Last year, I posted quarterly updates to my invisible writer’s progress, but 2021 brought so much about, I barely blinked and it was already the end of June. So here’s a quick roundup of the first half of my year.
The most important event was the release of my debut novel, By the Pact. So far, the reception had been very positive, and all the people who’d read the novel seem to have enjoyed it. I was excited to see everyone share pictures of their e-readers with the book on it or paperbacks, and I’m happy that I could make it available in all major stores.
I also wrapped up final edits for book 2 in Pacts Arcane and Otherwise, Scars of Stone, which is releasing this month.
Other than that, it felt like not much writing happened. For the most of the time, I’ve been working on Shadows over Kaighal, after I received very insightful feedback from my alpha reader, Piotr. Revisions and edits are much slower than actually writing a book, and I stubbornly refused to jump into any side projects: with the first book being out in the world, I’m committed to finishing the series in a timely manner, delivering book 3 in 2022, and aiming for the final one to be released in the same year. I need at least the first draft of book 4 done before I take any breaks and work on other things… And the list of projects to tackle is slowly growing, I assure you!
Novels aside, I wrote a few blog posts this year, though my schedule was far from regular:
- All the Reasons to Love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
- Space Sweepers: The Space Opera You Might Have Been Waiting For
- 5 Years in the USA
- March of the Writers
- Do You DNF Books?
- Are Vampires Boring?
When I wasn’t writing, I was doing art. Over the six months, I completed quite a few pieces within several themes.
First, I digitally redrew and colored some of my witches from Inktober 2019 – the tasty witch, the Egyptian witch, and the Witch Island. I have a few more than I’d like to do, so there might be more witches coming. And, as an extra, another witch, that was technically done back in December 2020, but I haven’t shared it here yet: a mix of ninja and a witch, or a ninjitch.
There were, of course, dragons too. I made one for Dragon Appreciation Day back in January. Then there was the one inspired by the quote from Skyrim, in which many characters warn you to watch the sky—they’re right, because “dragons can swoop down any moment”. The last one was a therapy of sorts for me, channeling a mentally bad time into art.
I also played with word art, stretching a bit the boundaries of my creativity. As you can see, the styles and approaches vary, but I had fun making every single one of them. “It doesn’t get better if you just wait” might sound a bit grim, but it was my response to a slogan I saw on the internet, saying “Just wait. It gets better.” Since from my perspective passiveness rarely brings any results or improves anything, I felt I needed to make a response to it.
There was also some assorted art. I made a series of three images for science fiction fans, one for a girl, one for a boy, and one for all those who’d rather not identify as either. Next, I redrew my gargoyle from Inktober 2020, and I was satisfied with how he turned out, and for the World Dracula Day I remade my vampire picture from the same Inktober. I also went back to my dragonflies from Inktober 2018. This was the muddy one, but when I redrew it and painted it digitally, it looked more caramel-like, so I promptly added some lollipops. The sprite had started as a doodle without a clear idea of where I was going, but people seemed to enjoy the final result (I even got a request to make it into a sticker, which I did). Another redrawing was the rag doll, this time of some decade-all doodle, and so was the paw heart. The last piece, untitled, is still a work in progress, but since I haven’t worked on it for months now, I shared it as is for now.
Some of them are available in my Society6 and Redbubble stores if you’d like a print, a sticker, a t-shirt or anything else. If you don’t see something there, let me know, and I’ll try to add it.
Which piece of art is your favorite? What styles or themes would you like to see more of?
In the past half a year, my life has become less structured than it used to be. Being a freelancer throws the wrench in the plans already, forcing me to juggle deadlines and schedules, and in January, Inq changed his job. The new one comes with many perks, but also means less structured days, with some ending as overtime or overnight stays, while others being work-from-home trainings and meetings. I’m still adjusting to less structure and planning, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.
In March, I turned 40 without fanfares or parties (the side effects of being all alone in the US and the restrictions that were still in place), and I don’t feel any different. But hey, “Level 40” sounds better than, let’s say, Level 13.
I had little luck with books so far, with many of them being very prompt DNF’s, but I found a few that I truly enjoyed. And, what’s more important, I seem to read more than in the previous years, and I’m hoping for this trend to continue.
I played a bit of video games as well, and one of them likely deserves a separate post, so I’ll try to make this happen.
How about your year so far? Any achievements? Progress? Share in the comments!
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.