Ending the year the write way
Reviewing goals, avoiding resolutions
This year I went from being a part-time writer/part-time student to being a full-time writer. My official blurb line after a publicity workshop is, ‘I am a writer. I write dead-end town fiction for teenagers.’ I updated my goals mid-year in the interests of balancing study and work, and there’s nothing like waiting until there’s no time left to do anything more to check over them. So here it goes: Complete 10,000-word research project (5000 theory, 5000 creative) Done! Killed it! Masters complete. Ended up with the marks to apply for a PhD. Maybe in another year. Submit one more PB MS to publisher Yeah, nah. Didn’t do it. Was firmly in MG/YA mode for the last six months of the year. Submit two pieces of writing to mags, comps or other opportunities (Pulls up trusty spreadsheet, spends 20 minutes updating it…) I submitted four different pieces to three magazines, two competitions and three fellowships/mentorships. I think that’s a tick. Continue writing schedule Done – up until the child finished school. I pushed my initial Christmas deadline back to New Year’s, and am unlikely to meet it. I’ve been getting up at 5am to try and steal some writing time, but the child knows. HE KNOWS. He has this uncanny ability to amuse himself until the moment I start writing, including when he’s supposedly asleep. Plan out rest of middle grade series I planned out the next book, and started writing it. Only five more to go. Finish drafting first book in series Done. I’ve even rewritten it a couple of times.
So not a bad hit rate. All up this year I’ve:
Completed one YA novel to a (hopefully) submittable standard.
Wrote about 40,000 words for the sequel to the first novel.
Wrote 65,000 for another YA novel during NaNoWriMo (also known as How The Hell Did I Put On That Much Weight in Four Weeks-Mo), and that draft is now up to 84,000 and nearing completion. I just have to decide how to end it.
Completed several drafts of a MG book: 20,000.
Finished my Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) with specialisations in Children’s Literature and Professional Writing: word count this year about 20,000.
Written three short stories, totalling about 10,000.
Total word count (excluding editing and rewriting) is about 172,000 words. Criminy. Had two items published on the Writers Victoria website: Q&As with author Amra Pajalic and screenwriter Ben Michael. Read 48 books out of a target of 52, but I may hit this in the next couple of days with a few short books. I’ve failed my goal of posting reviews of every book on Goodreads, but I have a few in reserve to post on this blog first. Spent a day a fortnight volunteering with a local writers’ organisation. This has been a great way to meet other writers, learn more about the industry, and work with an amazing, dedicated group of people. And I get to write on the train.
Next year’s goals:
Set up writing room I’m ridiculously excited about the impending move up the other end of the house away from the trail bikes hooning around next door. Also, new desk! Read more Self-explanatory. My to-read pile is in danger of collapsing and taking us all out with it, and there are so many new books coming out next year. Finish current YA novel First: finish the first draft. Second: leave it for a couple of months. Third: rewrite, rewrite… Work on MG series Edit/finish the first book. Write the next couple. Plan the rest. Look into manuscript assessments Gain some experienced feedback into one or two manuscripts. Take it from there. Submit, submit, submit! Manuscripts, short stories, competitions, industry opportunities. I just need to do it, dammit! Let’s say… three a month. And keep my submission spreadsheet updated. Build on pitching/synopsis skills This is a weak point for me and one I’m working to improve. Do more exercise See above. A write 2000 words, walk around the block schedule might work. Thanks for reading in 2015. Stay safe over the holiday break, and I’ll catch you next year.
Comments: (copied from previous platform)
Alex Fairhill 29 December 2015 at 21:46
A couple of hours after posting this, I received some exciting news - one of my applications was successful! I'll be participating in the Maurice Saxby Mentorship program, run by the Children's Literature Australia Network, next year.
Chris Reeve 31 December 2015 at 12:38
Congratulations Alex - it's well deserved. Thanks for your insightful and entertaining posts this year. I look forward to reading more next year!
Alex Fairhill 31 December 2015 at 14:26
Thanks for all your support. Hopefully there'll be much more floating around next year for you to read!