Just after New Year’s Day had dawned, my dad made the comment that 2020 was going to be the Year of Vision. He was making a joke on the fact that perfect vision is 20/20, but there was some poignancy in there as well (possibly inadvertent, it was hard to tell).
As I make my way into 2020, I hope that this year will be a year of vision for me – of realising a vision at least. I say this because for the first time in a long while (possibly ever), I have a very clear vision of where I would like to be by the end of this year. And this is more than just a few resolutions that will fizzle out by February. These are actual attainable goals that will use the knowledge I have built up over the last few years and take me forward into the beginnings of what I hope will become a full time career as a writer.
The first month of our calendar year is aptly named after the Roman god Janus – a two-headed god with one head facing the year past, and the other looking to the year ahead. Many people use January and the New Year to reflect on where they have come from before planning ahead into the months to come. In this regard, I am no exception.
I have spent the last three years blogging (off and on at times) and using my blog to explore and develop aspects of my own writing process. I have shared a lot of these insights in here, and even some of my own fiction work, while also working away in the background on my first novel.
As I mentioned at the back end of last year, I completed the first draft of my novel in October 2019. In terms of my writing, finishing the draft had been my primary focus for a long time. Now that it is done, and I have let it sit unread for a few months, the time has come for it to be taken out of its drawer and for me to start editing it into a manuscript worthy of publishing.
But that’s not the only plan I have for this year. I am fully aware of how competitive the publishing industry is; and, realistically, how long it could take for me to get anywhere with my manuscript, no matter how polished and presentable it is.
…To Go Forward
My overall goal for this year is to be making headway as a writer in this industry by the end of the year. This is ultimately the career I want to pursue and there’s no time like the present to get going on that. In order to do this, there are a few main areas (four to be exact) that I hope will help me on my way:
1: The Blog
This isn’t going to change on a fundamental level. I will still share posts about my writing process and about the joy that is storytelling. You can look forward to upcoming articles on character tropes, story and plot structure, and self-editing (as I delve into the second draft of my book).
What I am hoping will change (and fast) is the frequency in which I post. My goal is to post every Friday. I have tried to be consistent with this in the past, and it usually works for a few weeks before life gets in the way. 2020 is the time for me to make a concerted effort to blog consistently, and to engage more with anyone who comes across these pages.
This is something I have wanted to do for a while. During my degree course (Creative Writing with English), we were encouraged to critique each other’s work in workshopping sessions and also out of class where appropriate.
This year, I plan on completing an Editing and Proofreading course, and a course specifically geared towards editing fiction, with a view to honing these skills.
In the meantime, I am making my existing skills as a Critique Partner available to anyone who wants to send their fiction work my way. Full details of the services on offer will be available soon (watch this space), but as an overview, I am offering to read and provide feedback on any original work of fiction up to 5,000 words. This could be a stand-alone short story, or the opening chapter(s) of a longer piece.
To be clear, I am offering this feedback ENTIRELY FREE OF CHARGE in the first instance. I only ask that, if you find the feedback I give helpful, you leave a comment/testimonial on this site for others who may wish to send their work to me.
As I said, I will give more details on this in the coming weeks, but if anyone is interested, please head to the Contact page and drop me a line.
3: Short Stories
I am really excited to be able to share more of my short fiction with you all. Firstly, I have three short stories ready to offer up soon. These are stories exploring what happens in fairy tales after “Happily ever after” has been uttered. I will be adding more to this collection throughout the year, so if you have a favourite fairy tale you’d like to see featured, let me know!
Also, later in the year, I will be bringing you Episode 2 of The Eternity Mirrors. If you are unfamiliar with that title and want to know what Nick discovered at the Forgotten Fairground, check the link in the menu above to read up on episode one, or listen to the Podcast version.
4: The Novel
Ah, yes. The novel. The thing that has taken up so much of my time in the last few years and had taught me so much about my own process, and writing in general.
My plan is to polish this up to the shiniest possible version of itself and then look for an agent/publisher bold enough to take it on.
Why am I not going down the self-publishing route? you may be wondering. This is something I will go into in more detail at a later date.
Happy New Year!
One thing for sure is that 2020 will be anything but boring! If you want to keep up to date with how I get on with all these goals, check the links below to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; or click the Follow button at the top right of this page to follow this blog directly.
I’d also love to know what you have planned for this year. Is this going to be a year of vision for you too? Let me know in the comments below.