New YA Resolutions 2014 [& sneaky writing update]

So I say goodbye to 2013.

The Year of… I Don’t Know.

That doesn’t sound particularly inspiring, does it? It’s been a funny old year.

In numbers:

One new job.
One passing of driving test.
Two tattoos.
One wedding of one of my bestest friends.
One international trip.

Sleepless in...

Writers in arms.

30 books reviewed on Wear the Old Coat.
Some brilliant posts from my On Writing feature.

One YA novel completely written, edited, polished, sent to CPs (thanks Anna and Rey) and my most respected friends/YA readers (thanks to Sarah, Maggie and Laura).

The other day I was feeling a little blue about the state of my blog this year. 2013 definitely wasn’t the year of Wear the Old Coat.

Don’t get me wrong, I love reading and writing about YA books but I’ve come to that stage where I’ve started focussing more on my own writing. Of course I’ll still be reading and reviewing as and when, but don’t be alarmed if there’s more writing posts in 2014.

As I mentioned before, I completed one YA novel this year. I shelved a project I’d been working on last year because, even though it was fun, it wasn’t the story I wanted to have written.

This new story has been an idea that’s been knocking around in my head for a while and it took a while to get the words, any words, down on paper… um… I mean computer.

It’s a story that’s semi-personal, not necessarily to me but it’s a subject that’s affected me and my life and, inevitably, my writing. It’s a contemporary story set in Manchester that tells the story of a couple (that have already got together, longing glances and awkward first conversations and all) and what happens after the happily ever after.

Oh and it’s called All This Static (lyrics taken from this song which is not only one of my favourite songs but also very relevant to the story!) I won’t go too much into the ins and out but I hope that it’s exciting, fresh and, above all, realistic. It may not tick all the boxes of what YA Books Are Officially, but I love what I’ve written and I stand by it and sometimes it’s nice to write something that doesn’t fit into every official box.

Of course that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t change bits if one of my most trusted beta readers was like “Jo, what the hell is THIS?!”

So I probably finished it in about April or so. And in November, I started querying. Proper querying. I made a spreadsheet and everything. OK, I didn’t actually keep up with the spreadsheet but the intention was there.

I’ve had some exciting, high-pitched squeal inducing moments and then some not-so moments and then some great and invaluable feedback. And then, just when I think I should give up and maybe start something else, something further happens and I vibrate on the spot for a few minutes.

At the moment, it’s a rolling thing and it’s practically impossible to guess what’s going to happen next.

But I think I need to remember that there’s no rush. I’m more than happy with my writing journey where it is right now because it’s new and it’s exciting and I’m still learning and with every new project I start, I discover something different about how I write and how other people respond to it.

Last year’s writing resolution made me laugh a lot.

Write the story I want to, not the story I think I should be writing. And obviously the usual don’t doubt yourself yada yada YOU’RE AWESOME JO yada yada…

I’m going to stick with this one, I think. At this moment, I’ve written the book I want to write and I’m fairly confident that readers will want to read it. Whenever it gets to that point.

There’s no timeline to things like this. It’s my dream, yes, but there’s no expiration date.

Last year my personal resolutions were:
1. Wear more patterns. – Yep.


2. Drink more water. – (Um… does Diet Coke count?)
3. Stop worrying about things too much. – (So, so)
4. Go on adventures. – (I went whale watching with Flannery, that definitely counts).


This year I have only I have two:

1. Don’t scribble things out in your notebook. Besides spelling mistakes, of course, because no one wants to see that. When I find my old writing notebooks, buried amongst books and bank statements and other things, I often cringe when I read them back. I’ve never written a diary but I imagine that reading through my writing books is the equivalent of reading through your diary you wrote when you were 13. Ouch, right? But even though 95% of it is “Oh my god, I’m never writing again! *fling notebook out of window*” inducing, that 5% could be gold. So I’m going to keep that 5%, just in case.

2. Don’t talk yourself out of things because they’re not particularly sensible. I’m so bad for doing this. I come up with all these giddy ideas and then think “But, really, can you do that?” At the moment, I’m in the glorious position that yes, I can do that. So I need to just do things without fretting over them. Within reason, of course.

So I’ve got plans for 2014. Big ideas. I’ve got travel plans. I’ve got adventures pending.

travel plans

And hopefully, hopefully 2014 will be The Year of Something.

Happy New Year everyone!

2 thoughts on “New YA Resolutions 2014 [& sneaky writing update]

  1. Love this, Jo! I’m so incredibly proud of both you and ATS, I’m hoping for big things for both of you in 2014 :)

    I don’t think it’s at all a bad thing if WTOC veers more towards writing – I’ve really enjoyed your On Writing posts and getting an insight into writers’ processes and opinions. More please!

    All the best for 2014 and hurrah for travel plans!! xx

  2. A huge congratulations Jo! It sounds like you achieved a hell of a lot in 2013, but I’m sure 2014 is going to be one amazing year! :) All This Static sounds fantastic – I love it when books don’t fit the mould.

    I think I need to steal your second resolution because I am awesome at talking myself out of everything. Especially when it comes to my future career and/or writing. (Despite having had some amazing possibly-begining-of-a-dream-career moments in 2013). I also need to stop being embarrassed by what I write because it may be silly/it might make me cringe when I look back over it. I need to just shut up and write.

    Also, can I second Rey’s motion for more On Writing? I’m loving this feature to bits!

    Wishing you the best of luck for 2014 – and may your adventures always be awesome! xo

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