I still can’t believe it’s the end of 2019.
Reflecting on the ups and downs of the last ten years, I’m proud of what I was able to achieve, even if I neglected to see the wins at the time.
Here’s the quick and dirty version of my decade:
- Started and abandoned a blog, wrote some short stories
- Had time to waste and enrolled in a writing course at New York University. No publishing goals but I enjoyed the course and registered for another.
- Got married. Slightly less time for writing.
- Started and abandoned another blog.
- Dabbled with flash fiction and more short stories
- Entered a national literary competition in my home country and won a special incentive prize
- Fell in love with Scrivener
- Took more writing courses at NYU
- Joined a critique group
- Finished my first middle-grade book and it was such a mess that I banished it to the corner of my Dropbox where stories go to die
- Discovered NaNoWriMo and pounded out my second middle-grade novel. It was marginally better than the first but joined its sister in the Dropbox of doom anyway
- Completed the Certificate in Creative Writing at NYU
- Started my third middle-grade novel, known as Novel 3
- Joined the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators and it felt like coming home
- Bought a new laptop and fell out of love with Scrivener
- Started and abandoned another blog (yes, again)
- Accepted that I was not a pantser and outlined Novel 3
- Had a baby
- Who has time to write?
- Read more books and reworked the outline of Novel 3 due to roadblock
- Learned how to write in the cracks – using snatches of time to get down whatever I could
- Writing sprints work
- Started using my lunch hour to write and made more efficient use of my writing time
- Went to my first writer’s conference – Rutgers University Council for Children’s Literature (highly recommend)
- Started a new blog (it’s still going)
- Broke Novel 3 with a sledgehammer and did a top to bottom rewrite
- Finished Novel 3
- Revision time
- Revised Novel 3 multiple times
- Headed out to New Jersey for my second writer’s conference (Rutgers University Council for Children’s Literature) and met with a cool agent who wants to read my complete manuscript when it’s ready
- Made the longlist for the Commonwealth Short Story prize
- Discovered a supportive writing community on Twitter and made a few friends along the way
- Also discovered that social media is addictive, potentially toxic, and should be taken in small doses as necessary
It’s easy to be distracted by the victories of others, the publishing news, the agent news, the book deals, and movie options and wonder if I’ll ever get to write a ‘How I got my agent’ post. One thing I figured out really early on, is that focusing on the wrong things will not help me achieve my goals. Learning to run your own race is important.
Dancing into 2020
My goals for 2020 are rather modest:
- Keep writing
- Read good books
- Make healthier lifestyle choices
- Practice self-care
- Be kind
- Love harder