I’m writing this post in the first week of December – a week or two before the release of my eleventh novel, Terms May Apply.
As you can tell from the infrequency of my blog posts, I only tend to write when I have something to say. In the case of this post, it’s as much about affirmation as it is updating my readers.
It seems like a lifetime ago I published my first novel but it was only four and a bit years ago. I’ve written eleven novels (over 1.3 million words), and for the last two years, I’ve been working six/seven days a week solid, and I’ve never taken more than a few consecutive days off.
Some might say I have an admirable work ethic but it’s come at a cost.
I’ve been so focussed on churning out books I’ve not stopped to consider the direction of my writing career or my mental wellbeing. Interestingly, when I finished Terms May Apply and I read it back on my Kindle for the first time, I realised I’d poured more of myself into it than any of my other novels – I’d subconsciously penned a cautionary tale.
In January, I set a target of publishing three books in 2020 and although that was always achievable, I hadn’t factored in the negative effects of a global pandemic. With the country locked down for long periods and a daily dose of gloomy news, getting in the right frame of mind to write every day has been a challenge. It would be fair to say I’d like a little less pressure in my life next year.
So, I’ve decided I need a slightly different plan for 2021.
I’m hoping to complete two novels, and the first will be aimed squarely at the commercial fiction market with an eye on a possible publishing deal. I’ve turned down a few opportunities to work with a publisher before and I’m still satisfied I made the right decision at the time however, now the time feels right.
The plan is to complete the first draft of my commercial fiction novel in the spring of 2021. I’m keeping the theme of that novel under wraps for now but it will retain the basic ingredients of all my other novels. At some point (after editing it for the millionth time), I’m hoping to secure the services of a literary agent in order to find a publishing deal. If you happen to be a publisher or literary agent, feel free to get in touch.
Then, probably in the early summer, I aim to make a start on another novel which I’ll publish myself (possibly around October). There is a reasonable chance that novel will be set in 1971 and feature a certain denim-clad character. I’d like to write a series of novels based upon Clement’s life in the early seventies, but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself.
As with all plans, there might be some deviation from what I’m hoping to achieve in 2021, not least because I might not find a literary agent willing to take me on, but I wanted to share it with you. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have a writing career at all, so the least I can do is explain why my output in 2021 might not be as prolific as it has been.
All that remains is for me to say … THANK YOU! This year has been incredibly tough for so many people, for so many reasons, but we’ve made it through. The only reason I’ve managed to keep writing throughout the 2020 shitstorm is because of your positivity, kind words, and goodwill.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and, notwithstanding the various restrictions, you’re able to enjoy time with those you love.