#FreshStart - Joanna Chambers
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!
Joanna Chambers talks about the happiness principle that is going to govern her writing as she moves forward into 2019.
I released two books in 2018—a contemporary romance, Tribute Act, in April and a historical novella, Mr Winterbourne’s Christmas, in November—however, much of 2018 was a pretty fallow period for me in writing terms. It was strange because it didn’t feel like writer’s block. In fact, I was brimming with ideas to write about. It was more that the post-Trump / post-Brexit-vote world of 2017/2018 somehow sapped my enthusiasm and joy for writing.
I know I was not the only one. Every time I checked my social media accounts, I saw authors saying the same thing, over and over.
There was also, in 2018, a deluge of stories in the romance community of bad conduct, abuse and gaming of the system with book-stuffing and the like. Already a bit disenchanted thanks to the state of the world, I also found myself in early 2018 questioning my writing choices, the benefit of being part of the romance community and whether there was any point to publishing at all.
But despite all of this, the urge to write has returned to me, as it always seems to do eventually.
I have, however, ended the year with this clear in my mind: writing is something I do primarily to make myself happy. Recognising that leads me to some important choices about how and what I write that I will be taking into 2019...
When I think about structuring my writing choices around that key happiness principle, I find it easier to make choices like:
I won’t write to market but in accordance with my inclination;
I will, in all likelihood, self-publish most if not all of what I write in future—that way, I can change projects and extend deadlines at will;
I will have creative control over my own covers and back copy; and
I will determine how much effort I put into promotion and networking.
And critically, I will accept the consequences of these choices in terms of sales and profile, by keeping the happiness principle at the front of my mind.
In terms of outputs for 2019, I’m feeling very different now than I did a year ago, and hopeful of a productive year. First and foremost, I want to complete and publish two books of my heart, a pair of linked historical paranormal romances, set in Edinburgh in the 1780's (book 1) and 1820's (book 2). The books have the same MC's and a romance arc that straddles both books. I’m well into this project now, though there's still a lot of work to do. I’m keen to publish the books fairly close together so they may not appear till later in the year, though I anticipate book one will be finished quite soon.
I also have a few novella-length irons in the fire that I would love to put out in 2019. Realistically, however, time will most likely not allow for more than one of these to be completed next year. I have Kit Redford’s story—a character from my Enlightenment series—which is quite angsty. And then I have two lighter stories from the Winterbourne world I’d like to write. However, until I make more significant progress on my primary project, I’m not going allow myself to be tempted to look at any of them!
So there you are: that’s my last year and the year ahead of me. The world is still a mess, and online scandals will no doubt continue to crop up… Nevertheless, I feel optimistic about 2019.
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