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  • Writer's pictureLeoOtherland

2022 Recap

Well, my friends, here we are. It is the last day of this year of 2022, we are all still alive, and though it’s been one hell of a year, we are all still together. That, well that, can be said to be quite the accomplishment.

For me, just surviving this year has definitely been an accomplishment. I have said it numerous times over the course of the year, and more as we prepared to pass into 2023, but this has probably been one of the hardest years of my life, bar none. It has been a rewarding year, in some respects, and a year of achievements, but it has been difficult in so many ways.

Looking back, I can honestly say catching COVID somewhere near the middle of January and being delirious for nearly two months was the easy part. If anything, it definitely started me off on a writing adventure.

It isn’t any doubt I love science fiction almost as much as I love fantasy (I wouldn’t be a member of the SFWA if I didn’t, am I right?), and somewhere after I got sick with COVID I started reading Aliens vs. Predator: Prey by S. D. Perry and Steve Perry, an amazing father/daughter duo. The book caught in my addled, fevered brain and because I felt absolutely dreadful, I started doing what I usually do when I feel like shit: I started writing.

More accurately, I started playing around with an idea for some fan fiction I’d had rattling around in my head for ages. Before I knew it, delirious or not, I had over 80k of the second most popular fan fiction I had ever posted. Comments and accolades and gasp fan art coming at me from all sides. I was, quite literally, floored. (And that is a joke because I sleep on the floor and was so sick I couldn’t peel myself off the floor. Haha??)

Later on in the year (I think closer to the middle or end of it, in fact), I was able to find S. D. Perry on Twitter and strike up an awestruck conversation with her. I found she was quite shy (like me), quite sweet (definitely not like my salty self), and still out there writing. It was an amazing experience and I’m glad to still have her in my contacts.

continued awestruck author sounds

Okay! Moving on!

By February I was beginning to recover from COVID and still writing my huge, and growing, bit of fan fiction. I was in love with it, and as I had nothing better to write and no publications in my immediate future, I just kept on going.

Until, of course, I was floored again. In a good way.

I’d submitted a book proposal to Balance of Seven late in 2021 (can’t remember if I mentioned that in my 2021 recap or not…), and I’d been waiting on it, sure, but I wasn’t really… prepared for the answer when it came. The answer, of course, was yes, but also, “How fast can you write this??” Let me say, never answer a publisher with, “Ahhhh… pretty fast, I guess. Why?” Because you will be told why and then find yourself writing so fast you are left wondering what the hell you even wrote.

Inflicted was supposed to be a 2024 book when I proposed it. By the time I got my final yes, the book was an August 2022 book. And I was sitting there in February 2022 wondering what the fuck.

I kept wondering that for the next several months.

I got an even 3k words into Inflicted by the end of February. In March I wrote over 46k words, about 41.7k of which were solely Inflicted. There was fire flying from my fingertips and I was exhausted and also a bit salty. Because I believe it was this month I picked up a troll on my Predator fan fiction that refused to leave me alone, despite the fact I told them I did not want them or their comments on my self-indulgent, trans-badass-hero story. I was there to write representation and trans joy and if they didn’t want that, why were they even there?

Except, of course, to annoy me.

April swung by, I dragged my exhausted self through the last of the heavy first drafting of Inflicted. And then I dived back into my fan fiction, troll or no troll, and busted out another several thousand words of that as well. I barely made 14k in April, but after writing day and night, practically non-stop, the month before, I don’t think anyone can blame me. I was feeling burnout creeping up hardcore.

By the time May came around, I was still trying, but had bigger problems to deal with.

I no longer remember if it was late April or early May, everything has kind of blurred together. What I do remember is I was homeless for a month and a half and I didn’t get my new apartment until June 1, so I was definitely out a place to live all of May.

Looking back, I’m honestly surprised I hit 15k words in the month of May. I managed to write most of a submission to an anthology I was, and am, still passionate about, and I reeled out more than a few fan fiction chapters. Seven chapters, actually. I must have been writing to save my life because I definitely needed it. I will never forget the wandering feeling of having nowhere to go and no idea what you’re doing each night.

The one good thing that happened in May (I think it was May… it was definitely sometime after Easter, which I think was in April??) was my fan fiction site of choice Archive of Our Own (or Ao3, if you want to get technical) implementing a means of blocking users. I was finally able to deal with the troll on my Predator story and that was such a relief.

That aside, I have never been so happy to have a roof over my head again as I was come June 1 when I pulled all my stuff out of storage and packed it into my new, over-priced place of abode. And when I was finally there, finally able to mildly relax, depression and burnout and overall not-feeling-the-least-bit-niceness hit me.

June and July I hit 9k words and 5k words, respectively. I did what I had to do, finished my submission to the anthology, posted a few fan fiction chapters and some blog posts, and… kind of drifted. I was realizing exactly how much I was not okay and hadn’t been okay in a long time. And I finally reached out for help.

I remember sitting in my car one hot, tail-end of June day and telling the receptionist at the therapy office just why I wanted to see someone and that was possibly one of the most soul-wrenching things I have ever had to do. I mean, I’ve told close friends that I have suicidal ideation for years, but to sit there and just tell a stranger, “Hey yeah, I’m calling because I kind of want to die and I don’t think I can keep feeling this way anymore,” is a pretty different thing.

Mixed with all that were my first fumbling attempts to tell people close to me I was not only trans but wanted, needed, to transition. Quite naturally, these conversations did not go well and on June 24, when the governing body of this country decided to take away national protections for reproductive rights, I had my first consultation for HRT and a massive argument with the one person who knew I was there.

Life… has just been hard.

And all of that was only the first half of this insane year.

August appeared and my writing exhaustion started to break, but with my book running into editorial troubles that pushed its launch back not once but twice, I was still hitting fatigue hard. Blend that with finishing up a rewrite on one of the stories in Inflicted, attempting to write a submission to another anthology (I failed to finish it on time…) directly before book launch, while I was still neck deep in edits, and general life, and I barely hit 12k words. I felt that to be an accomplishment, all things considered.

It wasn’t until September/October that things, at least with my writing, began to turn the corner. Crazy was still happening with life, I was still in therapy, I was still trying to work through so many things with so many people, and seemingly only managing to fuck it all up. But I was writing. My book, which was supposed to be an August release, finally launched September 16, and as I settled into the wake of that a new opportunity popped up.

Balance of Seven needed more books out before the end of the year and they needed these books out fast and they didn’t have any books to publish. And somehow my overloaded, completely unintelligent brain decided this would be the perfect time to suggest an anthology I could help put together to solve this book problem.

Because, of course, I didn’t have enough going on as it was.

Oh no. I had plenty of time and energy to spare.

dies dramatically

The end of September, when I should have been focusing on further marketing Inflicted, saw me poking away at a queer holiday story, instead, and contacting authors and setting up a book that had to launch on December 2. Oh yeah, it was a crazy rush. I have no idea how I got it all done and managed to start a novel based on one of the stories in Inflicted. But I did.

I might not have gone above 11k words in September and October, but I did it all. I even managed to get all my fandom holiday events squared away at the same time. Nothing like writing characters we know nothing about and binding books for “fun” while we do industry things, as well.

Life rolled into November, and let me tell you, November and early this month of December… were not exactly pretty. I got into some of the largest arguments with people close to me I have ever had. I came out to my sister, the one person I have been especially close to my entire life, and I thought I was going to lose her. I screamed at the person I live with and said many things in anger I should have said years before in kindness and…

It was a mess.

A literal, fucking mess.

I finally hit over 19k words in November, but I don’t know how I did it. I helped get Queer for the New Year: Nine Stories of New Begingings out into the world on December 2, but I don’t know how I did that, either. It happened, I’m grateful, I have very little memory of all the details.

December I dedicated to writing all the Yule/Christmas/winter holiday specials I could cram into three weeks time, not to mention my novel, my novella collaboration I’m working on with a talented artist (oh yeah… forgot to mention that happened this year too, surprise!!), and I got out 11k words.

All and all, I am exhausted. I have written over 220k words across multiple stories and platforms, and survived more in one year than I have in most of my life. And there are still things happening. Still new, exciting, and terrifying portions of the latter half of this year of 2022 I haven’t mentioned.

Oh yes, there is a hell of a lot I haven’t fully dove into in the space of this blog post. Some of those things I will expand on next month when I write my goals and projects of 2023 blog post. Others will just be left as they are, in the privacy of my mind and life. What is important here, at the end of the day, at the end of an extremely eventful year, is this: We are all still here, and we are together.

We have made it through the turmoil that was this year and now push on into the next and all it may or may not hold. We might accomplish all or most of our goals, we might not. We may live, we may not. But we will persevere. And no matter what, above all, we will carry on. Stand strong, my friends.

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