The 10th Anniversary of Isle of Books and a Pandemic Writing Update

This month officially marks TEN YEARS of Isle of Books on the internet!! It’s crazy to think I’m still here, holed up in the same corner of the internet – and even crazier to think how much my life has changed over the last ten years.

Thanks for being here and reading – some of you have been around from almost the very beginning.

This year, I posted very little. The least amount of any of the years this blog has been up. Like much of the world, the pandemic yanked my life off track in weird ways, while accelerating it in other ways. I’m still reading, still writing, still life-ing, but the blog sort of fell by the wayside.

While thinking about exactly how to get this blog going again, I realized I haven’t given a real writing update here in a long time so it seems fitting to close out the year with that and talk about my plans for 2022.

Since the start of the pandemic (March of 2020 in California), I wrote a lot. Some creative people struggled to create anything. I, on the other hand, benefitted immensely from the lack of activities and social obligations.

In the last two years, I’ve managed to complete:

-1 Novel

-2 Novellas

-6 Short Stories

This not only seems like an astronomical output for someone with a full-time job, it is one. Since late summer when it dawned on me exactly how much writing I’d gotten done in a short span of time, I’ve been making a conscious effort to slow down. It’s created a weird sort of adjustment period that I’m still finding my way through. Sometimes it leaves me cranky because there’s too much life-ing and not enough creating happening. But as I’ve learned more than once, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. As much as the world tells us to embrace “pushing our limits” and “breaking outside your comfort zone” sometimes limits exist for a reason. Know them, interrogate them, and honor them if they make sense.

It’s not all bad though. Due to this accelerated output, I’ve learned some things about my process that will serve me well in the future. I’ve learned that if I do a good outline before I start, the first draft comes out very clean. However, I should always leave ample time to rewrite the ending as sticking the landing is something I struggle with uniformly. Plotting just ensures I have good bones and plenty of tools to work with for round two.

Perhaps most importantly of all, I finally feel settled in my own voice. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. And that makes the game easier, when you know what you need to compensate for and where you can take your foot off the brake.

Sitting down to write now is like settling into a well-worn and well-loved chair. Like coming home again. So, while I realize I need to course-correct, I’m also grateful for this time that led me to so many new conclusions about my style and my process.

Me with a few of the publications that contain my stories which were all published over the last ten years. More to come in 2022!

I’m excited to see what’s ahead for 2022 and how my writing continues to develop. This year will be a very exciting one on a personal level (I’m getting married in October!) so slowing down will not only be a good idea, it will be necessary. All that said, I’m hoping to complete the draft of another new book by the end of 2022. Maybe squeeze in a few short stories if I have time. We’ll see!

I’m also planning to get back to weekly posting. I think I can manage that so long as I don’t overcomplicate it (I’m great at overcomplicating). So expect more book reviews, more writing updates, and more literary fun on Isle of Books as we step into the next ten years of this blog!

I hope this new year brings you good news and better adventures. Happy New Year!

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