2017 has been good to me.
I spent the whole year at the same job – that’s two years running, in the same job!
I convinced my girlfriend to move in with me – that’s more money, every single month! (also love).
I was rewarded with a bonus at work I was not in any way expecting – and perhaps even deserved!
And there was this blog, my reading challenge, and my writing.
The writing comes first.
As always it has been important to me. My desire or dreams have never waned, but this year I really kicked it into gear.
First came Poor Choices.
Here was a book I’d been working on for almost a year going into 2017. I’d raced through a first draft then made a couple of tepid attempts to get back into it, but never really got going.
This year that all changed. I hit it hard from the early months, completely reworking the bones into something that is – I think – clever, well-paced, and palatable.
I know, exciting stuff.
Jumping into that project started something for me. A decision that I was really going to put writing to the front of my spare time.
I started doing at least an hour and a half every working day and a full nine hours most Sundays.
Sometimes I couldn’t really be bothered. Sometimes I hated it. But I knew that if I wanted to get somewhere with my writing, really get somewhere, that is, I had to sacrifice some of the other things I love doing.
I’m proud of the result. Aside from finishing Poor Choices and setting it loose on the world in November, I’ve also written a few other first drafts and am currently reworking my next release (more on that later).
Finally, there’s the blog. This blog, actually.
Continous blogging is hard work, and I’ve always struggled to keep it going.
This year that all changed.
I started my Man vs Bookshelf Challenge.
An attempt to read all 210 books on my bookshelf in 210 weeks and blog about the experiences – with book reviews – as I go.
I loved the idea, going into it, but, never having written a review, I wasn’t sure how it would go.
So far reviews of my reviews – from my girlfriend and parents – have been positive. So that’s great.
More importantly, I’ve loved doing it. It’s getting me to read books I’ve had for years but never got around to. It’s given me something to write about on my blog at least once a week.
It’s all been great.
So, it’s going to be tough to top this next year, but I’m determined to do it.
Here are my plans.
The Must Haves
At the very least I want to release two new books this year. One in May, and one in November.
The former is well underway.
I wrote the first draft in record time in October and, after some struggle, I’ve finally written a restructured plan to get going on in the New Year.
I am super excited about this book, and can only hope I can whip it up to its full potential.
Following on from that there will be thriller/mystery ala Harlen Coben in November.
Nothing written on this yet but the idea has been kicking around for a while. I love the main character and his trusty sidekick and I can’t wait to get the story going.
By the end of the year, I must have released them both, and have the start of May 2019’s book to boot.
The Nice to Haves
I played around this year with a novella. I had a really good idea and got quite a long way through it. But redrafting my current project has eaten up all my time and I’ve not had a chance to finish it off.
Should I get a chance, I’d like to get at least one novella out this year.
Something I can release free on this blog to all my adoring fans.
You deserve it.
Or, given I know you all, maybe I’ll hand deliver.
Either way, it would be nice to get one done, but I won’t beat myself up about it if it doesn’t come off.
The Must Haves
The other big component of my day to day writer’s life.
My blog, and my Man vs Bookshelf challenge.
Next year I need to keep up the pace by reading another 52 books – that’s one per week for the mathematically challenged out there and blog about every one.
The Nice to Haves
Why not shoot for the stars?
At my current rate of reading (20 books in 13 weeks), I could hit up to 80 books in the year.
But not impossible.
To read 80 books and write 80 blogs across the year would be brilliant.
But I won’t hold myself to that.
Other than writing, blogging and reading I want to keep up with my social media efforts and replying to the piece of fan mail I’m hoping to get this year.
Plus, I want to do some more marketing for my books and get at least one of them out to an agent.
But again, I’ll let myself off the hook if I don’t do that.
Two published novels, 52 books read and 52 blogs written (53 if you count this one).
That’s the aim. The must-haves. Anything above that would be nice, but I’m confident I can hit at least that.
In fact, I’m quite excited to do so.
Let’s see how it goes.