The Year of Writing Valiantly – A Retrospective of 2013

It was a strange year, 2013. It was the year I had to give up my teaching job and fought against depression and anxiety attacks. It was also the year I got published and the year I wrote, edited and worked more than I ever could have imagined. One week I was at my absolute lowest, the next all my dreams were starting to come true . Oh yeah, and of course: Just as the year was nearing its end, I spent two weeks in hospital and had major abdominal surgery – also a scary first. It was a strange year.

Most of the time, I wrote because it was the only thing I had left. Because being jobless, scared to leave the house and broke couldn’t be my only story; that couldn’t be all there was to me or I wasn’t sure I wanted to stick around. And so I wrote, and I wrote a lot. (It also helped that i have an amazing friend in Lorrie, who pulls me along when I feel down and hopeless). And sitting here, at the verge of 2014 – I’m moved and proud of how I got through it all, of what I achieved.

Two of my books were picked up for publication – By the Light of the Moon by Crimson Romance in January (released in April) and Driftwood Deeds by A Hotter State in September (released in December). On top of that, 18 shortstories of mine were accepted into anthologies, most of which will come out some time next year. I also won Alison Tyler’s Smut Marathon, which ran all year and was a lot of fun.

All the while I kept writing and if I tally all the numbers, I end up at the insane figure of 472,097 words in 2013. That’s almost 1300 words every single day this year. And I didn’t even count editing, planning, brainstorming and abandoned projects.

Here’s the tally:

A Taste of Winter (Lakeside #2)  –  75.495
Driftwood Deeds – 27.023
Where the Wind Settles – 62.991
Worse Things – 55.345
33 Shortstories + Flash Fiction Pieces – 87.610

Driftwood Deeds (Erotic Romance) is obviously already published, A Taste of Winter (Romantic Fantasy) is waiting for a last polish and Where the Wind Settles (YA, lgbt, coming of age) and Worse Things (Rock & Roll Romance) are first drafts.

I also wrote 4 novels with L.C. Spoering, and from those I counted half the words as mine.

This Moment, Yearning – 58.075
After Life Lessons – 91.783
Forest Fires (Mona Ceol #1) – 90.356
Lost Rites (Mona Ceol #2) – 87.053

This Moment Yearning (Erotic Romance) is currently set on the backburner and might never see the light of day (writing together takes some figuring out). We will release After Life Lessons (Zombie Apocalypse Love Story) in the Spring of 2014 and both Mona Ceol books (Paranormal Romace/Urban Fantasy) are in the editing stage waiting to be submitted.

I also read 45 books – not my personal best, but definitely the best since I was a BA student and I managed to stick with my resolution to read more books by women, who are way ahead in numbers on my reading list this year. Go me, go women writers everywhere!

And now, before I get riddiculously big-headed, let me finish this retrospective with a few 2013 favourites:

Favourite Book:  Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Favorite Album: Tape Deck Heart by Frank Turner
Favourite Album for writing: Every Kingdom by Ben Howard
Favourite Single: She Keeps Me Warm by Mary Lambert
Favourite Movie watched: Nobody Walks (I don’t watch a lot of movies)
Favourite TV shows: Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, Downton Abbey
Favourite Social Media Site: GoodreadsPinterest
Favourite Game played: Dragon Age Origins, also Minecraft
Favourite People: L.C.Spoering and my brother Robert
Favourite Actor: John Krasinski
Favourite Animal: My cat Nookie
Favourite Possession: My Kindle
Best News: Matt Smith will leave Doctor Who.

So there you go. That was 2013. Join me back here tomorrow, for an outlook into 2014 and maybe, possibly, a few resolutions and plans.

Love you all and wish you the very happiest New Year, and that all your dreams come true.

xoxo, Laila


  1. Amazing, indeed! I’m so pleased to have met you this year (and to realize that you’re so much of a Dragon Age fan. I’ve been replaying Dragon Age 2 myself and am so excited for the third installment in the fall). I’m sorry for the difficulties and hope things look up this year. I’m glad you’ve so committed yourself to writing! Here’s to 2014!

    • Aw, I’m so glad to have met you as well this year. That’s also something I should have mentioned, the great I came across. But yes, Dragon Age rocks, I quite like most of Bioware comes up with, but I haven’t gotten into part 2 yet, because my computer might not take it, haha. Also I am terrible, I prefer playing things I’ve already played and need to feel very adventurous to try something new. 😉

  2. Laila~ these are WONDERFUL accomplishments! And you have so many more yet to come! Thanks for sharing with us all that you’ve done, and your struggles along the way. It takes courage to face what you have undergone and I’m so glad that you did and gave the world your writing and yourself. Here’s to an even better 2014 and many more in your future!

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