Working on the premise that if I didn't learn anything about being a writer last year, my work is unlikely to improve next year. With this in mind, I worked out a few rules to follow.
* If I want to call myself a writer, whether the publishers are clamouring for my work or not, I must refrain from tweaking existing manuscripts and produce new, and better ones.
* I must not panic if I come up against a brick wall story-wise. Don't stare at a blank screen, go and do something else. Scenarios and ideas will come to me -they always do!
* Blogging and network sites are a great way to connect with other authors who give and take necessary encouragement and criticism. But it's not a career - stop wasting hours and calling it work! Farmville is not writing!
* I don't need spurs to make me write, I need them to make me stop. Remember I have a husband and a family and they are deserving of my time. [I should have twigged this when my husband recently mentioned he sees more of my laptop lid than my face!]
* Remember that my readers [speculative] may be interested in the 17th century, but they don't necessarily know the politics and intricate family relationships of historical characters - they haven't been researching them for months - Explain!
* Simply because other writers on my groups are having continued, and repeated success, doesn't mean I never will. Perhaps they simply work harder than me and are able to adapt and move on. Don't gripe about it, learn.
* Write with attention to writing rules and the reasons for them. Explore writing techniques and ways to make the pace fast and furious-but not slavishly. No one writes like me and I shouldn't try to write like anyone else.
* The above applies to my critique groups, whose work is also unique and in their own author voice. My advice to them should bear this in mind and not be the, 'this is a gerund so delete it', type.
* The alternative to my being a writer is my not being a writer. As that is not an option, I must stick with it.
A Happy New Year to all my author friends, readers of this blog and anyone else who happens by, and with special thanks to Julianne Douglas who inspired the post.