Thursday, 31 December 2015

A Day Like Any Other - Guest Post by Jan Edwards

January 1st is a day like any other. Many of us like to celebrate the new year in grand style with parties and nights on the town. ‘Seeing in the new year’ has never been a family tradition for me. My father always maintained that ‘it would still be there in the morning what ever you do’ and he was right of course. Yet I still like to see the year out and in, toasting new ideas with those closest to my heart.

Today I received a copy of SPARKS 2: A Year in E-Publishing , the Authors Electric book of blogs for 2015.  I also had a payment for a story about to be published in January and I had a meeting with fellow writer Misha Herwin to map out our plans for 2016 projects. Projects such as 6X6 - a series of quarterly reading cafes to be held at Central Library, Hanley, Stoke on Trent, and also the launch of our respective new titles with Penkhull Press. We have collections and novels already in proof stage and ready to launch in the spring, so 2016 is already busy before it has even arrived.

To be fair the whole of December has been ramping up for the annual plotting. I have, in the past month, been asked to write stories for five anthologies scheduled for 2016/17, and, being possessed of a shocking memory (and having missed deadlines in the past because I left it too late!) I do try to give myself a fighting chance of getting stories written and submitted ahead of time, or more often at eleventh hour on the winds of hope, by opening a brand spanking new spreadsheet!

I can hear the groans at the very thought. Spreadsheets may seem a little structured for some people, but this really is an act self defence! I would never get through my writing year without it. Like many people I use the coming of a new year as an arbitrary deadline. So many projects have the potential to simply roll on indefinitely without that sign post. For an Indie Writer, without an editor to snap at our heels, novels in particular have the potential to become permanent ‘works in progress’. Hence the spreadsheet. Seeing those lines in red (meaning they have been carried over unfinished from last year), projects that glare at me like eyes of Sauron, goads me into action. These are things that still need to be done; and this; and this... I can make all the excuses I like but lines in red mean unfinished and more to the point unpublished.

So however you bring in the new year it will always be a time for reflection on what has been achieved (or not) in the past twelve months, and a time to map out goals for the twelve to come. The time for re-assessing, re-asserting, re-aligning, re-editing and possibly most important of all re-invigorating our writing for a brand new phase – or to put it another way, a time to give yourself that kick in the rear to make your best yet.

Happy New Year one and all. May 2016 be good to you.

2 comments:

Katherine Roberts said...

Hello Jan, hope you like Sparks! I always give myself a bit of a kick in the new year too, but find it quite difficult to get motivated on January 1st. For me, the spring... sort of early February depending on the weather?... is the time I usually seem to wake up from hibernation and get going again. Good luck with all your deadlines.

Susan Price said...

Thanks for that kick up the bum, Jan! - There are several on-going projects which should have been finished - and now really need to be looked at. Your blog was a good reminder.
And, along with Katherine, all of us here hope you enjoy Sparks.