Happy New Year!
2022 has come and gone, though it certainly felt as though it hung around longer than it should have. That also means it’s time for my yearly recap (coming a little later than usual), where I look back on everything I did, everything I hoped to do, and what my plans are going forward.
Overall, I’d say it was a good year for me if a bit of a strange and uncomfortable one. But we’ll get to that. I hope all of you had a wonderful new year, and are as excited as I am to get started in 2023! I have big plans (and big changes) that are in the works, so this next year should be interesting in many ways.
A Year of Adjustments
Last year was a strange year, and maybe it was for you too. It felt like a transitional one – stuck in that murky phase between one state of being and another. Or maybe I was in the thick of change and didn’t recognize it as such. I feel so different from the woman I was when last year began, and at the same time, it feels as though nothing has happened.
I guess what has happened has been small and hard to see – small adjustments to my life, to my methods, and to my future plans and it’s hard to feel settled when so much still feels in flux. 2021 felt like a year of change, and 2022 was a year to grow and adapt to those changes, and in many ways that were hard.
I know at the end of last year I suspected I might have ADHD, and this year has been a lot of trial and error to find ways to better support a brain that works a little differently than most. I can’t say that I’ve got my ADHD completely under control, because I don’t think that’s possible, but I think I’m better prepared and better equipped to deal with it. And hopefully, that continues into 2023!
My 2022 Goals
I really should give up on this goal-setting thing, because I’m not good at it. I think that is largely to do with how my brain works. I lose focus easily, and trying to hold to these goals when my wants and interests are constantly in flux is daunting. I’ll give something a shot, and when it doesn’t go quite the way I wanted or expected, I throw in the towel or come up with some excuse as to why I can no longer do it. And then I move on to the next thing.
I do need to get better at accepting failure and starting over again. It’s something I’m working on for 2023.
But, alas, here were the ten goals I had for 2022:
- Publish my first novel
- Start a podcast
- Stream for a month
- Grow my blog traffic
- Establish a workable routine
- Read more indie books
- Publish on medium at least once a month
- Open an online store
- Get clients through my website
- Grow my email list
Did I Achieve My Goals?
Publish My First Novel ❌
Well, no. I did not publish my first novel. Not to say that I didn’t put a lot of work towards that goal, and I learned a lot about my writing and outlining process this year, and as I’ll go into for my writing recap, but what I was working on just did not feel ready to publish. Not yet, at least.
Start a Podcast ❌
I actually did start recording this podcast – it was meant to be a tie-in to my 100 days project and so I recorded clips for the first several weeks of the project.
Even before the project started to derail, though, I found the audio clips were getting really repetitive, and I wasn’t sure they would make for an interesting podcast at all, especially since the challenge looked like it was going to be a dud. So I scrapped the idea, and while I would still love to start a podcast, I don’t want to throw my time behind an idea that just doesn’t work.
Stream for a Month ❌
Another failure, though this time was because it was harder to find a schedule I could commit to. I still plan to give this a shot and create a co-working community but it will have to wait a little bit, unfortunately.
Grow my Blog Traffic ✔️
SEO is hard, but I do regularly perform audits and update old posts to give them a refresh and update the keywords. I think it shows in that some of my older posts became my most viewed last year. On average, my traffic doubled over last year, and I’m really proud of the growth I’ve seen in the last twelve months. I didn’t quite hit the milestones I was hoping for, but happy for the growth nonetheless. I consider this goal a success!
Establish a Workable Routine ✔️
This, I’m happy to report, was also a success. With a lot of trial and error, I have definitely found methods and schedules that help me stay as focused and productive as possible. The classic 9-5 from Monday to Friday with co-working live streams and Pomodoro sessions has been invaluable in helping me get work done.
I’ve been tracking my ADHD triggers and the like to help me parse out when I’m overstimulated and experimenting with things I can do to help re-focus my attention. I still have a lot of work to do on that front, but I’m really pleased with my progress so far!
Read More Indie Books ✔️
Another success! Maybe this year wasn’t as bad as I first believed. I read almost 40 books last year, and 8 of them were self-published, which means 21% of the books I read last year were indie books, a huge improvement over 2021 when I read only one self-published book. It’s really important to me, as someone who will one day be self-publishing, to support my fellow authors going forward, and I really want to continue this into 2023!
Publish on Medium at least Once a Month ❌
I’m going to be honest, I have mixed feelings about Medium, and maybe it’s because I’ve seen much better growth on my own blog. I don’t see the value in writing original content for a website where I have no audience, and reposting old content hasn’t really got me anywhere, nor has it led to any increased engagement anywhere else on my platform.
Perhaps the niches I write in just don’t do well on Medium, and that’s okay. I published a few posts there, but I haven’t seen enough success for me to want to spend more time on that right now. So I threw in the towel with this goal as well.
Open an Online Store ✔️?
This one is kind of a half-win because technically I set up a Gumroad store-front as a place to display all of my templates. Though a large majority of my templates are free, it is technically an online store. Not the one I expected to start, but it has definitely grown over the last year.
At the end of 2021, I had only one template – the Bullet Journal Template, and now I have nine templates, and plenty more in the works. I do plan to open storefronts on other websites (Ko-Fi, Etsy) sometime this year though.
Get Clients Through My Website ❌
I did not do much in the way of freelancing last year. Selling Notion templates was something I kind of stumbled into and was met with success, so I focused my attention on that and less on trying to attract clients. In the latter third of the year, I decided to look for a remote job, which meant that freelancing would be on hold until I got settled. So, unfortunately, this goal was a failure.
Grow My Email List ✔️?
This is another half-win, because technically my email list did grow, just not the one I intended, and I wasn’t very specific when I made this goal. I think I was more specifically looking to grow the email list tied to my author platform, which I never started because I knew I needed more time to work on my book. My other email lists (for this blog and my Gumroad storefront), both grew, and I did send out a few newsletters to my Gumroad email list. I call that a win – or at least a partial one.
Well, writing did not go as well as I wanted it to last year, and I only have myself to blame for that. The bulk of the writing I did was for this blog, and I’ve enjoyed everything I posted here in the last year, but my fiction – that’s always where I seem to disappoint myself.
And I know why. I know if I psyche myself up too much about a project, it makes me too nervous to start it, especially because I know my first draft is going to be less than stellar and not at all how I expect it to read. I know this is true because it can happen when I’m working on a big blog post as well. I’m a perfectionist, and that has been something I have struggled a lot with this year. I need to be better about allowing myself to make mistakes because that is part of the learning process.
Aside from my blog, the only other thing I wrote was the first draft of my book Darker Fathoms, a novella that clocked in at 26,300 words.
I think I did better than I did in 2021, and for that at least, I ought to be proud. Baby steps are still steps, after all.
The 100 Days Project
This was both the most ambitious thing I’ve ever attempted as well as the biggest failure I’ve ever had. Weeks of preparation went into this – a challenge where I would attempt to publish a book in 100 days. And to be fair, it started off well enough.
I’ve always been one to work well under pressure, and I didn’t think this would be any different. If you read my original post, as crazy as the idea was, I had many valid reasons for attempting it, and I still stand by those reasons.
A future version of me who has written and published more books might have a better chance at seeing this challenge through to the end because that was the part where I think I was lacking. Experience. I had never published a book, though I’d done loads of research. And while I’ve written books before, I’ve never had to write and edit them in such a short time frame.
I’m still kind of attempting the challenge, and you can read more about my reflections in this post, but the goal of that project was to force me to publish a book in 2022, and sadly, I did not.
2022 was a fantastic reading year for me, and I read more than I have in many years (and some of the biggest books on my TBR!). While I enjoyed the vast majority, I did not find many new favourites, so it was a little average in that regard, but I’m still so proud of all the reading I managed to do. This was another priority of mine for 2022, and I’m happy to see it pay off!
It helps that I’ve moved more firmly into the adult category, and I’ve been more selective with any YA I decide to pick up, because that’s not a category I enjoy reading as much. I still need to read more broadly, but I enjoy fantasy so much as a genre – it’s comforting for me, so it will always be the one I read most.
Every Book I Read in 2022:
- Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
- Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
- The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
- The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
- Home by Martha Wells
- The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
- The Faceless Mage by Kenley Davidson
- The Unseen Heir by Kenley Davidson
- the witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace
- The Mighty Nein Origins: Caleb Widogast
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
- Restrictions May Apply by C.R. Rowenson
- The Magic System Blueprint by C.R. Rowenson
- Secrets to Selling Books on Social Media by Bethany Atazadeh with Mandi lynn
- Jade City by Fonda Lee
- Creating Life: The Art of Worldbuilding vol. 1 by Randy Ellefson
- Reign & Ruin by J.D. Evans
- Never Die by Rob J. Hayes
- Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J. Hayes
- The Citrine Key by L.L. MacRae
- The Fall by Ryan Cahill
- Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
- The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
- A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
- The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
- The Gunslinger by Stephen King
- The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
- Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
- Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
- The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
- The Gathering of the Lost by Helen Lowe
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
- The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
- The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
- No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
- Legendary by Stephanie Garber
My Favourite Reads of 2022:
Additional Reading Stats:
- Total Pages Read: 13,872
- Average Book Length: 365 pages
- Largest Book: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (1,248 pages)
- Smallest Book: Home by Martha Wells (19 pages)
- Most popular genre: Fantasy
- Most popular publication year: 2021, 2020 (7 books each)
- Book Format: Ebook (58%), Audiobook (28%), Physical book (14%)
This was a weird gaming year for me. I feel like I played a lot of games and at the same time, I barely played anything at all. I think that’s because I was replaying a lot, or spending the bulk of my time in a select few, as you will soon see.
My efforts to track my gaming sessions in Notion were not as successful as they could be, so I completely remade my gaming tracker in Notion – hopefully next year I can be more specific because it was difficult trying to remember what I did and didn’t play this year.
Of course, there were a few things I wasn’t going to forget. After loving Dragon Age: Inquisition last year, I went back and played the entirety of the Dragon Age series along with my best friend and we absolutely loved it! Inquisition is still my favourite, and a game I will probably replay regularly, but I really enjoyed my time in Thedas last year.
I also moved from one MMO to another, starting my year with Elder Scrolls Online but ending in Final Fantasy XIV, which I played for the first time last year. I’m taking a break from the MMOs for now to finish up other games and play new releases (including the stuttering hell that is Pokemon Scarlet), but I do plan to go back to both games. I really enjoy both of them for different reasons, but the community in FFXIV has (so far) been one of the most friendly and welcoming I’ve ever seen.
Every Game I Finished in 2022:
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Dragon Age 2
- Dragon Age Inquisition (replay)
- Fire Emblem: Three Hopes
- Slime Rancher
- New Pokemon Snap (replay)
- Banjo-Kazooie (replay)
Games I Started But Didn’t Finish in 2022:
- Pokemon Scarlet
- Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
- No Man’s Sky
- Tales of the Abyss
- Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
- Banjo-Tooie (replay)
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Final Fantasy XIV
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Octopath Traveller
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (replay)
- Sword of Mana (replay)
My Favourite Games of 2022:
This was a great year for Alyssa Lost in Space, as it has continued to show steady growth since I started it 4 years ago. Unfortunately, though, I’m spending more and more time writing posts that get less and less return, so you’ll probably see my posting frequency change a little if you haven’t noticed that already.
As much as I love this humble little blog, it was eating up more time than I was willing to give, especially towards the end of the year. I plan to pivot into writing primarily fiction and starting to publish my work, and unfortunately, that will be eating up some of the time I dedicate to my blog.
I do plan to expand my content with video uploads and eventually start streaming, and this blog will always be the hub where you can find me and everything I create. That will never change. But I want to be even more selective regarding what I post, and make sure that I’m only spending time on those articles I’m most passionate about writing.
My Blogging Stats for 2022:
- Followers: 284
- Number of 2022 Posts: 25
- Total Number of Words: 41,800
- Average Words per post: 1,672
- Average views per month: 1,537
- Month with the most posts: September (9 posts)
- Month with the most views: January (2,145)
Most Viewed Posts of 2022:
- The Fantasy Plot Generator: 15 Places to Randomly Create Plots and Prompts for Writers, Dungeon Masters and Solo RPG Players
- How I Use Notion to Organize my Writing
- First Impressions: A Look at the Opening Lines of Popular Fantasy Novels
Three Lessons Learned in 2022
1. I’m A Planner Person Now
I keep a planner-wallet hybrid, and I have for the last several years now (I like having the security of a place to write if I need it), but it was really more of a glorified notebook than anything else that also happened to carry cards and cash.
I’ve been using Notion for a while, and it is definitely my preferred place to plan, but there were some things Notion couldn’t do (or not easily), and as I have continued to use it, my Notion dashboard has grown exceptionally large and complex.
It’s great for organizing all my notes and information but it was clear I needed something I could refer to quickly and easily. So I began to design pages for my pocket planner-wallet. It’s gone through several iterations since, but I finally have a set-up that works well with my brain and my process, and helps me organize information before unloading it into my Notion.
It complements my digital planner perfectly and provides a place for me to quickly refer to information or jot things down. I check my planner every night before bed, I check it every morning when I get up, and I truly do not know where I’d be without it. I’ll probably do an in-depth review of my planning process at some point, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested!
2. I Work Better When I Sleep
Since I started using my planner regularly, I’ve had a slew of revelations about my work and lifestyle habits. Tracking my sleep was one of them, and it’s hard to ignore the facts. I work better when I get enough sleep, and it’s something I have to prioritize next year. I’m not in a place in my life anymore where I can work through the night. Even if my brain believes otherwise, it’s better for me to retire early and get a good night’s sleep. The data doesn’t lie.
I’ve never been as good at time management as I seem to think I am, and when I attempt to stay up late to finish something, too often it costs me more than it’s worth. Now that I’m settling into something of a routine, it’s become easier to put the work down and relax at night.
3. I Need to Follow My Fear
This was an uncomfortable year for me, and I think a lot of that has to do with confronting some hard truths I’ve been avoiding. One of the reasons I’m pulling back on this blog a little bit in 2023 was because I was using it as an excuse to avoid writing my novel. The prospect of writing and publishing my book had just become these insurmountable ordeals and it was easier to put off when I felt I had a valid excuse, like blog posts to write, or templates to build.
I’ve been tracking my weekly task blocks in my planner (seriously, this thing has been revolutionary), and I noticed that weeks would go by without me even touching my novel. And yet what I want to do – what I still want to do, is become a published author.
5 years from now, I want to be known as a published author. Not a professional blogger, even if I love this blog to pieces. Putting my time into it wasn’t wrong per se, but it was wrong if it was taking me away from the things I really ought to be doing. The things I had become afraid of doing.
The more you resist doing something, the more important it is that you do the thing. Fear is something we all experience, and I think it’s something that ought to be honoured and appreciated. It’s a protective instinct, meant to help preserve the status quo, and keep you in situations and modes of thinking that are safe and familiar. But it’s also the line you must pass if you want to grow. The things that are scary are the things we must do. If it didn’t matter, if it wasn’t important to us – would we be so afraid?
Reflection is not easy for me as I do not have a good memory for these things (I blame the ADHD), but keeping track left a paper trail I couldn’t deny. I’ve spent too much time avoiding the things that matter most to me. So, in 2023, I’m going to follow my fear.
Looking Ahead to 2023
Normally I feel far more energized by the new year, but then I also have a tendency to overwork and over-commit in the first few months and burn myself out for a while. And that’s something I’d really like to avoid this time around.
Also, as I’ve stated multiple times at this point, I’m not good at goal setting. Right now, I’m using quarterly goals and breaking those goals down into projects and tasks, tackling them one chunk of the year at a time. And I think it works better for me this way.
Three months is long enough that I feel I can make significant progress towards something, but not so long that I forgot what I was originally trying to accomplish. It forces me to make them measurable and achievable, to lay out steps and milestones that will help me reach them, and so it’s how I’m going to continue to organize my year.
So there are no big 2023 goals for me.
Well, that’s not true. There is one.
In 2023, I want to publish my first book. If I manage to do only one thing this year, I want it to be that, and I’m working hard to see that dream come true.
I’m finding a rhythm that works for me, and slowly I’m figuring out how to better manage my time (or at least as well as I can). I’m optimistic about the future, and I’m ready to learn when I make those inevitable mistakes.
Here’s hoping 2023 is a year to remember!
What Are Your Goals for 2023?
What are you hoping to achieve this year? How was your 2022? What did you achieve? What did you learn that you want to carry forward? Let me know in the comments!