Here’s What I Got Done in 2022 – …But I Also Have a Day Job


So I’ll admit, I’m a little behind on the blogging game: after taking some time off from writing and creative work for Christmas and New Years, I returned to But I Also Have a Day Job last week to write about my New Years Resolutions.

Thinking about the coming year also got me reflecting on the previous year and what I’ve been getting done (I made a similar post for what I got done in 2021 too).  In a lot of ways, 2022 was my biggest year ever as a writer, both in terms of accomplishments, and making positive life changes.  However, it’s easy for me to forget that when I’m busy or having a stressful time, which is why in this post I decided to list out my accomplishments for 2022.

In total, that list came out to 8 different accomplishments—and as much as I love Top Ten Lists in the David Letterman sense, it didn’t seem right to force two more in just for the sake of aesthetics.  It also didn’t feel right to put these accomplishments in order of importance, so instead I’ve listed them out chronologically to form a mini-story of what my creative work year looked like.

So without further ado, here’s what I got done in 2022…


1. I Left Japan and Moved Back to the States!

At the beginning of 2022 I’d been living and working in Japan since the summer of 2018, first in Toyama on the JET Program, then in Yokohama teaching at a Japanese university.  As such, moving back was a BIG deal, both because I had a lot of stuff that needed to be packed up, shipped home, or given away, but also because I needed to establish a living and working routine back in the States.  In a sense, I started 2022 by starting over.

Fortunately, I had a decent amount of time in January to pack up my apartment and prepare for the trip home in early February, and while a winter storm in the US kept me in Yokohama for an extra two days, I made it back safely and with minimal fuss.  After that, I started unpacking and getting settled for a year where my main goal was to focus on my freelancing and creative work.


2. I Built a New Webstore and Held a Pre-Order for MFA Thesis Novel!

My first novel, MFA Thesis Novel, was set to release in April, and to both generate hype for the novel and bring in extra revenue I decided to hold a novel pre-order where readers could pre-order signed copies straight from me with personalized messages and extra goodies like bookmarks and stickers.

This was a complicated process involving lots of planning, lots of math, lots of signing, and a TON of mailing (I also learned the importance of having a proper bulk mailing system for large orders…).  Holding the pre-order also meant that I had to redesign my webstore with a snazzy new orange and green look to match the novel’s cover, which also helped me bring in future orders of MFA Thesis Novel and my Eikaiwa Bums chapbook throughout the year.

All told, it was an excellent way to bring in extra revenue, get my work out there for people who wanted to read it, and learn the ropes of indie distribution.


3. I Released MFA Thesis Novel!

By far the biggest item on this list MFA Thesis Novel finally came out in April after a two-year wait and TONS of planning.  I kicked off with a launch event at Main Street BookEnds in my hometown of Warner, New Hampshire (you can watch a video of it here), and continued for the next few months as I pitched the novel to local bookstores, appeared on a few podcasts, hyped it on social media, and in general got the word out in other ways both online and off.

Promoting a novel is a cool and kind of surreal process, and it felt a lot easier because I’d already gotten comfortable with promoting my work in other ways that didn’t feel icky or out of character.  One really important part of the process, though, was realizing that promoting myself is really a long game that’s more about my overall work as an author than it is about any one book, which is why I eventually set active promotion aside to focus on longer-term writing goals.


4. I Built an Awesome New Author Website!

The But I Also Have a Day Job blog has served me well since 2016, but especially with the new novel coming out, I wanted a website that highlighted my work as an author with my name in the URL—something that would show up at the top of a Google search.  Because was already taken (and is currently being used for NOTHING—booooooooo…..), I bought the domain at the end of 2021, and just after MFA Thesis Novel launched I unveiled the new design and layout.

For my first author site I wanted something simple that would highlight both my writing and my editing work, but that would also have something fun and random, which is how the Imaginary Hate Mail page was born.  People definitely liked it, and I felt more confident having an actual author page I could link to instead of my social media pages or this blog (which don’t rank as highly on Google when you search for my name).

Building that website was a HUGE professional step that I actually wish I’d taken sooner, but putting it out when I did worked pretty well.  I hate to keep harping on the search results thing, but as you can see, when you Google my name and middle initial, my new website now comes out at the top.


5. I Leveled Up My Freelance Editing Business!

When I came back from Japan, I had a handful of clients I worked with occasionally for editing on both fiction and academic projects.  I knew the work would bring me in some income, but not enough to live on, and I fully expected to dip into my savings for a year while I worked on my writing.

After only a few months, though, business started taking off as I started getting more editing referrals and jobs.  Clients liked that I was available and back in a similar time zone, so I started doing Zoom calls for writing coaching and to talk through edits.  I picked up both big and small jobs, and by late summer I found that all of these gigs combined were paying an actual living wage even though I was only working them part-time while I saved my mornings for writing.  This, of course, was all kinds of awesome, and opened up lots of possibilities for the future.

2023 looks to be a good editing year as well, and if you’re interested in getting help with your writing or just curious about what I do, you can find out here.


6. I Started Teaching a University Editing Class!

This isn’t something I’ve talked about on the blog before, but in August I started teaching an online class in the MFA Program at Western Connecticut State University.  It’s a mentorship class where I worked with students one-on-one over Zoom, assigning readings and leading discussions about editing fiction and how editing careers can work.  It’s a good gig, I like working with students, and it’s a good boost for my resume as I returned to teaching, this time in the US.

I picked up another editing class for the spring as well, and while I’ll write a bit more about this later, it’s definitely been a good side gig to supplement my editing income.


7. I Kept Up This Blog and Brought In More Traffic!

2022 was my biggest year yet for web traffic: 5,432 people visited this blog, which averages out to nearly 15 views a day, and nearly a thousand more views than I got in 2021.  A few of my posts regularly show up in search engine results (especially the ones in my Most Popular Posts column), and even though I have the new author website I’ve been happy to keep a regular writing presence with this blog as it keeps going into the future.

But there’s one more thing that I’m really, insanely happy about that also happened last of all in 2022, and that’s…


8. I Finished a Second Draft of My Secret New Novel!!!

I’ve been working on my Secret New Novel (which I’m ALMOST ready to talk about on this blog, I swear!) since January of 2021, and after coming back to the States to focus on my writing, my biggest goal has been finishing the draft and prepping it for publication.  Fortunately, more time and mental space for writing was just what I needed, and I started making real progress in the spring, finishing the First Draft in August, and the Second Draft just before Christmas.

I’m feeling confident that I can get my Secret New Novel completely done by spring, which is also my biggest 2023 goal.  It’s important to celebrate the little milestones along the way, though, and there’s no possible way I’d be able to make that goal without all the work I did on those first two drafts in 2022.


Final Thoughts

I’ve still got a long road ahead, and with everything going on right now it’s often easy to forget how far I’ve come and what it’s felt like to make such huge progress in only a year.  I’m also realizing that there’s no way most of this would have been possible had I been working a traditional Day Job that kept me busy 40+ hours a week.  Sure I could have done a few of the things on this list, or made smaller progress on others, but this list is as long as it is because I had that extra space and freedom.

2023’s only just begun, but I’ve got high hopes and I’ve been making good progress so far.  Here’s hoping that my 2023 accomplishments post will look just as good 😉



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