Progress From the Cave: A Review of 2018 and What Comes Next

As the dust settles on yet another year, it seems as good a time as any to take a look back at my year in writing and offer some insight into my plans for 2019.

This year I’ve spent most of my writing time working on a new novel, currently titled Blood in the Snow. It’s a story set in the same world as my first novel, The Ember Child, but it’s a stand-alone novel rather than a straight sequel.

I decided a while back that I would place the Godsbane Trilogy (of which The Ember Child is book one) on hold while I got to work on a couple of stand alone novels set in the same world.

My reasoning for this is two fold. Firstly, the hope is a stand-alone novel will prove easier to sell to would-be agents, publishers, or even readers, than an incomplete series would be.  Secondly, the stand-alone stories should be quicker to write, which will boost my catalogue faster if I decide to go down the self-publishing route – with more books hopefully attracting more readers.

With that in mind, work on Blood in the Snow has been progressing slowly but surely, with most of my work getting done on the commute to and from work, along with any snatched chances here and there

In June I submitted The Ember Child into the SPFBO 2018 (you can find my blog on it here), where it was set to be judged amongst the batch of books assigned to booknest.eu.  Unfortunately, it didn’t make the semi-finals, having been beaten out by one of this year’s finalists (Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike), but it did recieve a very positive review from Dyrk Ashton.

I also recieved some very good advice on how to better market the book, which is certainly something I’ll be using when Blood in the Snow nears completion, or when I return to the Godsbane Trilogy.

Jump forward to November and in my last post I talked about tackling NaNoWriMo (with the goal being to write 50,000 words in November) and how I would use it to finish my current work in progress.  Alas, as it has a habit of doing, life decided differently.

In the midst of settling into a new house, working full-time, and generally having a blast being a new dad, there wasn’t as much time for writing as I was hoping for.  That meant NaNo fell by the wayside.  That’s ok, I thought.  I’ll smash it through December instead.

Again though, I still had everything going on that was going on in November, plus Christmas and New Year’s to contend with.  That’s ok, I’ve told myself since.  Let’s use January and February to get it done.

So here we are, standing on the cusp of the New Year (possibly actually in it now, depending on when this gets published) with a new goal to be cracking on with… something of a New Year’s Resolution, if you will.

Checking my (largely inaccurate) records, it seems I published The Ember Child in June 2017, so I probably completed that novel around a year earlier and seemingly began work on Blood in the Snow around October 2016.  Considering the first book took around eight years to complete, if I can hit my target of a February 2019 completion, book two will have taken me less than half the time!  And that’s not even taking into account two new jobs, a new house, and a new baby during that time!

I really think this is an achievable goal and I can have Blood in The Snow completed by the end of February.  So why not set a second resolution to really up the ante?  If I can maintain some level of discipline with my daily writing targets (currently 500 words a day, though I may try to bump that up once the new year gets up and running), then there’s no reason why I can’t complete a whole book inside the remaining 10 months of next year.  We’ll call this Resolution 2.

I’ll also aim at finally following through with my promise of upping the Blog output, if just to make it a triple whammy.  So here’s the writing goals for 2019:

  1. Complete Blood in the Snow by end of February.
  2. Complete Untitled Project by the end of December.
  3. Post more regularly to the blog.

Feel free to judge me on how successful (or not) I am at achieving these goals.  Though I will say number 3 will probably have to wait until number 1 is complete, as to hit number 1’s goal I’m going to have to put all my writing effort into finishing that novel.  It may also be worth mentioning that as I’ll be starting a new project from scratch for number 2, it will hopefully help me produce more blog posts relating to my personal writing journey, documenting the process from conception through to completion.

I will also get the newsletter sorted at some point!

If you’ve got your own writing goals and targets for next year, let me know in the comments below – including how you plan to achieve them, as I might need some inspiration!

Thanks for sticking with me up to this point, and I hope you have a very happy 2019!

Tony
31st December 2018

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