‘A goal is a dream with a deadline.’
I’m a big fan of goals.
Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
So at the start of 2018, I started this blog and vowed that I would write weekly throughout the year – come hell or high water.
You see I’ve started blogs before. Five to be exact. And none of them have lasted longer than six months. So this is a big step for me.
My blog has reached it’s six month birthday and I still love writing it as much as I did when I started in January.
So now that I’ve reached the six-month marker, when all my other blogs had bitten the dust, I decided to write a review of my writing year so that I (and you) can see what I’ve been up to.
My Writing Year – 2018
Writing has always been an important part of my life. I’ve loved children’s books for as long as I can remember and nothing makes me happier than sitting with a new book and a large cup of tea in my hands. Going into a bookshop and browsing the shelves is such a treat.
But reading what others have written is all well and good (and an essential part of being a good writer), but what about my own writing ambitions? What would 2018 hold in store for those? And what about this blog, what would become of that? I had so many grand ideas in January that I was worried that I would get so overwhelmed that none of them would become a reality.
That’s why this mid-year review is so important for me. I think it’s an important step for any writer. It’s great to have goals and ambitions, but unless you review and reflect on them regularly, they can become nothing more than pipe dreams.
So let’s get stuck into my review and hopefully, it’ll inspire you to do your own.
1. Writing for Children
My absolute passion and obsession. They say that you become what you think about most of the time. I think about being a published writer each and every day, many times a day.
It is my passion that drives me to work on this goal consistently. But that’s been the case for the last eight years. Why would 2018 be any different?
At the start of the year, I had applied to the Golden Egg Academy’s Foundations Course and been rejected for the January intake. It didn’t set my writing year off to a good start, I can tell you. For the whole of January I didn’t write anything. It had been my first rejection from the world of children’s writing and it hurt. So I sulked a little bit and licked my wounds, wondering whether I would ever be a writer.
But then I remembered everything that I have learned through my love of personal development. Rejection and obstacles are all part of the journey. I remembered the importance of having a growth mindset and that every outcome should be seen as a learning opportunity. Having a stern word with myself to stop behaving like a stroppy teenager, I decided that I would apply for the next intake in June and try again.
After all, nothing worth having comes easily.
Spring is Here
Throughout the spring I worked hard to get a better understanding of story, reading great books such as Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them by John Yorke and Writing for Children by Pamela Cleaver.
I began a new manuscript based on an idea that had been floating around in my head for at least five years, but that I had been too afraid to write. I knew that I only needed 5000 words and a synopsis to apply to the GEA so I didn’t have the daunting prospect of a full manuscript to write.
Every morning I worked on my manuscript, writing the first draft relatively quickly, but then spending many weeks polishing and tweaking it to within an inch of its life. The deadline for the GEA course was June 30th so I knew I had plenty of time.
On June 26th, I read my application through one last time and sent it off to the Golden Egg. A feeling of sheer exhilaration filled my heart. I had not let rejection defeat me! I had stuck to my goal and worked harder than I thought possible.
There is nothing like the feeling you get when you complete a full manuscript. I actually burst into tears when I did my first one. But sending my application off was close to it. I will find out the result at the beginning of August, so it’s an anxious wait! Someone asked me what I will do if I don’t get in and I think it’s always sensible to have a Plan B.
I know what that plan is and I am prepared to look rejection in the eye once again, but for the moment I am keeping a positive mindset and hoping my application is enough to earn me a place. Watch this space!
2. Building the Blog
Before I started TTGBWYW, I knew that I wanted to blog about two things. Writing and personal development. I didn’t know which one to choose because I loved both topics in equal measure. I love children’s writing in particular. So I sat down and did a little brainstorming and realised that I could combine the two.
From experience, I know that writers can be full of self-doubt, fear of rejection and procrastination. I also know that we want to find ways to write more efficiently and with a better understanding of how to use the time we have set aside for writing.
Most importantly, we want to find out how to be the best writers we can be. We want to know the skills that we need and how to apply them. This is a journey that I am on too, so I decided to create the skills section of the website to share what I learn, as I learn it. Writing, much like teaching, is an ever-evolving thing and I’m a long way from mastery, but sharing is caring, folks!
My knowledge and desire to learn propelled the blog forward to what it is today. With a little loan from my parents, I found a web designer who didn’t charge the earth and set about creating the blog. Having to explain it to someone else gave me greater clarity and forced me to really define my niche. There was only one choice here: a blog for children’s writers.
Six Months In and the Six Months Ahead
Now that I have been blogging solidly for six months, I have settled in nicely. Every time I fire up the laptop, I feel like I’m sitting in an armchair with a cuppa, ready to chat with my friends about the things I love. No, I don’t have the readership yet or the comments flooding my inbox, but I’m still sharing what I know and what I am trying to know.
I am excited to have partnered up with some great companies that sell ‘stuff’ that writers would love and I’m building my little shop each and every day. I am aiming to make a business from my blog so these affiliate links really help. Some people don’t agree with affiliate marketing and I understand that, but I only partner with companies and promote products that I have used or would use myself.
A couple of months ago I took the plunge and created Things That Go Bump When You Write TV over on YouTube. I am slowly building up my vlogs and I’ll be posting one about my mid-year review in the next couple of days. If you haven’t already subscribed, head on over to the channel and join the community. I’d love to hear from you.
Behind the scenes, I have created my post schedule so that I have six months of blog posts ready to go. I am also busily preparing a free members area where I can share exclusive resources with you all. I also have two non-fiction books in the pipeline that I will share more about in the months to come.
In order to gain more experience in writing non-fiction, I have had the pleasure to ghostwrite a personal development book in the last couple of months and I really enjoyed it. It enabled me to dig deeper into my understanding of what it means to take responsibility for your life and inspired this blog post.
I hope to do some more ghostwriting over the next few months to broaden my experiences further, so if you’re in need of a good ghostwriter for non-fiction, head on over to my freelancing page.
4. Self Development
As well as writing, self-development is my true passion. I could talk about it all day long. I could write about it all day long.
Over the past six months, I have read a number of books on this topic to enhance my understanding of it further and to apply the principles to my own life.
The most profound change has been my morning routine. What once was a lazy start to the day is now productive and energizing. I start the day as I mean to go on and my productivity levels have skyrocketed. It has been six months of a solid change in habits and I now couldn’t start my day in any other way. For more information and to find out exactly what my routine looks like, read my post here.
I am currently taking a course to develop my understanding of coaching so that I can offer a helpful and motivating coaching programme for writers in the years ahead. I also hope to offer a Success Principles program later in the year. More news on that after the summer months. If you would be interested in taking part, please let me know via the Contact page.
5. Reading Challenge 2018
It is a well-known fact that leaders are readers. With this in mind, I decided to start a reading challenge in 2018 to read my age in books. So the hashtag #37booksin2018 was born and I have been diligently sticking to my challenge.
I share my progress regularly on Instagram, so head on over to my Instagram feed to keep up to date with my reading shenanigans. The list mainly comprises children’s fiction and self-development so it’s a bit of a mix.
When I read a great children’s book, I am always sure to leave a review for the author on Amazon, but I also share those reviews here. If you want to take a look at a few, click here.
And why not head on over to the Reading Challenge post? Got any recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them.
So there you have it! My writing year so far. It’s been really fun to write this post as it’s given me an opportunity to reflect on the things I have done. It’s amazing to look back and realise that I’ve done quite a lot in the last six months.
I can’t wait to crack on with the next half of 2018 – it’s going to be really exciting.
Thanks, as always for your support too! It’s much appreciated.
How is your writing year going? What are you most proud of? What are you hoping to achieve in the next six months? Let me know in the comments.