Was 2021 rough for anyone else? (Yes, yes, I made similar sentiments for 2020 – let’s not dwell on that fact) It’s a personal thing, but odd-numbered years never seem to deliver on the warm fuzzies. I usually end up bracing for the worst – and still get bowled over by the Universe. Makes it easy to reach the end of the year and chuck everything into the garbage. But when you run a business, that doesn’t work. So it’s time to wrap-up everything and reflect on how 2021 ACTUALLY went. (Why, yes, I am wincing)
2021: Freelance Writing
First, let me start with a PSA for all the freelance writers out there: If you don’t have a tracking system out there so you can easily put your finger on these numbers, you need one. (Work that into your business plan for 2022) You shouldn’t have to scramble to figure out what you accomplished with your business over a year.
Now, onto the details:
- Clients: 9 (Down 6 from 2020)
- Articles Written: 258 (Up 64 from 2020)
- Byline: 148 (Up 18 from 2020)
- Ghostwritten: 110 (Up 50 from 2020)
- Edited: 280 (Up 277 from 2020)
Can’t argue with progress. And from a financial standpoint, those raw data points support the growth of Antihero Kreative. 2021 wasn’t too shabby. However, I ended up restructuring things in the summer. And that means throwing some new numbers into the mix:
- LinkedIn Connections Made: 242
- LOIs sent: 70
- Positive Responses: 5
- Pitches sent: 7
- Accepted: 0
Crazy, right? 2021 was the year of LinkedIn, website revamping (more on that in a minute), and seminars/classes/boot camps. Or (to put it another way) discovering the nightmare of content mills and breaking free of their miniscule-profit mindset.
(Also, fear, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and breakdowns. But those are harder to quantify in numbers)
Nothing disappointed me more in 2020 than failing to meet my reading goals. Anyone who knows me stares at my bookshelves and To Read piles in awe. So coming up short felt like an absolute failure.
And bumping out my goal not once but TWICE in 2021? That made up for it. Officially by Goodreads’ count, I’ve finished up 80 books for the year. However, I didn’t count the last entry (yes, I set standards for myself). But I’m confident in my abilities to finish my current read before midnight on Friday.
And as I look over the stack waiting for me (not to mention the Amazon order due to arrive this week), I’m debating the goal to set for 2022.
2021: Speculative Fiction
Ugh. Okay, I dropped the ball in 2021 when it comes to my fantasy and sci-fi writing. I’m the first to admit it. Frankly, owning up to this round-up is embarrasing:
- Short Stories Written: 0
- Short Stories Started: 3
- Submissions: 11
- Rejections: 14 (6 from 2020 submissions)
- Rejections with Personal Letters: 2
- Publications: 0
I also (foolishly?) decided I wanted to tackle NaNoWriMo this year. Timing wasn’t my problem in seeing things through; I hit a massive wall in the project I selected. So I only managed 7,586 words (YA fantasy). And, yes, I’m aware of how pathetic that was.
But in those less-than-ideal numbers, I score 2 Silver Honorable Mentions from the Writers of the Future Contest. And I overhauled 3 of the stories written in 2020 – with plans to tackle the remainder in 2022.
Looking Ahead to 2022
So where to go from here?
Up, duh. (I know, that was a trick question)
Striking a balance between my freelance life and speculative life is a primary goal for 2022. I hate that I lost (essentially) half of my writing self in 2021. That needs correcting. And shucking the stress and drama of content mills gets me headed in the right direction. Because I’m not taking clients that expect me to write insane amounts anymore (for tiny budgets)
I’m also overhauling my site (yeah, again). So don’t be surprised if you see it go into maintenance mode this week. I took the time off – business-wise – so it’s the perfect time for me to redesign everything. And that focus on what makes me the lovable weirdo? Yeah, it’s a goal for 2022, too.
I don’t know that I’m LOOKING FORWARD to the new year (the past two years have left a bit of trauma). But I’m not cringing, either. And as much as I wince over some of the numbers from 2021, sitting down and looking at these round-ups helps. It gives me the energy and motivation to strive for MORE for the future.
If you haven’t looked over your 2021 year, take some time out now. What are you most proud of? Where do you want to improve for 2022? No hiding; a glaring, honest eyeball is the only way you make real change.