It’s a new year, and while new year is kind of an arbitrary thing, I admit I like arbitrary new start feelings. It is a good time to look back and look forward. I’ve got some big goals for my writing this year. It’s not just about writing, but about all the other things that come along with it. I’m probably being pretty ambitious with these, but I want to aim big.
- Don’t sign up for any challenges with arbitrary goals, e.g. word count goals.
“Writing” isn’t always literally “writing”, and that’s particularly true this year given all the other goals in this post. My daily writing time is between 6am and 7am, maybe a little later if I can afford to work a short day or something. And if it isn’t already obvious from the other items on this list, there will be plenty of things for me to do other than literally smashing out words in those sessions.
Those things still count. And pushing myself to participate in challenges that don’t recognise all these other facets of writing actually do my process harm.
- Submit stories to four anthologies or short story competitions
I’m hoping that the momentum I’m currently experiencing for short stories will continue into the new year. Four doesn’t seem too ambitious! I was going to aim for six, but that was before I had the breakthrough with my novel.
Speaking of which…
- Finish the first draft of Facing the Music
I took a four-month break from this WIP after getting too tangled up in the plot and not knowing where to go with it. This turned out to be the right decision, as I suddenly had a breakthrough while out at the circus in early December (the WIP is also set in a circus; there’s a reason I was thinking about it. It’s not that the show was boring).
The most exciting thing about this breakthrough is that I don’t have to change too much of the 90k I had already written. In fact, I’m going to pick up where I left off, and make the necessary changes to earlier parts of the story in the second draft.
- Listen to two episodes of a writing or publishing podcast each week.
I have a few of these on my list, including Ingram Spark’s Go Publish Yourself and The First Time hosted by Katherine Collette and Kate Mildenhall.
- Complete Ingram Spark’s self-publishing short courses (there are three and all take under 2 hours to complete)
I think this point is fairly self-explanatory.
- Complete self-publishing course on Australian Writers Centre.
The courses through AWC are paid but I think this one will be worth it. It’s a self-paced online course. I want to get a variety of perspectives on this industry so that I can find common themes.
- Complete at least one other short course on self-publishing/book design (e.g. through LinkedIn Learning)
I’ll do some research about what other courses are out there and see what I think. Happy to hear your recommendations! There’s a wonderful weekend-long bootcamp being run in Melbourne in April by self-publishing extraordinaire and wonderful YA author Ellie Marney, which I’m hoping to attend.
- Self-publish Operation: Sugarplum as an ebook once Christmas: Australis exclusivity period ends.
- Commission cover
- Marketing plan
After having the initial inspiration for this story back in 2013, and finally seeing it appear in an anthology in 2019, I’d love to have it out in the world on its own. This is the main reason I want to really start learning the craft properly.
- Give A More Complicated Fairytale some love.
I published A More Complicated Fairytale in 2016. Then I got it into my head that I needed to have other novels finished and published before I worried about any serious promotion, because there’s no point in just promoting one thing. It might have taken me nearly four years, but I’ve rid myself of that mindset. I did a 3-day free promotion in December and I have some more ideas for going forward.
- Compile short stories that don’t get accepted elsewhere into my own collection (if some do get accepted, maybe this could be pushed out until other exclusivity periods end).
- Commission cover
- Marketing plan
I mean, I’m putting this here, but it will depend on a lot of things. What I write, where else it might end up, exclusivity periods at those places, money for other required services for it… If I’m writing on the longer side of short story, then I thought about publishing each thing separately, but that would require more expense in terms of editing, cover, etc. So maybe a collection is the way to go.
(myself and my books)
- Start mailing list
I already have the MailChimp account set up, so it’s just a case of sitting down and learning the mechanics, then getting the word out. I can’t promise these monthly spiels will contain anything especially interesting, but I’ll try.
- Set up author website
Watch out for emilywrayburn.com, coming soon! I mean, it’s basically going to be this blog, but I will change up the layout and the other pages and such a bit, and make it more obvious that I have books you can buy. Stuff like that.
It seems like a lot and to be honest, I probably won’t get all through all of this. But it’s a good set of goals to aim for and that’s what I’m doing. Aiming high.
I am yet to work out exactly how I’ll kep track on these. I don’t think I’ll be doing something like weekly check-ins. Maybe monthly? Or maybe something more like quarterly. I’m playing that part by ear a bit.
I know a lot of my writer friends and acquaintances have big years ahead of them in 2020 as well. Best of luck to you all and happy new year!