Now that the first draft of the novel I began writing during NaNoWriMo is over and done with (out next year hopefully), it’s time for me, as a writer, to take stock of the year that’s drawing to a conclusion.
Did I meet my goals? What were the highlights and lowlights? What went wrong and what went well? And in what direction am I going to take things next year? All of these questions and more are what I ask myself as part of my annual Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions (GDRs) wrap-up for 2017.
These GDRs are nothing new; I’ve been working this process for years now. It helps me focus my mind on what I’ve been doing and where I’m going. They are based on an original idea by Devon Ellington who runs the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions website, and they are all prepared and committed to at the start of each year in order that they act as a guide for the coming year.
So here’s my 2017.
- Complete and Publish GATECRASH ✔
- Gatecrash has so far blown all of my expectations out of the water in terms of sales and reader response. It is my biggest success so far.
- Re-write and Publish HUNTING JACK as a Novel ✔
- Marked as complete as it is now pending publication, a decision made late in 2017.
- Re-Publish STELLA Through Smashing Press ✔
- Publishing rights were returned from the previous publisher, allowing it to be re-published with a new cover by Smashing Press.
- Also re-published as a 2-in-1 combo purchase for e-readers.
- Publish One New Chapbook ✔
- Poolside Poetry 2 made it to publication under my pseudonym, Chas Stramash
- Read 40 Books X
- Made it to 31 books as this blog post is published. It’s a fine balance between reading and writing one’s own novels.
Midway through the year I also decided to partake in NaNoWriMo, which led to the penning of a new novel with DI Lennox as the protagonist. This novel has now gone through its first draft and will hopefully be published next year.
As you can see, meeting almost all of my goals and managing to include a full unforeseen novel writing project into the bargain, means 2017 has been a huge success for me. 2018 will be tough to match.
I don’t publish my Dreams or Resolutions as they are usually too personal, but I’ve summarised them regardless.
There were two.
One is still on target and one has not been achieved down to alterations in personal circumstances. They both still remain valid, and indeed one of them is being carried over to next year. The other may not.
There were four.
Two were achieved and this indicates a marked success given they have been on the list for a couple of years now! One is still in progress and on target to be met in 2018 so is being carried forward. The final one was nearly complete then turned around and was never achieved. This has been a huge disappointment, and so it is being made a top priority for next year.
Best Album Bought: Mogwai, Every Country’s Sun
Best Live Gig: Porgy & Bess, Sketches of Spain, Usher Hall
Best Musical Discovery: R.L. Burnside
Best Film (cinema): Star Wars, The Last Jedi
Best Film (TV/DVD): The Lady in the Van, BBC2
Best Series (TV/DVD): Liar, BBC1
Best Fiction Book Read: The Thread, Victoria Hislop
Best Crime/Thriller Book Read: Tombstoning, Doug Johnstone
Best Author Discovery: Kamel Daoud (The Mersault Investigation)
Best Meal: Melenos, Lindos, for my birthday meal
Best Sesh: The Diners in Queensferry & Leith, May
Best Celebrity Encounter: Andy Hamilton, Kings Theatre
Single Most Embarrassing Moment: Going topless on a tram in Edinburgh city centre
Saddest Moment: Death of Lulu
Single Most Memorable Moment: Finally getting to meet Paul Auster at the Edinburgh Book Festival
In the next blog post, I’ll be looking forward to 2018 through a new set of GDRs. These are still being worked on; I keep finding myself getting carried away after the success of this year. It’s a hard task forcing myself not to bite off more than I can chew and to be realistic about the amount of work I think I can actually get through and keep developing in the right direction.
But then, that’s what the GDRs are for.