I did it! I hit five years of being a self-published author. I feel especially proud of this milestone. If you can say you did five years of anything it's significant. A five year relationship is definitely long-term. Writing for me at this point has just become a way of life. It's a part of my work day that I do no matter what.
Earlier this year I got engaged and wedding planning activities have a way of just consuming free time and mental energy. I couldn't keep up with my strict, daily word count anymore. But you know what? I needed the break in the schedule. I switched from daily word counts to just writing daily and it did wonders for me mentally. I'm making less because I'm publishing less but I'm enjoying the process more now.
Coupled to all this, my beta reading business has been increasing. Beta reading really helps me to learn and process the dos and don'ts of writing. I think it's because while I'm writing I'm in the creative zone. But really examining someone else's writing gives me new perspective.
I feel like this past publishing year was a time of learning. I don't think I've made any writing technique breakthroughs yet but I can feel like I'm getting close to that point. Backing off a little from my grueling word counts let me examine what I was writing more and beta reading has made me more sensitive to things like cliches, plot holes and stale characters. I just haven't quite figured yet how to 100% avoid all those things.
I'm excited about my learning process. I feel like I'm approaching the end of my "generic story" phase. I think every writer has to go through this. You feel a need to write but lack the skills to tell the story in your head so it comes out sounding like every other story you've read before. It takes time to insert that unique twist.