Hello, everyone—and a happy New Year to all!
Since I wasn’t that big on New Year’s resolutions for the season 2019/2020, I’ve left this post for after the hangover is done, after we’ve collectively partied out to the best of our capabilites (and our dogs’), and after we’ve had the first coffee of 2020—such a huge step!—and we’ve already started typing happily into the first sunset of a brand new year.
Since the last week of an old year and the first of the new one are generally considered a good time to genuinely reflect on everything that we’ve accomplished and that we hope and/or plan to achieve in the next 12 months, I’m gonna take a leap and presume that a lot of us have put writing fiction, in any way or form, into our goals and hopes for 2020.
I sure have. Since 2019 was exceptionally good to me, I’m gonna go and try make 2020 even better, which would mean writing, at the very least, four finished first drafts of new novels, and publishing at least one. (Yeah, I was slow both in 2018 and in the first part of 2019, while I was still letting day to day grind get the best of me, and I managed to get a whole of 1 (one) story published in 2019, here on the blog.) I’m not saying I’m going to write every day—though I sure hope to write more days than not—but I wouldn’t be adverse to the idea.
On that note, I guess this is the obligatory ‘don’t sweat the new year’s resolutions’ post we’re going to see a lot of floating around this week. But what I want to say is, actually, quite simple.
Remember who you’re doing it for. Hint—it ain’t me, and it may not even be your (beta) readers. Who’s the person you started this writing journey for? Face them in the mirror, take a deep breath, and nod. You’ve got this.
Give yourself a break when you need it. Yes, even if it takes a few days, from time to time. It’s not that easy to write novels to the end unless you have some sort of regular system in place, but we’re all only human.
Don’t put yourself down and, whatever you do, don’t compare yourself to others. If we did that all the time, a lot of us wouldn’t be writing at all, not to mention doing our best to create the stories we want to read. Last year I’ve had the privilege of listening to this interview with an author who writes 3,5k words in an hour. 3,5k is a bit more than a ‘good’ day for me, but it didn’t stop me from writing 20k in a week, nor in finishing a 65k novel in 33 days—to the bitter end—something I’ve considered barely possible before I went and did it. It’s the same with every other thing. Other people don’t matter—until we manage to look at their example and use it as a hell of an inspiration to break our own boundaries, too.
There’s no way for us to know what 2020 will bring. There might be a few hints here and there—especially regarding the areas of life which are at least a bit under our control (writing?)—but mostly it’s a blank page, one we won’t get to see being filled until we get to it. Scrolling forward doesn’t work. Nor does always looking over our shoulders to see what we’ve left behind. Give 2020 a chance—and it might take a chance on you.
The point, above all, is to have fun. Not just because writing can be such a lonesome experience, but because there’s no point in committing to something which makes you miserable, even less if you’re aware of the fact this early in the new year. As I might’ve mentioned (a few times) before, be honest with yourself, see where your fiction is taking you, listen to your gut and never ever write something fake. Adjusted, yes—but never something that doesn’t resonate, at least a little bit, with you as a writer, and as a person.
All said, good luck—and I do believe 2020 is on our side, and that it will be the best writing year yet, if we just give it a little nudge in the right direction.