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Appropriate for the first post of the New Year, I’m going to quickly look at what I’ve done and what I’m planning to do to build on that – while answering this month’s IWSG question.

January 3 question – What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

To recharge in December between rewrites, first drafts and edits, I did a lot of work in the garden (read: cleaning up after the horses and chickens, getting sunburned, teaching the horses not to bite – successfully – and watching the three chicks that hatched grow into wild little hunters who only listen to their mother).

– Fabio, Tris and Katniss with mommy Nyssa. Let’s hope I got the genders right this time.

My gift to myself on Christmas Eve Day was to upload the details of the two anthologies I’ve been published in during December on Goodreads and joining the Goodreads Author Program.

Goodreads page for “Unbound”: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37664784-unbound

Goodreads page for “Cinderella Reimagined”: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37665074-cinderella-reimagined

I also uploaded my book Eens… once I figured out how to get Goodreads to use my entire surname as my surname… Yeah, “Vuuren” alone popped up a lot.

Now, obviously the crazy schedule I had put in place for myself for December (writing-wise) didn’t work out perfectly. First, my computer crashed – according to my tech guy, I’ve worked it to death and it’ll be cheaper to buy a laptop than to try and find replacement parts for a PC that is five years old (something about tech advancing so much that my PC’s parts aren’t compatible with what’s currently available).

Yeah, I wanted to cry when I had to give up this seat of power. I mean, after waiting so long to get this super set-up, writing so many stories there, doing so much research, spending so much time with this computer, it’s like losing a close friend.

Anyhow, I’m borrowing a laptop until I can find the perfect match. I’m not rushing into a new relationship.

At least I’m obsessive about making backups of everything…

Second, my muse decided to take a vacation. I had the perfect idea for a story – but I didn’t know where it should go or any of the important details. Trying to write this story – with a character that I just cannot like, though it is fun to torment her – was like walking through a veld in midsummer without antihistamines or water. After weeks of running around without a redeeming quality for this character, it finally came to me when I whined about her – especially how I want readers to connect with her while still finding the torture humorous. The first few drafts are done: the story is waiting to be read with fresh eyes. Then it’s off to beta readers, another rewrite, and a proofreading session before I submit it to an anthology.

Third, I suddenly got nightmarish flashbacks of days gone by while rewriting (okay, stripping it for parts) a novel I wrote over a decade ago. It’s not just the horrible writing of the practice novel that got to me, but also the things I felt and thought at that time of my life. It’s perfect for the competition I’m planning to submit it to, though. All that adolescent angst, uncertainty and immediacy is exactly what the competition winners usually have page after page. When I finally get my goblins in line I’ll finish another draft before sending it off to an author who also writes Afrikaans. (Yeah, this is another project in my mother tongue.)

Fourth, editing became an alien concept that I just couldn’t grasp. Maybe my allergies are to blame. Maybe my crazy grieving over my PC is to blame – the screen of the laptop just isn’t the same. Maybe I was just tired and wanted to party like everyone else. Anyhow, I only edited a page. *Sigh.*

Okay, enough with the whining.

I finally figured out how Canva works – thanks, Jacqui! I made a new banner for my Twitter page with the links and covers of the three publications my writing appears in and I played around with other images for my blog. I think this is a step in the right direction for marketing and branding.

As for my writing and publishing schedule…

Most of it, unfortunately, is out of my control. I’ll write and submit short stories for anthologies again – that worked out really well in 2017 (as seen above). I’m working on two novels for a competition with NB Publishers and Sanlam – the prize (beside a publishing deal) is quite prestigious. Though, results will only be announced in 2019.

Those are the biggies. But I’m also working on rewriting Eens… in English (then sending it off to an editor – the usual – before self-publishing it). I know, I thought it would be ready for publication by now, but life…

To help me get all of this done in a timely manner, I’m going to have loads of interviews and guest posts on my blog addressing writing, publishing and marketing/sales. (If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, send me a message via my contact page.)

I’ve already sent emails to a couple of people before the New Year had properly arrived, just to get things going this month. Remember to check out those posts (on Sundays) to learn something about the art of writing and to find new reading material to add to your TBR.

I’ve also contacted people to do interviews and guest posts on their blogs. Don Massenzio has sent out a call for interviews on his blog – check it out!

So, to summarise:

Not only will I be hosting guest posts/interviews here on my blog, I’ll also be writing for other blogs this year (more than last year, I think). I already went over why guest posts are good for you and your blog. 

My beta readers are going to be very busy this year.

I’m going to learn a lot about the business side of the writing game.

And I’ll have to find the perfect computer-match before the Equinox to get this all done…

Hopefully this will work. Is my New Year’s insecurity showing?

How about you: do you have any goals/schedules you’re planning to keep this year? How was your Solstice? Have you claimed your Goodreads Author profile yet?

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