By the power vested in me by myself, I hereby proclaim 2021 to be the Year of Phil.

This replaces and in all way supersedes the previous attempt at the Year of Phil, which, due to circumstances beyond my control, became 2020 instead.

What does the Year of Phil have in store for us all?

Well, I’m so glad you asked.

In the Year of Phil I’m going to complete a bunch of projects, both personal and professional, that had been put off for various reasons, not started because of… 2020… and so on. A bunch of these things, you don’t necessarily care about, like home repair projects and stuff like that.

There are also a bunch of professional things I can’t talk about because of NDAs and other privacy issues, and so on. Let’s just say I’m going to streamline—and in fact have already started to streamline—a lot about how my little one-man-operation operates so I’m working smarter, more efficiently, and so on.

In 2019 I stepped away from Writer’s Digest University and the online courses I’d taught there for years, for reasons that had nothing to do with the work itself, which I loved. Let’s just say things didn’t go well in a difficult transition following the bankruptcy and dissolution of WD’s parent company, F+W Media. One of the great big plans for 2020 was to set up new courses via a new platform. Looking back, I can’t say exactly why this didn’t happen, but in retrospect 2020 might not have been, y’know, the best year to start a new business.

But now it’s 2021, the Year of Phil, and those online courses and tutorials are back on the to do list. It might take a few months to get all that in place—set up a new platform, create new content, and spread the word—but it will happen in 2021. This I swear by the old gods, and the new.

It’s also been a very long time since I’ve written anything—or really published anything—and that has more to do with a now happily resolved medical issue, some of the inefficiency in my editing and consulting business, and a weird COVID (etc.) ennui that settled in in mid-2020. Still, I have written some, and feel pretty good about writing in the months ahead. I will release one writing book in the first quarter of this year, for sure, then a revised print edition of Completely Broken. A second writing book that will dive into a specific part of writing fiction and offer hands-on advice is slated for the third quarter. Currently thinking that will be something like One Scene, One POV… but let’s tentatively hope for third quarter 2021 on that one, and in the fourth quarter maybe a collection of short fiction and poetry… I don’t know yet.

I will also finally make progress on a fantasy novel WIP that has been hanging unfinished for a very long time. I had a couple of creative breakthroughs on that—plot and motivation holes that had the idea penned up for ages finally filled—and I feel it coming together in my head in a big way.

These books might just be the leads in two new publishing imprints from me, Fantasy Author’s Handbook and Af&p… but not 100% sure on the business plan there yet.

I’ve already started exercising and eating better and in general at least trying to be more positive, more forward-thinking… all that good stuff. And I know that’s true of a lot of us in the first week of a new year. And even in years without a global pandemic it’s been difficult for me to hold to those resolutions. But I can make it through the rest of COVID—hell, I work from home anyway—and as long as there isn’t something worse on the horizon—just don’t think about it!—all these positive changes and goals are meeting me at a point where I’m physically healthier and therefor psychologically healthier, than I have been for… yikes… six years?

But that’s looking back. In the Year of Phil, I look forward.

It’s January 5th—a time to make goals and try to grab hold of our lives. I think it’s more important to at least try to point to a positive future full of new writing and editing and other creative projects after the year we’ve all just been through than whatever “normal” used to feel like.

Keep your eyes here and on Twitter (@PhilAthans) for further information on courses, tutorials, live events, and book launches… who knows what amazing stuff might come out of the Year of Phil.

And hey, listen:

It’s not just the Year of Phil.

Let’s proclaim, by the power vested in ourselves by ourselves, that this is the Year of [insert name here]. The Year of Everybody.

Write in 2021. Publish in 2021. Expand your horizons in any way that helps, pleases, or excites you in 2021.

We can do it!

—Philip Athans

Follow me on Twitter @PhilAthans

Link up with me on LinkedIn

Friend me on GoodReads

Find me at PublishersMarketplace

Or contact me for editing, coaching, ghostwriting, and more at Athans & Associates Creative Consulting.

About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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6 Responses to 2021: THE YEAR OF PHIL

  1. Beverly says:

    Glad to hear you’re going to be restarting the online courses. I thoroughly enjoyed the two I took with you and got an enormous amount of information.

    I haven’t been writing (also health issues), but am hoping to get back into it soon. Things are currently on hold for me as I’m in the process of selling my house and moving to another country.

    Taking a break has been helpful to me as I’ve been thinking about the plot of my book and have, hopefully, solved some issues.

    Happy New Year, Phil and here’s to the new courses.

  2. Dawn Ross says:

    The only thing I did well in 2020 was write. I have perfected the art of goal-making and goal-reaching when it comes to writing. If only I could apply this ability to other things. The problem, though, is I don’t love those other things as much as I love writing. I guess I need to learn to love those other things. Number one on my 2021 resolutions list is to exercise more. Getting my blood running, after all, will give me more energy and brainpower to write.

    Good luck with your goals. I’ll definitely keep an eye out on this site and on your Twitter feed.

  3. Pingback: WRITERS ON READING | Fantasy Author's Handbook

  4. Joy Pixley says:

    I hear you loud and clear about 2020 not turning out to be the year you’d planned. UGH. But I love your optimism. Three cheers for 2021! Three cheers for fun and exciting goals! I hope your Year of Phil works out just as you planned. And you’re right, three cheers for everyone, right? Spread the love. I hope this will be a great Year of Joy as well!

  5. Pingback: 2022: THE YEAR OF PHIL | Fantasy Author's Handbook

  6. Pingback: 2023: THE YEAR OF PHIL (FOR REAL THIS TIME) | Fantasy Author's Handbook

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