Updated: Feb 20
Well, here we are at the other end of the month. Christmas has been and gone and hot cross buns are in the stores (if you haven’t been to the shops yet, the buns are front and centre, here in Australia anyway!). I hope you enjoyed time catching up with family and friends and celebrated the good times, sad times, and maybe lamenting that another year was ending. It is hard to believe that it is 15 years since the Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia when we mourned the loss of so many lives. Now it is time to look forward to the next decade and what we hope life, and hard work may bring us.
In preparation for a planning day with some author friends next week, I have started to write some notes around my aspirations for what I want to achieve next year. I am not good at New-Year-intentions, so I am going to work on areas of focus to enable me to write and also continue learning about the publishing industry.
Obviously big on my ‘to-do’ list is to finish my first Planet book. Scarlet and Rory are endeavouring to escape the bad guys as I write, and Parks is being his usual smarmy self while trying to entice Scarlet and her crew to join his team. I am looking forward to the end of this adventure as I already have Book 2 in mind, with a working title of ‘Planet Hops’.
As a multi-genre reader — action/adventure, sci-fi, space opera, romance (most sub-genres), cozy mystery and fantasy in particular — I have always known I will be a multi-genre writer/author. While I will keep Planet going, as Scarlet and Rory have many adventures ahead of them, I also hope to start a cozy mystery series. A character named Annie popped into my head one day and adamantly refuses to leave.
In order to achieve these aspirations, number one on my areas of focus list is finding the time to write. I need to figure out what’s not working for me, or more specifically, why I don’t get my feet planted under the desk every day. I am a creature of habit (I get my grumpy pants on if someone parks in ‘my’ space in the city’s multi-level car park 😊) so when I suddenly have to take the grandkids to school, or any multitude of other minor interruptions, I get kicked out of my routine and (obviously) use this as an excuse to procrastinate. I need to show up consistently if I am to get the words done and be closer to my dream of being an author. This is my priority area of focus.
Another area of focus is making sure I don’t allow myself to get bogged down in continuous self-editing. At times I edit every sentence as I write it, or at least every paragraph. This slows my writing down. A lot! All the people I follow shout out that you first need to get the words down. Finish the draft and then go back and edit. Although it is okay to do a quick edit at the start of each writing session, this is still a long way from my current practice. I like to think it is my critical academic writer-self at work, but in all honesty, it is probably the procrastination monster at the wheel who is really to blame.
As I near the end of my first book, I do need to allocate some time and energy to publishing. I have much to learn so this must be another area of focus this year. Thankfully I am in the process of building a great network of established authors as friends and contacts. Between them, I am learning about publishing and the all-important marketing. Although some may see this aspect of the business of being an indie author irksome, I like the idea of having control over all the decisions in front of me.
The last major area of focus is my blog and Facebook page. From the aspiring author standpoint, I need to build a community of potential readers of my books, some of who will become fans of my work and promote it via their own networks — “read this, you will love it”. Of course, this is another dream, but a life without dreams would be boring and leave what I find inspiring standing at the door.
Whether you are a goal-setter or not, I hope, like me, you can enjoy each moment and it doesn’t pass at supersonic speed. Maybe choosing an area of focus (or three) might work for you too and be less daunting than several specific goals that failure to achieve at years-end, will have you vowing not to try again.
Cheers to a happy, healthy, and productive New Year.
This month we celebrated my husband's 100th plasma donation :-)