Dear Writer Friends,

Linen Press is more than a small indie press. We are a community of women writers, friends and interns who love to discuss and share our ideas with one another. And with you, our readers. I’m delighted to hand over the reins now and again so that others can offer you fresh and personal insights.

For our first guest blog, it’s an honour to introduce award-winning author Avril Joy, whose sensuous novel Sometimes a River Song was published by Linen Press last year.  Here she shares her thoughts about the writing process and New Year Writing Resolutions…

Avril JoyThe turn of the year is a great time to make writing plans. I’m aware, of course, that plans made at this time, especially with a glass or two in hand, will not always come to fruition, some may never get off the ground, some will be de-railed, others replaced by newer plans that could not have been anticipated. Opportunities and inspirations are unpredictable but anticipating what may come is not only fun but it’s what shapes our ideas, our new projects and goals.

I’m a great believer in making plans, it’s how the work gets done. Without plans and goals we are a ship becalmed, we are going nowhere. Here are some questions of the kind I like to ask myself when thinking of the writing year ahead. You might like to use them as prompts for your own plans.

Use your notebook (hopefully that beautiful, shiny and new notebook you were given for Christmas, if not then treat yourself) to answer the following questions: What will you do this writing year that is:

  1. Differentmillie-and-bird
  2. Fun
  3. Collaborative
  4. Gives something back
  5. Truly reflects who you are
  6. If you could write anything (which of course you can) what would it be? Be daring, free yourself up to think outside your own box – e.g. erotic poetry, a novel about being 80, sci-fi, a story set in Russia 1920, a series of stories about artists…
  7. What can you learn and where or how can you learn it? Think of workshops, groups, writing buddies, courses etc – so often attending these kinds of events or taking a course can lead us in a new and fruitful direction. The year I decided to take a poetry course (challenging, scary even) I found the inspiration for my Costa prize winning story – Millie and Bird
  8. What plans will be carried over and how can you make the most of these? Have you made targets for finish dates?
  9. What are your priorities?
  10. What do you most need to work on and how will you do it? It’s important to know yourself as a writer, both your strengths and weaknesses
  11. How can you measure success? Think in terms of completing work, perhaps reading aloud for the first time in a group, attending an open mike, submitting work to magazines, competitions, agents, publishers – see Linen Press Submission Page.
  12. Perhaps most important of all – How can you celebrate your writing life? Start a blog? Plan away days to write, or retreats, buy brilliant and beautiful notebooks, attend literary festivals, make an inventory of all you’ve done in the past year, read your favourite books on writing – in my case I always go back to Natalie Goldberg and Danni Shapiro
  13. How can you share with and support other writers? Writing can be a lonely occupation…
  14. Where can you find inspiration: the theatre, music, exhibitions, walks, gardens? Make a list. Make dates with yourself or a writing buddy for these expeditions
  15. What will you read? Writers need reading every bit as much as writing…

Good luck with your plans – and I wish you much writing fun and success in 2017

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