My name is Amy Baker and I have the attention span of a ladybird.
If I were asked to sit and list my Top 100 Attributes, concentration wouldn't even get a look in. I have the innate ability to be waylaid from even the most vital of tasks by the tiniest of distractions - a knock at the door, a natter about a new box of teabags, a panicked Google dive into 'ailments caused by sitting down too much'. One minute I'll be typing away, the next everything will go black and I'll emerge four hours later, confused, parched and cursing my stupid brain for once again making me fail to complete my to-do list.
Concentration is kinda vital if you want to write 75,000 decent words that formulate a story. And that's my plan for 2018 - to finally make the time to write the story I've been planning since Rosy and I set up The Riff Raff back in March 2017.
Last year was an education. I published my first book in March - Miss-Adventures: A Tale of Ignoring Life Advice While Backpacking in South America (I know - longest subtitle in the world). I've learnt (a little) about how the publishing industry works, about sales, PR and self-promotion (blergh!). Thankfully, amongst all that I learnt the most important lesson - that I'm capable of achieving something when I focus all of my attention on it. What a relief! Realisation also dawned that achieving the kind of success all writers dream about is unlikely to come from a first book - which bummed me out. I was looking forward to flogging the film rights, peacing out and jetting off on a three-year holiday. What an apple-faced buffoon.
2017 was also about soaking up the secrets of highly talented, passionate people. It's been a joy to hear about their journeys, to pick their brains about the publishing industry, plotting, pacing, research, character development, the whole lot on our podcast and at our events. It's great to know there are so many people out there driving themselves equally crazy in pursuit of their dream - to write words that resonate.
After every podcast and every event, Rosy and I turn to each other without fail and say 'Well, THAT WAS GREAT' - but there was one thing niggling away at the both of us - we weren't concentrating on writing projects of our own. How can you really call yourself a writer when you're not making time to write? It bothered us - so (over wine) we resolved to take action.
I am writing this blog from Sydney, Australia.
2018 is going to be about concentrating on the thing I want to achieve the most. Book Two. It's time to apply the learnings of my first attempt and the insights of other writers to bash out a first draft in the next 9.5 weeks. Ambitious, but do-able. Australia seemed like a wonderful choice - it means I actually go outside, and the majority of people who would humour my teabag chat are fast asleep while I'm trying to apply myself.
It's also nigh time to establish that daily writing routine that all successful writers bang on about. Morning Sydney! Watch out - my pencil case and I are coming for you and we're bloody enthusiastic!
I shall keep you posted along the way, along with Rosy, who is also currently hard at work on Book Two! Please feel free to send us virtual words of encouragement!
If any of you are writing a book in 2018 - we'd love to hear how you're getting on and any strategies you employ to avoid continually abandoning your work to chase dragonflies. Ooh - there goes one now!