About Me

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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Sunday Writing: The Old Year and the New Year

So, it's the time of year when we naturally look backwards and forwards in our lives.  In examining my writing life over the past twelve months, my initial reaction was "I haven't done any" because I haven't produced any kidlit or YA fiction.  However, this is a fairly typical example of ignoring what I have done, which is:

  • found a new market for English teaching resources, which I've enjoyed doing quite a lot of work for and which I hope to continue working with in 2011
  • finished a time-consuming commission of e-learning material for the new English GCSE for Nelson Thornes
  • produced a teacher's guide to Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs, which is newly on the specification for English Language and Literature A Level, for ZigZag Education.  I'm pretty pleased with the finished product after their helpful editorial suggestions, and it's been receiving really good reviews
  • continued to write for the fantastic emagazine (for A Level English students)
  • come up with some ideas for a YA novel, including a three-act plot plan and some character sketches 
  • started this blog (in December), subscribed to loads of writers' and writing blogs and found lots of cool writing types to follow on Twitter
This last point led me to sign up for Better Writing Habits, which has had great advice so far.  Yesterday in thinking about my bad writing habits, I realised that I tend to discount writing related to teaching as somehow not 'real', hence my belief that I'd achieved nothing in 2010.  I also realised that I've been scared of what I see as 'real' writing (actual stories) because it's riskier - which is plainly daft, since I'm a happier person when I'm doing it.  I had produced a few picture book stories and a kidlit novel, which are lost now (the USB stick with them on has been hidden in my house somewhere, either by evil goblins or by a helpful ghost who did it for my own good), and have a small collection of rejections (including one with a Personal Comment, yippee!), but I need to get started again.

So, my 2011 writing goals (newly made SMART, as per advice on Better Writing Habits) are:

  • to work on my novel for at least 15 mins a day (I believe giving myself permission to do 'just 15 mins' will frequently lead to more time writing); outlining first, and then writing
  • to complete a draft of said novel by the end of April, and to complete revisions by the end of June (the ultimate goal is to have something I can start submitting to agents in the summer)
  • to continue to produce teaching-related work (since that currently sells and I do enjoy doing it once I stop procrastinating) - I will devote 3x 1 hr sessions a week to this work
  • to blog twice weekly
  • to continue to research and generate ideas for new non-fiction/freelance markets, with the ultimate goal of actually placing work in at least 2 new places in 2011

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