Welcome to 2011. I’m feeling very optimistic about the forthcoming year and I hope that yours is full of happiness, fun and writerly successes.

For me, a new year is all about opportunities. It’s a chance to start afresh with new resolutions, goals and achievements.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to disregard everything from the past. Over ten years ago I submitted a script to Blue Heelers, a tv police drama. They received hundreds of submissions every week and I got down to the last twelve. I didn’t get the gig, but I did have a fabulous day on the set of Blue Heelers learning how it all worked – how the actors practised their lines – how the show was produced. That in itself was a valuable experience.

Recently, my Blue Heeler’s submission was put to good use in another way. I am currently preparing a submission to a publisher for an MG series. I love my characters and the whole concept behind the series and of course I hope that a publisher will too. After reading Aleesah Darlison’s tips on this blog on how to plan and pitch a series I realised there was a lot more involved than just writing book one and coming up with ideas for other books to go with it.

I had to put together a proper proposal to convince a publisher that my series was worth taking a risk on. But I wondered what sort of information to include in my submission. That’s where my Blue Heelers experience came in handy. After I had been to see the show being filmed, they supplied me with a series bible so that I could submit a follow up script. The Blue Heeler’s series bible showed me exactly what sort of information I needed to know about my characters and setting, and how to present it. So even though I never had a script accepted for Blue Heelers, the experience and the words I wrote for my submission were far from wasted.

In the last few days I’ve had to make the difficult decision to delete huge sections of my YA novel because even though the words are well written, they don’t really fit with the story – are not consistent with my main character’s voice.

These words might never see the light of day again, but what’s good about them is that they helped me get into the story – helped me understand and get to know my character better. In short, they were probably really backstory and shouldn’t have been in the manuscript in the first place.

So even though I liked those words and they took time to write, I don’t believe they were wasted.

Whatever you tackle this year, look at it as an opportunity to hone your craft, to make your writing better, to make your work irresistible to publishers and readers:)

You may be surprised at how the words you write this year might be of help to your future writing career.

So these are my tips:

  1. Never look on words as wasted. Whatever you write is an opportunity to learn and hone your craft.
  2. Don’t be afraid to cut ‘beautiful words’ from your manuscript if they don’t fit with your story. These words probably helped you get to know your character and story better…and who knows, they might turn up in another manuscript.
  3. Be willing to use knowledge and words from the past to help you with current opportunities.

I’d love to hear your stories about situations where words you have written in the past haven’t been wasted even if they weren’t published.

Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing and may words bring you happiness in 2010