This year, I decided I’m going to do at least one blog post a month to update and track my writing progress since stating My Top Ten Goals For 2016 in January. This is because 2016 is the year I’ve decided to up my productivity and really try to kick on with my writing output. So here we are – pull up a chair, it’s just you and me…
Let’s take it from the top. 2015 was the year I took my writing semi-seriously. Meaning, I still took days and weeks off from writing, supposedly to do other important writing-related stuff. What I didn’t get was that, at this stage in my career, the writing is the most important thing. I can focus on promotion all I like, but the key thing is to write more books, hone my craft and get better at it. After all, if people like what I do, they’re going to want to read more of it, right?
So, in 2015 I began to set myself deadlines. I wrote two books from scratch, which I was pretty impressed with. Yay! But I didn’t press on as much as I could have done. However, I’m not going to beat myself up. It’s all part of the learning process of being your own boss, setting your own schedule, doing your own thing. And learning those routines and what works for you takes time. I’ve spoken to so many writers and they all say the same exact thing. Being a full-time writer, you’re always a work in progress.
I host a lesbian fiction podcast – The Lesbian Book Club – and I’ve learned tons from the writers I interview, which is a very happy by-product. Most of them are further on the journey than me, some by a few years, others by a decade. But the one thing they all had in common is that they write every single day. Monday-Friday, in the chair, banging out the words.
“Huh,” I thought.
But with me, these things take time to sink in. All of the writers I interviewed wrote at least 2,000 words a day. That’s at least 10,000 words a week.
“I should try that,” I thought.
But I didn’t.
Until this year.
Fast-forward to now. I set myself a goal of writing 30k words in January. It was achievable, and I achieved it: the most I’ve ever written in a month. I even went a tiny bit over. I read Chris Fox’s book 5K Words An Hour, and introduced writing sprints to my day. They work, just like all the writers I’ve interviewed told me they did. Go figure.
I released my first novella in January, All I Want For Valentine’s, which was well received. So I hit my writing goal and released a novella. January – tick!
This month, I’ve ploughed on with my writing. I penned the next in the All I Want series – All I Want For Spring – and that’s due out in March. Plus, I added over 20k to a novel I’m writing, meaning my tally for February so far is 48k – 50% up on January. Not bad at all. Then in March, who knows what I can achieve?
The key to it all is to write. Sit in the chair, and write. Because what I’ve realised is if you want to be a writer, you need to write – plain and simple. And yes, you need to be aware of business, marketing, promotion and all that jazz, but you need the writing in the first place to be able to do all of those other things.
So 2016 is the year of writing. I plan to put out a few more novels and novellas in the next ten months. But for March, there’s the next in the All I Want series, as well as writing another chunk of words. I’m going on holiday in March, so the word count will probably be down, but that’s okay. As well as scheduling work, I’m also scheduling holidays. I’m getting the hang of this ‘being my own boss’ thing, right?
January Word Count: 31,467
February Word Count: 48,820