written word

Year in Review – 2021

This year I’ve decided to do something that I’ve never done before. I wanted to make a budget, but not just any budget, a “written word” budget. How many words in total have I written this year? Moreover, what was the distribution of those words? In this blog post, I’m going to be dishing out all the numbers as well as taking a look back at some of my proudest accomplishments.

Master's Degree

Over the course of 2021, I took 24 credits. 9 credits in the spring and summer and 6 credits in the fall. That is 2/3s of my program done within one year. Needless to say, this took up the majority of my time, which is why I was still so happy with everything that I’ve accomplished. But, let’s look at how many words each of my classes—and my master’s course as a whole—took from me.

A little note before we begin with the numbers in how I calculated this. Each class is approximately 15 weeks long (or 12 weeks for the summer term). Some classes required discussion posts and, if this was required, it was also required to respond to at least two of our classmates. The discussion posts had a minimum of 200 words and the responses a minimum of 150 words. Altogether then, the discussion post minimum was 500 words. Some of the discussion posts I typed up in Word before transferring it to the document. If this was the case, then I knew exactly how many I calculated. For the others, I am just using this average and multiplying by the amount of weeks I don’t have the information for. Not every week was a discussion week in some of the classes, so I went back into the module and found out how many discussion prompts there were and only used the 500 for those weeks. Hopefully, that makes sense. Anyway, with that long caveat out of the way, let’s tally up the words, shall we?

  • Leads Generation = 12,368
  • Social Media = 12,336
  • Search & Display = 2,756
  • Mass Communications Theory = 19,084
  • Internship = 13,822
  • User Design = 14,537
  • Inbound Strategy = 22,370
  • Teaching Mass Communication = 19,192
  • Total = 116,465

Author Career

Blog Posts

Over the course of 2021, I’ve also done five blog posts, now six. For all six of my blog posts, including this one, the total comes to 11,646.


Also, one of the things I’m proudest about is having a consistent newsletter that I sent out at the end of every month. During the launch of Hunt for Lost Souls, I sent out a few extra newsletters, but for the most part, it was only once per month. Altogether, the total for my newsletters for the year of 2021 equaled 12959 words.

Fiction Writing

The hardest number to track, though, was my fiction writing. Yes, I did publish a novel this year, The Hunt for Lost Souls, but I didn’t write it this year. I revised it, and I added and deleted some chapters from it, certainly, but how to calculate it? Well, what I did was take the draft before I began working on it this year and compare it to the final draft. This gave me a difference of 13,101 words. I did the same process for Part I of book 4 that I revised this year as well, which totaled a difference of 22,564 words. Besides those two projects, though, I began working on a completely new series for my fiction writing set to take place after Guardian of the Core, but I haven’t gotten very far there. Only 5138 words. What I am most proud about, though, is the fact that I finished the first draft of my prequel reader magnet called the Clash of Fates, which came in way over the expected word count. It ended up being 74,393 words! Altogether then, my fiction writing totaled 115,196. To be able to write this much while simultaneously in the throes of doing my master’s degree is more than I ever could have hoped for.

Non-Fiction Writing

As it turns out, though, my writing didn’t stop there. I actually began two non-fiction books this year. One of the books is a memoir and deals with finding our purpose in life. I am approximately 35,509 words through that. The other one is a cookbook that came in at 28,118 words, and it is another project where the first draft is completed.


That brings my total words for the year to 319,076. If it was a piechart, it would look something like this.

year in review

While this is amazing, and I’ve never felt more like a writer in my life, I can’t believe that writing so much isn’t even my only accomplishment. On top of all of this, I have published another book this year, The Hunt for Lost Souls, bringing the Guardian of the Core series one step closer to finishing. I finished the first draft of two other books: the reader magnet and my cookbook. All three of these things are major writing accomplishments and make me feel that, given time, I can definitely make this a full-time gig of mine. I rebranded my series, adopting completely new covers and marketing tactics; I entered Trials into a contest (although it wasn’t successful, it’s definitely a step in the right direction). To be honest, all of this, along with having a successful year of consistently doing a newsletter, makes me feel like an author. An actual author. Not one who makes a dreamy six-figures yet, but an author all the same, and that is something I am super proud about. I read / listened to a total of 23 physical and audio books this year. The health coach side of me would pat me on the back for nourishing my body with all of this mental food this year. He would also pat me on the back for keeping a budget the entire year and holding myself more accountable for my finances.

Other Accomplishments

It doesn’t stop there, though. Throughout all of this, I managed to keep a 4.0 in my master’s course, and I enrolled in a certification course to become a holistic health coach. Learn more about that by visiting this blog post. And, there will be plenty more blog posts to come in regard to that come this upcoming year. I came up with my own health brand (again, more on that later); I lost 10 kg and have become the leanest and happiest I’ve ever been in my life, all the while never once making unnecessary compromises on my diet. I mean, take a look at these transformation pictures below!

On top of all of this, I got Lasik Eye Surgery!


I lifted a new deadlift record of 210 kg! I have definitely kept feeding my physical body, and for that I’ve never felt better.

As a holistic health coach (in training), I understand just how important our environment is to us, so this year I think one of the key reasons why I’ve been able to get so many things accomplished is because I’ve learned to set boundaries. I will talk about the idea of setting purposeful boundaries for yourself in a future blog post. For now, just realize that because of the boundaries I’ve set, I am way more productive and 10 kg lighter! If you want to know when that blog post comes out, make sure you subscribe to my blog! 😉 Also, if you want to see why I’ve decided on this pursuit of a Holistic Health Coach certification, check out this blog post where I break down the whys and whats of holistic health. 

On top of that, though, I’ve managed to really feed myself spiritually. While I cannot attend the church in Shanghai due to it still being closed, I have become a regular member of a church here in Suzhou. On top of that, I read the bible or watch a bible study every morning to start my day. And, if I’m being honest, I think He (God) is the one that has given me the determination, the energy, and the focus to accomplish everything that I’ve needed to accomplish this year. I have had some crazy spiritual experiences and manifestations with him this year, and with him, I’ve just never felt so complete. I’m at peace of mind, body, and spirit and I don’t think that inner tranquility is valued enough in our fast-paced world today and rampant ‘comparisonitis.’

What About Next Year?

I have no idea where next year will take me. The spring semester of 2022 marks my last semester in graduate school. After, I will have a master’s degree and the opportunities expand quite a bit. While I don’t know where 2022 is going to take me, I know that with Him by my side, I will find my way and wherever I go, it will be to the right place. With my master’s degree finishing up soon, I’m going to have much more free time and so things are only going to get more amazing.

Expect more frequent blog posts as one of my largest accomplishments is planning out some material to talk about for the upcoming year. I don’t want to make the blog posts about my writing, though; rather, I want to talk about health coaching because that is an area of my life I feel very passionate about currently. It is also an area that many people find more interesting than my day-to-day writing life, but my writing life is a part of it, nonetheless. As an author, I will be focused on writing more books and revising those in the Guardian of the Core series. On top of this, I plan on writing short stories to submit to publication each quarter that will supplement the universe I’ve built with Guardian of the Core and give readers more content to for their delight. 

If you want more continual update in my life, consider joining my monthly newsletter where I recommend books, talk author talk, update you all on the latest life developments, and share stories of inspiration from around the globe of individuals who have gone through Trials and have overcome them. I wish you all the best in 2022. Cheers.

1 thought on “Year in Review – 2021”

  1. Pingback: 2022 - Writing in Review - Michael E. Thies

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