If you believe the multiple motivational posts flooding the social media feeds in the early days of the year, one only has to dream big and fantastic success will come forth. Neat, eh? But it’s not all that easy. Even good intentions derived from the Big Dream won’t take you anywhere soon if you only dream them up but fail to follow up.
So, before I go ahead and think about what to strive for in 2018, let’s see what I did in 2017, concerning my journey as a writer. What did I do that I am proud of? Here’s a short list of my favourite personal achievements in 2017.
- I’ve routinely joined the #5amwritersclub. Getting up early, about 4:30am, yielded me a sizeable amount of time to write; a time I was lacking the years ago. I developed the habit back in late 2016, but in the last year, I was more often successful in banishing my “inneren Schweinehund” and conquer my sleep-deprived-weaker self. Not every day, but consistently enough.
- I wrote, finished and submitted a short story to a contest. That was a first for me. Nothing came off it, but it was an interesting experience. I also wrote my first poem in English, and for good measure, I submitted it to three contests.
- I’ve attended eight meetings of the Germany/Austria chapter of SCBWI – a group of fellow writers who never cease to motivate me, went to Frankfurt Book Fair and the book launch of fabulous Melinda Salisbury.
- I put down the WIP I was working on all through 2016/2017. A hard decision at the time, but the right one. I’m glad I set the story aside (for the time being). This left me free to launch my current WIP, a story I’m much more comfortable with, given my skill level. I’ve worked on this new project for about 8 months now, and the manuscript is already further developed than the old WIP ever was.
- I wrote ten blog posts (meh, too few), with the post about my take on DC’s Wonder Woman story structure and character arch being the most read.
- I attended 6 webinars (4 via SCBWI, 2 via other hosts/websites). Not all were equally helpful. I posted about the take-away-points of one already and a recap for “A place in fiction” is scheduled for the end of the month.
- I won NaNoWriMo, though I worked with my current WIP instead of a new project.
This being said, let me see what I’d like to do in 2018, besides reaching for the stars, that is.
- I want to finish the first draft of my current WIP. Déjà-vu, eh? Well, I guess it’s a never-ending story. After the story is before the story or rather the main character is dead! Long live the main character.
- I want to read and write more poetry. I want to read more in general, especially books and texts that don’t belong in the “on the craft” category.
- My website needs some work. I want to update and/or change the about-me-page and increase the number of blog posts.
- #3 will work fine with the plan to keep attending webinars and share my take-away-points afterwards. Same goes for blog posts on structure and character arch found in movies and from books.
- I started submitting smaller works in 2017 and want to keep that up. While I’m not ready to start submitting the book, I want to do so with poems and possibly short stories.
- I’ve decided to reduce the hours at my day job to further increase my time writing. To use the won time effectively, I plan to hold myself accountable for the time spent actually writing. For that, I’ll keep using my bullet journal, tracking not only word count, but hours spent on the project, too.
- Last but not least: minimise procrastination. Ha! Yeah, right… Twitter, Insta, Facebook… the lot keeps stealing my time. I’m still not sure how to tackle this, but I’ve got another year ahead to figure something out.
The most important item on the list is without a doubt #6. On multiple occasions I’ve read the sentence: If you want to be a successful author, you need to treat it like a proper job. Writing is work; hard one day and fun the next. I want to make the most of the hours I got.
What about you out there? What did you achieve last year, and where do you want to go in 2018? Whatever, wherever that is – I hope it’s going to be a fun ride.