Here We Go Again…!

Happy New Year from Bonnie & me

Happy New Year from Bonnie & me

Hello, I’m back after my post-Christmas slump and I hope you all had a good time over the festivities!

I’d love to say I had a wild time on New Year’s Eve, dancing ‘til dawn in a sparkly dress, fuelled by fizz but the truth is, we’ve been a bit poorly in this house over Christmas.

First me, then Him and now me again (only sniffles, but it zaps you, doesn’t it?!), so I was actually asleep on the sofa last night when Big Ben started chiming on the TV.

I was woken up to hear the ‘Ten… Nine… Eight…’ countdown .. managed to wave a hand and mutter ‘Happynewyr..’ and then went straight back to sleep again! Oh, I was scintillating company, me.

But never mind about all that now. The New Year has started and I’m getting organised to start writing again.

Here is my toolkit:
1. Self-help books.

You can never have too many 'how to' books!

You can never have too many ‘how to’ books!

(i) The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which I have raved about in the past but never actually got down to reading all the way through and acting upon. I have started ‘Morning Pages’ again (they fizzled out in about September) and I’m also intending to take myself off on some ‘Artist’s Dates’ – I will report back about those in the coming weeks.

(ii) ‘Your Best Year Yet!’ by Jinny Ditzler, which has been recommended to me by a fellow writer.

2. The January ‘Achievement Chart’ from Writers Forum magazine. Yes, I know it’s a bit childish but it does motivate me if I’ve got a chart to fill in!

Writers Forum Achievement Chart

Writers Forum Achievement Chart

3. And.. finally, the most exciting part.. the ‘well done’/’good work’ stickers that I’m going to be using on the chart. (2 for £1 in Poundland, in case you’re interested!)

One sticker  = writing done!

One sticker = writing done!

Looking back on 2014

I didn’t write as much as I wanted to/should have (*hangs head in shame*) but 2014 was still my best year yet for writing so I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on myself.

– One of my targets was to send off 52 stories (one a week!) to the women’s magazines and I did actually achieve that. Hurrah. They weren’t all new stories (I was allowed to resubmit a story to another magazine when it was turned down by the first one, for example) and of course, they weren’t all accepted but it kept me focussed on actually submitting work, so that’s something I’m going to do again this year.

– I finally broke my duck with Take A Break and had 9 stories accepted by them in 2014, which gave me a real buzz and I’m hoping to keep that up this year.

– And a story that I really had fun writing (but which definitely wasn’t a ‘womag ‘ story) came first in the Chudleigh Phoenix short story competition.

– I wrote 60 new posts on this blog (eek!) and my ‘most active commenter’ was Philippa! Thank you! (Wendy was second, Tracy was third)

– I went to Swanwick for the first time and met some very nice people, which lead to me joining a poetry group that meets once a month. And linked to that, I’ve cut down on my Writers Bureau work from today, so that I can concentrate more on my own poetry.

– And finally, I’ve made good progress on an e-book of my short stories, which I’m hoping to publish very soon. Watch this space.

But enough about me. How about you? Was 2014 good for you and what have you got planned for 2015?

Happy New Year!

This entry was posted in Blogging, Competitions, Magazines and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Here We Go Again…!

  1. Patsy says:

    Not sure I’d go as far as the stickers, but keeping a note of your achievements sounds like an excellent idea.

  2. Patsy says:

    Oh and Happy New Year!

  3. cltaylorauthor says:

    Well done on the short story sales. One of my aims for 2015 is to write more short stories.

  4. julielees says:

    I love the stickers. Will be looking out for them myself next time I visit Poundland. Sounds like you’ve had a most productive and successful year (huge pat on the back). Here’s wishing you an even more prosperous one in 2015.

  5. kathmcgurl says:

    Fab achievements, well done, and all the best for 2015.

  6. I’m very impressed with your short story success, not to mention the motivation you give to us all. Happy New Year!

  7. Linda says:

    Snap! I fell asleep waiting for Big Ben too! My husband managed to wake me just in time and we toasted the New Year with a nice cup of tea. Ah, the joys of getting older …
    I do like your stickers – less fattening than the chocolate I use to reward myself for good work.
    Congrats on all your successes. I didn’t achieve all my 2014 goals but overall it was a very good year, and I WILL get my novel finished in 2015!

  8. rosgemmell says:

    What a great year you had, Helen. Glad to see you’ve mentioned The Artist’s Way – my daughter gave me a copy for Christmas and I can’t wait to start following all the advice. All best with 2015.

    • Let me know how you get on with it, Rosemary. I’m doing the Morning Pages and finding them really helpful (but I wish I could do them quicker than 25 minutes!) but I haven’t yet started my ‘Artist’s Dates’

  9. Hayley Jones says:

    Congratulations on all your achievements in 2014 and hope this year brings you more of the same! I’m definitely going to check out Your Best Year Yet 🙂

  10. cathos says:

    Well done with the 9 stories to TAB – that’s a great achievement in one year! Love the idea of stickers and less fattening than food treats! All the best for your writing and other life in 2015.

  11. Nicola says:

    Happy New Year, Helen. Wishing you all the very best for 2015. I LOVE stickers – must be the teacher in me. Good for you. And if you need new stickers (which you can self design :)) check out (reasonably priced). You could even get a stamp saying, “Well done, Me!” or “Yay! Published!” Going a bit overboard now, but I do find things like that motivating too. Enjoy!

  12. Wendy Clarke says:

    Charts and stickers – are you sure you weren’t a teacher? It’s been a very productive year for you and I’m glad you eventually conquered FF then carried on selling. Wishing you the very best for 2015 and the story collection (you’ll be thrilled when you’ve done it).

  13. KH says:

    Well done on all your success in 2014, Helen. Nine stories to TAB – amazing, could you pinpoint what it was that triggered the success? I know you mentioned the subscription but I read TAB every month too and I’ve only managed a few sales to Norah in about four years. Hope your success continues – you deserve it. All good wishes for 2015 Kate Hogan

  14. Kate, thanks for your comment. What triggered the success? It’s hard to say but I did send them a LOT of stories – they rejected 18 and I’m still waiting to hear about 3. So, I think perhaps it’s a numbers game. I could have just sent them 5 and might have got them all turned down but because I gave them plenty to choose from, 9 of them hit the mark. It might not happen again though, so I’m certainly not smugly thinking ‘I’ve sussed out TAB!’!

  15. KH says:

    That’s still a great outcome, Helen. I’ve enjoyed reading all of them, too. Agreed, it’s impossible to ever think we’ve sussed out what a magazine wants! But good luck with your future submissions. Good wishes Kate Hogan

  16. philippabowe says:

    Well done for your 2014 achievement, really very impressive – particularly the one-story-a-week submissions! I had too much non-writing work last year to do much: I inched forward with my novel and wrote a few stories – all of which is far far better than no writing at all…

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