Like so many people, I have been thinking about what it is I want to achieve in 2024. Although I am not a big fan of the idea of setting a single resolution – which just feels like a way of feeling like a whole year can be a pass/fail depending on whether I quit something, or achieve something specific, what I do like to do is to think about goals for the year ahead – things I would like to focus on throughout the year, whether they are measurable or not.
I already posted about my guiding word for the year: Pause (or, as I explained in Friday’s post, paws). But as today is the official start of my work year, I thought it might be helpful to share what it is I am working on and towards this year.
Firstly, the things I have scheduled:
- The release of Right Way Down in March. I am so proud to have co-edited this anthology with Rebecca Newman, (illustrated by Briony Stewart and co-published by Fremantle Press and Alphabet Soup) and cannot wait to share poems by some amazing children’s poets with the world. I hope to sing the wonders of this book, and the words and images far and wide – and to spread the love of poetry wherever and whenever I can.
- The release of The Riding Gallery mid year. This is a verse novel, illustrated by Martina Heiduczek and published by Waker Books. In something a little different for me, it is a historical verse novel, set in St Kilda and using multiple voices. I can’t wait to share this story with the world. It is based on a true story, that of a German immigrant and merry-go-round proprietor, and I really look forward to sharing it with readers of all ages.
- I have had two conference papers accepted for conferences in May – one in France and the other in Singapore. I am just waiting for word on funding before I start planning this trip and writing these papers – one about children’s poetry and the other about juvenilia, and a book I wrote when I was in primary school.
- My study leave. I am lucky enough to have six months of academic study leave from my job at Curtin University. This is such a wonderful git of time and space to work on a new project – I am planning to research and write a historical novel. More details on this as I go, as it is still a little nebulous – I have a time period, a setting, and some real events, but am still working my way into the storyline as I deep dive into the research part.
Onto the things then that I want to achieve in that time, and the year as a whole:
- The completion of that historical novel with a goal to have it drafted before I go back to my regular work in July.
- The finalisation of the middle grade prose novel (My Remarkable Year) I drafted on my May Gibbs Fellowship in in October. This is close to being ready to submit, so I really hope it might find a home this year.
- A new verse novel contract. Whether this happens is, as with every publishing contract, out of my hands, but I have two contenders here and would dearly love to see one of them be my next verse novel.
- A picture book contract. It’s been quite some time since I had a new picture book, so in 2024 I really hope to break back into this space. I’ve been fine tuning and submitting a couple of manuscripts over the past few months, and will keep plugging away at this, with many fingers and toes crossed. I love the magic of picture books. I am also investigating the possibility of doing a small self-publishing project to bring one or two of my out of print picturebooks back to life.
- An academic book chapter. I have a proposal accepted and due this month. So that is a priority over the next few weeks. Once that is completed I also hope to look at some other academic writing ideas, all about aspects of children’s literature.
- More poems. I aim to draft a new poem every week. Sometimes I share these on Poetry Friday, but I also submit to the School Magazine, anthology call outs and other new markets and contests. I Last year I had nine poems accepted (most of which will be published this year) and I would like to maintain that level of publication.
That is a lot, but I also have some aspirations for this year, which I will keep bubbling away as I try to figure out whether I have the time and the talent to pursue them.
- I have not one, but two nonfiction book ideas for the adult market. Both of these are topics I really really want to explore and write about – but as you’ll see from my list above, I do have a lot planned this year, so realistically may not be able to achieve these. But neither idea will leave me alone, so at present I just keep making notes and pondering, and will see what happens after I have ticked off my study leave priorities.
- A podcast. Again two ideas, one related to one of the nonfiction ideas and another one. I have things to say, ideas to share, BUT little idea of the realities of putting together a podcast. So, we shall see. In the meantime, I would love to be a guest on more podcasts this year.
- More stories. Like so many writers, I have a list of stories that I simply MUST write, or revise, or find homes for, and in my ideal world I would achieve all of the above plus give each of the stories on my list the time and energy they deserve. This goal sits at the end of a long list not because it doesn’t matter, but because choices have to be made about what to prioritise. But I know that before the year is out one or more of these projects will put its hand up and demand to be worked on, NOW.
To help me achieve some of the above – especially around getting the word out about Right Way Down and The Riding Gallery, I am very much hoping to get and about and do more speaking this year. I love speaking at festivals, schools, libraries, conferences, events of all kinds and sizes – and if you are reading this and are looking for a speaker, drop me a line.
I’m also hoping to keep up with sharing my writing and life journey, as well as my reading and learning, here on the blog, via social media and more.
With so many things on my list, it would look like a busy year is planned, and it is – but, with the blessing of six months to write, and the reminder of my word for the year to pause, what unites all of this is not a need to hurry, but to savour the writing, the reading the speaking and the living. I hope you’ll savour it with me.