“Back to normal” seemed to be the most popular sentiment of the year. I’m not exactly sure what that means (what IS normal?), but I know my writing life went through a roller coaster ride these past 12 months. I made several significant changes in my business plan, and I’m happier as a result. And I think my numbers reflect that. But let’s dive into the 2022 wrap-up and see what I’m talking about, shall we? Then we can discuss exactly what I mean.
2022: Freelance Writing
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you need to track your numbers. Otherwise, how will you know where your business and writing are progressing? (“Guess” is not an appropriate answer) Even if all you’re doing is making hatch marks on a piece of paper – which I do for some of these – it’s something. Keep yourself accountable, though.
Now, after the shakeup of 2021, I shucked the nightmare of freelance marketplaces entirely for 2022. I didn’t want to be a slave to content mills any longer. Even if it meant starting the year off with ZERO clients. (Talk about nerve-wracking!) But it worked out in the end. Because it prompted me to invest more time and energy into my marketing and writing.
Which paid off:
- Clients: 3 (Yes, down from 9 in 2021, but all well-paying with deadlines I set)
- Articles Written: 65 (Down 194 from 2021 – expected by ditching the content mill)
- Byline: 58 (Down 90 from 2021)
- Ghostwritten: 7
- Case Studies Written: 1
- eBooks Written: 1
- Social Media Posts Written: 1 set
- Edited: 0 (Down 277 from 2021 – Not something I’ve done this year)
Here’s the kicker: the pieces I wrote for the PetDesk app helped boost client usage. And the podcast recaps I write for them? You guessed it, increasing listener engagement. Milestones that have helped ensure a long-term client. I also had the chance to branch out into new writing mediums, which I LOVED.
And my rewrites of Rover pieces have bumped their positions in Google rankings. Precisely what they were hoping for. And why the editors continue to offer me work. (Not something you’re going to find in those marketplaces, either)
Of course, I earned those numbers because I handled my marketing myself. No trolling job boards hoping someone would take an interest in me. And no waiting for someone to read my profile on those same marketplace postings. I had to do the work myself: engaging with potential clients, writing a killer LinkedIn profile, and sending out LOIs.
The behind-the-scenes work that kicks a writer’s butt:
- LinkedIn Connections Made: 386 (Of course, I also purged several hundred in the middle of the year, eliminating people who weren’t helping with my goals)
- LOIs Sent: 99
- Positive Responses: 9
I know, I know – one short of 100. But as I received a referral from one of my happy clients that sent a prospect winging my way, I count that as success 100. (It also brings the positive response to 10)
2022: Essay Writing
Courtesy of my fantastic writing courses and workshops, I also made 2022 my breakout year for writing. These are, I have to admit, my proudest numbers:
- Pitches Sent: 72
- Publications: 4 (Available for your reading pleasure in Speech Bubble)
- Literary Essays Submitted: 14
- Publications: 1 (Also in Speech Bubble)
- Anthology Essay Submissions: 5
- Acceptances: 2 (Publication forthcoming in 2023)
With one exception – published anonymously – I had a byline. But I’m more ecstatic about navigating the pitching process. And my thanks go out to my writing buddies who helped me smooth out the bumps and rough edges from my initial drafts.
2022: Speculative Writing
On to the final category of writing. And the one I typically neglect in my rush to accomplish something every year. (I can admit it) Although I did better with some of my numbers for 2022 than I did in either 2020 or 2021.
Still, nothing to brag about:
- Short Stories Written: 2
- Short Stories Rewritten: 1
- Short Stories Started: 1 (Another rewrite)
- Submissions: 19
- Rejections: 19
- Rejections with Personal Letters: 4
- Publications: 0
I DID complete NaNoWriMo this year on top of everything else. I also scored an Honorable Mention from the Writers of the Future contest. And one of those rejections? Was a final round read for an anthology. So I’m not entirely dissatisfied with myself.
But I do plan to do better for 2023. And I will be focusing more of my energy on my speculative writing. (So expect better numbers this time next year)
Worst for last, I’m afraid. Can you say disappointed? I really felt confident that I’d be able to beat last year’s total of 80 books read. I just didn’t consider the SIZE of the books on my To Read pile. Or the fact that having a frozen shoulder would make propping up such tomes would become difficult. (Call me a purist, but I don’t believe in reading on a Kindle)
Unfortunately, I knew when I hit December there was no way my 2022 goal was going to happen. So I cut it back to 68. And then I finished 69 books on the 22nd, with family obligations looming on the horizon. And I should probably find some time to relax before the year closes out. But I’m going to hold off on bumping it up. (You know, take the win while I have it)
And looking at the massive books I have hitting me next year, I’ll plan accordingly. (In theory)
Come on 2023
There are only a few days left in 2022. Which means it’s time to start gearing up for 2023. I have my business plan ready to go. And I’ve already started laying the groundwork with some early-year classes and workshops. I anticipate things looking different – in a good way.
MY writing is going to get the front seat this year. However that ends up looking around the medical nonsense I have coming down the pipeline. And I’m not going to fret over numbers as much (while still tracking them ruthlessly).
Here’s hoping you’re as optimistic and content with your 2022 review and 2023 outlook.
Happy New Year, Everyone!