2017 was an amazing year for me on a number of levels but in particular my writing.
Looking back I can honestly say I am proud of what I achieved and really excited about where this will take me in 2018.
So what exactly did I achieve:
1. Entered 2 short stories into a competition and had them both published on Short Fiction Break, an online magazine
2. Started and finished the first draft of my 65000 word novel
3. Set up my online platform for both my writing and my photography
4. Started regular blogs
5. Joined a local writers group attending monthly meetings
6. Accepted the positions of Vice President and Writers Festival Social Media Coordinator for the local writers group
7. Participated in NaNoWrimo
8. Joined a number of online writers groups
9. Submitted 3000-word sample of my novel to UK publishing house
Thats quite a list for only one year. When I look back I wonder what made this year different to other years. I have had the desire to write for a long time. Why did it finally happen this year? I think its a number of events or decisions I made that finally got me writing and on track.
In the beginning of 2017 I was once again announcing my desire to write a book. I think my daughter finally got sick of hearing about it and quite bluntly told me “just do it mum, stop talking about it and just do it” . It was probably the best advise I could have received. I realised how right she was. I could talk about it till the cows come home, but unless I started and set a clear goal I would be talking about it again the next year. So I set myself a goal to finish my book and told as many people about this goal to really cement it and make myself accountable.
This is so important. Writing may be a solitary passion, but connecting with like minded writers has so many benefits. Not only do you learn from other writers but you also get an outlet for your writing. Often they have workshops and guest speakers in their meetings that expand you as a writer. Plus you start to see yourself as a writer which does wonders for your creativity.
Enter competitions and join online groups
I loved taking part in the The Write Practise competitions. It was my first attempt writing short stories that others would review. The interactions with other writers during the competition was hugely beneficial. Being reviewed and having to review posts from other writers was a real challenge that broadened my skills even further. I would highly recommend it to any new writers. I made a lot of online connections that I am still in touch with today. In general joining online activities either competitions or online groups is hugely beneficial. The support you receive from some groups is so important when you start out and even ongoing as we continue to learn. My favourite online groups at the moment are So You Want To Be A Writer run by Allison Tain and Valerie Khoo and a fairly new group called Authors in the News run by Kristin Spiers. Both provide valuable information in a down to earth professional way.
This was an amazing experience and really got me over the line to finish my novel. The accountability of the word count, having supportive writing buddies and a number of workshops and local write-ins really kept you writing. Not only for November but has now set a good writing habit. I make regular time to write now. I know , if you really want to write , you have to sit down and start writing. If you wait till the stars are aligned and you are in the mood, it may never happen. It will most like not happen often enough. Regular writing and setting deadlines will get you there.
Don’t be shy. Dont wait till you feel its perfect. Share your writing journey. You will learn from the feedback from others and it will make you feel like a writer.
It took me a while to feel comfortable sharing my writing but the more I shared the more I found I enjoyed it. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” Allison Tait of SYWTBW Podcast.
Of course that is a no brainer, but you really need to take it serious and make your writing a priority. That means cutting down on other leisure time activities or getting up earlier to fit it in. Prioritise your time and ensure you fit it what is really important to you. It’s good to sit down and write your activities over a week and then work out what you can eliminate or where you can find time. It’s amazing how much time we really do “waste” where we could be writing instead.
Above is what got me to finally achieve what I had wanted for a long time and plus some. It worked for me and it may work for you too. We are all individuals and need to find our own way to write.
Hope this helps new writers.
What helped you? How did you find your writing groove? Would love your feedback.