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Getting A Head-start On The New Year – If We Were Having Coffee

Photo Taken For A Photo A Week Challenge (New)

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.

Photo Taken For The ‘A Photo A Week Challenge: New
This entry was posted in: Blog

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Carol Forrester is a writer trying to be a better one. She’s currently working on a poetry collection 'It's All In The Blood'. She has a 2:1 BA degree in history from Bath Spa University, enjoys judo at least twice a week, and tries to attend poetry events around the Midlands when she can. Her flash fiction story ‘Glorious Silence’ was named as River Ram Press’ short story of the month for August 2014 and her short story ‘A Visit From The Fortune Teller’ has been showcased on the literary site Ink Pantry. Her poems ‘Sunsets’ and ‘Clear Out‘ were featured on Eyes Plus Words, and two of her poems were included in the DVerse Poets Pub Publication ‘Chiaroscuro’ which is available for purchase on amazon. More recently her poem ‘Until The Light Gets In‘ was accepted and published at The Drabble and her poem ‘Newborn’ was published by Ink Sweat & Tears. She has been lucky enough to write guest posts for sites such as Inky Tavern and Song of The Forlorn and has hosted a number of guest bloggers on her site Writing and Works.

17 Comments

  1. I’m so happy you’re able t o twist your negativity aroudn and write instead about wha tyou did accomplish. You did very well! Happy new year to you!

  2. Antoinette Truglio Martin says

    It all sounds productive to me, which makes it a successful writing year. A chapter a week sounds like an attainable goal for you. Goid luck.

  3. Hi Carol. I’m so pleased for the chance to get to know you and your writing. Gotta confess right off that when it comes to poetry, I’m over in the corner and in the bin labeled “clueless about poetry”. But I’m pretty good with fiction and overall story-telling. I’m trying to carefully (only because of time) add new bloggers that I follow, hoping to simply learn more and improve both my own writing but how to be a more successful blogger as well. Clearly, you know a bunch of stuff that I want to know.

    Loved you analysis of your year passed. Goals in writing are fickle, but you seemed to have made a good year of it. I really only had 2 in mind for 2018; get my story blog up and working and build my story collection to around 50. I made both with more readers than I expected, so I’m a happy guy.

    Next year’s goals are a work in process. My current project of creating autobiographical essays of 2000 words or less that are just fun to read is approaching what I’ll call a soft end. I thought it would take about 50, but now I’m thinking there are most likely another 10-20 stories within reach. We’ll see what my readers are willing to bear.

    Hope we have opportunity to talk shop along the way, but have a wonderful 2019 regardless.
    Blessings.

    • Hi Gary. Always happy for talk shop and it’s good to hear you got to achieve what you wanted to for the year. I always manage to forget how much I love short stories so this year I’m hoping to get back into reading them more and cracking on with writing them as well. There’s a few already on the site but the old ones don’t get read much and people always seems to want new content.
      It can be tricky following bloggers as it’s easy to hit that follow button but much harder to get around to all those in your reader queue. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and best of luck with your essays.

  4. You have been busy this year, and you have a plan for the coming year. That is awesome! Your post made me think of my current sort of fleeting existence. I enjoy writing, but I have not kept any kind of schedule. Unusual for me, as I am a very organized person. Great post, it made me think. I like posts that makes me think!

  5. I love your analysis of your year. How wonderful! I also love the notebook your husband gave you. 🙂 Thanks for joining the challenge, and Happy New Year!

  6. Happy New Year, Carol. This is a great, reflective NY piece and you’ve done a great job of acknowledging your progress during the last and not sinking into your disappointments or what remains to be done. I feel in much the same mindset. Really need to sit down and make some plans for the year ahead. I don’t really believe in goals. They seems to become more of a wish list. Really need to knuckle down this year.
    Best wishes and thanks for the coffee.
    Rowena

    • Thanks Rowena. I think it’s pretty easy to forget what we’ve actually managed to do in a year so looking back is really important. Best of luck with you 2019. Happy new year.

  7. I think you’ve done well! I’ve never won any writing competitions, so have decided to focus on those with very specific briefs or themes, to cut down on the competition (e.g writing about a certain city, or entrants must be over 40)

    • Thank you. This year has been going quite well actually. No competitions but I’ve been published a couple of times and I’m making good headway on my first pamphlet.

Please take the time to tell me what you think, I love receiving feedback. :)

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