I'm a few weeks late, but I guess it's time to check in and see how I'm tracking with those goals I set myself back in January. As usual, the original text is in black, my comments in purple... I'm pretty sure I'm going to have done really, really badly with this....
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.
Well, I did this. I've sent out almost 100 queries now. Not a single request. Three different queries too. I still love this story, but maybe I'm wrong about being the best thing I've written. Or maybe this isn't the best time for this book and these characters. I just don't know... I've never had such a low request rate when querying, ever.
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!
I did this too. Got some of the best reviews of my career. But sales are still not that hot, for that book or any of my others. But I do seem to have a couple of fans, which is great.
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.
I've done this too. I just haven't finished revising it. And it feels like there is such a huge, overwhelming amount of work to do to make it good. I will do it. One day. I swear.
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...
I still want to do this. The story is a good one, but I don't know if I have the energy or the will to do it right now. I need to wait until I'm feeling more excited about writing again before I can do justice to Harley and Wolfe and Meg.
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!
Been doing a lot of reading this year. Turns out that there's all this time to read if you don't write...
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.
Done this too. The gym more than the cinema, although I have tried hard on that one. There's just been so little on I want to see! But as soon as there is something I want to see, believe me, I'll be first in line.
And I think that's it... What are your goals for the new year?
So I didn't do too badly, did I? Let's see how things look by the end of the year.
How are you tracking with your yearly goals?