My 2021 Writing Goals
How I intend building on 2020's successes and failures...
Covid, lockdowns, and pandemic aside, 2020 turned out to be a good year for me. When not worrying about things I couldn't change in the wider world at large, I spent a great amount of time writing. At the start of last year I set myself the goal (NOT a resolution!) to write short film screenplay every month, and then towards the end of this year, spurred on by the prompting of a Vocal+ competition, I aimed to write and self-publish a short story compilation.
I failed at both goals but came so close that, had Christmas not gotten in the way, I would have achieved both. I know for this year not to count on December as a month in which to wrap things up (no pun intended...) So where did I go wrong? And better still, where did I go right? And how will I improve on this in 2021?
Let me start with the short film screenplays. I wrote 10 during the year, so almost hit my target of 1 a month, which I'm happy with. Of course, I didn't actually write 1 a month for 10 months...I had a surge of inspiration in the first half of 2020 (probably during the first lockdown...) when I wrote and wrote, and wrote some more. I knocked out a number of screenplays in two months and rested on my laurels for a while, which was fine, because I needed to recharge my creative batteries. For this year, I know to not get complacent and spend too much time resting and recharging.
The final short screenplay I wrote, The Last Christmas Tree, went into production in November, in between lockdowns here in South Wales. We were lucky enough to get it filmed all in one very long day, and the film is now in post production, with the edit due to be completed at the end of January. I'm happy with how the project has turned out so far, and look forward to seeing it released in time for Christmas this year (it's already had some distributor interest).
So where does this leave me for 2021? I'm not aiming to write a short screenplay a month, for starters. I've been looking over some 15 years' worth of short screenplays, and will be expanding two scripts (one for a short, the other a webseries) into feature film screenplays. I suspect I'll return to shorts when they're done, or when I need distraction from the larger projects, but I won't be looking to pad out my short screenplay portfolio as much as I did last year.
On to the short story collection - I tried to write 10 horror stories following a Vocal+ competition in September and October of last year. My goal was to publish the collection as an e-book in time for Halloween, and sadly that didn't happen. However, I did manage to complete 8 out of the 10 stories, ranging from classic ghost/paranormal horror to mystery/suspense horror, and even threw a slasher horror story into the mix. I fully intended to complete the final 2 stories for the collection by Christmas with an extended goal of self-publishing for the new year.
I was sidetracked by some school essays which I rediscovered, and began publishing them on a different platform. I've enjoyed reconnecting with my adolescent writings, and plan on self-publishing them as a non-fiction e-book in the second quarter of this year, as a follow-up to the horror anthology. Then, using the statistical insights from both blogging platforms I use, along with any potential sales figures, I'll be able to judge whether my readers prefer fiction or non-fiction, as I decide what e-book to publish in the third quarter of 2021. It's basic A-B marketing for my writing.
So, with 2 feature-length screenplays to write, and 2 short e-books to self-publish, where does that leave room for original projects not based on any of my previous works? I'm not sure. I'd like to try my hand at a YA adventure short story collection centred around the old piracy and smuggling trades of the South Wales coastline. Whether that will come to fruition this year, I don't know...but I've begun my research for it. I realise that I may be adding too much to my plate, so I'll need to space these projects out across the first 11 months of the year, keeping December for rest and recharging my creative batteries.
Keep your eyes peeled for my work on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Google Play Books and Rakuten Kobo later this year as I throw myself into the self-published marketplace! Towards the end of the year I'll also be able to direct you to somewhere online to view The Last Christmas Tree, and who knows, maybe some other short films that I've had some part in creating? If all this comes to pass in 2021, I'll be a lucky, happy writer!