Friday, 3 January 2014

2014: The Year of No Ambition

2013 was the year of No Writing.Writing hasn't been the only thing to suffer. Blogs have fallen by the wayside (with the exception of Searching for Superwomen - thank God for Emmie Mears, keeping us focused). I've turned into a social media pariah. November melted into the busiest work month ever and, despite elaborate preparations, NaNoWriMo was an epic fail. 

In all fairness, that's because it was also the Year of Buying My First Home and the Year of Getting A New And Utterly Mind Boggling Job.

Moving House takes its toll

But when faced with a sea of authors who talk about writing on toilet paper/bus tickets/their own forehead if they can't write anywhere else, I feel like a bit of a failure. I'm not like that. I only have so much intellectual capacity and for the last six months practically every evening, weekend and waking hour has been taken up with the New Job. 

Just a little intimidating....

So creativity has expressed itself elsewhere. In costume making. In crafting a decopatch stag head (no really). In making artwork for the house.  And that's been good, because it's taken me away from the computer and into a world of pure craft and working with my hands which is precisely what I needed.  

But I miss writing.  When I don't write, I feel a little bit inside of me ossifying. I feel like I'm losing myself. So Christmas, amid roasting salmon and hugging relatives, has been about focusing down on that. 
  • I've bought a replacement for my dead computer, so I have the tool I need. I downloaded Scrivener too - a great little tool and much improved since I last reviewed it
  • I've explored the murky underworld of Regency London (I have a surprising number of books about vice on my shelves) building my story. 
  • I've started pinning to create a visual story board. 
  • I've daydreamed my story. This is probably the most important part, for me. Getting time to digest, compost and explore... 
Now I'm plotting. Really plotting. Writing down a plot in a way I never have done before.  I hope my Plot Meister, Lady Bullish will be proud.  There are character sketches.  There are timelines.  There is back story. This is unprecedented for me! 

However, given the pressures of the last year, 2014 isn't about grandiose claims. It's not about saying I'm going to rewrite three novels and finish a fourth.  I know that I don't have time for writing goals like that. 

So here's what I'm aiming to do:

1. write a little bit every day.  Even if it's just 50 words.  I'm keen to sign up for Cara Michaels' motivatinal #WIP500 but realistically, 500 words a day is probably going to be a stretch for me these days. 
2. have something to share with my fabulous critique partner, Jessica Baker, every week.  Jessica is an inspiration. With four children under the age of 6 she still finds time to write every single week. And tailor make her own clothes. And make her own furniture. And bake her own cakes.  And blog. On she ploughs and her writing gets better and better all the time.  

Because it's about persisting, not leaping mountains in a single day. 

So that's it. Not pushing too hard. Allowing time to day dream. But keeping on and on and on writing. Trying to be balanced (not my greatest talent) in all things. 

Oh, and reading. That's number 3:
3. Read great books.

2013 might have been a Bad Writing Year but it was a Good Reading Year. I read some fantastic independent authors (Diane J Reed, Daniel Swensen, Sophie Moss - take a bow), re-discovered some old favourites (Julian May, Margaret Mahy), inhaled the Hunger Games Trilogy, devoured Elizabeth Hoyt's latest Maiden Lane romance and hammered my way through dozens of comic books due to the wonders of a subscription to Marvel Unlimited. And hundreds more books too, being a book a day sort of girl. 

The Hunger Games: Unputdownable 

To be honest, every year is a good reading year.  I'm more likely not to sleep or eat than not to read, so this goes without saying. But 2014 holds excitement in this area too. I'm looking forward to...
  • Reading the entirety of Julian May's Pleiocene Saga
  • The release of two new novels by Sophie Moss (the Windchime Cafe) and Daniel Swensen (Orison
  • Reading the whole of Jessica Baker's finished and fantastic historical romance - assuming her 2014 plans go according to plan! 
Plus lots more books.  

Maybe I should take up running too? But you could read 50 pages in that time....


Sophie Moss said...

Happy New Year, Meg! Thanks so much for the sweet mentions. :) Taking the time to daydream is just as important as sitting down to write every day. Let the ideas grow as you work on your new home. The blank page will always be there when you're ready to sit down again. And who knows…maybe you'll write a story about a woman who moves into a chocolate factory one day? :)

Anonymous said...

Here's to your goals for this year!
Take your time with the writing, enjoy it, and like Sophie says your new home may provide lots of inspiration!