2018 was a big one for me. It was the year I left my full time job to focus more on my writing career. I'd realised that the full time job was too mentally demanding and left me too tired when I got home to make much progress with my writing. Last December, I decided I wanted to change my focus going forward and that the best way to do that was to leave full time work.
This was simultaneously a terrifying and invigorating step but, from the beginning of February, I was working full time on my writing. I got an entire book (The Approach) planned and drafted and self-edited, including through one alpha swap. By this point, it was summer and I'd also realised that to keep a good schedule and to keep social contact with the outside world, I should apply for a part-time job. I'd previously balanced part-time work and my writing well at university, so I thought it might be a happy medium.
In June I applied for a part-time 20 hours per week contract and started working there in mid July. It's a retail job which is a big change from what I was doing previously but not unfamiliar to me, and not something that exhausts me when my shift is over which means that even on working days, I often manage to get writing or something writing related in.
Since this change, The Approach has gone through a second alpha swap and edits and is currently with beta readers. Three out of the eight I've sent it to are yet to offer their feedback. Once that's in, I'll be making the final changes before it'll be sent to a professional copyeditor but the best news is that work-work is complementing rather than hindering my writing, and I'm a much happier and more fulfilled person as a whole.
I've probably mentioned most of these stages before individually, but I'm super excited about going about the process of publishing a book myself, from start to finish. It helps that this book is now at the point it's reading well and having a great reception from early readers. I'm excited (and nervous as hell) to find out what a wider selection of readers will think, once it's ready. With the current work already done and what's left to go, I think the book could be published in the first half of 2019. Certainly a milestone to look forward to!
In November, while The Approach, was with beta readers, I also drafted another book, a prequel set hundreds of years before The Approach which showcased how the world ended. This is tentatively titled Fatal Glitch. The first draft is complete and I'm currently in the self-editing phase. Going from an almost finished book to a new, very rough, first draft, is always a difficult adjustment, but I think this book could also be finished in the first half of 2019.
In December, I also put together a plan for the plot of a second book in the series, directly following the action within The Approach. I haven't started writing yet but I'm excited to draft this book next year and delve even deeper into the characters and the story and world as a whole. There'll be many surprises ahead, I'm sure, and my passion for the endeavour is just as high as when I left my old job.
So, that sums up my progress through 2018, but how does it match up to what I myself called ambitious (and potentially unachievable) goals? At the end of 2017, I challenged myself to draft four books and publish two in the year to come. In the end I drafted two, planned one, and have one of those books close to publication.
The results of the year don't quite match up to my lofty goals, but this isn't something I'm sad about. I took a massive first step in refocusing my goals and emotions fully onto writing, and I'm improving. It's becoming much easier to plot stories and self-edit. It's a long process but it's an enjoyable one, and I think 2019 will go even better.
As it's New Year's Eve, I'm also thinking about my goals for 2019. Bearing in mind the progress I've made already this year, my goal will be to draft two books (the second in the series that I've already plotted, and a third in the same series). I'll also aim to publish three books: Fatal Glitch, The Approach, and, hopefully, the second book in the series will be completed by the end of the year and be ready for publication.
Like last year, this is a lot to ask of myself, but i don't think I would have come close to how much I've achieved this year without challenging myself to work harder, learn more, and do more. I'm looking forward to finding out how far 2019 takes me in next year's reflect back and look forward.
PS - I also made a smaller goal to update this site more often, ideally once a month. For the last half of the year, that went pretty well. I hope 2019 goes the same way.
All the best for 2019! I hope your holidays were full of fun and happiness and that the same awaits you in the new year.