2019 is just around the corner, and like most others here on WordPress, I’m starting to think what this will mean for me and, more importantly, my writing. Christmas came and went, and somewhere along the way my husband presented me with the lovely notepad and pen you can see in the photo to the left. Now I’m pretty attached to my bog-standard black jotter, but I’m always excited by the prospect of new stationery. It’s a fresh start, an opportunity to set out what you want to do on crisp, clean pages, unmarked by last years ink splodges.
I could look back on 2018 and bemoan the fact that I didn’t finish writing my novel, I could grump about not winning any of the competitions that I entered, or I could pout about once again failing to come up with any sort of posting schedule for my blog. Instead, I’m going to see this year out by having a look at the things I did achieve with my writing this year, and how I’m going to build on that next year.
Let’s start with the novel. Yes, I may not have a complete draft, but I do have a lot of writing, a lot of character development, and a vague idea of what I want to happen. Instead of forcing myself into a mad dash to finish this, a technique I know doesn’t work, I’m instead going to set the 2019 target of a chapter a week. They don’t have to be super long chapters, in fact they can be quite short seeing as there are fifty-two weeks in a year and my original aim was to write about thirty odd for Darkened Daughter. Hopefully this will mean I can get a full draft hammered out by the start of 2020 without burning myself out again.
Poetry! What can I say about my poetry this year. At the start of the year I decided to try and enter twelve poetry competitions across to try and shake myself out of the funk I’d found myself in. While I didn’t manage twelve, and the submissions I did send off went into the ether, I feel like this year was the year that I managed to find my voice. I’ve know for a while that my poetry was getting better, but this year it got braver. I’ve been able to tackle subjects in my poetry that I would have previously been to nervous to share. I’ve already earmarked the notepad hubby gave me as my 2019 Future Collection Notepad, and the aim is to keep writing those poems throughout the coming year, and to keep them back with the aim of submitting them for publishing some time in 2020. (Yes, a lot of my plans as two years plans. I’ve learnt that twelve months is not really long enough to accomplish everything I want to.) I will still be posting poems here on Writing and Works, but I will be aiming to get better at not posting everything I write as soon as I write it. I may be easing off the gas with my novel, but by no means am I doing the same with my poetry.
Last but not least, what am I going to do about my little bits of prose? I entered two NYC Midnight competitions this year. The screenplay competition and the flash fiction competition. The screenplay one I flopped in, but in the flash fiction competition I came tenth in my group for the first round (there are about thirty in a group). It wasn’t enough to drag my bum into the second round, but it was a nice feeling to know that my short stories aren’t half bad, and if I put some more work in I could probably climb up a few more places next year. Since both pieces of flash fiction were never published online I also have the option of polishing them both up and submitting to a short story competition at some point in 2019. For a first attempt I didn’t think that was a bad outcome.
Overall 2018 hasn’t been a bad year. It’s not been a flying success, but it’s not been a total failure. It will probably prove to be a good foundation for 2019 and it’s taught me some important bits and pieces about myself and my work. Most of all it’s taught be this: I’m still terrible at endings. Perhaps I might have worked that one out in another twelve months, perhaps not, but for now I’m going to look back on what I have managed to achieve this year and remind myself that just because it wasn’t everything I wanted, doesn’t mean it wasn’t pretty spectacular after all.