Today I thought I would answer the 2017 writing goals questions from one of the recent Beautiful Book’s questionnaires, you can find the original post here! As you may know I am publishing my first book in 2017, so I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my other writing goals for the year!1. What were your writing achievements last year?
In 2016 I completed the first draft of my first book (title to be revealed soon), before editing it a few times and slowly creeping towards being ready to self-publish. As well as that I had ideas for multiple future books and did some planning. For the first time in my life I went to a writing class, so I am very proud of myself for that!
2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?
In 2017 I first plan to self-publish my first book! I am currently working towards a date in the summer, however I won’t reveal it yet in case university gets crazy and I fall behind. I also want to finish writing the first companion novel to the book I publish, which is set in a different part of the world. I have around 40k written already so I am sure I can finish it. I have a third companion that I have about 2k words of, so I’d like to continue planning and writing that although I am in no rush to finish it. I roughly planned a few other books last year, so I’d like to add to those plans and prepare for the future.
3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!
My main priority is to get my first book published and out into the world. It’s quite a scary thing but I am also so excited to share the story because I love it so much.
4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
I plan to go to another writing class, which will hopefully improve my writing. I also really hope to read more widely this year and continue to research. Working with beta readers and seeing reviews of my book (assuming anyone ever reads it…) will definitely help improve my writing so I am excited / nervous about that.
As I graduate from university in the summer, the end of 2017 seems like a very scary and distant time. I would like to have self-published my first book and have a finished draft of a second by the end of the year.
5. Describe your general editing process.
I have been asked this a few times, so I really should think about drafting a blog post about it. I read through my work and make changes to fix spelling and punctuation, as well as improving clunky sentences and awkward phrases. I notice parts where I have over explained, and also parts which I have hardly described, so those need fixed. I think you improve as you write, so by the time you go back to edit you’re a better writer than you were months ago when you started.
Another important thing is trying to see past your own prejudices, which often you don’t realise you have. For example research ableist or sexist language, using offensive terms to describe different skin tones and cultures. It can be hard to do, but the internet has some great resources! Doing research and then reading through your book critcally really helps.
6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?
I will answer this relating to my draft of the second book, I would say right now it’s maybe a 7? First drafts are always full of plot holes and mistakes, but I like the direction it’s going in and love the character so I can’t rate it low! (Though it’s not in a fit state for anyone else to read)
7. What aspect of your draft needs the most work?
The part I stopped at, which is around halfway through the book needs a lot of work. I first need to sit down and really plan what is going to happen. With the first half of the book it was easier to plan as I wrote and let the characters meander to the next plot point in a natural way, but now I need to get stricter with myself and have a thorough plan.
8. What do you like the most about your draft?
With each book I am focusing on an aspect of Scottish folklore, which I have changed a little to fit my world. I am really excited about the folklore I am currently writing about, it’s not a part that I think many people will have heard of, so I feel like I have a lot more freedom to create!
9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
Throughout 2016 I decided that self-publishing is the way I want to go and so my plans for the foreseeable future are self-publishing. My book will soon be going to beta readers and then a proof reader, to polish it up to publish! I am looking forward to their feedback.
10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?
Take a break! I think you need to give your brain a moment to rest, so make yourself read a few books before you go back to it. That way it will be out of your mind and you’ll be going back in with fresh eyes. Also this would be a good time to research and think of what you feel you need to add into the book on your first round of edits.
Most importantly, make sure you go back to it! I know I really had to fight the content part of myself that would have been happy to let the book sit in my documents forever!
I hope you liked today’s post! I got a new laptop because my old one died, so I was really in the mood to type today…
If you’re writing in 2017 or editing then I wish you the best of luck! It doesn’t matter how good you think your writing is, as long as you keep going back to it!