Happy 2018 to all my readers, friends and followers. This time of year always makes me a little choked up. It’s a time to reflect on the past and put successes and failures behind, and focus on the future. For me, this year I should have two new books coming out. This first is called Finding Dreams and it is the third and final in my ‘old house romance’ series that includes Finding Home and Finding Secrets. Right now, I’m working on the final edits and proofread, and it’s nearly time to launch it out there to the world. Always a scary moment, but an exciting one too!
The second book is my new kids’ fiction book published by Chicken House under my real name, Laurel Remington. The title hasn’t been confirmed, yet, but it’s about a girl who transforms her mum’s grubby vintage clothing shop into something fabulous.
I’ve found this year to be a challenging one on the writing front. Some people struggle with their second novels, but for me, the third was difficult (in both genres). Not at the idea and first draft stage, but working on the seemingly endless edits, reworking, and polishing. I feel that the process put a lot of strain on my family, as I found it difficult to switch off my writer brain and turn on my real world brain. I also felt quite isolated. In the past I had a good writing friend that I could turn to in the tough moments, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case right now.
I guess this is a normal part of the process, but I hope that in 2018 I can use some of the lessons learned to make things easier going forward. I’m not quite sure how yet, but I’ve got some ideas below.
Plotting, more plotting, and even more plotting – OK, I’ve probably already messed this one up. I want to try to work out more of the details and problems on paper before they turn up in the first draft manuscript or the structural edit. But over the last few weeks when I’ve been edit-free, I’ve been ploughing on with something without a clue if it is working or not. Well, I guess I’ve still got 364 days to turn this one around.
Make writer friends – To be honest, I find organisations I belong to like the RNA a bit scary. I’m sure everyone is really lovely, but I’m not really that good with large social events like the pictures in the Romance Matters magazine shows. I’m hoping to perhaps arrange a meet-up with other new authors that are with my publisher. Start small, and go from there.
Waste less time – I’m sure we all struggle with this one. I tend to find the editing process really difficult to cope with, and waste a lot of time while I’m doing it. Obvious solutions involve getting rid of all internet-accessible devices and setting a timer. I feel like I shouldn’t have to do these things, but having identified the problem, I need to try something. (Oh yeah, and by writing this blog post, I’ve now spent half an hour that was allocated to proofreading!)
Find more effective ways to market – To be honest, a lot of the problems I’ve identified would go away if I could just sell more books. I’m sure a lot of people have this issue. I know that my books are different than what else is out there, and I know that there is an audience, but I just can’t quite reach them. I guess I need to spend some time doing more research on this, and get a better (or any) marketing plan in place.
Try to enjoy it more – When I give talks to schools, I often meet aspiring young writers and tend to give the following advice: ‘There are easier ways to earn a living, so focus on the part of the process that you enjoy’. It’s a prime example of ‘do what I say, not what I do’. I need to take more of my own advice and try to enjoy the little successes more, and really appreciate what a wonderful gift it is to be a writer.
I’m sure there are lots more things, but this seems plenty to start with. I wish you all the best for 2018.