Yes, it’s the middle of February, but here at the Novel Points of View blog we are putting our writerly resolutions for 2019 in black and white for all the world to see.
Some years are busier than others, but I think 2019 will be up there as one of my busiest and will dictate my 2019 resolutions.
First up is the release of the 5th book in my Cornish Tales Series. The cover will be revealed this week and it will be released as an eBook and audiobook on the 16th April. It is about a daughter of a baronet, who falls in love with a gardener on her father’s estate. I loved writing this novel, which incorporates all the stifling expectations placed on a girl growing up in the Victorian era.
On 9th July, the paperback version of The Daughter of River Valley (the 3rd book in the series) will be released. I think most authors aspire to have a paperback version of their novel and I’m no exception.
Later in the year, the 6th book in the Cornish Tales Series will be released as an eBook and audiobook. Again, no date, cover or title yet, but I know that this summer will be spent preparing it for publication. Between the aforementioned releases, I also have my ‘work in progress’, which I hope will be accepted by my publisher as the 7th book in the series. However, at the moment I’m having difficulty finding the time to simply sit down and write. So my resolutions for 2019 are to launch my ‘babies’ and trying to write something interesting in between.
I always set myself some New Year's Resolutions, and I always write a blog post on my own blog about them. Each year I look back at the previous year's resolutions and see whether I achieved them, then blog about the new ones. Most resolutions are writing-related, but the 'lose weight and exercise more' ones seem to have become a permanent fixture too.
Terry asked us: 'what's different about your resolutions for 2019'. That's actually an easy one to answer, and regular readers of this blog will guess what I'm going to say! As I have just given up the day job to become a full time novelist, that means that my writing goals for the year are more important than ever before. It's now my livelihood. I'm aiming to complete the first drafts of two new novels in 2019 - so that means an output of around 200,000 words. It should be easily possible - I've been writing at least a novel a year for the last five years while also doing a full time day job. But when setting this goal I didn't want to push myself too far - no point giving up the stress of a day job to free time to write, and then piling stress on to the writing job. It has to remain fun. So I suppose that's another goal for 2019 - enjoy my new freedom, enjoy being self-employed, enjoy the writing!
This year I hadn’t intended to make any writing resolutions, so exhausted was I after just about achieving my last year’s challenge of 1,000 words per day on average. I tell you, it just about finished me off, and if I don’t end up with some horrible form of RSI as a direct result of it, I’ll consider myself lucky.
Then along came Terry, asking about those non-existent resolutions, and after a writing-free January I found myself wondering of it’s too late to begin. And of course it isn’t.
I’m not going for anything quantifiable this time. I’ve been there, I’ve done that and, to be blunt, some of the drafts I’m looking back on that resulted from last year’s rush to write are more than a little short of quality. The knock-on effect is that there’s a lot to do to make them remotely worth sending off to my agent or publisher and so my resolution for this year is quality not quantity. It’s a subjective judgment. I’ll probably never know if I succeed.
I don’t make resolutions of any sort because that way – for me – failure lies. I’m a strange beast and never follow series on TV ... soaps and dramas and the like. I don’t like the commitment to have to sit down at a certain time every day and watch (or have it on catch-up constantly thinking about when I am going to watch it). I used to write every day and began to feel guilty when I didn’t. No one was holding a gun to my head then to get on with it – no deadlines, perhaps, my own ambition. But when I became more successful and deadlines entered my life, I had no option but to get on with them. So, when said deadlines were met I then began to feel less guilty on non-writing days. A few years ago I told myself if something – a blogpost, an interview, a talk in a library or wherever, Twitter, Facebook, media of all sorts – that day was writing-related then I would count it as writing. It has been very freeing. I’m now writing for HarperCollins and my editor is keen to extend my ‘brand’ and I’m happy with that. But strangely, I’ve also had a yearning to write something from my soul, not just for publication. It crept up on me after the last mince pie was eaten, the Prosecco empties had been put out for recycling, the decorations were taken down and it became a bit, well, tardy to be saying ‘Happy New Year’. I’m liking this new regime – three new short stories written and a stream of consciousness- but if I want to take a step back from that and just chill, then I will.
This year’s grand plan is to work with, rather than against, my strengths. So my first writing goal is to work on my women’s fiction novel for at least one hour each morning, 5 days per week. I’m experimenting with a technique shared by Sarah Painter over on the Worried Writer podcast. Sarah’s tip is to trick myself into believing I need only work for one hour which not only means I’m more likely to begin but also adds urgency to my writing. In reality, I’ll write for most of the morning. Late afternoons are now free for catching up on social media and admin. Check out Sarah Painter’s podcast here.
Secondly, I work best to external deadlines and have already diarised a full structural edit with an editor in June. #feelingdetermined
My final objective is to read and review a book per week. I’m not a book blogger, my reviews are short – a couple of paragraphs at most - but I learn masses about writing craft by making time to consider what I enjoyed about a novel and, perhaps, what didn’t work so well. My guilty secret is that I also love playing with Pixabay and Canva, creating vibrant social media posts. And who knows, if I work hard on my first and second objectives perhaps I’ll join those published novelists one day soon…
2019 is a big year for me. Like Kath, I’ve taken the plunge and am now a full-time writer. (Gulp.) This means that I need to treat the art and craft of creating stories with a higher level of professionalism. Many of you know that I plot my novels with the precision of a surgeon. (Always giving myself permission to go off the map.) I’ve got loads of loose outlines. Now is the time to turn them into cohesive stories. And just to add another layer, I plan on dictating my prose from now on, which will definitely be a challenge.
2019 holds promise for all of us over at the Novel Points on View blog. Interested in sharing your own writerly resolutions? Leave us a comment. We will cheer you on!