Officially, there are 53 weeks in 2020 and 2021 starts on 4 January, but I’m calling it now and starting 2021 early! An excellent last writing week of 2020, setting me up for a great start to 2021. I made progress on several projects, did some good planning activities, and got the release date for my debut novel!
During my planning sessions of last week, I identified a couple of things I want to do more of in my writing activities in 2021.
Since I (mostly) got my mojo back in November, I’ve been cautious about over-stretching myself. I’ve been making slow but steady progress on projects and have been very happy with what I’ve achieved.
But I’m excited about my writing plans for next year, eager to get stuck into some big projects – and I remember a time when I used to spend all day in a cafe, working on my writing, rather than just a reluctant two hours in the morning before giving up.
Plus, one of the things I’ve missed this year has been learning more about the craft of writing. I used to always have a writing-related book on the go, and reading that was regularly part of my scheduled sessions.
In 2021 I’d like to start trying to do a two-hour session in the afternoon on one or two of my writing days, as well as a two-hour session in the morning. I’m also going to re-introduce reading books about writing as part of those sessions.
And, since I’m excited about it, and I currently have time off work (so plenty of opportunity to relax in between writing days) – I figured, why wait until 2021 to start?
So, I decided to utilise Charlie’s excellent UWR online sessions as my structure today, and posted my goals and intentions for both the morning and the afternoon time slots.
I started with some more of the Novelry course, then added some words to Connection. Then I indulged in some brainstorming for the most exciting of the upcoming submission opportunities for early 2021, in order to get them on my task list and percolating in my brain. Later, I reviewed my pile of writing craft books and picked the one that seemed most appealing to start reading.
By the end of the afternoon session, I was totally knackered! So I’ll have to be careful about not over-doing it in the new year. But it was good and I felt productive.
I finished the Novelry course. It was interesting overall, because it wasn’t what I expected it to be, and it demonstrated that I wasn’t interested in writing the kind of book it was guiding students towards – and yet, I wrote a lot of useful notes and it also prompted me to think about my next novel in surprising ways, and led to a lot of great insights at the pre-planning stages, which was what I had wanted to get out of it. So, a successful exercise overall, even if I didn’t feel the lessons were always relevant to the kind of book I wanted to write.
It was also useful because it confirmed that I didn’t want to go on to the next course in the series – The Ninety Day Novel – which initially sounded tempting, even though I didn’t want to put that kind of time pressure on my next novel. So, instead, I’m going to go back to the tried and true Six Month Novel Programme – though I’m going to use my saved materials from previous iterations and take myself through it on my own schedule, rather than signing up to do the course live with other people.
I wrote a review of the book I finished the day before.
I did some submissions planning.
I wrote my script for the next podcast episode, and read through a critique I got from editors who rejected a story of mine recently.