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A Month in a Writer’s Life – January 2019

As you might recall, I took December somewhat off to get my “game plan” ready for 2019. So, when January came, I was ready and motivated. Of course, as Red Hot Chili Peppers sang in an unrelated (and slightly explicit) song, nothing ever goes according to plan. Distraction hit me from the least expected direction, causing a lot of heartache. It’s enough to say that someone whom I considered a friend disappointed my trust in the worst possible way, and the ripples from that single event caused waves throughout my month. Yet, that unpleasant situation aside, I think it’s possible to announce my January as a moderate success.


Back in October, I made a decision to not sign up for the 2019 writing challenge. After 3 years and proving to myself I can write every day, participation became an additional chore that served no purpose anymore. My routine is already in place, and even on the worst days I get at least 100 words down, so the challenge had fulfilled its purpose and it felt like a good time to look for ways to push myself further.

Since one of my goals for 2019 is to finish as many of my projects as possible, I didn’t set a monthly goal for my word count. With so much revision work, it would be hard to keep a steady output. So, instead, I aimed for 500-1000 words daily.

In the end, I finished the month with 15,000 words written and around 40 hours of editing, the number that is likely too low since I usually count only “intense-editing” hours, and not all the time I spent with my works-in-progress.


Throughout November and December I’ve been steadily working on transferring my Inktober dragonflies into a digital format, fixing some of the imperfections and making sure the lines are crisp. A tedious task, since they were so many, finally saw its end in January. I combined all 31 dragonflies into one image and made it available on Society6 and Redbubble.

On top of that, somewhat because of the “popular demand,” I decided to resume drawing dragonflies. Unfortunately, a daily challenge would be too much, especially with writing being my focus, but a more-or-less weekly dragonfly seemed doable. In January I drew 4 new dragonflies, and they appeared on my social media on Fridays with #DragonflyDay hashtag, if you want to keep up with them.


One of my considerations for 2019 was reading. Back in 2018 I was reading something every day, be it for research or information, but at the same time, I didn’t read much of actual books, especially fiction. I was hoping to change that, and by the end of the last year, I finally gave in to the idea of getting a new ebook reader. I loved my old Nook, but after 10 years of service it was both outdated and time-consuming to setup. As much as a new ebook reader seemed an extravagance, I realized it’s more of an investment and a necessity for a bookworm like me.

Armed with Kindle Paperwhite, I got back to reading while I work out. It gave me almost an hour of uninterrupted reading time most of the days, and I managed to finish four books (and DNF-ed another one). This might not seem like much to many bookworms out there, but I’m satisfied. Any more, and I could end up binge-reading, neglecting almost everything (which I actually ended up doing anyway on a few occasions).

My Goodreads challenge still remains somewhat meager. I aim for only 20 books this year, but in the end, it’s not about the number itself, but quality of reading. I’ll be much happier with only 20 books read in 2019 if all of them turn out to be exciting or unique or entertaining.

Speaking of working out, this was another goal of mine: to get back to the regular exercise. I’ve been working out somewhat regularly in 2018, but because of my work and other reasons, I often missed days, and just couldn’t get the routine down. A spark of an idea caused me to juggle my daily schedule, and it worked better than I expected. Apart from January 1st, I haven’t missed a single day.

A good start to 2019

As I wrote in the beginning, January didn’t exactly go as planned. But at the same time, despite the unexpected situations, it brought a lot of progress and positive outcomes. It also became a strong foundation for building up even a better routine that would include all the aspects of my life instead of focusing solely on writing. With that in mind, I’m hoping that January will be a trampoline that launch me into a productive and structured 2019.

How about you? Did you make any plans for January? Did the month meet your expectations?

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 2 Comments

  1. saraletourneau

    That’s definitely the best way to look at your January: positive, and evidence of progress. Now the key will be to continue this momentum through February and the rest of the year. But you’ve shown before that you create good habits and successfully turn them into a routine, so I have no doubt that more good things and progress is bound to happen for you. 🙂

    I know I’ve said it before, but I love your dragonfly drawings. I might not always see them or comment on them, but when I do see them, they make me smile!

    1. Melfka

      Thank you, Sara! It seems that I’m doing ok so far, but this year’s plans include a lot of new things and challenges, so we will see how it goes. 🙂
      And I’m glad you enjoy the dragonflies. I know they aren’t always “comment-able”, so don’t worry about it – you smile is more important than a comment. 🙂

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