What did I want in 2016? (Italics from this post)
“The writing is simple: publish a book.
If I want to get really ambitious, I’d like to line up a few more projects for release beyond that.”
Without a doubt, last year’s largest priority was my offline writing. The first six months were about my novel and taking the steps of getting that ready. As much of writing and publishing is a waiting game, I decided to think about what else I could do. At around the same time I took a break to let the novel rest I received an email from the Small Press Network. They were calling for applications from members who were interested in a publishing mentorship program. If successful, I would receive the kind of support and information I’ve often wished for when I have put out books (doing things solo is very overwhelming). I submitted, not really sure I’d even be considered seeing I’ve only published three books.
I was accepted.
That opportunity and the meetings I’ve had so far have grown my confidence enough so I can say that I have lined up more projects over the next 24 months. Details later!
The book didn’t quite happen – I’m out by three months (plug: On The Many Shapes Bodies Will Take – March 2017 release!). Even before the project idea had hardened in my mind, when I was going over all the poetry I’d written, dropping them into a Word document, realising that the table of contents was getting longer and longer and I thought to myself, ‘Hey, there’s a book here’. It felt like the right choice for crowdfunding. Add to that the period between July – September 2016, when the project was in development and launched, and it was all was remarkably illuminating. I’d do it again, for sure. I’d love it if 2017 continues in a similar manner.
You can pre-order On The Many Shapes Bodies Will Take here! (If you’d rather through Booktopia, that’s coming soon – but if you ask them it might happen sooner!)
“Blogging is a little more complicated.
In fact, I’ve sat down a couple of times to write this section and each time the list has been different.
I’ve seen a few people quit blogging this year. (Writing, too, for that matter.) From the small cross-section I’ve seen, either work or life commitments have taken over, or the endeavour became unsustainable for those wanting to make a living from it. This is perfectly understandable – I’m working two days a week now myself and things need to fall into place around that. As this blog has been a deliberate part-time venture for best flexibility, I hope things will continue as usual with a bit of juggling.
I’d like to continue with the long form writing and keep working on the Living List goals. Even though it began with the best of intentions, the ‘Friday Celebrations’ series has become a bit of a load to bear (you might have guessed lately, seeing they’ve been late), but I’m past the halfway mark, so I’ll get to week 52 and leave it there.
Other things on my mind are: should the posting schedule change or is it fine? Do I spend a lot of money on a total site redesign? Do I need to? Is it starting to look dated? Are readers getting what they truly want? (Tell me!)”
I also thought a lot about this blog.
To answer my above questions: I left the posting schedule alone. Yes, the old site did look dated and, yes, I did get a site redesign.
The last one is trickier to answer. A few years ago, I conducted an annual survey and I let that lapse. It’s hardly surprising then that it took me almost twelve months to create another which asked the sorts of questions I wanted answers to and I was quite surprised by the results. While it’s dangerous to alter an entire content or editorial plan based on the opinions of a small cross-section, one thing that correlated to a feeling I’ve been having: I’ve missed writing (as) personally on here and many of you miss those posts as well. My decision was born out of wanting to give the kids more privacy, as many stories featured them. The stories that are more about me I’ve either published elsewhere, channelled into creative work or left untold. I want to work on that third category.
This brings me nicely to the word I want to focus on in 2017: ‘APPLICATION’.
This will apply across the board: work, life, family. There’s going to be a high schooler in the house, and another child isn’t far off. Even my moderately ambitious to-do list will require some focus. I suspect I’m going to have to get much better at asking for help.
Ironically, I think I’m also getting better at letting go of the things that aren’t personally satisfying, like attending certain events or reading that latest hot novel. I need to be careful that doesn’t turn into ennui or disengagement (and, frankly, after 2016 that was appealing), but overall I think perspective will be key. As it always is.
Do you have a theme or word for 2017? What is it?