Can you believe it’s 2016? I certainly can’t. When I got my book deal (have I mentioned that…? #sarcasm) I was telling people, “It’s out in June. Like, next June. June 2016.” The reaction from civilians, i.e. those not involved in writing or publishing or book-making in any way, was always “What? What the hell takes so long?!” Then, come July 1 last, I was able to say, “The book is out in June.” Then I started saying “May” because the date got brought forward, and as of today I can finally say, “My book is coming out this year.” Time is flying forward at violent speeds.
YEAR IN REVIEW ⇒ (prologue) The Surprising Thing About Rejection, or What I Learned in 2014 → (February) Scenes from the Rewrite → (April) How To Finish Your Damn Book
I’ll admit it: things got away from me a little bit this year. Up until May and then again since the end of September, I’ve been at college full-time. English Lit, you won’t be surprised to hear, involves a crapload of reading. This was something that, once upon a time, I was looking forward to. I imagined myself curled up on my couch, or comfortably ensconced somewhere among the stacks of the college library, or sitting cross-legged on the floor of the university’s designated bookshop, having some kind of delirious metaphysical experience with a classic title, one I just wouldn’t be able to believe I’d reached the age of thirty-something without ever reading before.
YEAR IN REVIEW ⇒ (May) I’ve Been BURSTING To Tell You: I Got a Book Deal! → (June) Being On Submission Syndrome → Are Amazon Really Paying Their Authors Per Page Read? No. No They’re Not. [Pause] Well…
Leaving aside for a second the fact that I would never sit cross-legged in any kind of retail space, this has not yet happened. Not once, and we’re up to the start of the last century, set-texts-wise. I applied to do this degree in part because I realized, sometime in late 2013, that for the previous eighteen months I had only read new books. And I mean new – either released recently enough to still be in the “New” section of the bookshop, or not even out yet (that I’d got in proof form). I used to joke that Orwell’s 1984 was as far back as I went, and only because when he wrote it, he set it in the future.
But as of right now, I’m not sure I didn’t have the right idea the first time. Awful, I know, but it’s difficult to make any kind of connection with a novel when it’s 500 dense pages long and you have a week to read it, digest it, read around it and prepare some sort of intelligent response to present in class – times six modules – while all the while trying to write a first draft of The Dreaded Second Novel in five months when The Exciting First Novel had a couple of years to percolate – as well as eat and sleep and stuff.
And yet, I’ve already seen all of Making a Murderer.
I’ve seen half of it twice.
As a crime writer I could say it was for research, but I’d only be kidding myself. The truth is I made time to watch it, even though it didn’t advance my progress on any of the extremely pressing items on my To Do list. The truth is that there is plenty of time to do all the things we really want to do. The challenge is making sure that none of that time gets away from us, and that we want to do the right things, the things that will make a difference in the long run.
But how do we do that? To be honest, I don’t know. But in 2016, this is my game plan:
- Get one up on my procrastination problem
- Track and plan (related: buy stationery)
- Stop being busy, talking about being busy, reveling in my busyness, etc. Be calm.
YEAR IN REVIEW ⇒ (September) Book 1/2: Full Steam Ahead → (October) What Could Happen If You Worked As Hard As You Possibly Could? → Where The Crying Happens → Book 1/2: Cover Reveal → (November) The Worried Writer → Book 1/2: Proof Copies //
January on this blog will be all about those three things. Speaking of this blog, my friendly WordPress end-of-year e-mail report thingy says I blogged a mere 17 times in 2015. That. Is. Shameful. For context I blogged 30 times in 2014, 81 times in 2013, 117 times in 2012 and a whopping – and rather unbelievable – 235 times in 2011. There was no annual report for 2010 but I do know that when I copied all the posts from that year into a Word document to make a bound copy of my year in blogging, it amounted to more than 100,000 words.
Do you see a pattern? That’s a trajectory I need to reverse – that I want to reverse. Consider me already brainstorming ways to do that, but if you have any suggestions for topics, features, etc. do let me know in the comments below. (Sorry, but I don’t mean guest posts. I mean things I can write.)
Also, you may have noticed that things are looking decidedly blue around here. Sadly, RIP Catherine’s Pink-Soaked Blog. Pastels and polka-dots don’t really say “crime/thriller writer” and that’s what my website needs to start saying now. Blood splatter and an author photo which comes with an overtly threatening expression aren’t my thing, so the blue is a compromise. Book One/Two also has a new blue logo and I have been having fun buying blue things for my Instagram props box.
A reminder: if you have a copyright notice on your blog, update it now.
So, we have a brand new year. What are you planning to do with it?