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It's my first blogging anniversary. Which also roughly marks my anniversary of deciding to turn "this writing thing" into a career. While I am nowhere near there yet, I want to take this opportunity not only to thank my friends and followers for their support, but also to take stock, look at what I have learned and what I hope for the future. I also want this to be a chance for you, my readers, to tell me what you would like to see more of.
#1 Blogging isn't always easyBeing an unpublished author meant my confidence in this blog was not as high as it maybe should have been from the get go, but I had high hopes for it. It took me a while to get into the blogging rhythm. I had moments when I did not know what to write about or doubted the blog's value, making this page silent for weeks on end. I still go through those phases, but the blog has become part of my writing routine, not least because of guest-starring bunnies (who are rather upset that I forgot to hit the publish button with last week's contribution). I now find ideas for posts in many things that I do as part of my writer's life - and sometimes beyond that.
Even though it has been a year, I feel the blog is still growing into what it wants to be - which is where I turn to you, dear reader. Has there been anything that you particularly enjoyed or that you would like to see more of? Or maybe there is something I have not thought of yet, that you would like to read about? Leave me a comment and I shall see what I can do.
#2 Writing as a ProfessionI still have my part-time library work, but I have found that ever since I made my writing into a (budding) career, I am taking it much more seriously. Life has a tendency to get in the way, but for the most part I have been doing well with taking time out of every day to build on my social media presence and work on one or more writing projects.
Writing TimeThis past year has taught me a lot about my writing and myself. For once, I realised I need deadlines. Not hard and fast ones, but I need a target to work towards every day if I am to keep going. It has also taught me a lot about routine. Having my OH move in with me threw my old routine such as it was - with late nights and weekends choked full of writing - completely over board and it took months to establish a new one that I managed to stick to without my day job, hobbies, the time I wanted to spend with my partner, or life in general pushing the writing back into a corner.
On top of that it taught me a lot about me as a writer. In the past I let my ideas grow for months and years at a time. Now, with the aim of making a career out of it, I no longer have that luxury. I no longer allow the story to grow in its own time, I make it grow in mine - with the help of mind maps, associative writing and just trying stuff out. Is it as fast as I would like it to be? No, but the story keeps growing and changing organically in the writing rather than in the "dreaming up hours". And while I know that probably no other work of mine will need as much editing as my current project, I can also attest that the muse comes to those who sit down and write.
Social MediaSocial Media is still something I struggle with. I love my Twitter account, but while I am happy to use Facebook on a personal level, using social media on a professional level has proven to be difficult. How much do I want to tell? How much can or should I tell? Where do I draw the line? How do I attract followers and keep them? It's quite the learning curve and I feel I'm still very much learning, but I have been toying with setting up a Facebook page over the past few months to accompany my Twitter account. Part of me wants to wait until I have a book to my name, another part thinks I should start sooner. It's an ongoing debate.
#3 The Writing Projects
YA Urban Fantasy:This is my NaNoWriMo 2015 project. It is currently being looked at by proof readers 3 and 4 of 6. This is the one I hope to send out to agents and publishers at the end of this year or the beginning of next.
Fantasy Trilogy:Part I is sitting on my desk in first draft status, though my fingers are itching to dive into the editing process, hopefully followed by the writing of part II.
YA (Urban?) Fantasy:An idea I have been toying with since last summer. In a way it is my most difficult project to date as for the first time I am pushing myself to put something together without first allowing the story to ripen for years on end. It had its ups and downs, but having just taken part in Camp NaNoWriMo and accomplished a whopping 20k word count when I had settled for a measly 10k, I am definitely on a high note at the moment. The main character and I are finally seeing eye to eye and at a 40k word count so far, I'm beginning to think I will shoot way past my estimated 60k word count goal for the novel. At an average of 500 words written a day the going is slow, but it is steady and by the end of the year I hope to have it in at least second draft form.
Short Stories/Flash FictionThere have been the odd attempts at short stories and flash fiction. Both show me that I'm much more of a long tale weaver than the short and sappy type, but I do enjoy the odd break from novelling and am currently weighing the ups and downs of a WattPad account which would allow these stories to roam freely in the world of readers.
So, yes, it has been a year of growth and I am far from done. Here is to many more!