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What a year! If I’m feeling exhausted I know I have a good reason to. I’ve achieved heaps including the one thing that I’ve always wanted to do – write and publish a book… finally! Yay!

So how did the year pan out?

Self Published haven river

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The book I’d always wanted to write took two years, was redrafted and edited untold times and was finally published on 11 May 2016 distributing to a number of outlets including i-Books and Barnes and Noble.

How have the sales gone? No idea! The book is currently free and Draft to Digital analytics don’t compute free downloads. However, I know at least four people (including me!) who downloaded it.

The reason I decided to make Haven River free was two-fold: to make it easier for young adult readers to have access to the book and to give something back to the reading and writing community. Now I’m a published author I so understand the blood, sweat and tears that every writer goes through to write and publish a book.

Haven River has received two reviews. I particularly want to thank Rachel McKee at illuminated literation who took the time to write an extensive book review. Check the review out here plus also Rachel’s awesome website!

Casey fae hewson website and blog

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A Word Press website, which is still in its infancy, was designed. I started blogging – a huge learning curve!

The pressure to blog regularly (I set a goal for weekly, generally a Thursday) was enormous, but I can say I’ve blogged religiously every week since April.

I felt in awe of other bloggers who had an insane number of blog followers and I wanted to be just like them and now! Not being a particularly patient person, I wondered how I would build a blog following. Good advice received from other bloggers resulted in reaching 50 blog followers. Many thanks to Robert of singledadsarecool  for being my 50th blog follower. Check out his amazing website – some great posts from this amazing single dad.

I was also pretty pleased to be nominated for a Versatile Blogger’s Award in November.

wrote misty springs

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After so much time spent on editing Haven River, I was dying to get back into writing. Leaving the young adult genre behind, it took me six months to write a contemporary romance. Misty Springs has clocked in at just over 80,000 words. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I could write that many words! The Misty Springs manuscript is now sleeping.

Drafting, redrafting and editing aqua bay

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Aqua Bay was a manuscript that I wrote in 2014 immediately after writing the first draft of Haven River.

For the last three months, I’ve been editing Aqua Bay and you can follow my editing journey here.

Aqua Bay started out at 73,000 words and after the first edit I was down to 68,000 words. I culled so much because I’d learnt heaps about writing since I’d written the first draft and could clearly identify what I was doing wrong.

screaming and kicking as i join social media

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Not a big fan of social media, I joined Facebook and Twitter screaming and kicking. Once again, another huge learning curve.

I have a Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/caseyyawriter with a miserable 16 likes. Not sure what I’m doing wrong here 😦

Twitter did my head in to begin with. I just couldn’t figure it out, but slowly I got to grips with it. I wrote an account of my first twelve days of tweeting here.

Since April my Twitter statistics are:

Following 221

Followers 238

Lists 1

Likes 390

Long way to go until I hit the ‘k’ mark.

Challenges

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So that pretty much wrapped up 2016.

Of course, there were a number of challenges along the way:

  • my ‘real’ job kept getting in the way of writing
  • recovering from surgery in January prevented me from working at the full on pace that I’m used to
  • family 🙂
  • the uncertainty of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the region in mid-November. Check out the footage along the damaged coastline https://youtu.be/IZrFhEZpQqg
  • losing a week in December to a cold which turned into two ear infections (still not 100 percent – does anybody know how to clear congestion build up which is clogging up my ears?)

Overall it’s been a fantastic year and I’m so looking forward to learning heaps, continuing to be part of a hugely supportive writing community and writing books that I hope at least one person will say ‘that was a satisfying read’.

Lastly, but most importantly thanks heaps to all the new friends I’ve made this year. Your encouragement and thoughts have meant everything!

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