Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos. Screenshot of December 2023 Writers’ Narrative magazine taken by me, Allison Symes, as were the photos from The Writers’ Summer School, Swanwick. Images of me at the Book Fair at The Hilt taken by Richard Hardie – thanks, Richard. Many thanks to Julia Pattison for the photo of me at my editing workshop in Swanwick in August 2023.
First and foremost, may I start by wishing you all a Happy New Year.
How do you approach a new year? I think it is safe to say, given how 2020 turned out, many of us may approach the new time period with some trepidation. I know I do. But if I look at this from writing and reading viewpoints, the outlook is far more sunny!
A New Writing Year
From a writing viewpoint, I look at what I would like to have done within the next twelve months and then plan out what I need to do by when so I can get this done. My posts here and elsewhere are useful because they mean I have deadlines to meet (weekly and monthly) but I have longer term projects on the go too, one especially. For those, I work out where I would like to get to by, say, June and then review again.
I think it a good idea to reassess your writing goals. Things do change. Positively, opportunities come your way which will take time to fulfil but which are worth pursuing. It was one of those opportunities which led me to discover flash fiction. It wasn’t something I had expected. Mind you, I have no complaints about this.
I have managed to get further on with my long term writing project than anticipated in 2023 but not as far as I would have liked! This is the way of it. I am hoping to have something to submit to a publisher sometime in 2024 but I can’t see that being before the summer. Having that target in mind though is useful. You have to have something to aim for!
I would like to run more workshops this year (and already know of one coming up. More details on that in a later post).
I would also like to see Writers’ Narrative go from strength to strength. An online writing magazine written by writers for writers is a good idea and it is a privilege to write for it and to be a copy editor for it too. You can subscribe for free at this link
I will aim to enter more writing competitions and it would be nice to get work in anthologies again. I plan to have another crack at The Bridport Prize for flash fiction.
My author newsletter grows steadily in audience numbers so would like that to continue. Organic growth is more sustainable for the long term. My YouTube channel is also picking up subscribers steadily.
My third book is in the pipeline with Chapeltown Books but I don’t know yet when it will be out.
I loved the Book Fair at The Hilt back in the summer. I hope that goes ahead again in 2024. I thought there was a great mixture of authors there. Footfall was very good. And it brings books to our area. That is never a bad thing especially when you consider our nearest bookshops are now in Southampton and Winchester (with a Christian bookshop of longstanding in Romsey). Basically if you want books you either get them online or have to travel a bit. Oh I do miss the bookshop in The Fryern Arcade!
So all good things to aim for then. Also means I’ve got plenty to be getting on with, which is how I like it.
A New Reading Year
I don’t keep a tally of the number of books I read in a year. What I like to do is have a good mixture read over the course of the next twelve months of fiction and non-fiction, in traditional as well as ebook formats. If I manage that, I’m happy. I will try to ensure I mix up lighthearted reading with more serious works though I think it is important to include both. Life is made of up both laughter and sadness after all. Fiction does reflect this. So I think what I read should too.
I mix up book reading with short story/flash collection reading with magazine reading before going back to novels again. I also like to mix up my genres so for a while I may focus on crime, move on to fantasy (including YA fantasy), history and so on. It keeps things interesting! I’ve mentioned before writers are often inspired by what they themselves love to read so it is a great idea to have a wide pool from which to fish from when it comes to seeking inspiration.
Just occasionally a film or TV adaptation will make me read the original book on which the story was based. This was the case for me with Oliver Twist. I watched the Alec Guinness/Oliver Reed adaptation and boy were those two brilliantly cast. Reed was genuinely terrifying as Bill Sikes.
Normally with me, it is a case of having read the book and then seeing what has been done with the adaptation! Sometimes I like what has been done (The Lord of the Rings). Sometimes I don’t (The Hobbit. That is never a three film series. It is one short book. It would make one good film!).
It would be nice to discover writers new to me this year. The book stall at Asssociation of Christian Writer events (in person) and at The Writers’ Summer School, Swanwick are two good places for me to find such.
Whether you write or read or do both, I hope you have a thoroughly enjoyable 2024 in the wonderful world of literature. I think more than ever escapism and entertainment are needed. There is, I think, only so much grim one can take in and handle. Books meet a need here – to take us away from cares for a while. They also encourage empathy with characters. We could definitely do with more empathy in 2024.
The one thing all writers need is the willingness to, quote P.G.Wodehouse, “apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair”. How long each writer has to do just that varies of course but what matters is making the most of what time you have. Mind you, that doesn’t just apply to creative writing, does it?
Happy New Year!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
Never miss out on another blog post. Subscribe here:
Subscribe to Blog via Email