A Brief Recap of Last Year

post-it notes with encouraging messages on a mirror Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sticky-notes-on-glass-wall-3831847/

I will post a longer reflection on all of these topics later on, but here’s a short update.

January – I shared my writing with a couple members of the Manitoba Writers Guild and tried working one-on-one on critique and support to help my anxiety so I could build up to participating in the critique circles.

I worked with Donna Besel for my writing mentorship from January until June 2023. It was intense! During that time, I reduced my hours at work in order to focus on my novel.

March – My therapist stopped returning my messages, and then I learned she no longer worked out of the clinic where I had been seeing her.

April – I went to the Wild Writing in the Boreal writing retreat hosted by Donna Besel and Lauren Carter. It was amazing! I had hoped to make more connections, but unfortunately, did not make friends with too many people. The atmosphere at Falcon Trails Ski Resort, the workshops and writing time … it was all very inspiring. I came up with a new novel idea which is waiting in my future projects queue until I’m done my novel.

May – I got a new therapist and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Towards the end of the writing mentorship, I was beginning to feel burnt out. My anxiety medication was not working.

June – Submitted my first piece for publication consideration. A short story that I’m still very proud of. (Never heard back, and the anthology is out now, but I’m still glad I tried.)

August – Started sessions with a hypnotherapist to help my anxiety and confidence. There were three sessions altogether, and the first one was the most intense. I’d like to write a detailed post about all three because it was all amazing.

September – Changed anxiety medication AGAIN! Restructured my blog to be more focused on book reviews. I have plans for increasing my online presence and building relationships with local authors and publishers to help me along as I go forward.

October – Reached out to River Street Press to begin reviewing books for them and received my first few books.

Then the rest of my plans for the year were waylaid by anxiety and health issues! It was bad. I don’t want to get to much into it and risk upsetting myself again, and I also don’t want to say that I’m doing better now because it feels like every time I do, something goes fucking sideways again. So I’m working on it. I’m doing my best.

In the middle of that, I somehow made a new friend who shares my fascination with depraved homosexual literature. We’re building our way up to being critique partners, and I’m looking forward to working one-on-one with her. We’re taking things slow because we both have a lot going on right now.

After the December holidays, my anxiety medication was increased. I splurged on stationery (washi tape, stickers, markers, and notebooks) and started a bullet journal for 2024. I also picked up lucky star origami paper strips, and I’m using them to practice my mindfulness meditations.

So far this year, I’ve been focused on my health and energy. Listening to my body, and monitoring my heart rate. I set goals in my bullet journal to write 250 words per day (and that fell apart 3/4 of the way through January), but I’m not pushing myself right now.

I want to push myself. I want to finish my book. But I need to work on a writing / health / work / life balance. For that reason I’m splitting my spare time between reading and writing!

Expect to see more book reviews! I want to focus on writing craft books, and lesser known titles (local authors, self published works, and books in translation). I will still write reviews of mainstream titles, but less often. I’d like to write reviews for my favourite yaois, danmei, manga, book series, and books that have been made into movies and television series, but I’m still deciding how best to present those items.

There will be some tweaks to the layouts to show all of the tags I’m adding to reviewed titles behind the scenes. I had big plans for the review blog when I set this up, but haven’t had the time or energy to finish the final pieces yet. It’ll be very obvious when it happens.

I pre-ordered so many books last year, and my mobile library (aka my Kindle) is filled with samples I still need to check out.

All I want to do this year is read, write, and make paper stars.

More to come!


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