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?