I achieved a lot in 2016, but it’s always important to look onwards and upwards and learn from our mistakes. My writing goals for 2017 are a reflection of what I learnt in 2016, and where I want to be by the end of 2017.

Exercise More

This probably sounds like a weird place to start, let alone a weird writing goal, but hear me out.

Studies have shown that exercise is good for your mental health. When your mental health is poor and you hate exercising, the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, I’ve recently suffered with a lot of joint problems to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed. Not exercising has really caught up with me. It’s high time I exercised more and pushed my body in 2017, just like I pushed my mind in 2015/16.

Read 36 books

What are you writing goals?

It still amazes me to think that five years ago, I barely read a book a year. In 2012 I vowed to read a book a month. Ever since, I’ve maintained that, and the number that I’ve read has gone up every year.

In 2016, I upped my goal to 24 books. I reached that by September, so I upped the goal again to 36. I achieved that by the start of December.

I originally planned to aim for 30 books in 2017, but since I achieved 36 with time to spare, and managed to finish my first book of 2017 by lunchtime on New Year’s Day, I decided to push myself and aim for 36 again. Reading not only helps improve my writing but it also helps pacify my anxiety, so there’s really no downside to reading more!

You can check out what books I’m reading over on Goodreads.

Edit: I’ve since updated this to 44 books. I’ve read three books already in the first two weeks of January. If I keep reading at that pace, 36 is just far too easy…

Publish What Happens in London

The cover for the sequel to What Happens in New York, What Happens in London!

I’ve kept fairly quiet on the What Happens in London front lately. There are many reasons for this. One of the main ones is that the book is a lot more complicated than the first. There’s more characters, more points of view, more things going on, and it spans a longer period of time. It’s important to me that all of the characters get the time that they deserve, and that every scene serves a purpose. Because of all of these factors, I’ve chosen to pace myself. I’ve been taking longer breaks between edits—focusing on other projects while it stews—then returning to the manuscript with fresh eyes.

I have a publication date in mind, but I’m not announcing anything until the book is ready. I want to learn from the mistakes of What Happens in New York.

Complete a First Draft of What Happens in… book 3

Yes, I already have ideas for book three. And possibly four. I also have working titles for them both, but since they’re working titles, I don’t want to announce them just yet. (See previous comment about learning from mistakes.)

I’ve worked out most of the key scenes for book three, but I haven’t worked out the order in which things need to happen yet. Knowing these things helps me to foreshadow them in What Happens in London, and also knowing where the characters end up gives me motivation to keep telling their stories. For me, writing and reading stories is all about the how someone gets to their destination, not what their destination is.

Depending on what happens with What Happens in London, book three will likely be published in 2018.

Publish a Poetry Collection

I write a lot of poetry. Most of it I don’t share with people. It’s time I did.

I have concepts for two poetry collections right now. Both require some more editing before I’m happy to share the contents with you, but I’m super excited to share my poetry with you over the coming months.

In the meantime, you can find some of my shorter poetry over on my Instagram.

Publish Productivity for Writers/a Novella

I really wish I’d never announced Productivity for Writers. I have a version of the book, but I’m not happy enough with it to share it with you. The truth is, right now, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite. I worked so hard and so fast on What Happens in London, but I made a lot of mistakes along the way. Until I learn how to rectify those mistakes, I don’t feel it’s fair of me to share the advice within it. The only way I can learn from those mistakes is to repeat the publishing cycle and do things differently. That’s why things have slowed down recently.

I hope to be able to publish both this year, but the novella really hinges on What Happens in London. I don’t want to give away too much just yet, but it’s a spin-off starring Hollie’s friend from university, Cameron.

Stick to a Blogging Schedule

I slipped on my blogging schedule a few times in 2016. Doing so had a significant impact on hits to the blog. This didn’t surprise me. In 2017, I hope to blog more consistently about writing, productivity, and everything else that will help you on your writing journey!

Be a Bigger Part of the Writing Community

Over the next year I hope to inspire more writers to be the best that they can be. I plan to do this by participating more in groups on Google+ and other platforms, as well as submitting to more literary magazines and competitions. The latter is something I’ve been very lax with due to confidence issues, although I’ve often blamed time constraints. Well, no more. The best part of being a writer is having a story to tell, but if you have a story to tell and no one to share it with, what are you writing for?

Over to You

What are your writing goals for 2017? How do you plan to achieve them? I’d love to hear your plans!