2020 Writing Goals

Mariajauthor/ January 6, 2020/ Author Journey/ 1 comments

Happy New Year all!

It’s just gone 10 am on this dreary January morning. Today is my first day back after the Christmas break. The fact it took ten minutes to start my laptop properly shows it’s been a while since I last wrote anything. It was lovely to have some time off after Christmas, but I can tell it might take me a bit to get back into the swing of things.

Around this time of year people are making all sorts of resolutions for the New Year – and the new decade! With that in mind, I thought I’d share four writing goals I’m hoping to reach in 2020.

Finish the first round of edits on the 3rd novel.

This is the big one that took me a lot of last year. I started editing my 3rd historical fiction novel (continuing Daniel’s story after The Boy from the Snow and The Veiled Wolf) in May 2019. I have been focusing on NaNoWriMo projects as well last year and December I was finishing another project (more details to follow soon hopefully!) but that still meant I had 5 or 6 months of editing, by the end of which I’d edited about ¾ of the novel.

The first round of editing – what I call the ‘content’ edit where I make sure that all the plot points are consistent and I’m happy with the overall story of the novel – has been a bit of a slog, if I’m honest. I’ve not been as certain about the story structure as the previous two novels and I’ve ended up tweaking and rewriting a lot of it, especially a journey Daniel goes on in the middle of the novel.

Although it’s taking longer and I had a couple of stumbling blocks about where to include material or whether I should just chop it out, I think my draft feels tighter now and I’m entering 2020 feeling much happier about the project. I hope to finish the first round of edits by the spring. Then of course there will be further editing mainly based on grammar, typos etc – but with most of the story hopefully by then worked out, further editing should take a lot less time – in theory!

Finish 1st draft of new mystery thriller

Towards the end of November last year, ironically when I was meant to be doing a different project for NaNoWriMo but I’d sadly fallen out of love with the idea, I started jotting something down in my notebook.

It started out as one scene of a man walking into his local village, but everyone treats him differently because of something that has happened to him recently – something that the man cannot even admit to himself. The man ends up going to a kind of retreat centre that promises to help him, but he’s noticed strange things about the other residents and he tries to figure out what’s going on.

What started out as a couple of pages has really grown. I’m really enjoying the change in style – it’s first person but in present tense, which has been a really immersive writing experience. Another big change is that up till now, I’ve mainly been pantsing it. Me, who plots everything, has been writing a lot of this story without an outline! I will do some plotting now that I have to decide exactly what the mystery is my main character will discover, but it’s been the first time ever that I’ve tried to write without an outline that’s actually worked.

I’ve actually found it quite refreshing, especially since the NaNoWriMo project, where I did do a lot of plotting, didn’t really work out how I wanted it. So, I’m hoping to maybe finish the first draft – or at least make some good progress on where I want to go with it – and I’m excited about what happens next.

Outline a potential 4th historical fiction novel

I’m deliberately keeping this goal very loose. It’s an idea I’ve had for a while now that I might tinker with something else in the world of Rheged. I feel like with the 3rd novel – when I eventually finish it – Daniel’s story might be finished (when I have come to the end of it, though, I might well feel differently), however, there’s another character whose story might need telling. So my vague idea at the moment is to set a different novel in the same world, but at least 10-15 years later and from the point of view of another character. By the end of 2020, then, I’d like to have at least done some thinking on this and explore the idea – possibly even to have a draft outline.

Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo

Despite having not the best experience of NaNoWriMo last November, I still want to participate. It’s still a great thing to be a part of and I find it helps my writing. Even the experience of finishing a story I wasn’t entirely in love with anymore might well be useful for my writing journey.

Camp NaNoWriMo happens in April and July and is a more flexible month where you can have your own individual goals for any kind of work on a project, so it might well be I use Camp Nano and Nano to help me with the 2020 goals, or edit a previous project, or do something entirely new!

So, here are four goals I’m hoping to accomplish by the end of 2020. I might not finish all of them, but having some kind of plan for the year will help give me structure and use my time more wisely.

Are you a writer? Do you have any kind of goals for writing, or for reading? Let me know!

Till next time,


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  1. Pingback: 2020 Goals - Maria Johnson, Author

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