Setting Self Doubt on Fire: New Year New Challenges


Happy New Year everyone, I hope you are all prepared and excited for what 2014 has in store for us. With 2013 now out of the way there’s no more time to look back, it’s now time to look forward to what lies ahead of us, and hopefully what happens is that we get closer to reaching our goal.


This year I have big plans I was planning to finally write my first novel, however it turns out I might be crazy enough to try to do two. I just had this idea pop into my head the character stood there waving at me, I think a fight will break out between these characters soon enough, whoever wins will get their story written first lol. It’s a huge challenge going from short stories to a novel, it’s not only a bigger commitment but it feels like a bigger risk, but this is a challenge that needs to be faced, if you ever want to be a novelist that is.


So what do I have for you this week, well with new challenges in mind I thought it would be a good idea to encourage you all to challenge yourself this year. So to help you with this I have come up with a list of possible writing (writing related) challenges you can set yourself.


  1. Complete that novel that you have planned or half finished, it won’t be read if it’s stuck in your head or your desk draw.
  2. Do a short story collection, there’s probably many short stories that you can group together and try sell them as a package, you never know it might get published, and you might start building up a much needed fan base.
  3. Not ready for a novel try a novelette or a novella, novella is shorter than a novel, novelette is shorter than a novella but longer than a short story. This article explains the differences in an easy way.
  4. Set yourself a monthly short story submission target. If you’re like me, you have a huge pile that needs submitting.
  5. Improve your current skills by doing a course. There’s no shame in needing extra knowledge this journey is an ongoing learning process after all. I have done many free courses that I have found on the web, this website has the most free courses, and has helped me a lot.
  6. Build a social media presence, this will help you to interact with any fans you might have or even other writers.
  7. Create a website or blog, having a website helps you to reach out to more readers, and it is there for any editor who wants to see what you have done before.
  8. Write your first short story or try a flash fiction, whether you are new to writing or have written novels and never thought of trying anything smaller, short stories will help to tighten up your writing. Flash fiction will really help you to cut out the waffle, a full story in fewer than 1000 words sometimes fewer than 500 is a real challenge. I have toyed with the idea of trying to write a drabble (exactly 100 words), it’s something I might do if I feel brave enough.
  9. Set yourself a reading challenge, every writer knows that to write you must also read. So why not set yourself a monthly reading challenge. You don’t have to limit yourself to novels or spend lots of money, there’s many ways to read stories for free, you have many short story websites and you have of course the library.
  10. To carry on fighting for this dream, this will possibly be your biggest challenge and the most important. You want to make it as a writer then you have to fight for it folks.


As you can see, I haven’t mentioned destroying Mr Self Doubt and that’s because you can’t. Doubt is something that will always be there it’s part of life and not just a writer’s life. What you can do is promise yourself that you will not let him stop you from doing what you want to do. He can’t die but you can set him alight and kick the crap out of him.


So there you have it folks 10 challenges for 2014, hopefully there’s one that you would like to try or maybe it’s given you some ideas of others either way this year is about going forward, and forward we shall go.

Nicole Simms

Nicole J. Simms is a UK horror, crime and fantasy writer. However, she is open to writing in other genres.Her stories have been published in anthologies, in magazines and on websites. In 2016, she won the Nine Voices’ 50-Word Halloween Competition with her story ‘Meeting the Parents’. And, her self-published e-book The Book of Drabbles is now available to download for free.She is also the deputy leader of the Oldbury Writing Group, a West Midlands based writing group. They have published a WW2 anthology together titled From Sunrise to Sunset, and they are now working on their second anthology.Stephen King, Sharon Bolton, J. K. Rowling, R. L. Stine and Kelley Armstrong are some of her favourite authors. And, when she’s not writing, she loves to bake, paint, knit and go on nature walks.Find out more at:Website - link - link - link -

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