Hey there (waves). I don't know where you are or what you've been doing over the last month or so but I hope it has been AWESOME!! And I hope you have big plans for 2017. Well, good plans, whether big or small. Good luck for your good plans!
I have one plan for the year ahead, and that is to not have a plan :) I'm kind of winging it (because I figure when you wing it, you might just fly).
Of course I'm gonna keep doing the key things I always do. My key tasks are to try and produce great content and to deliver the best talks, workshops and readings I can if I am called on to do so. Content, first and foremost, is king. Without it I'm not a writer. If I'm not a writer than I won't be called on to talk books, reading, and writing.
And I'm keen to enjoy my writing. Feeling joy in the process can't help but leak in to the product. It's a good way to work as a creative, and can easily be forgotten in the drive to capitalise on previous successes or in attempting to meet a market which turns out to be slipperier than a greased seal. So: a passive approach and few expectations, a focus on writing, and a desire to work on things that make me happy.
Okay, so I am cheating a little having actively pursued a few opportunities last year which might bear fruit this year. I already have a few things booked in and they are nicely spread out across the next 11 months. But at the moment taking my foot a little off the gas feels like the right thing to do. This may change though, as conveniently, winging it gives me the right to make it up as I go along (lol, just like writing).
I thought it might be handy to start the year off with a few observations
1) If it's really difficult, you're doing it right
2) Believe it or not, it's all about the writing. Just the writing. No, really.
3) Where do ideas come from? Take an interest in things. Be curious. Live your life. Where experience and curiosity and imagination intersect is where ideas hang out. Go hang out there too.
4) If you think other writers have it easier, it's probably because they have chosen not to share about the knocks and struggles they have faced. We are all facing obstacles, wishing things would go a little better, and doing the best we can
5) Don't put off following your dreams until tomorrow. Start as soon as possible because you will always wish you'd started yesterday.
6) Of course it sometimes feels like you have the absolute worst job in the world! All the best jobs do
And in seriously exciting news for the NZ children's literature scene, a new initiative, The Sapling - a new online magazine about children's books. Because books grow children - is starting up soon. This sounds amazing and I can't wait. The founding editors, Sarah Forster and Jane Arthur, are currently running a Boosted fundraising campaign to enable them to start things off right. If you would like to contribute, go check it out here. They also currently have a facebook page if you want to keep in touch with their progress