Writing Goals 2020

I’ve made a decision: this year, I’m going to start treating my writing as a full time career. Meaning, I’m going to start taking it seriously, spend the time and work towards some goals. Disclaimer: this is not financially courageous on my part – I’m not leaving a paid job. I am fortunate enough to be retired and supported by superannuation. But it does feel exciting nevertheless.

So 2020 will be a Year of Words. I’ve done the title page in my journal, so now I have to follow through, or it will mock me for next 11 months.

I was partially inspired to take this decision by the Writing Goals section of Jeff VanderMeer’s Booklife, which I’m currently reading.

If you have goals, you immediately know if you should take advantage of an opportunity. You can easily recognise when an opportunity is not for you.

This resonated with me. There are so many things I could do as a writer, but it feels like it’s time to focus on what’s important to me, and goals are a way of defining that.

So, I have made a 5-year plan and a 1-year plan. Here is the plan for 2020, broken into 3 sections: Writing and Publishing Goals, Engaging with other Writers, and Engaging with Readers.

  • publish Book 1, Greenhaelan, in February
  • draft, revise and edit Book 2, Skalsinger
  • publish Skalsinger in November
  • outline Book 3, Charm Shaper
  • write 6 short stories and enter them into the Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction competition
  • write 2 other short stories
  • submit best short story to anthologies/ magazines
  • write and publish 24 blog posts
  • attend 6 local author events at my library or bookshop
  • attend 2 larger festivals/conferences
  • actively engage at these events
  • support other writers on Twitter, WordPress, Goodreads, etc
  • offer beta reading to at least 2 other writers
  • write a review for every ARC and newly published book I enjoy this year
  • launch author website and mailing list
  • grow mailing list to 50 this year
  • recruit launch team
  • engage with readers on social media
  • garner 50 amazon reviews for Greenhaelan
  • do at least one author interview in any format

Some of these are completely doable, some will stretch me a lot, and the rest depend on other people and are to some extent out of my control. But I wanted to be ambitious and dream big.

In all of this, there is still the human element. The simple truth is: no one reaches all of their goals, and no one has the inhuman ability to stay on task all the time. But making the attempt to articulate your dreams in this way means you will accomplish more than you would otherwise.

Booklife, Jeff VanderMeeer

So, here’s to my new career! Fellow writers, what are your goals for 2020? Let’s do this together!

#WIPpet Wednesday – September 18, 2019

This week I’m joining WIPpet Wednesday again. WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop wherein writers share an excerpt from their current WIP (Work in Progress) that somehow relates to the date.



What I’m sharing today

I have two WIPs going right now. I’m making final revisions to the first one, a medieval portal fantasy called Greenhaelan. That’s where my excerpt is coming from today.

As it’s the 18th day of the 9th month, I’ll be sharing 18 sentences from Chapter 9.

The final man was slim and dressed in black. His hand rested lightly on the hilt of a half-drawn sword. He looked Kelan over and grinned, sliding the sword back into its sheath.
“Put up your arms, friends. It’s only a little mouse hiding in the hay.” His voice was an amused drawl.
The other three obeyed him, but their expressions were still wary. They obviously didn’t share their companion’s sense of humour. The older man in particular was scowling like a bulldog.
The one in black stepped closer. “What’s your name, little mouse?”
After everything Kelan had gone through this morning, this was too much. It was one thing to be attacked or even killed; it was quite another to be laughed at and called a mouse. He knew he might be in danger, but he didn’t care. He lifted his chin and glared at the man.
“What’s yours?”
The stranger laughed. “So, the mouse has teeth.”

Kelan is only a secondary character in this novel, but he’ll be getting his own book later. From my point of view, he’s both the easiest character to write about and also the most fun. Seems like somewhere inside this middle-aged woman, a teenage boy is struggling to get out and be heard. Patience, Kelan. Your turn will come.

How to Make me Pick up Your Book, Part Two

PART 2: GIVE ME THE PERFECT JOB

Once we’re past the cover (See PART 1: I’M A COVER GIRL) we get to meet the protagonist or The Main Character. I’m not fussy about the gender or age or even species of the Main Character, but I do want to know how they occupy their time, professionally or otherwise. If your Main Character performs one of these jobs, I’m much more likely to be interested in reading your book:

DETECTIVE

Yes, give me a good sleuth, professional or amateur, and I’ll give them a chance to dazzle me with their crime-solving abilities. But I’ll be sleuthing too, so don’t make them either too stupid or impossibly smart. Ideally, they should solve the mystery about half a page after I do. And please make your detective an individual rather than a copy of a hundred others. No more hard-bitten, hard-drinking, overweight, divorced middle-aged men, please. Please. Instead, give me an old lady in a care home, a child genius, a sentient spaceship. Here are two very different detectives that made me read every one of their cases:

HERCULE POIROT (from numerous novels and short stories by the inimitable Agatha Christie)

Well, naturally, mon ami. Poirot is quirky, sometimes absurd, but brilliant without cheating. His inspired guesses always have logic behind them.

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