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!
Cass Lennox shares her 12 point listicle of advice for a fresh start in 2019 and there are some absolute gems on here!
Your 12-Point (Listicle) Guide for a Fresh Start in 2019
Patented by Cass Lennox. But don’t worry, I’m not going to send nasty emails to people who write anything vaguely similar or who use the same title, or rant on social media about it.
1) Let’s put 2018 behind us and do not send nasty emails to people who write anything vaguely similar or with a similar title to something you’ve written, then rant on social media about it. This is not a solid legal or marketing move.
2) Upon reflection, point one works as a general life rule.
3) Do reflect on 2018 and what you learned in it. I learned, for example, that I am crap at multitasking. My rather limited capacity to multitask in life extends to: the day job, bill-paying, grocery-buying, basic exercise, cooking, and one extra major thing. In 2018, that major extra thing was mostly ‘moving and setting up life in a new country’ rather than ‘writing multiple books’, and that’s okay.
4) Another thing I learned in 2018 was how much happier my brain is when I cut back on social media. It freed up my attention span to tackle the moving country thing, and very occasionally the writing thing at the same time. I recommend stepping back and assessing your general internet and social media use. Is it benefiting you? Does your attention span feel shorter? Is your self-esteem hinging on likes and comments and re-blogs and retweets and other forms of illusory validation and attention? Are things in the distance fuzzy? Has your doctor prescribed vitamin D supplements? Perhaps stepping outside is the answer!
5) Do articulate a goal for the year. Write it down using pen and paper. If you no longer own pen or paper, both can be bought very cheaply from places like newsagents or supermarkets, or taken for free from your day job. Put your goal up on the wall. Admire your handwriting and wonder why you don’t write in cursive as much as you used to.
6) Break your goal into actionable steps. Pursue those steps one at a time. Keep the overarching goal in mind throughout the year. To demonstrate: my writing goal for the year is to have one more book signed up for publication. Just one (see point three). In order to do this I must a) finish one of my stories b) submit it to an appropriate publisher/agent and c) repeat until someone is having a wonderful day and decides to give me a chance. Do you see how that actually sounds achievable?
7) When articulating goals, remember to keep them simple and realistic. Lots of people make goals at this time of year, but the thing about new year’s resolutions is that they’re usually more about the person you think you should be rather than the person you are, and thus are doomed to fail. I think I should be churning out multiple books a year, but the reality is that my day job is very challenging and time-consuming and pays my bills and funds my pension, and so it receives the bulk of my attention. Book-writing must necessarily take a backseat and happen in my limited spare time until circumstances change. Ergo: one sold book, rather than five sold books and three complete manuscripts and twenty pitches out to publishers.
8) Because you’re writing down realistic goals, rejoice! For you may have more than one goal! Here are some suggestions to help you form your own, some of which I may be including on my definitely-purchased sheet of paper: trying a new style of writing or a new genre, reading ten new authors, and researching that one plot bunny. Doing these things would hopefully improve my writing and get it to another level by the end of the year.
9) Sometimes it’s helpful to consider bigger and wider concerns. If I could have any wish for 2019, it’s that people are kinder to one another in our little corner of the publishing industry. (The rest of the publishing industry would also be great, as would world peace, but, well, baby steps.)
10) Get enough sleep.
11) No, seriously.
I wish everyone the best of luck with their writing, and I can’t wait to read all the amazing books waiting for us in 2019.
Cass's latest release, The Wrong Woman, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website and blog, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.