It’s the beginning of a whole new year; what time could possibly be better to become more motivated and inspired? You have a whole 365 days ahead of you, and now is the time to start making them count, so we're asking authors what they've got planned for the year ahead!
Aliette de Bodard shares how she wants to take more risks and allow herself more time off in 2019.
2018 was another year of juggling a day job, primary caretaker of two young children, and writing—with various degrees of success as these are all terribly time consuming jobs! For 2019 I mostly set myself self-care goals: it's really easy to forget that the adjustment variable to doing all of this is my health, and that sometimes it's okay to drop balls rather than have my body sharply remind me that I've exceeded its limits (it's certainly no coincidence that I got the flu twice over the 2017-2018 winter season).
2018 was also the year of surprising successes: my gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes in space, The Tea Master and the Detective, took off rather sharply. And I self-published end 2018 In the Vanishers' Palace, an awkward-length romantic f/f fantasy between a scholar and a shapeshifting dragon, which I was certainly not expecting to resonate this much with readers. Though I'm rather relieved to see this as it was a terribly personal book to write, and in many ways, publishing it was a bit like baring my heart in the open!
I'm really glad I took the chance. It was a bit of a sharp education as well, because I didn't really know anything about self-publishing at all. I learned ebook formatting: I ended up digging into the source code of an EPUB and I heartily hope never to do that again. I also learned a lot about publicity and marketing: by far the most important lesson was that it's draining and I really hate doing it, but that it pays off. And finally, I had the exhilarating and slightly scary experience of commissioning my own ebook cover, which is a whole new side to it.
For 2019 I'm aiming to focus mostly on long fiction. I have a couple novellas knocking in my brain and a novel due, which is the terrifying Vietnamese-inspired space opera one I've wanted to write for more than five years—I hope I'm up to it! Right now I'm accumulating research books and watching East Asian dramas in preparation.
I'm also going to try and spend more time with friends. It's hard to be social with young kids, but not being social at all is even harder. So I'm going to build in some time and try to make concerted efforts to keep up with people. I'm going to try and be kinder to myself as well, and probably to build in more rest, more sleep, and more time to hang out with friends, eat good food and generally recharge my batteries!
Writing-wise, by the end of the year I hope that I've taken more risks. I want to write a different kind of novel to the previous ones (the 2019 one is space opera, the previous ones were dark queer Gothic fantasy). I'm also hoping to come to terms with productivity not being a constant thing for me; not being able to write has been a constant source of guilt, and again I want to remind myself that it's okay to take a break. I also want to make more of an effort to include more domesticity in my stories, more parents as primary caretakers, and to have complex characters on stage—which isn't always easy to do alongside complex worldbuilding. And I think all of that looks like quite enough to fill up an entire year!
Aliette's latest release, In the Vanishers' Palace, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.