Nicole J. Simms

January to February 2020 — A Writing Journey Update

Post date: 8th March 2020
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January to February 2020 — A Writing Journey Update

So, we are in our third month of 2020. What? How did that happen? Yeah, those were the questions I asked myself when I changed my calendar from February to March.

So, since it’s March, I thought it would be a perfect time to share what I’ve been up to. Well, I had some deadlines planned for the end of February:

  • Finish the fourth draft of my novel.
  • Finish planning my second standalone novel.

These deadlines were so I could take a break from my current novel and start writing my second novel in March.

Did I achieve my goals? (Lowers head down in shame) Sadly, I didn’t. I managed to edit three chapters of my novel, and I did some work on the planning of my second novel, but not enough for me to start writing.

Why didn’t I succeed? Hmm, well, my brain just isn’t able to work at the same level as it did before. I tire easily, and trying to do any work in the evenings is a slow process. And editing my novel is even harder to do.

So, with missing my first deadline for 2020, I now have to give myself a new deadline. I don’t want to affect my other deadlines too much, so I’m aiming to finish the fourth draft of my novel and planning my second standalone novel by the end of March. And this time, I have to make sure I achieve this goal.

Talking about my second novel, I am reading Save the Cat! Writes A Novel. Many of the AuthorTubers recommended this book to help with novel planning and structure. So, I bought the book, and so far, it has helped me to fully develop my idea. I’ll review this book in a future post—so stay tuned.

As well as my novels, I was editing stories in my flash fiction book. When we moved into February, it became clear that I couldn’t edit my novel and this book at the same time. So I’ve decided to leave this project for now. This might mean that I won’t have the time to publish the book this year, but with everything else I’m trying to do, it might be a good idea to leave it until next year.

So, what else have I done? Well, I’ve been doing well with my other goals for 2020:

  • I’ve read two screenplays: The Shining and 28 Days Later—I also watched the films while reading the screenplays.
  • I’ve read one poem a week.
  • I listen to at least one podcast a week—again, I will tell you all about these podcasts in a future post.
  • I’ve read two short stories: The Third Bear by Jeff Vandermeer and The Price by Neil Gaiman.
  • I wrote two poems.
  • I wrote two stories for my website: My Latest Shopping Victim and Wolfric the Wolf.

Hmm, it looks like I’ve done more than I realised.

In my ‘Exploring AuthorTube: My 10 Favourite Writers on YouTube’ post, I listed 10 writers/authors I enjoy watching on YouTube. Well, I have since found two more YouTube channels to add to this list. The first one is BookEnds Literary Agency. Jessica Faust, who is the owner and president at Bookends, and James McGowan, who is a literary assistant and social media manager at Bookends, run this channel. They offer great advice to writers who want to be traditionally published—it’s been helpful to see things from a literary agent’s point of view.

The second YouTube channel is Jericho Writers. Jericho Writers is a club founded by writers for writers. The author Harry Bingham presents the channel, and he shares great advice and tips on becoming a published author, traditionally or self-published.

I’m hoping to start submitting my novel in January 2021. So these channels have been useful in preparing me for that. One thing I have learned is that I’m going to need to use my copywriting skills to do the query letter and synopsis.

Another thing I’m doing, which I wish I wasn’t, is thinking about my third novel project. My original plan was to write the first novel in my supernatural horror series. But I’ve discovered that getting a series published could be tricky for a new writer, for example, if the first book in a series doesn’t do well, a publisher is likely to not publish any more in the series, and it can be tricky to get the rights for the first book back. So I’m left with the following questions:

  • Do I work on my third standalone novel or the first novel in my series?
  • If I work on the series, which series shall I choose?
  • If I work on my standalone novel, shall I do my supernatural horror idea or my fantasy idea? The supernatural horror will be a perfect follow up to my other novels if they are published. And the fantasy one would be another genre option if I can’t get my horror novels published.

Hmm, what shall I do? I haven’t got a clue. Oh, I wish I wasn’t so indecisive. But I do have some time before I need to make a decision. Hopefully, I can figure things out. But for now, I do have two novels to focus on.

Before I go, I want to let you know that I’ve created a new Facebook group called Setting Self-Doubt on Fire Squad. This is a group for any writer who suffers from self-doubt and could do with some support from other writers who understand what you are going through. It is a group that was inspired by my ‘Setting Self-Doubt on Fire’ column on the Horror Tree website. Surprisingly, people found my posts helpful and inspiring. So I thought it would be great to gather all my self-doubters together, so together we can defeat that troublesome Mr Self Doubt. So, if you’re a fellow self-doubter, please do join the Setting Self-Doubt on Fire Squad group—I’d love to have you on board.

How are you doing with your writing goals? Let me know in the comment box below.

Keep writing, folks!

Don’t forget, if you want email alerts of my latest posts, then please subscribe. And you can follow me on Twitter, Goodreads or like my Facebook page. I’ve also created a Nicole J Simms YouTube channel. On my channel, I will be sharing videos of my performances, trips, writing group adventures and my stories. You can also download my e-book The Book of Drabbles for FREE, so check it out.

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