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My Works On My Writings Reading

2022 – A Year in Review

INTRODUCTION

It’s hard to believe that another year has already gone by. I could swear it was 2020 yesterday, but it’s been two years since then. That’s crazy to think about.

As I began reflecting on the year to get ready for this post, I started to get rather annoyed at myself. I hadn’t used another year productively. I didn’t get nearly enough done. I should’ve done more. When I started to compile the statistics for my writing, I began to realize that I had a rather productive year. I just wasn’t consistent for the whole thing.

PART ONE: The Year Reviewed

2022 started with me being so close to finishing my first book. So naturally, I didn’t write at all in January. February was a bit more productive on the book, but not by much. In March, I finally finished writing book one of The Inner Ring Saga. That book had taken years to finish writing a draft, and it was one of the most satisfying feelings of my life to finish writing it. I had spent ages with the characters getting to know them. Finishing a chapter in their lives was a huge accomplishment for me. Is it the most well-written rough draft in the history of writing? Nope. I would say it’s pretty close to garbage. Literal garbage. It’s going to take a lot of editing and work to get to the point where anyone, even Beta readers, can read it. A lot of work.

I took a break from writing for about a month starting the first round of edits afterward. During the break, I ended up toying around with an idea I had rolling around in my head for a while. This led to me doing a bit of an outline for the book that I’m currently working on, The Branded Blade. This book began to excite me more and more, and while I knew I should jump into editing The Inner Ring Saga book one, I decided not to do that and rather lean into my excitement and start writing The Branded Blade. I must say the experience of writing that book has topped that of The Inner Ring Saga book one. I think it’s because the story is told from one perspective instead of having a lot of viewpoints spread out throughout the book. (The first book in The Inner Ring Saga has eight character viewpoint perspectives if I remember right. When I go back to edit it, I’m adding in a couple of more characters and rearranging some structure so it’s going to end up being even more than that.) The Branded Blade forced me to learn how to write characters in a better way. I had to maintain focus on one character and understand that character. It’s been a challenge, and there definitely will be a lot of editing to come, but it’s something new, and that’s exciting. This year I wrote just over 50,000 words in The Branded Blade, putting me at around the halfway point. Maybe even a little bit further than that.

Another surprising thing that’s happened this past year has been my discovery of poetry. I’ve known what poetry is for a while. English classes make you well aware of it. But, I had always hated poetry because of the English classes I took in high school. In February, I had a bit of a change of heart. I had an idea, and in the spur of the moment, I wrote it down. There wasn’t a great way to write this idea in short story form, and it wasn’t good enough for a script or novel. It was just an idea, nothing with characters or plot. It was just a thought. From that thought, I crafted it into Clouds, my first poem. I enjoyed the experience of writing the poem and decided to keep trying my hand at it. Over the last year, I’ve written around fourteen poems. I’ve posted several to my Instagram account, and a couple to the blog.

My fall semester ended up being much busier than I had anticipated, so it led to lessened productivity. I barely wrote for the last few months. I barely read. It was not ideal at all. Part of it was because the classes I was taking were heavy on reading, and that always drains my enjoyment of reading and writing for fun. If I’m having to do something for school, it’s hard for me to turn around and do that same thing for fun. It always has been. Luckily, next semester will be less than that. Instead, it will likely just be a lot of work quantity-wise. So exciting.

2022 Writing Stats Summary

  • Poems Written: 14
  • Finished the rough draft of Book One of The Inner Ring Saga. Around 7,000 words written.
  • Outlined The Branded Blade.
  • Wrote 50,000+ words in The Branded Blade.

PART TWO: 2023 Goals

There are two primary goals that I have for 2023. I’ll touch on each one separately.

The first goal is the one that may or may not happen. It’s going to take a lot of work and pushing myself to learn and grow in writing and other areas. I want to self-publish a poetry collection. I’ve been working on it a decent amount this past year. All of the poems that I’ve written fit into it in some manner or fashion. Right now, I have a total of fourteen. I would want for there to be around forty to fifty in the collection. Enough to make it around a hundred pages long. I would have to learn a lot to self-publish this in the way that I would want. I wouldn’t want to just put it on Amazon as a generic ebook. I’d want to be able to sell physical copies and potentially offer signed copies from my website. I don’t know. All of that is still in the brainstorming section. I need to finish writing the thing first. Plus, I don’t know how interested people would be in it. My poetry isn’t the greatest, it’s just something I enjoy writing.

The second goal I have is to finish The Branded Blade. First, I want to finish the rough draft of the book. It has about 50,000 words left in it if I’m guessing correctly. I’ve also found that as a writer, I’m able to write the last half of the book a lot faster than the first. Hopefully, that remains true for this book. My goal would be to finish writing the rough draft by the beginning of June. I would take the summer and work on the second draft and use the fall to finish the third draft. Then, in 2024, I could send out copies for Beta readers to read and give me feedback, and hopefully, I’d work on getting it published after those edits. It’ll take a lot of work, but I do believe that it’s a reasonable goal to knock out those three drafts by the end of the year. I just need to stay consistent and use my time wisely.

Some of you (or if I’m being honest, no one) may be wondering about Burger Palace. (If you don’t know what Burger Palace is, think The Office but set in a fast food burger chain. It’s an idea that I thought needed to happen, so I began working on scripts and characters for it. The pilot is written, and I have some other episodes plotted, and some cold opens written.) I’m not setting any strict goals for Burger Palace because I’ve decided it’s not something I want to do anything with until I’ve published a book. Not just a poetry collection, an actual book. So, I’m not setting any goals for it. I’m sure I’ll work on it sporadically throughout the year while procrastinating on other writing projects. But, I don’t have anything planned.

2023 Writing Goals Summary:

  • Self-publish my poetry collection, Seasons.
  • Finish writing the rough draft of The Branded Blade.
  • Finish the second draft of The Branded Blade.
  • Finish the third draft of The Branded Blade. (This one’s probably pushing it if I’m honest with myself. But, I’m not.)
  • Outline the sequel to The Branded Blade.

PART THREE: Reading

I’m sure most of you don’t care about what I read this year. But, for my own sake, I’m going to talk about it. It’ll be fun to look back on and see what I enjoyed reading.

This year I barely read half the amount of books that I read in 2021. As of today (December 30th) I’ve read twenty books. Only eleven of those were fiction too. I do have a clear top three of the fiction books that I read this past year, and I’ll briefly touch on each of them. They’re not ranked in any particular order.

The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson. This book is in contention for one of my favorite Sanderson books. It tied together a lot of interesting threads that had been left hanging in the Cosmere, specifically in the Mistborn sector of it. Secret History (the novella released in between Mistborn books) came into play in a major way. There were so many cameos from characters I didn’t expect and was excited to see. One character arc was wrapped up in a way that left me hurt, but satisfied. There were also several hints as to what the bigger conflict in the Cosmere might be. It left me excited, and a little bit impatient. I will say, you might want to pick up the first few Stormlight books before reading this one. Cosmere connections are beginning to be important.

Jade City by Fonda Lee. There have been several books in my life that just refresh me. They refresh my love for reading. My love for storytelling. My love for good stories in general. This book is one of those. I loved the worldbuilding, from the unique magic system to the different clans that fought for power. The character work is also some of the best I’ve read in a while. There were several great plot twists that I did not see coming too. It is a bit of a darker book, not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for that if you decide to read it. One of the top books on my list for next year is Jade War and Jade Legacy. I’ve heard that the series only gets better, and if Jade City is any sign, the next two are going to be a fun ride.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman. If I wasn’t sure about Backman being on the list of my favorite authors, this book solidified it. I fully intended to read both Beartown and Us Against You before The Winners released this past fall, but that didn’t happen. I only got through Beartown. What a book though. It carries such a raw emotion throughout it. Backman’s ability to make you relate to characters of any state of life is something that I hope I can emulate as an author. He writes them in such an honest and real way. This book is no exception. I got invested in the lives of the hockey players and families of Beartown. It wasn’t quite the level that A Man Called Ove was for me, but it was close. Backman is a must-read author (start with A Man Called Ove though).

I’m hoping to get through quite a few more books this year, but it’ll depend a lot on my school schedule. Only two more years and I’m done. Then maybe I can read more.

CONCLUSION

I’m bad at concluding things and wrapping them up. I’ve been told it should be a summary of everything that was talked about and then inspire or add something at the end. I don’t know. What I do know is that for 2023 I have bigger dreams and goals than any previous year. (That might be an overstatement.) Hopefully, there will be stuff that I can share this next year. But if not, oh well. I’m still writing for fun. Nothing’s going to change that.

Until next year,

Titus Watson

December 30th, 2021

P.S.

I’m aware my website needs some major updating. That just takes a lot of time. Time I haven’t had or chosen to dedicate to that. Maybe I’ll do that over this next year. Maybe I won’t. Who knows?

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My Works On My Writings

Red Swords, Integrals, and Longer Days

When the days get longer, I feel more exhausted. It could also be because school is getting close to being over (I’m in exam week right now) and I’m just sleeping less.

I was thinking to myself earlier this week about how little I really use my website to engage readers and talk more about my writing. I’m always using social media now, and I kind of hate that. I would much rather write a blog post than a social media post. But, a lot fewer people read this. In fact, if you’re reading this, you’re probably one out of three people, and the third person is probably a family member. As a compromise for myself, I have decided to post a new blog post on the first of every month. We’ll see how long that lasts.

The month of April was interesting. I’m not sure if it was a good interesting or a bad interesting.

School is almost over, and at the end of every semester, I start to get less and less motivated to do work in every aspect of life. I begin to feel stretched thin from all of the work I’ve put into school and life and I just want to rest. I typically read and write less too, but that depends on how stretched I am. I’m a little nervous about exams (specifically my Basic Multivariable Calculus class), but I’m doing fairly well grades-wise up to this point so, hopefully, it won’t be too bad.

On top of that dragging feeling that is school, I started writing my second book! Right now I’m titling it The Branded Blade. It’s got this name for a few reasons. The first is that it sounds kinda cool. But, since that’s not a good enough reason, it deals a little bit with some of the character and world-building. The main character, Jamie Franklin, carries a red-bladed sword with a branded mark on the hilt. The fact that it is a red blade is significant to the world. But, if you want to know why you’ll have to read about it if it gets published. (For more details on the book’s plot, you can read my last blog post here.)

This book really has me excited about writing again. The story feels more unique and it’s a lot less complicated than in my last book. I enjoyed writing multiple POVs, but it is a lot more challenging than just working on one. Plus, the stress of making sure to foreshadow and plant the seeds for events to come in the seventh book in a series while working on the first can be a little much at times. Especially for it being my first book. But, that pressure is gone for The Branded Blade.

I’ve learned a lot since the last time I started a book, and the process here feels a lot smoother. For one thing, I’ve been writing more consistently. My goal is to finish the rough draft of this book by late August/early September. Right now I’m at almost 11k words and I started writing it on April 12th. Not doing too bad considering all the school I’ve had to do.

If you’ve made it this far, I feel like you deserve a bit of a treat, especially since no one reads this blog. So, here’s the first paragraph of the book. It’s not perfect, and it’s still a rough draft, but I feel like it is a good start for the book.

Jamie loved interacting with and studying the many creatures that roamed the lands, but he liked it more when they weren’t trying to kill him in the process. They always seemed to look so docile and friendly in the drawings. He needed to stop trusting the drawings.

The Branded Blade

That’s all I have for this month. Hopefully, I’ll have written some more or done something interesting by the time June rolls around.

That’s wild to think about. June is next month. I feel like 2022 just started.


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My Works

Stories

The teapot whistles.
Water begins to boil.
The sun shines over the treetops.

I set the spine-cracked book
On the aged wooden desk
That sits before a large glass window
Overlooking the mountains of mist.

I pour the boiling water
And stir my cup
As I set it down and watch
The sunrise over the peaks.

The water cools
And as I sip,
I flip open to the last page
I journeyed through.
A page where an old man
Made unlikely friends,
Where children became kings and queens,
Where crimes were solved,
And where magic was real.

Each day, new pages to absorb,
With new places, new friends,
And most of all,
New stories.
All at my aged wooden desk,
Never traveling farther than the kitchen.

Categories
My Works

Clouds

There is a cloud that hangs over everyone.
It hides in the shadows where no one can see,
Trying to destroy anyone caught in its darkness,
Tearing at them with its wind and rage.

There is a cloud that hangs over everyone.
There is a cloud that makes one feel
As if the darkness has swallowed them whole
And that there is no one else in the storm,
That no one else is flying without being able to see,
That no one else is burdened with troubles unbearable,
That no one else wants to fly with them.

There is a cloud that hangs over everyone.
There is a cloud that makes that one mistake
Seem as if the world will end.
That there is no recovery from the sentence misspoken,
No recovery from the accident,
No way to finish the work in time,
That there is only the cloud,
Clinging to the thoughts inside of you.

There is a cloud that hangs over everyone.
There is a cloud that makes a day
Switch in an instant.
A day that was bright and full of fun;
A day that you wished would never end,
Turn into one you wish
You could roll over and forget.

There is a cloud that hangs over everyone.
But behind the clouds,
There is a light.
A friendly smile telling you to have a good day,
A text from a friend asking you to lunch,
A conversation where you’re heard,
A laugh at a joke you know isn’t that funny,
A boss or teacher’s congratulations on a job well done.
A light.

The light casts its gaze over the clouds,
And after a while,
The cloud begins to fade,
Rain begins to dry,
Blossoms begin to bloom,
And the sun begins to shine on another day.
A day with new growth.
A day with new life.
A new day.