Here We Go Again!

‘Here we go again!’ I thought. I’d been sitting at my desk wondering what I should write in the first blog of the New Year. Maybe a comment on the closing of a year that seemed to hold more shock deaths than normal? Perhaps not; there has been reams already written on that subject. And I suspect the increased number of high profile deaths has more to do with the increased number of celebrities around than other statistics. How about a reminder of the political surprises in the past twelve months? Definitely not. People who have been pleasantly surprised don’t need reminding of the fact – and the rest of us just want to forget!

Lacking inspiration, I looked back at this time last year. And there it was. The solution to my dilemma! Last year on 4th January, I posted a review of my previous writing year, and my objectives for 2016, although, having written them, I have to admit I largely forgot about them! I finished the post with these words: I will let you know how I get on. Same time, same place, next year? 

So here we go again: a quick round-up of 2016, in writing terms, followed by an overview of my plans for 2017.

COUNTERFEIT_FRONT_150dpiLast year, I set out five objectives, the first and most important of which was to publish Counterfeit! by August 2016. And as regular readers may remember, this novel,the first in a series of thrillers, was published in July. I’m pleased to say it’s doing well, getting some great feedback and wonderful reviews. However, contrary to current trends, I am still selling more physical copies than ebooks. There’s an untapped market out there that I need to do some work on.

cover-resizedMy second objective was to publish an ebook of flash fiction by June 2016. For the past year, I had been providing short pieces for reading on the programmes hosted by Bea Hutchings on Riviera FM; and I thought it would be fun to put them out as a collection to mark National Flash Fiction Day. And despite (or maybe because of) being away on holiday at the time, I published Flashing on the Riviera on 25th June. Do take a look; it’s free – and it’s worth it just for the wickedly funny cover, drawn for me by Colin Avery.

My third objective was to keep blogging weekly. And by and large, I managed to do that. Checking back through my records (and, yes, I really do have a spreadsheet for blog posts!), there were six Mondays during the year when I didn’t post anything on my site. However, including a daily record of a trip to Scotland, plus my regular report from Swanwick in August, I posted fifty nine times during the year. And I also organised a blog tour with nine guest posts around the launch of Counterfeit! So I’m marking that down as complete too.

But there it stops. There were two other objectives: to get at least one story accepted by a magazine; and to have fifty submissions out there by August. In previous years, I have always mixed my novel writing with short stores. These have mostly been entered for competitions; plus an occasional, so far unsuccessful, foray into the world of magazines. But somehow, this year, I didn’t get around to doing many submissions, even though I have a huge file of stories and half-written ideas looking for homes.

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerThat’s not to say that I got as far as the summer, published two books and then took the rest of the year off. I’ve written the first draft for Deception!, book two in the series; plotted book three, to be called Corruption!; and planned a new addition to my non-fiction Business of Writing series. And in November, I successfully completed NaNoWriMo once again.

But looking back through last year’s objectives, I feel sad about the lack of competition activity. I miss the excitement in the days leading up to a results announcement; the buzz of being long-listed, or maybe short-listed; the heady feeling that comes from occasional wins. And I realise that’s why some of the fun has gone out of this wonderful job of mine. I guess I need to change my objectives for 2017. The Business of Writing  will have to wait. I need to write and submit more stories!

So, here we go again: 2017 Writing Objectives

  • To publish Deception! in the first half of the year
  • To publish Corruption! in time for the 2017 Christmas period
  • To get fifty submissions out there by the end of the year
  • To get at least one story accepted for (paid) publication by a magazine
  • To develop and execute a marketing push that results in a measurable increase in ebook sales by the end of the year

I will let you know how I get on. Same time, same place, next year? And in the meantime, a very Happy New Year to all of you. To the authors among you, happy writing; and to all you wonderful readers, I hope you continue to enjoy our work. You are what makes it all worthwhile.

By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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