Saturday, 6 January 2018

Reflections on writing achievements of 2017 and New Year writing resolutions

This time last year I made some more realistic New Year writing resolutions for 2017 because I had been reading a lot of very interesting, and truthful, blog posts* about writing resolutions and why we writers should make realistic ones.  As regular readers of my blog will know, I usually set a list of writing resolutions to follow each year and then at the end of the year (usually in the same blog post) look back at what I achieved (or didn't) that year and according to the posts that I had read, writers can set themselves up for failure by setting unrealistic writing goals.  So with that in mind, my writing goals for 2017 were:

1) Write 250 words a day or 1,750 a month (these don't all have to be on the same project)

2)  To make money from my writing (self-publish some short stories on Amazon and/or run writing classes/workshops), this can include blog tours, giveaways and signings

3)  Commit money to my writing (book on workshops, writers retreats, events, Festivals) and gain valuable feedback (writers groups, SCBWI meetings and events, conferences and critiques)

4)  Send more work for publishing/to an Agent/place in a contest (to send ten pieces to competitions - one submission a month except December and one other month and submit to 20 Agents in 2017/meet agents at events, conferences etc.)

2016 was a good year for sticking to my resolutions writing-wise and with more realistic goals, I hoped to do better still in 2017, so here goes.  In terms of blog posts, I wrote than I have managed in any previous year with 505 posts over the year (365 in 2016) which helped to more than double my views (averaging around the 400-700 mark, though some days I was getting well over a thousand hits).  I am definitely going to keep this up this year and hope to get back to those heady-heights of 1k+ views a day.

As for resolutions 1-4, I achieved three out of four as I am still yet to earn money from my writing, run my own fee-paying writing classes or self-publish on Amazon.  But enough of the negative, I managed to go over and above my goals for the other 3 resolutions.


1) Words

January: 6,474, February: 10,978, March: 4,647, April: 4,798, May: 2,393, June: 10,139, July: none, August: 729, September: 3,738, October: 4,370 November: 30,634 and December: 4,763

This meant that I finished my second novel to first draft (at 83,425 words) and during NaNoWriMo got my third novel to 64,783 with well over two-thirds of it written.  I also completed several short stories, flash fictions and poems and with a 2017 word count total of 83,663 words I am more than happy with the result to say I missed one month. Taking my resolution at 1,750 a month, this would equate to 21,000, so 83,663 is a great result.

3) Commit money to writing in terms of events etc.

I attended 46 events over the year, some free but many paid.  Not only did this help with inspiration, word count and new writer friends and contacts, but because of my attendance at some of the events, I have been able to send my crime novel to an agent, won a place on a crime forensics workshop, found out all about the RNA new writers scheme (which I applied for at the beginning of the year - more on this to come in a later blog), had my poems and writing printed and displayed in Brighouse Library and a read my writing out at a well -attended reading on my birthday, plus I secured a place on a scriptwriting course.

January: on-line critique group Backachya, February: on-line critique group Backachya (sadly this group became inactive following this), SCBWI critique meeting in York and Writers Retreat in Hutton-le-Hole, March: Wild Wisdom writing workshop, West Yorkshire Playhouse writers workshop, HLF publishing event, Trinity Writers Festival, NWN Significant Ink taster session and a Writers Retreat in Cumbria, April: ILF Sally Wainwright event and Shepley Bridge Writers Retreat Day, May: SCBWI critique meeting in York and Significant Ink scriptwriting course, June: Significant Ink screenwriting course and Halifax writing workshop, July: 9 BLF events, creative Thursday and Lee Child events at Harrogate Crime Festival, Plotting your children's novel SCBWI event in York and Writing Tension Webinar, August: LBT Preview, September: Think Forensics event, SCBWI critique meeting in York, Future Creativity UK, TV writing event, Struck Match writing workshop and RNA afternoon tea, October: Ghost story writing workshop, November: Manchester Graduate Fair (where I pitched to agents twice), Brighouse Library creative writing workshops x 3, Book of Darkness and Light and SCBWI critique meeting in York, December: Last 2 Brighouse Library creative writing workshop x 2 and Reading at Brighouse Library (poems and section of my crime novel which was well received).

4) More submissions to competitions, publishers and agents

I submitted work 35 times to competitions, publishers and agents.  Two of them were accepted and published (one published/one to be published 2018) plus a trio of chocolate and book prize, one secured me a place on a screenwriting course, I also and had a positive rejection for my first novel (if there ever can be such a thing) in that they asked to see more of my work.  I am still awaiting feedback on the two agent submissions of my crime novel (3rd novel) that were requested following the twitter pitches and an agent pitch.

January: 2 to NWAs, February: 1st novel to TRT Publishing, poem to HLF anthology, 3 to Litro Magazine and 1 to Readers Digest flash fiction competition, March: Significant Ink script, April: 2 to LT University anthology competition and Divine Chocolate poetry competition, May: none due to job hunting, June: Significant Ink pilot/calling card script and first novel to #70Pit17, July: 2 to Popshot magazine, 1 to #onepage, poem to Carers UK, 3 to Butchers Dog, 1 to Palm-sized Press, 1 to Costa short story, 1 to Budleigh Salterton and 1 to British SCBWI Joan Aiken Prize, August: second novel to SCBWI Undiscovered Voices, September: 3 to #AMHeath, October: first script to BBC Writers Room, Psychologies competition, poem to John Clarke anthology, first five chapters and synopsis of crime novel to agent as requested following twitter pitch and 2 poems to 100 Thousand Poets for Change, November: first three chapters and synopsis of crime novel to agent as requested following pitch, December: none.

Following the achievements of my hard work, my writing resolutions for 2018 are to stay the same as 2017 and I hope for similar success.  Yes, I may not have been brave enough to self-publish or run my own fee-paying writers events, but I have achieved a lot in a year.  Here's to 2018 being the year of writing success for us all.

*The blog suggests that you as a writer need to make sure that these goals/resolutions achieve the following:

*  Inspire me to commit to regular writing practice?
*  Is it totally within my power to achieve this goal?
*  Does this goal inspire you to take concrete action toward your writing dreams?
*  Does the goal keep you accountable?

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