Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Reflecting Back, Looking Forward
The house is quiet and the family's gone home. Every chocolate and every morsel of Christmas cake has been eaten and it's back to it! The blog is now three years old and, as is tradition, each January I've reflected back on the previous year and set out what I'd like to achieve in the one to come. 

The last twelve months turned out to be a very lean year on the short story front. It was what I expected as I concentrated on finishing and polishing my novel. I submitted short stories and flash fiction pieces to a small number of competitions and was pleased to be long listed and short listed on a few occasions. Rising From The Ashes was inspired by a true event where a school was burned to the ground in the early hours of New Year's Day 2016 and told how the local community came together to deal with the tragedy. It was shortlisted in the Nottingham Short Story Competition where the theme was Fire. Another story that was shortlisted, this time in the Erewash Open Short Story Competition, was The Bag Lady. This dealt with the theme of dementia and how a beautiful handbag and its contents unlocked an old lady's memories of her life as a young woman. As you will have read on the blog, I had stories published on Cafe Lit and Alfie Dog Fiction and two of my flash fictions appeared in the annual Worcestershire Lit Fest Anthology of Flash Fiction, entitled A Cache of Flashes. 

The blog has continued to attract more readers and I'm grateful to those of you who visit the blog regularly and leave comments. The year started with a series of guest posts about editing. It was interesting to see how different writers approached writing subsequent drafts of their novels. Some were working alone on a debut novel; others were working with editors. A big thank you to Sandra Mackness (Jill Barry), Sue McDonagh, Susanna Bavin, Sam Carrington and Judith Barrow.  

As well as tracing my own writing journey, I was delighted to be able to share the success of some writers' new publications. I interviewed Carol Lovekin, Thorne Moore and Sam Carrington about their wonderful books. 

The highlight of 2016 for me was becoming a member of the RNA's New Writers' Scheme. I worked hard on getting my manuscript to the best standard I could and submitted my novel for a critique in May. I couldn't believe how nervous I felt as I pressed 'send' that day! The detailed reader's report was both very positive and encouraging and yet constructive in suggesting ways in which I could improve it further. I can't thank my reader enough for looking at my 'baby' in that objective way. My first RNA Conference in July motivated me still further and as well as attending excellent workshops, it was so good to meet on-line 'friends' in person. 

I've travelled further along my journey as a writer in 2016. I am very fortunate to be a member of a very supportive critique group where we meet up every few weeks. We are all at different stages with our novels. So, what does this coming year hold for me?
In the coming year, I would like to:
  • find a home for novel number one by approaching agents and publishers 
  • having rejoined RNA NWS, finish writing my second novel in time for a critique by the end of August
  • write new short stories and flash fiction and submit them to a few competitions, in between novel drafts
  • attend the RNA Conference in July
  • support other authors by inviting them onto my blog 
  • continue to enjoy my writing and learn more about the craft.
Thank you for reading. What are your intentions this year? I'd love it if you left a comment. :-) Good luck in achieving your goals in 2017. If you have a new book coming out or would like to share some writing news, please message me. 

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.


  1. I hope you feel satisfied as you look back over what you have achieved in 2016, Jan. Reflecting and summing things up is a good experience because it makes you realise just how much you have done. Best of luck when you start submitting your novel - I look forward to hearing all about it when you attract an agent. Sending you all good wishes for 2017 as well as thanks for all the support you have given me.

    1. Thank you, Sue, for your comments and good wishes. I hope 2017 will be an excellent year for you.

  2. What a productive year, Jan! Well done. looking forward to a meet up in 2017. All the best

    1. Happy New Year, Judith. Yes, let's arrange a day to meet soon. :-)

  3. Good luck with your aims, Jan.