Friday, 30 December 2011

LOOKING BACK AT 2011

Heeellooo, Dear Readers! It looks like we've survived Christmas (hopefully - you're still alive, right?) and as we head into the New Year it seems only right to take a look back at everything that's happened over the last twelve months, reflect on events, see what went wrong and why, and be thankful for what went right.

Following the tradition I started last year, I used the Year In Status app on Facebook to take a look at what I've been talking about most in 2011, and it's not a surprise to see that what I've mostly been talking about is writing, writing and more writing. This year was my first full twelve months as a full-time writer. It's been unbelievably wonderful, and there have been a lot of challenges, many of them not the ones I'd have expected if you asked me this time last year.

2011 saw the release of my third book after a gap of over two years, and it was a relief and a joy to get my place in the nation's bookshops back again. That's the main landmark, and that's how I'll probably always think of 2011, the year of Shadows on the Moon. Highlights included getting a five star review from Books For Keeps, getting shortlisted for the St Helen's Book Award, and seeing the amazing book trailer for the first time.


But a lot of other stuff happened as well! Too much stuff to go back and list, really. So instead, I decided to go back and have a look at the list of not-quite-resolutions-but-something-like-them for 2011 and see what worked and what fell by the wayside.
  1. Write six days a week, using my notebook. Did I succeed here? For the most part, yes, I did. A lot of this year was taken up with reworking and revising and rewriting, but there were many weeks when I worked seven days, and many days when I worked twelve hours, scribbling away either on my laptop or in my notebook. In fact, this year it was a challenge to hold myself back from turning into a writing hermit, and force myself to take the time to get out and do other things now and then.
  2. Write two books in 2011. This was an ambitious one! And in a strange way, I did manage to achieve it - but not in the way I'd hoped. I spent several months completely revising FrostFire and turning it into an entirely new book than the one I'd written in 2010. Then I wrote The Night Itself, the first book of the Katana Trilogy. I'm proud that I managed to get both those things done, and I\m proud of the way both books turned out... I just wish that I'd managed to get FF right the first time.
  3. Carry on blogging three times a week, and try to vlog once a month. Well, I managed to do the blogging thing - apart from my one week holiday hiatus and the hiatus over Christmas, which I think were an OK compromise. It wasn't always easy! It's always been rewarding, though, and this year I've seen reader numbers surge, as well as getting fairly widespread attention for my posts on the Mary-Sue issue. But as for the vlogging...ha! That fell by the wayside early on, as I realised that each five minute video I made usually took at least one day to put together. I actually did apply to join the vlogging group The YA Rebels this year, which would have meant vlogging once a week. I didn't get in, and when I realised that instead of disappointed I felt relieved, I realised that I generally MUCH prefer writing my blog posts than talking them out loud!
  4. Do all I can to promote Shadows so that it gets into the right hands, gets the right reviews or award nominations, catches the imagination of the people who will enjoy it, and finds its place in the market. Well, I tried my best! At one point this year I felt as if I was almost drowning in reviews and interviews and guest blogs (and thanks so much to all my blogging pals who made it more pleasure than pain) and because the book came out in July I still haven't seen my first royalty statement encompassing this period, so I don't have a concrete idea of how it went. But I do know that the book went into reprint within a week or two of release, and every now and again people still send me pictures of it in their local bookshops, which is unbelievably thrilling. So it didn't vanish without a trace, as I'd half feared :)
All in all, it's been a tiring, exciting, happy, slightly scary sort of year. The kind of year that I wouldn't mind having again in 2012. So in my next post I'm going to make some new goals, bearing in mind all I've learned (and I've learned a lot!) in my first twelve months as a full-time writer.

What did you guys achieve in 2011?

    10 comments:

    Essjay said...

    Wow, what a year! I'm in awe of your structure and discipline. I don't tend to set goals which is probably why I have no idea if I achieved them. Next year, for the first time in a long time, I'm going to actually set some.

    Zoë Marriott said...

    Essjay: Ha, that's kind of funny - I tend to think that I need to set goals because I'm a bit unfocused otherwise. I guess it all depends on your perspective!

    A.J. Mullarky said...

    Well done Zoe, looks like it was a really good year :)

    Zoë Marriott said...

    Alex: Thanks :)

    Lynsey Newton said...

    Well done Zoe, I'm so glad you achieved everything you want to. This is what I'm planning to do in 2012 ;)

    Zoë Marriott said...

    Lynsey: Well...I kinda did. It's strange how you seem to achieve things in a different way than you thought you would, quite often. Good luck on your 2012 goals :)

    Emma Pass said...

    Sounds like you had a great year, Zoe. I'm really glad you achieved what you wanted. Happy new year and best wishes for 2012!

    Rebecca Lindsay said...

    Well done Zoe on everything you achieved :)
    I didn't achieve much this year. I set myself a goal to eat more healthily but by the afternoon of the 1st of January, I broke it. I'm not repeating that one again lol. I'm going to set something that I'll be happy to do, lol.

    Happy-Nearly-New Year!

    Zoë Marriott said...

    Emma: Partially achieved is probably more accurate. But I'll keep trying! Happy New Year back :)

    Rebecca: Ah, well I didn't share the healthy eating and fitness goals here, not just because they're not writing related, but also because I failed, failed, failed. *Sigh* So you're not alone!

    Isabel said...

    It's been a crazy year, for me too! Happy new year to everybody! 2012 is going to be amazing. :)

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