Your turn now. Come to the front of class. That's it. Now, what did you do last year?
Hmm. That's a good question actually. What did I do? (scratches head, trying to remember). Well let's see.
I spent the first six months working on my script from NaNoWriMo 2011. By the end of June it had been converted into a finished e-novel and published.
Somewhere along the way I also wrote, tidied up and submitted some short stories.
One of these was accepted and is due for publication in early 2013. A lot of them are still out there on various slush piles waiting for the 'yay' or 'nay.'
One of the new stories was a competition entry for Writing Magazine (in the UK). A bit carelessly, I let the story grow too long and also become something that would be totally inappropriate for the magazine.
I sent the story to a couple of publishers instead and it has now appeared in a short story anthology which was published in early December.
That's it, I think.
Well that all sounds a bit random and unplanned.
What was your measure of success for last year and what are your plan and strategy for 2013?
Measure of success? Plan and strategy?
I try to avoid those last two, if I can.
It's one of the sad things about the world we live in, everything has to have something that it can be measured and assessed against. We all seem to be under pressure to constantly perform to the best of our ability and then improve on that the following year and so on.
Life should be lived and enjoyed. We each only get one life; it seems a shameful waste of time assessing and analysing how successful we've been at it.
But, to answer the questions.
I've got work published, with another project under the way.
I had a great time writing (and editing) in 2012 - so, as far as I'm concerned, that's a pretty good measure of success. I put hundreds of hours into writing - it wouldn't have seemed a very successful use of my time if I hadn't enjoyed it.
Commercial success is another matter - it would have been nice if it had been better (but then most people will say that).
Looking ahead - I don't really have a plan and I don't really have a strategy (I can hear the howls of anguish from certain friends there).
If I have plans and strategies and set myself goals I'll put myself under too much pressure to better them and then beat myself up if something goes wrong and I don't hit the targets I set for myself.
I will finish my novel sometime this year (it will take as long as it needs to get it as good as I can make it) and publish it (at some point, once I've sorted the cover and the formatting). It's likely to be another self-publishing venture but nothing is ruled out.
Once all that is done I'll probably start another novel; or I could write some more short stories and wait for NaNoWriMo 2013 before I start the new novel - it's not as if I'm short of ideas.
I'll do some marketing, trying tips and new techniques along the way. I'll probably do this as the mood takes me. I don't particularly like marketing but it's a necessary evil if you want to reach readers, and make some money.
I might join my local writing group - then again I might not (I've been trying to pluck up courage to go for over 12 months).
The nearest thing I have to a plan is the fact that I plan to write as much as I can and enjoy doing it.
Writing is organic in its creativity. That's partly what I love about it. The spontaneity of the craft can't be tied to objectives, success measure and performance indicators.
I write because I love doing it.
I would really like it to become my day job one day, and I know I'll have to adopt a more structured approach, especially to marketing if I want to generate the necessary income.
But if writing ever starts to feel like work then I'll probably have to stop doing it - and I don't plan on doing that.
Happy New Year, everyone.
Have a "successful" year - however you choose to measure it.