time management

A year of saying YES to EVERYTHING

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This past year has been a whirlwind. It was my year of saying yes to EVERYTHING. So much has happened. I did the Penguin Random House WriteNow mentoring programme, signed with my amazing agent, Lydia Silver, found a critique group I can call home, signed a number of book deals, and wrote LOTS of very different things. *BREATHES*. ‘Yes to everything’ has worked out quite well. So far. But with 1st August (publication day for my very first book) just around the corner, I’ve realised that, going forward, I’m going to need a new approach.

‘Yes to everything’ is great when you’re starting out. At that stage, you take every tiny opportunity because you never know where it might lead you. My year of YES has opened so many doors. Possibly a few too many doors. Now, as the diary fills up (which is a happy problem to have!), I’ve decided to do things differently. See, I share a birthday with my book. So this u-turn is really a bit like a personal New Year’s resolution. Saying yes to everything just isn’t feasible anymore. Now, it has to be a ‘GREAT BIG YES’ - something so exciting, so irresistable. Otherwise, it’s a ‘no’.

Thanks to the WriteNow programme and my rock of an agent, I’ve had a very lucky start to publishing. I’ve worked my socks off - I still work my socks off - and I’m always learning, always looking to get better at what I do. But LUCK is so important and I’ve had truckloads of the stuff. I’ve found writing buddies, editors, and an agent who I really connect with. We work well together. And the timing has somehow been just right. It’s a tough industry but this luck piece has meant that I have lots of plates spinning.

It’s all very exciting but it also means I have to be careful not to overcommit. I need to do the best job I can for the people I’ve promised my work to. I need to do the best job I can for future readers. And I need to take care of myself so I’m on form for my young children. So I’ve revisted my wishlist of projects I’d love to do. I’ve tightened it up and left space for a few surprises. There are always surprises. I’ve had to let go of a few things too (for now). I’m actually surprisingly okay about that. As I step into a new chapter of my life, it feels like the right thing to do.

So here I am. Almost at the end of my year of yes. Moving into a year where it’s either a ‘GREAT BIG YES’ or it’s a ‘no’. Or maybe just a ‘not yet’.