Review of My (Writing) Year

Happy New Year 2013I originally started this post with: “2012 was rather ‘bitty’ and a not altogether successful year for me, writing-wise,” but then I realised, that I still have over 40,000 words ‘out there’ (that’s 8 stories at various women’s magazines and 19 competition entries).

Hurrah, all is not lost!

Until I’ve had all the results of those, it’s difficult to give a summary of the year, after all – it might turn out to be fantastic! (she said, optimistically).

So, I’ll tell you what I know so far….

The Bad…

1. The first 3 months of the year were supposed to be given over to writing at least part of a novel, in time for a novel-writing course on March 10th. But I just didn’t do it. My heart wasn’t in it. So that was a bit of a waste because I really didn’t write much else.

2. At Easter I had to stop teaching my 3 writing classes because we were moving and it was too far to travel back and I haven’t yet found anything to replace them. And I feel bad about that. Bad, because I write articles as a ‘creative writing tutor’ but also because I enjoyed it and had worked hard to build up my materials and – if this doesn’t sound too pompous – my ‘skills’ and now I feel like that’s all going to waste.

So, New Year’s Resolution number 1 is to find a new class to teach, either through a college or by setting one up myself (scary thought!).

3. I spent too much time on Facebook and generally faffing around. (Although it did give me an idea for an article, which has since been published, THIS MUST STOP!)

The Good….

1. I sold more stories to The Weekly News than last year and I did better in competitions. I got a first place (World Audio Short Story competition), a second (Writers Forum) and a third place (Wells Literary Festival), so I want to build on that, enter more and do better in 2013!

2. I joined the Twitterati and I’m really enjoying Tweeting (it’s not as time consuming as Facebook!)

3. I had 6 articles published in Writing magazine and the editor wants to continue with the series of ‘Get Writing’ articles. (errm, now I’ve just got to think of some more ideas…)

4. This blog continued to grow. I now have 245 followers and many of you feel like friends, even though we haven’t met – so thank you for that! (Particularly Susan – my top ‘commenter’ – and Tracy, who was second!). It’s very rewarding to spend time on a post and then actually get some comments back.

5. The competitions I ran on the blog were very popular. In fact, on September 25th, when I published the shortlisted entries for the open category of my random word competition, the blog had the most views of the whole year. So, there’ll definitely be more competitions to come in 2013.

The Ugly…

1. I upset some people with my post – and subsequent letter in Writers Forum about whether ‘successful writers’ should enter small short story competitions. Lesson learned! I will be more tactful in future!

2. I still haven’t cracked Take A Break.

Have you got any resolutions? What does your ‘end of year’ round-up look like? Tell me, we’d all like to know!

Other Stuff

There’s an interesting article (as always) here on The Telegraph‘s Short Story Club website, about writing and this time of year, which you might find of interest.

The good news is that the Short Story Club is continuing in 2013 (the format is yet to be determined) and I can recommend it, if you didn’t tune in this year. There were lots of opportunities for comments, on-line writing exercises and a free-to-enter competition each month, which is more than most writing websites offer!

And if you’re twiddling your thumbs tonight or over the next few days, you might like to have a go at Waterstones’ lovely book quiz (10 rounds!). No prizes – they give the answers at the end – but it might be a bit of fun.

There’s also a competition on that link to win a Kindle Fire.

All that remains to say is, all the best to you and yours for 2013, here’s to lots of writing success for us all and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This entry was posted in Blogging, Books, Competitions, Moving House, Short Stories, Successes, Tweeting and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Review of My (Writing) Year

  1. Christine Steenfeldt says:

    I really enjoy your blog, Helen. I came to it late – a few months ago, but when an email pops into my inbox from your blog, I get quite excited! I also appreciate the way you share competitions with everyone – I’ve entered some although with no success-so far! And I don’t think you need to feel bad about the WF letter regarding successful authors entering small comps- it’s good to get people debating subjects even if they don’t always agree. I set up a spreadsheet for my submissions earlier this year and ‘coloured in’ those where I’d been shortlisted or placed and was really gratified to see a bit of colour on it- as well as being very excited that I’d actually managed to create a spreadsheet in the first place. So my goal for 2013 is to see lots of colouring in on it. I intend to finish at least one of the three novels I’ve started, to get a short play performed (I managed 2 shortlistings this year so here’s hoping) and to get more short stories out there. I will do it but only if I stop playing solitaire all the time!!! Happy New Year to you and all your blog readers!

    • Thanks Christine. It sounds to me like you’re well on the way to lots of ‘colours’ and success in 2013. Perhaps we should try to restrict our Facebooking-ing and Solitaire to the end of the day or work session! As a reward? Easier said than done, I know. I don’t have enough self-control! Good luck for next year!


  2. Carol Warham says:

    Have a great new year and a very successful 2013. I’ve really enjoyed the blog and look forward to the next 12 months of following it.

  3. Angela Greenwood says:

    Hi Helen, I’ve only been following you for a few months and like Christine, love to see your blog in my inbox. Thanks for lots of information and tips. Hope you have a successful and happy new year

  4. Hi Helen from your top commenter, not just any commenter you notice, top one. Oh that’s good, just that I’m an old gossip. Sounds like you’ve had a great year and always good fun, you’re never boring and I remember in one of your posts you said the good thing about a blog is that you can publish anything you like. So if people didn’t like what you said I wouldn’t worry too much, they can always unfollow. A blog trying to please everyone wouldn’t be worth a look. My biggest thrill this year was having my opening chapter being shortlisted in the RNA new talent awards. I was panicking incase I’d won, and couldn’t get there. I even asked a couple of people who I thought might be there if they could pick up the award…. What a nit. So now I’m going to get it finished. And aim to get a womag story published in 2013. Also I want to make more of a commitment to the writing. Take it a bit more seriously. Now who’s getting boring??? Happy New Year. P.s. You could set up a class in the office/cave/studio.

    • Susan – top commenter – you made me laugh with that post! I could set up a class in the cave (I called it the ‘shed’ this morning by mistake! whoops) BUT it would have to be pretty small – I could only fit in about 4 people OR more if they were small! Worth thinking about though.. now if we took the bed out of the bedroom and converted that into a ‘boardroom’ that would work….


  5. Helen Lowry says:

    Hi Helen
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog over the year. My plan is a bit more drastic and that is to just delete Solitaire and have done with! As you say too much faffing around and not getting on with it.
    All the best for 2013 !

  6. Heather says:

    Hi Helen,
    I don’t respond often but I always read your blog and follow through on some of the links. Though poetry is really my thing I have started to go back to a spot of story writing for my own enjoyment really. I always enjoy your blog and you often make me laugh! Writing can be frustrating….you get a run of good luck then nothing! We just have to keep going and stick together, us writers! I have a review of my year on my writing blog if you care to take a look Happy New Year!

  7. Tracy Fells says:

    Thanks for the mention Helen, makes me think one of my goals should be less time on blog comments & more writing. Only joking. I love your posts and look forward to more in 2013. Focus on the achievements – you’ve done really well. I was very jealous when you got mentioned in the Telegraph Short Story Comp! Glad to hear it’s carrying on as I enter diligently every month – one to crack in 2013!!
    And sometimes its good to hear a writer express their opinions – and at least your letter stirred up some feeling in WF, be proud of that. Also good to hear more from you in Writing Magazine – I always enjoy reading your features. Good luck with sourcing a new writing class and all your new writing goals 🙂

  8. aliceinwritingland says:

    Congratulations on all your successes, Helen and thanks for another year of your blog – as you know, I think it’s really excellent 🙂

  9. Eugene Egan says:

    I’ve been spending far too much time on facebook too! So that will have to change for 2013. Happy New Year!

  10. cathos says:

    Happy New Year! I really enjoy your blog – it can be very lonely writing and your blog is the one distraction that is also very useful (won a competition as a result of reading it) as well as interesting and amusing. Sounds like you’ve had a good writing year and wish you well with 2013!!

  11. Marie Madigan says:

    Happy New Year to you too Helen! I really enjoy your posts, which are always useful and interesting, not to mention unfailingly cheerful. Good luck with your 2013 writing projects – I’m looking forward to reading about them.

  12. valhari says:

    Hi Helen, and everyone, have just set up my own blog, which was one of my NYresolutions. Very scary but much easier than I thought.Hope to be popping in here more often. wishing you all a Happy New Year and much writing luck.

  13. Linda says:

    Sounds like you had a pretty good year to me. We all have our ups and downs, the trick is to just concentrate on the ‘ups’. Good luck with starting a new writing class. I’m sure you’ll have students queuing up once you announce it.

  14. KH says:

    Happy New Year, Helen – thanks for all the info and sharing over the year and the smiles you help to raise too. Good luck with the writing.

    PS – I had my first success with TAB December 2012. I’ve been subbing to them for over two years. I had to reread the email from Norah several times for the long awaited pleasure of success to sink in. Hope you soon get your first acceptance there too.

    • Big congratulations on getting a story accepted with TAB! It’s not easy, I know! Not sure whether I’m going to try any more but I probably will because I don’t like to be defeated!

  15. KH says:

    Thanks for the big congrats, Helen. I’d also planned to give up trying because I’ve had so very many rejections and then one that was still out there with TAB get’s accepted. The same thing happened to me with Woman’s Weekly. I finally had an acceptance when I was just about to throw in the towel. Strange isn’t it? Anyway, I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but TAB seems to be printing a more wide ranging style of writing in their stories lately. Some I’m sure wouldn’t be too far away from a People’s Friend or Woman’s Weekly story. So I think there are changes afoot subtle but still changes. So do keep on trying, Helen. You’re successful in so many areas of writing acceptance you’re bound to get it right. All good wishes KH

    • That’s interesting about TAB – and thanks for the encouragement (we all need it, don’t we?!). I do read TAB FF a few times a year but not every issue and I probably should, if I really want to see what kinds of stories they’re accepting!

  16. PhilippaB says:

    A little belated – but a very Happy New Year to you Helen and to all your faithful followers (I notice that the figure has already gone up since this post)! It sounds like you had a pretty good writing year, huge congrats for all the successes, As for the areas you want to work on, you can see them as exciting challenges taking you into new ground for 2013 – and for the record, I don’t think there was anything wrong at all in your post on successful writers entering small competitions, you were raising a good and relevant point, and your posts are always characterised by great tact!
    Aside from the huge excitement of winning your competition, I can’t really talk about a writing year as I just didn’t make enough time for my writing. So that’s my one big New Year’s resolution: writing has to be bumped right up the priority list, not left till the odd hour here and there once all the other stuff is done. Not being a user of Facebook of any other social network (I leave it to my kids, who are addicted enough for the whole family!), I don’t have to worry about online faffing; as my computer is my work tool and I have to surf online a fair amount to research my translations, I tend to flee it outside of work time.
    Discovering your blog has been a great source of inspiration and information this year – as a French resident with no access to a “physical” writing group of any sort (in English anyway), it is a huge boon for me to feel part of an online community. So thank you for all the time and energy you put into your very lovely, supportive and funny blog…here’s to a creative 2013 for us all!

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