Thursday 21st December 2017

It feels that over the last couple of days, plans for 2018 have suddenly come into focus.  Maybe, getting an idea of what my theme for the year is has allowed everything to slot together, or perhaps taking a bit of a break has given me time to relax and gather my thoughts.

I’ve been reading and watching a bit about Brandon Sanderson today.  Ironically, I read The Final Empire and whilst it was good, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  However, I fascinated by his career.

I met his agent some years ago, and we have conversed since (although I hasten to add I’m nothing more than a forgettable acquaintance).  He told me about Sanderson’s early attempts  (the agent only picked him up after something like 7 or 8 submissions)  and because this was before I read The Final Empire, it’s made it easy to look at Sanderson as this being of blood and bone rather some super author deity.  I don’t say this to be disrespectful.  The guy works his ass off, is great to his fans and deserves every bit of success.  But it’s all too easy to see someone who has done incredibly well and see it as luck or amazing talent that’s impossible to replicate whereas with Sanderson (whilst there is undeniably talent) it’s his ambition and hard work that makes me admire him.

It was interesting to read he had a book that failed this year.  It sounds like it was a true broken book rather than a loss of confidence as he whipped through the next one.  I’d always assumed that as you progress as a writer, issues like that would become things of the past.

I’m also really impressed with his whole cosmere concept.  I’ve only read one of his books (which is a bit ironic) but there’s something about his scope that makes me want to find ways to secretly link up my own universes.

There’s part of me that would like, at the end of my career, to write the uber book.  To have hidden this huge epic story throughout my career and then have a book where all my heroes from different universes have to team up to beat the uber bad.  I honestly don’t know how I’d do that without it being corny… but I have years to plan it, so I might as well be thinking about the seeds of it now.

For now, I’m very much thinking about the start of my career.  I wrote my agent an email today with a list of all my various projects, where they are at and my ideas for 2018.  It’s only once I sent it that I realised I committed the cardinal sin of sending an important email just before Xmas  (something that is currently stressing me out in the day job).  One of my big challenges is the day job.  It’s getting busier.  I’ve not progressed my career in 10 years because I want to write one day and day job stress just comes home with me and slows my writing.  I’ve seen the impact with my own job in just the last 2 years and in 2018 I think it’s going to come to a head somehow.  Priorities, right?

Can I have as big a career as Sanderson?  Absolutely.  He’s not super-human.  He still fails.  I don’t need his career to falter for mine to take off (success doesn’t work like that), but I’m very much looking at what he does and seeing if there’s any lessons I can learn from it (aside from writing good books).

I’ve said I can outwork anyone.  That includes Sanderson.  The only thing that’s stopping me is everything else that gets in the way:  work, commitments.  Obviously I can’t just get rid of those, but I can manage my priorities a little better in 2018.  And this is being said by the person who is editing his second book in a series that hasn’t even been sold yet.

2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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