better care of myself.

    As for those pansies… are you going to hold onto the little plants and see when they next bloom? I’d love to know what happens next to them! Have a really successful October, Joanna:)

    1. Melfka

      Yes, self-care is essential – and I always try to tell everyone that taking a break (even for a week or a month if needed) isn’t slacking but ensuring writing will happen in the future.
      We decided to keep pansies through the winter to check if they survive (though they look somewhat battered after the post-hurricane rains and nearby-tornado-warning winds). If not, we’ll be planting fresh ones in spring. That is, of course, if we don’t end up moving yet again… 😉

      1. sjhigbee

        Well here, pansies are planted as winter bedding, so unless your temperatures plunge below freezing for long periods, they should cope. Oh… moving again??

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