New Year, New Opportunity

So, 2013 has kicked off in style. In last week’s post one of my aims for 2013 was to earn a full-time living as a writer by the end of the year. I became one step closer to that goal on Monday by being offered the position of a part-time lecturer at Bath Spa University (BSU), teaching the lifewriting class on the undergraduate Creative Writing course. Although the job offer came completely out of the blue, there is a reason behind it. A few years ago I studied for my MA in Creative Writing at BSU and was on the course with the very lovely and talented Emma Hooper who, until recently, had been teaching the lifewriting class. Emma put my name forward to the subject leader of the undergraduate Creative Writing faculty, Paul Meyer (who I happened to work with when I co-edited Sparks, the 2004-05 MA student’s anthology), and it was Paul who offered me the job. I of course said yes.

It was during the MA at BSU that I wrote much of The Butterfly Storm, the novel I will be publishing this year. The Exploration and Experiment workshop during the first semester was where I initially got the idea for my children’s novel and the entire year was an exploration of different styles of writing and ideas. There were novel writing workshops where we discussed and critiqued each others work-in-progress; weekly talks by visiting authors, agents and publishers; and classes where we discussed writing and gender, suspense fiction or the love story. The highlight, however, of my time on the MA was meeting other writers, both students and lecturers, and sharing our work and passion for writing.

The opportunity to be a part-time lecturer on the Creative Writing course at BSU is incredible. Not only is the Newton Hill campus a beautiful place to work, but I will be able to immerse myself in writing and books with like-minded people, just as I did during the MA. The only difference this time is I’ll be the one teaching.

A New Beginning

Although it’s the 2nd January 2013 and it’s a rather damp and grey morning compared to the beautiful sunshine we had yesterday, for me today actually feels like the true beginning of 2013. I love Christmas, all the festivities, the Christmas tree, decorations, the over-indulgence of good food and spending time with my family but in some ways I’m quite glad it’s all over and I can get back to work, not to mention eating a little healthier.

When I say work I mean writing work – articles, blog posts, my novels. I did work at my other job at NHS Direct on Christmas Eve evening and New Year’s Day (which probably explains why I feel like celebrating the start of the New Year today) but it’s writing where my heart is and what I want to fully concentrate on this year. With NHS Direct disbanding and the new 111 service taking over there’s a chance that I could be made redundant later in the year. Maybe that’s the push I need to go full time as a freelance writer. It’s a scary but exciting prospect.

So, I woke up this morning feeling motivated about getting on with writing and building on what I achieved with my writing and blogs during 2012. There’s a lot I want to do this year. I’ve not made New Year’s resolutions as such but I am going to set myself these goals:

  • Self-publish my novel, The Butterfly Storm
  • Launch Ketula’s Kitchen, a new blog all about food
  • Finish editing my children’s novel, Time Shifters, and decide what to do with it – self-publish or try and get an agent.
  • Regularly update my own blogs and make time to read other people’s
  • Find more freelance writing markets with the aim to be able to support myself solely as a writer by the end of the year.

Those are my aims and hopefully with hard work and perseverance they will be achievable. If only I could bottle the optimism, motivation and excitement I’m feeling about the year ahead as I’m writing this.

What are you hoping to achieve in 2013?

The Year Ahead

I ordered a 2013 writer’s diary from Mslexia yesterday. My husband has bought me the Mslexia diary every Christmas for the last few years but this year I didn’t want to wait another seven weeks until Christmas Day to get my hands on it and start making plans. The diary is invaluable for writers (or anyone creative for that matter). It has loads of blank pages for scribbling down ideas, a section for keeping track of your submissions, plus plenty of informative and inspiring pages detailing writing competitions, literary festivals and book suggestions. As you can probably tell, it’s the best diary I have ever had.

Ordering the diary late yesterday evening got me thinking about what kind of year 2013 will be writing-wise for me. I’m anticipating that it will be a good year. To begin with I’m going to self-publish my novel, The Butterfly Storm, so that in itself will be a very positive start. I had hoped to publish it before the end of 2012 but life and other writing work has got in the way and delayed things. I also want to do it justice and feel there’s no point in rushing it.

So, with The Butterfly Storm published at the beginning of the year I want to then focus on my second novel, Time Shifters, a time travel adventure story for children. It’s already written and edited, I just need to decide what to do with it – whether to send it out to agents or consider self-publishing it too.

As well as all the promoting and marketing that will be involved following the release of The Butterfly Storm, there’s also other writing work to concentrate on – work that’s actually guaranteed to earn me money such as writing articles, blog posts and online content for easyJet holidays and Ideally by this time next year (if not before) I would love to be working as a writer full time. Only time and a lot of hard work will tell.

What are your plans, writing or otherwise, for 2013?