When I emailed my newsletters with a foretaste of what to expect from me in 2023, I thought I’d do something similar here on Annecdotal, plus a more detailed list of goals to monitor privately myself. So how come I’ve almost reached the end of January without doing that?
I’ve always felt a little uneasy about setting concrete objectives when I don’t possess a crystal ball. But this is the year I’ve got a marketing plan stuffed with SMART objectives for my next novel. Yet I’m more conflicted than ever.
Illness often affects what we can do, so I count myself lucky that my energy levels are almost back to normal. Chronic illness also affects what we should do, so I take my tablets, limit my consumption of potassium, avoid the sun and enclosed spaces where I’m extra susceptible to catching a virus and obsess more than ever about my daily walk.
Is that enough? I’m still struggling with the fact that my immune system (AKA me) attacked my healthy body. Maybe I’ll never know why. But, having had a serious autoimmune disease in the distant past that was psychosomatic in nature, I wonder.
With maturity, I can see how my body might have turned on itself in my teens. But in my sixties? When life was easier than it had ever been?
When my husband warns I’m working too hard, I think of the writers who are also raising a family and holding down full-time jobs. But comparisons aren’t always helpful – we all have to work with the reality, not the ideal.
So should I cut myself some slack this year? Try a little less? I don’t know. I love his writing life and there’s still so much I want to achieve.
A new novel published
My next novel, Lyrics for the Loved Ones, is scheduled for publication in May. It’s a stand-alone sequel to Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, set thirty years later.
An audiobook released
Thinking it would be fun to release my next novel as an audiobook as well as in paperback and e-book, I purchased a professional microphone and audiobook for authors course last year. However, several months on, I’m stuck at lesson 1. But I haven’t given up completely. I’ve decided to start small with my collection of prize-winning short stories, Somebody's Daughter, which is free to my newsletter subscribers.
Drafting another novel
After ten months with no new fiction project, I was delighted to delve into a new novel shortly before Christmas. I had the seed of the story some time ago, but it took a few false starts and dead ends before it could germinate and blossom. I don’t know if I’ll finish The Guest List in 2023, but it’s shaping up well so far into a story of three wounded women intent on revenge.
This week’s 99-word story prompt is optimism. I love the image, if not the topic, although it fits the theme of this post. Anyway, I’ve scrabbled together a story – I’m not sure if it’s about toxic positivity or the hubris of Empire. There’s a significant overlap, whatever.
We were small, but we were mighty. We planted flags of industry across the world. We stole their artefacts, smashed their cultures, raised fine buildings from the sweat of slaves. When times changed, we adapted, but in our history books we stood tall.
We crushed the pessimists back home with promises. When our neighbours wouldn’t recognise our stature, we cut our ties.
Who cares if we’re the laughing stock of Europe? We scorned their health and safety human rights to take back control. Our red tape is stronger and shinier than their red tape. Our tape makes tighter knots.