Looking Ahead – Here’s to 2014!

I have mentioned before how advantageous not resting on one’s laurels is – I find keeping up productivity not only keeps your motivation and inspiration aflame, but it also means you end up with writing, and lots of it: projects you can take places, pieces you have learned from, some that might have changed your direction or opened doors for you.

Never stop writing and you never stop progressing.

And besides…you can’t be a writer unless you actually write…right?

This is one thing that, in my experience, established writers, from Kristen Lamb to Chuck Wendig (both of whom I would recommend following – they are full to the brim of useful and practical advice for new writers) all agree on: write a lot of books. One book is impressive and I’m not belittling the achievment. But it’s the beginning.

You want people to read your books…you have to write them.

Seem obvious? You’d think so, but I have watched writers flail and fail and fade away because they drafted a novel, or started drafting one, only ot have it go nowhere and there their journey ended. Or I’ve seen writers release their first book or collection (Woohoo! Excellent!) but then, inevitably, it dropped off the top recommended lists, the sales went down and so did the writer’s drive.

Don’t stop. That’s the key. Your first novel’s stopped selling? Write the next one. Even if people discover you through your second, third or millionth book and they like it, they will check out the rest of your releases. How many times have you stumbled on a writer you fell in love with and then went out and ordered everything they’ve ever done?

But they can’t find you if you’re not out there.

Of course, if you just have just the one book in you, that’s fine. Lovely, even. A may even, on some level, be a little envious, because if you are a one-book writer you are so much closer to fulfilling your goal than I am.

But I am not a one-book writer. I’ve realised that this year, along with many other things. There’s a million stories in me. I’ve not even scratched the surface and I don’t think I’ll ever stop.

2013 was a good year for me in terms of progress, revelation and achievement, I can’t deny. I shelved my second incomplete novel draft (for me, one of the hardest and yet most important things I’ve done for my writing) written and completed another, much better novel (in my opinion), built up my catologue of short fiction, been released in a short fiction antholgy and am due to be released in another and have started work on the sequel to the completed novel.

But 2014, in keeping with my ethos, is going to have to be all about stepping up the game. By the end of 2014 I want to have completed the sequel I’ve just started and have written more short fiction, including branching into areas I have no explored before.

I have also decided I that I want to have written my first horror novel by this time next year. I have been leaning towards wanting to explore this genre for a while, since I came across a call for submissions from Spectral Press who were looking for submissions for their upcoming Industiral Horror anthology. I produced Grist (excerpt here) which I have now submitted, fingers crossed for feedback. But whatever happens with Grist, writing it and branching out my reading to include titles like The Black Land and Penpal, as well as helping a video editing friend come up with a treatment for another short horror movie,  has all whetted my appitite for horror.

As though it were meant to be, I then stumbled across Samhain Publishing who accept submissions for horror novellas and novels, amongst many other things. (Do check them out if you have an horror/scifi/romance or anything speculative lying around or have plans to writing anything of the sort in the future)

I have already read some titles released by this label, including one of my newly-discovered future favourites Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price, a great vampire story with an original take on the classical legend, wonderfully dry humour and chracters to die for (sorry, too easy) which has resurrected (again, sorry) my love of vampire novels.

All of this made it seem only natural to have a stab (I’ll stop now, I promise) at my own horror novel.

So 2014 looks to be varied and fruitful from where I am now. Only time will tell whether any of these ambitions will be successful, or get anywhere, but I find the process so enjoyable I can’t fail to get something from it.

I’d like to thank again everyone who has journeyed with me this far. Shall we continue? I hope we shall!

Do you like to look back to look ahead? Do you find momentum the best way to keep up motivation?

And, most intriguing of all, what are your plans for 2014?

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14 Responses to Looking Ahead – Here’s to 2014!

  1. jabe842 says:

    This is all VERY exciting! You are absolutely right, it’s essential to keep moving and to keep exploring new styles / genres. The idea of a Horror novel and / or script from you is just made of awesome 🙂 I look forward to being terrified by your work in 2014!

    • Roger, you are one of the reasons it has been so brilliant working on my WordPress and networking this year. Thank you so much for your support and your always and helpful comments! It may seem shameless but I can’t wait either, I’m so looking forward to all my plans. As I say, whether any of them will get anywhere, or even be any good, remains to be seen. But I enjoy the process so much it’s a win-win situation for me 🙂

      Do you have any plans?

      • jabe842 says:

        That’s really nice of you to say, and very much reciprocated. Thank you 🙂 As for plans … I have a short story in an anthology scheduled for publication in March, and a novella currently under consideration with a publisher (they saw the first half and asked to see the rest, so fingers crossed). Other than that, it’s just more blogging and @FridayPhrases etc … oh yeah, and hopefully attending one of your inevitable book signings!

      • That all sounds fantastic 😀 What excellent news about the novella! Do keep us posted on that! I look forward very much to seeing any more fiction you post on your blog 🙂 A Happy New Year to you!!!

  2. Congrats on your incredibly fruitful 2013, and on your lofty yet achievable goals for 2014. I look forward to many more posts and email conversations =)

  3. Aussa Lorens says:

    Gosh– that’s always the best advice: to never stop writing, to keep doing and making and creating. But dang, it’s hard to follow sometimes, isn’t it? I like all of Ira Glass’ quotes and the whole “10,000 hours” approach because– like you talked about– it’s all about building on what you’ve done. I am much more apt to get caught up in the one thing I’ve done (and perhaps not been successful at) as though it were some lost love… but 2014 is a new year to try and get past such things! So I’ll follow your lead…

    • Thank you for reading and your kind comment! And you’re absolutely right – whether it’s the 10,000 hours or Stephen King’s 1,000,000 words, you just need to keep going and you can’t fail to get somewhere.

      But one other important thing to remember is that, other than to yourself, it doesn’t matter in real terms how long this takes. Don’t push yourself so hard to fit in as much writing as you can so that it becomes a chore and you don’t enjoy it any more – you are only answerable to yourself and you do owe it to yourself, if you want to get somewhere, to put the time in. But at the end of the day it is still supposed to be fun, so balance is also important 🙂

      Good luck for 2014: with the sentiment of this comment in mind, I think you will go far this year 😀

      • Aussa Lorens says:

        I hadn’t heard of the Stephen King one million word thing! Ah! Well, I guess the pressure is off for a little while then 😉 And you’re right… I don’t want it to become a chore. As of now, any and all writing that’s not blog-related is just intimidating! I’m stuck in my ways but I’m going to break out… soon 😉

      • It’s possibly intimidating only because you haven’t started it yet: as soon as you put time aside and get into it you may very well get swept away 🙂 but either way your writing is yours: if you’re happy blogging carry on 😀 if you want to write books put time aside to do that too 🙂 2014 is your oyster 😀

  4. M. C. Dulac says:

    Go J. S.!!!! What an inspiring piece. You are exactly right – writers write! It’s great to have so many things going at once and I am very impressed by your contributions to anthologies. Good luck with Grist – it is truly industrial horror that seeps into your bones! (I was going to say eviscerating, but even the word eviscerating is scary!!) You are on the path! With a new year stretching before you!! Can’t wait to see what you do!

    • Thanks so much M. C. 😀 What wonderful and kind comments! You are one of the greatest discoveries of 2013 for me and I look forward to seeing where we both go from here 😀

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