New year, new writing goals

Monday, 18 January 2016

"That even the unopened future lies, 
like a love-letter, full of sweet surprise."
Elizabeth Daryush 

I always love the new year; a time of aspirations, optimism and writing goals in my fresh scribble-free diary.

Last year my main accomplishments were joining a writing group and finally managing to say I'm writing a novel without making speech marks with my fingers and turning bright red.

After those dizzying heights, I started 2016 hungry for even greater feats of achievement and decided to put my money where my mouth (pen?) was when it came to my writing.

For the last couple of years, I've contemplated joining the Romantic Novelists Association, but had never realistically felt I had enough time on my hands to dedicate to my draft.

This year was the first I could envision myself actually being able to finish it, so I decided to apply for the New Writers' Scheme, which accepts an annual intake of 250 unpublished authors. After refreshing my emails about a million times, I was very excited to get the news I'd made it onto the scheme, meaning I can send in a full manuscript to be critiqued by one of its experienced readers.

My main problem in the past has been that writing seems a bit of a luxury, coming somewhere at the bottom of my priority list after cleaning the housing, exercising, and lying on my bed staring into space.

As a typical journalist, I struggle to work unless I'm under pressure and now I feel that the looming August submission deadline has given me something tangible to aim for.  The only things standing in my way now are my own demons - like constantly daydreaming about the next novel I want to write instead of the one I'm actually writing. It's just like at uni, when instead of the set text another book on the shelf next to it would always catch my eye and I'd read that instead.

So rather like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey,  I've set some incentives to keep me trudging along. The ultimate reward for finishing my 60,000 word draft is champagne at the Shard. I'm looking forward to clinking flutes and taking in the view so much, I can taste the bubbles already.

I'm also planning a few other little treats for reaching goals along the way. My first reward is dinner at the Oxo Tower for reaching my 20,000 word goal and since it's already booked for next weekend, I'd better get writing.

Yes, basically all my rewards are either food or alcohol. What more incentive could I possibly need?

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