Friday, 21 December 2007

Taking Stock - Friday Coffee

Wow, I can’t believe it’s almost a year since the Novel Racers’ starting gun was fired. In ‘the olden days’, there were really just a handful of members – mostly Proper Published Writers and a few of us newbies who shuffled in and at sat at the back quietly.

It’s fabulous to see how far we’ve come – and the success of some is awesome. There’s been more good news recently with our very own Messages contributors and Rowan Coleman being in the running for Romantic Novel of the Year. It’s all so exciting.

For me, the fact that I’m on the home straight and almost finished my novel is pretty good. Ok, so I’m nowhere near thinking about agents or publishers just yet but a year ago I’d have snorted my decaf through my nose in shock if anyone had said I’d be getting up at the crack of dawn and turning down good jobs so that I can write.

So that’s my writing achievement this year – I’ve finally found, after many, many years, the confidence to actually be a writer. Sometimes I even say it out loud too!

Grab your favourite tipple, have a Christmassy star-shaped shortbread and tell Auntie Jenny about your writerly achievement this year. Shout it out loud– it might make you feel nice…


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Mmmmm, I love shortbread, thank you! In 2007 I had pieces selected for two blog-related charity fund-raising anthologies, Shaggy Blog Stories for Comic Relief (available at and Messages for Kids Company which will be out in January 2008. Oh yes, and I finished my novel ;-) and started submitting it to agents, which felt like a huge achievement until the rejections started trickling in. But hey, as one of my friends told me the other night, that means I'm a real writer!

Lazy Perfectionista said...

This year I have started blogging, made lots of friends online and written quite a number of words. My WIP currently stands at 14,088 but there have been several false starts along the way! I've also told friends and family about my ambition to write a novel, and NOT ONE OF THEM LAUGHED. I think that is my greatest achievement so far!

Helen said...

As Lazy P said above this year I have started my blogging and commited myself to being a full time writer. I have managed to write an 86,000 word first draft of my first novel and 20,000 words of my second novel - an idea I've had sitting in my head for some time. That's over a hundred thousand words in a year.

I also plucked up the courage to submit a review to the website Trashionista and since then I've become a regular reviewer and now have a credit (and a photo!) on the site.

This is my dream job and to have accomplished so much in one year is both exciting and unbelieveable. I am looking forward, so much, to 2008.

Caroline said...

Hi all.
2007 has been a great year.
My first novel was published and the novel that I wrote as part of the Novel Racers (Black Boxes) was written and signed to be released in June 200. Almost a year since we started Novel Racing and I'd like to say a huge thank you for all the support in writing Black Boxes.

From January I have to write Lovesick. It has been signed already and I have to submit in September!!!! So I'll be racing again. So glad you'll be racing with me.

And I have finished a children's book, which has been submitted and I am waiting waiting waiting .... sigh ... fingers crossed for me ... pleeeeease.

Now I have 10 days to finish a novella and I have to fit in children and Christmas. Lah lah lah.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas with love, happiness and lots of chocolate.


ps - I couldn't work out how to add my name to anything :(

Flowerpot said...

I love shortbread too so thanks for that! Well this year I've finished one novel (getting the round of rejections from agents at the moment) and started another. I've sold several articles and am finishing a course in journalism. I've started blogging which has helped meet other writers and promote my writing. And I'm networking a lot which helps! Great to meet you lot and have a wonderful Christmas and a highly creative and successful 2008!

Cathy said...

I spent the first half of this year mainly dealing with family problems and the writing had to be put to one side, though I was nurturing my new blog, reading widely and networking with other writers on the web.

I finally plucked up the courage to join the Novel Racers when you moved to this new home and I am so glad I did. Since then I have had two poems published on the website Wikidwords and two of my flash pieces have been selected for the Your Messages charity anthology due to be published in the New Year.Oh and of course I have had some rejections too!

Doing the Your Messages challenge was a turning point for me...I managed to write a 300 word piece every day for the month and realised that I am most comfortable writing little but often. I have started to apply that to my novel, which was badly stalled and the word count is creeping up again even though I've had to take a short break over the last 10 days due to illness.

I've also started an Open University course on Writing Plays, have signed up for an English language/linguistics course starting next month and have identified my long term aim academically...a Creative Writing MA.

I've shed a few other commitments to allow myself more time for writing from the New Year and am going to set up a dedicated writing space in our spare bedroom.

I'm finally starting to believe in myself just a little and take the writing seriously.

K.Imaginelli said...

Thanks for the yummy cookies (now I know what I'm having for breakfast as soon as I finish posting).

I finished my second novel, and thanks to the upcoming rewrite race, I'm actually looking forward to revising it (remind me I said this when I start whining about having to revise!). I also set up a blog and got up the courage to join y'all. I think the most important thing I did this year was to start believing that I am a novelist. Maybe I'll actually whisper it out loud in the new year. ;)

Wishing you all continued progress and success in 2008!

ChrisH said...

Cor! Well done everyone! Hmm,shortbread brilliant. I finished my first mainstream novel in January and then waited 'til July to hear back from the agent who Hilary Johnson had passed it to. The novel was rejected but three days later the agent contacted me again and asked for some changes to the tone of the novel. Rewriting has been much harder than I expected although I think the tipping point is in my favour. I only hope I get a result at the end of it but, hey, there are no guarantees, especially in writing.

In March I attended a book launch for the autobiographical anthology I'd contributed to and it was fab! A real high - would like some mor of that.
Hopes for 2008? Well, I guess we all feel the same about that. Here's wishing you all a happy, productive and successful New Year.

Rowan Coleman said...

Hello everyone. I think I have probably gone on enough about what I consider to be my acheivments of 2007 at the bottom of this page! So here I will say that I am so delighted CT Taylor told me about the Racers and that I have become part of thise wonderful community. I really enjoy being connected to other writers. So here's wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a successful New Year! Rx

Juliette M said...

As a late starter to the Racers, I consider that writing 79,000ish words on my 'main novel' is my achievement really. It's still not finished, but I intend to do a complete first draft of something for the 2008 race.

What feels like my REAL writerly achievement is my email from Neil Gaiman which made me a very happy and squeaky Racer indeed.

And of course meeting some of the wonderful people on the Racing blocks (coughCarolinecough) and reading their books (In Search Of Adam, Pastures New, The Self Preservation Society - in which the Novel Racers are mentioned in the acknowledgements!)

Kate.Kingsley said...

Mmmmmm, shortbread ~ my favourite!

Love the topic this week ~ and so timely too.

My greatest writing achievement this year is the disctinction i gained in my OC reative writing course. And my second best one would be getting a cracking idea for the current WIP, and managing to keep the momentum, and word count, moving steadily onwards.

2008 is going to be a great year all round, I just know it :-)

Leatherdykeuk said...

A good year for me personally. I wrote three novels, got one into the pipe for publishing and numerous shorts into anthologies. Next year will be more of the same :)

Graeme K Talboys said...

Mmmmm. (Scoff. Scoff. Wipes crumbs from shirt front onto keyboard).

Busy year. Edited an antholgy of other people's work (nd a bit of my own) and saw that into print.

Transcribed and proofed a large part of a collection of short non-fiction for a well-known author (it should be out next year).

Edited a children's book for someone.

Started three blogs.

Began gathering material for a non-fiction work.

Plotted out a cycle of four novels and wrote a good deal of the first one.

Had a couple of short works published.

Most important was (a) finding so many new and good friends out there in internetland and (b) finding I could still write sustained amounts of fiction with a new and (I hope) better voice.

Season Greetings to you all and may the coming year be fruitful and bring you all your hearts' desires.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks for the shortbread, Jenny. I'll save one for later after I wake up a bit more. For now, I'll just chugalug my coffee.

This past year I got a lot accomplished with regards to writing and editing, but nothing on the agenting/publication front. I wrote 2 books (first drafts) over the course of '07, finished polishing another, and am working on editing another 2. In the past 4 years (almost), I've written 5 books to 'The End' and have 2 of them ready for publication (if I can ever get anyone to publish them, that is). This past year I also submitted to a publisher for the first time - and got a request for partial. They turned me down, but the rejection was very encouraging. I also submitted short stories to contests for the first time.

With the books I'm currently working on editing, I feel really good about my chances in the New Year. Hopefully, I'll join the ranks of the published racers, or at least the represented racers, soon.

CC Devine said...

I've managed to write a whole novel (albeit one that needs a vast amount of editing!). I put it away in a drawer for a few months and now know what major changes I want to make - plenty of work to keep me busy over the Christmas week. I started writing a blog and have also learned so much about the wealth of writing info that's available out there.

Here's to a productive and prosperous new year for us all!

CC Devine said...

I've managed to write a whole novel (albeit one that needs a vast amount of editing!). I put it away in a drawer for a few months and now know what major changes I want to make - plenty of work to keep me busy over the Christmas week. I started writing a blog and have also learned so much about the wealth of writing info that's available out there.

Here's to a productive and prosperous new year for us all!

Fiona said...

I better pass on the shortcake - wearing husband's boxers as have grown out of my M&S knickers.

Biggest achievement? Plucking up courage to join such a supportive blog which led to making writerly friends - all kind, clever...and brave - who boosted my confidence which led to my submitting a non fiction book to a publisher who emailed back - 'Yes'.

I know a non fiction doesn't really count as we are the Novel Racers but it has made me more disciplined, writing to a deadline.

So thank you everyone for your advice with my novel which stands at 97K - 90K is crap but if I tie myself to the laptop, I may finish in time to kiss Santa.

Lane said...

Hi chaps and thanks Auntie Jen for the post and the shortcake.

Reading everyone's achievements is hugely inspiring and this time next year I hope to be able to add something more substantial!

For the time being my achievement has been starting to write seriously and with focus. I've (almost) finished my first draft and look forward to racing in the re-write race next year. I also discovered blogging (obviously:-) and have found a wealth of support and blogging friendship.

Merry Christmas Racers:-)

Helen Shearer said...

Merry Merry all!

This year I have managed to finish the first draft of the effing novel from hell and I am ploughing through the rewrite. I also collected my first rejection from an agent, started a blog and joined this group this year, and I feel like I've made some great new friends. I'm somewhat disappointed that I haven't managed to completely finish the novel and find an agent, but that is what 2008 is for. After the holidays, I will finish it and shamelessly badger every reputable literary agent in Britain.

Sarah*G* said...

My writerly achievement for the year? I managed to write 9as of today) 55,000 out of a target of 80,000! Never thought I would see the day. Roll on 2008!!
Well done to all on all your achievements and I look forward to a even better year ahead for everyone.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

A. Writer said...

My writerly achievement? I would say finishing the 2nd draft of my first novel. I'd been stuck on the first draft for ages so it was an important step for me.

I look forward to writing the third (and hopefully final) draft in 2008.

Merry Christmas everyone!

hesitant scribe said...

Those biccies look delicious!

Achievements? Er...

I feel as though I've been watching everyone else get on with their work while I've struggled to combine teaching with writing and family life!

I did do a research trip, and that led me to the present format of my novel. Is that progress? Think so!

I think 2008 will be the year I get the thing written but not going to crucify myself with guilt if it isn't.

Well done to everyone who got published/agents/completed their books!!!

And Happy Christmas and New Year 2008 XXX

sheepish said...

I feel quite pleased that I have just about kept my blog going all year, although not as many posts as I had hoped. I have also written about 35k of wip. So still a long way to go but there may be news on the house move which will be very good for my morale.

I shall join the "Complete a previosly started work" group just as soon as I work out how to.

Oh and I think my computer skills have improved from complete idiot to just about able to turn it on.

Not bad for one year, and hears to 2008.

liz fenwick said...

Great post Jen...writerly accomplishements......wrote the first draft of A Cornish House and rewrote August Rock I don't remember how many times.



CTaylor said...

Just popping by, a tad late (oops!) to wish all the Novel Racers a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Here's to more races and more achievements in 2008. x

CTaylor said...

Just popping by, a tad late (oops!) to wish all the Novel Racers a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Here's to more races and more achievements in 2008. x

wordtryst said...

Wasn't around for the start of the race (nor the middle either) but here goes...

My first novel sold to Dorchester Publishing in April. I completed the editor-directed revisions a couple weeks ago.

I'm in the final edit stage of novel #2. I've completed three chapters and the proposal package for a gift book which my agent is now submitting, and the proposal for a second gift book is almost complete. I'm about 14,000 words into my first mainstream novel, and for the first time I'm writing without an outline. Exciting stuff.

I started my blog, had lots of fun, and met some wonderful people. I also joined a great community of writers. What's their name again? Oh yes, the Novel Racers.

It's been a good year, all said. Merry Christmas everyone!