Writing this annual letter outlining my goals for the year seems almost presumptuous given the shitshow 2020 turned out to be. But it's human nature to live in hope, so I'm writing this in that spirit of hope, crossing my fingers that 2021 turns out to be a much better year.
So what do I hope to achieve in 2021?
I started querying Standing Too Close in October, albeit in a very slow, quiet way. So far, no bites, so I will continue to query this widely. I'm confident it's one of the best things I've written and I love the characters almost as much as my own children so I want this book to be seen and read widely.
I have a book coming out in March. Chasing the Taillights was originally written about ten years ago, but has been rewritten several times since. It's another story where I feel very close to the characters so I'm very glad other people are going to get the chance to meet Lucy and Tony. I plan to throw everything I can at marketing this book in the hope it will generate some sales and possibly even boost sales of my other published books. They need it!
In February I plan to dig out the book I wrote during NaNo to start revising and editing it. By then I'm hoping I've forgotten enough about it to look at it with fresh eyes and really see what needs to be done - other than the 700 things I left myself notes to fix later. I'm hoping this will turn out to be good once it has been through some revision.
At some point in the year I want to write the other book I had in mind for NaNo. A Stranger to Kindness is going to be a challenge for me, but the characters are living and growing in my head and eventually they're going to want to get out to play on the page. It's going to be kind of a companion piece to Stumped in that Ozzy's little sister, Meg, is a character in this one. Not exactly a main character, but an important one. The main character is a boy who doesn't speak, and given how reliant I am on dialogue in my books, this is where the challenge lies...
So those are my main writing challenges for the year. I'm hoping to be able to find other opportunities too, but as I don't know what they are yet, it's difficult to know how to plan for them other than to be open to things.
I didn't hit my reading goal this year. In retrospect, 160 books in a year was probably always going to be a stretch, but libraries closing over lockdown definitely didn't help. I'm going to set a more realistic 145 book goal for 2021 and already have the first nine or ten lined up to read over the next ten days. I can't wait!
Other goals for the year include continuing to exercise regularly and to go to the cinema as much as possible. COVID-19 has made significant changes to the way films are being released and viewed, and as someone who has devoted much of her life to cinemas, I want to support them as much as possible. I cannot imagine a world in which movies are not seen in theaters. As much as I love the convenience of being able to watch what I want at home, nothing will replace the experience of sitting in a dark theatre with a community of strangers and sharing a story.
And I think that's it... What are your goals for the new year?