2018 in Review and 2019 Writing Goals

Most writers I follow online have already done their stocktake of 2018 and set goals for 2019, so I thought I’d have a crack at that here on my website.

In summary, 2018 was a very good year for me. Book sales of Watching Cartoons with Boys still ticked over and gave me a passive source of income (which, although very modest, was still exciting!) I got published in Going Down Swinging, a highly regarded Australian literary journal, and this was a big career milestone. I was published in Farrago Magazine‘s first issue for the year and got to go along to their awesome launch on campus at the University of Melbourne. I was also published online by Writers Bloc and POPSUGAR, and thanks to the kindness of Orenda Magazine I was published in hardcopy for the third time in my career as not one but two articles I wrote appeared in Issue 6 of their magazine.

I also won my first writing award in 2018 as the recipient of the inaugural Freefall Writing Scholarship. I attended a week-long writing retreat in Daylesford led by Dr Barbara Turner-Vesselago and received glowing feedback on several stories I wrote during the program. It was a great experience to learn about a new writing method and connect with other writers.

It might not read like much but I’m incredibly proud of what I achieved in 2018. This is mainly because I work full-time hours in a day job that’s not at all related to creative writing, so any writing work I do is completely in my own time and at my own expense.

In 2019 I’ll have big life milestones to deal with so I’m aware that I should probably roll back my creative writing goals. As I type that though, I know it’s impossible because I’ve always been goal-driven and I have exciting things planned for 2019. Here’s what I hope to achieve!

Get Watching Cartoons with Boys stocked in more stores

I’d love to see more stores stocking my book this year. As a self-published author, each arrangement needs to be negotiated with each individual store and initiated/coordinated by me. I’m hoping to dedicate more time to approaching stores to stock my book and I’d love to hear from readers where they’d like to see it. So expect a call out for recommendations to appear on my social media soon!

Get another short story published (& longlisted for an award?)

I’m incredibly proud of a short story that I’ve been working on for the past few months that is now finally finished. I’ll be pitching it to publishers and entering it in competitions in the coming months, so fingers crossed that it sticks somewhere and finds a home in 2019.

Publish the second edition of Watching Cartoons with Boys

This is something I’ve been considering for a while. As is the joy of self-publishing, I’m always spotting things I want to change in Watching Cartoons with Boys (even if it’s just as simple as changing the line spacing or a page margin). I’m of the belief that some edits, however minor, necessitate a new ISBN and therefore a new edition. But how to do this? Release a small format paperback with a new cover? Include some bonus content to keep it interesting? Continue to sell via Lulu and selected bookstores, or directly through Amazon? This is something I’m considering for 2019 and a potential new edition of Watching Cartoons with Boys.

Finish Rare Birds

Oh hey there, writing goal that’s been on every list of mine since like 2010. The long-term goal for my first novel has always been to get it to a standard where a literary agent could step in and sell it to a publisher for me. Maybe 2019 is the year for that? Now that I’m getting the hang of Scrivener, as a first step I’ll be moving it across to that platform, shuffling some sections, fleshing out the characters and re-writing parts to better harness some points of impact.

Start writing a new novel

I have an idea for a new novel that I really want to start work on. I’m torn because I want to see Rare Birds to publication first, but I don’t want to just self-publish it and be done so I can move to the next thing. If I have novel writing time free, it should be spent on Rare Birds!

I’m currently satisfying the impulse to write a new novel by learning Scrivener and getting the hang of the novel template by planning all the characters, settings, timelines and key plot points (which I started in November as part of NaNoWriMo).

Will I take the plunge and do NaNoWriMo for real in 2019, actually work on the text every day of November and finish a first draft? Hmm, it’s only January so I could definitely plan for that now. Hold on while I check my annual leave balance…



Image source: Brooke Lark via Unsplash (CC0)

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