A great start to 2016

I’m having a wonderful start to 2016.

If that sounds complacent or boastful, trust me, it isn’t. It’s relief and joy. I had an up and down (more down than up) 15 months leading up to the New Year, so to be able to say with confidence that the first 10 days of the year are good is a remarkable feeling.

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I published my first novel on 30th December. After two years of sitting on it, too scared to put it out in the world, I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to move onto ProjectP (as novel number two shall henceforth be named until I publish it!) until I had released ‘The Broken Heart Repair Plan’ into the world.

January 1st dawned with a nice handful of sales and a heart-warming and loving reaction from friends and family. Then, on my first day back at work, I made it onto the New Year Woman’s Hour phone in, which focused on big changes that we women were planning to make in 2016.

Having taken five years in total to produce Novel Number One, I have resolved to write, edit and publish ProjectP within the year and it felt amazing to say that out loud, live on air to circa 4m listeners. It made it a commitment, not a resolution, and that feels different; more solid, more planned, much more achievable.

Yesterday, I put that commitment into action. I went to the first Writers’ Circle brunch of the year and wrote the first few paragraphs of the first chapter of ProjectP. I read them out to three friends later in the day and the reaction was wonderful – ‘more please!’ It doesn’t get much better than that.

And today, here I am, starting my writing day with a new blog post, which will be the first of many and regular ones.

So for what it’s worth, here’s my New Year’s advice for any writers who might be struggling to turn a resolution into a commitment:

  1. Join a writing group. The support is tremendous and the encouragement to keep writing is regular and a vital top up.
  2. Just write. Kevin, one of the guys in my group, said he writes at least 500 words each day and he works full time like I do. If he can, I can. Make it a habit.
  3. Publicly voice your commitment to your writing project – put it on Facebook, Tweet it, tell all your friends, blog it, write it in capital letters in your personal journey. Commit to it publicly and you increase the chances of making it happen.
  4. Write. Even when you feel dull and lacking in inspiration, just write.
  5. If you don’t have a specific project, then find competitions to enter. Even if you don’t send off the finished piece, you will at least have a rich source of writing prompts to choose from.

Happy New Year to all writers, everywhere around the world. Here’s hoping 2016 is a stellar year for all of us.

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