And that was the year that was: 2022 edition

Well that was A Year.

I started it with one arm that was incredibly painful and barely functional and ended the year with it mostly healed and, more surprisingly to me, having re-found my creative mojo.

The arm, which I first damaged in September 2021, is now back at 95% mobility and merely aches when I’ve overdone it rather than making me cry with pain. If I’d gone to the wonderfully competent physiotherapist (who treated me for the best part of this year) when I initially hurt myself I’d have saved myself a good deal of misery and quite a lot of money. Instead I thought I could push through the pain, just tough it out.

Let this be a lesson to you all that toughing it out is a stupid approach when you don’t know what it is you’ve damaged. The only thing you get if you try to force torn muscle to keep moving is more torn muscle and a lot of scar tissue that then has to be fixed slowly and carefully with massage, manipulation, daily stretches and a lot of patience.

The best part about having my arm fully functional again – other than being back to my normal levels of pain and able to re-start clearing my parents house to get it sold – is that I can wear my back fastening bras again. Another small thing that brought joy, although it hasn’t made it into the daily photos for obvious reasons!

The UK has continued to crumble around me. There are a lot of words I would like to use to describe my feelings about the current government but since most of those words are extremely offensive I shall refrain. What I will say instead is that I cannot wait to get myself and my parents properly settled up in Northumberland so that I can root myself into the local community and get involved with grass roots organisations to try and fix some of the damage done by those incompetent self-serving fools, as well as work towards get them out of government!

The mess that this government has perpetuated has made every single thing I tried to accomplish this year more difficult and mostly when I look back at the first half of the year I just feel frustration and annoyance. But in the middle of the year I made the conscious decision to focus on what I could do rather than what I couldn’t and to disengage from the perpetual cycle of social media doom scrolling. I limited my time on the internet, I chose carefully what I read, and I found a better balance between keeping updated on the important news and drowning in information, information which was often reported in a massively biased manner.

Thanks to the two writing groups I was (and remain) a part of – Get Your Words Out* and Writer’s HQ^ – I had been keeping up a regular writing habit despite my lack of inspiration but my progress on large projects felt leaden so I shifted focus to small and achievable. In June I began writing and sharing a micro-flash story on Twitter every Monday, each one based on the weekly prompt provided by Writer’s HQ. As my stories multiplied I created a page for them on here and found myself thinking about how small things can make a big difference.

My “The Small Things Spreading Joy” project began on Twitter in August and in focusing on finding something to share with others that, however apparently insignificant, lifted my spirits I re-found something precious; my sense of wonder. Without really noticing it at first I began to look at things and see not just what they were but what they could become. I found myself creating without thinking for the first time in years and the relief was immense. To borrow a cliche it was as if each daily tweet pulled another twig out of the dam holding back my creative energy until it broke and I was flooded with the ability to make the words properly sing again.

I ended 2022 with a ten thousand word outline for a novel that I’d been struggling to plan for over a decade, the building blocks of a short story collection tied to fairy tale and folklore, and 26 prompt based micro-flashes. Then in December I wrote twelve short stories in twelve days with the Writer’s HQ 12 Days of Flashmas. I enjoyed writing them so much I shared them on here over the actual twelve days of Christmas and you can find and read them all from here.

Finding my words again was also partly down to what I read over 2022, especially the latter half. If you’d like to see what I got through then head over to my 2022 StoryGraph Reading Wrap-up and have a look at what inspired me.

So I’m stepping into 2023 feeling more positive than I have for years. The sort of positive that starts deep on the inside and fuels you, rather the sort the comes from telling yourself you should be feeling positive and drains you. I have not made resolutions. I have made plans, both for my writing and my life. These plans have, I hope, enough resilience to weather the storms that will inevitably break on me and enough flexibility to allow for the much needed rest and recuperation required afterward.

If you want to keep up with what I’m up to from month to month I have started monthly newsletter on substack called Kizzia Creates. This is the first one, which should give you an idea of what I’ll be sharing on there and I’d love it if you signed up (it’s entirely free).

The newsletter is not going to replace this blog though. My Working with the Wheel series that I started on the winter solstice will continue, as will “The Small Things Spreading Joy” monthly round ups. The “This Sparks Joy!” seasonal posts sharing tv and music that I’ve enjoyed are carrying on and I’m adding a monthly round of all the books I’ve read with a brief review of each as I often forget to boost all the books I enjoy if I leave it longer than that. I also intend to share more stories like the ones I posted over Christmas, set in the Wildwood, so keep an eye out for an announcement about that soon.

I also want to thank you all for reading and liking and commenting and making me feel less like I’m shouting into the void and more like I’m chatting with friends. You all make a huge difference and I’m grateful you’re here.

And I shall leave you with a blessing for 2023 that I’m certain I’ve shared before but want to share again because I think we can all do with all the blessing we can get right now:

May the blessings of light be upon you, light without and light within.
The blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your heart till it glows like a great peat fire.
And in all your comings and goings, may you ever have a kindly greeting from all those you meet on the road.

* Get Your Words Out is an entirely free writing community designed to increase or maintain your writing productivity. There are twelve pledge levels for either habit tracking or word count tracking, monthly check-ins, organised writing sprints and lots of community interaction and support. If you want to pledge for 2023 you need to sign up by January 15 so get on it right away. I really do recommend joining us, we have awesome tracking spreadsheets!

^ Writer’s HQ is the best and sweariest writing community around. Writing courses, master classes, writing retreats (in-person and online), a community forum for sharing work, receiving feedback, getting advice and support, it really has it all. If you can afford the monthly fee to become a fully-fledged member it really is worth it but if you’re not sure whether it’s for you join as a free member to get a feel for it; you can join in with the weekly flash prompts, there are some free courses to work through, and you get forum access so you can get feedback and make new friends.

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