End Of Year ‘Pat On The Back’

carrotsSo, have we all survived that mad present-buying, turkey-eating frenzy that was Christmas?! All that build-up and it’s over in a flash, don’t you think?

And I’m GLAD! This is the bit that I used to hate (when I was a sad singleton and everyone disappeared for days on end) but that I now love: the lull between Christmas and New Year, when no-one’s back at work yet, there are no events or activities to do and I can just CHILLAX! (You see, I am so laid back, I can’t even be bothered to stop myself from using teenage slang).

I was in charge of Christmas Day dinner and although I say so myself, it was pretty good.

Apart from the carrots.

Which were a smidgeon too crunchy and could have done with a few seconds longer in the microwave.. err, I mean, of course, a couple more minutes steaming away merrily on the Aga.

I worried about those carrots, dear Reader. I was even thinking about them on Boxing Day.

So what, if the carrots were a tiny bit hard? What about the perfect, crunchy-on-the-outside-squidgy-on-the-inside roast potatoes? Or the fudge-tender three-bird roast? Or the delicious baby sprouts with onions and bacon? Did I think about those?

No, I didn’t think about the good things, only the bad. And this is what I do with my writing! (yes, there really was a point to all this turkey-speak).

Instead of thinking about what I’ve done well, I worry about all the stuff I haven’t achieved (no novel written, no story accepted by Take A Break, for example).

Anyone else out there the same?

So, I’ve decided that it’s time for some end-of-year pats on the back and congratulations! Tell me what you’ve done well this year and what successes you’ve had (writing-wise! I mean, it’s wonderful that you passed your cycling proficiency test and your daughter got Grade 3 in her piano but I’m only really interested in the writing bits, OK?)

Mine are:

1. I started my own, independent writing class in April, which has now run successfully for 2 terms, with firstly 8 and then 10 people in the class (some of whom were the same! ie: they came back!) and which will, all being well, start up again for term 3 on 9th January 2014.

2. I came first in 2 short story competitions (only little ones but still…Ooops, there I go again!)

3. I started a novel during NaNoWriMo and it actually wasn’t rubbish. I’ve had the first 2500 words critiqued by a very particular writers’ group and they were all nice about it! So, I’m going to continue to work on it, with the intention of entering the Good Housekeeping novel competition next February.

Ta dah! As they say in the Boots ad.

Right, that’s me done. Now, it’s over to you….

This entry was posted in Competitions, Cotswolds, Short Stories, Successes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to End Of Year ‘Pat On The Back’

  1. daniallen says:

    I got an email to let me know I was a runner up in the Reader’s Digest 100 word story competition and they’re paying me £50 to use it in February’s print magazine! 🙂

  2. Wendy Clarke says:

    I, like you, love the lull after Christmas – especially after entertaining 12 on the day and 8 on Boxing Day. I will be posting my year’s achievements on my blog on Monday so I won’t do it here… but it has been a great year womag-wise.

  3. Debbie W says:

    Only little ones, Helen? You know what they say though ‘it’s not the size that matters …’
    My husband cooked the Christmas dinner and left the roast tatties in the oven by mistake! We had so much piled on our plates we didn’t notice they weren’t there. I wrote several thousand words during NaNo and sketched out details to a gritty and dark novel.

    Good luck with your writing targets for next year.

    • When I say ‘little ones’ I mean – not the Bridport or the Costa Short Story prize!!! But nontheless, very pleasing and satisfying to win! I’ve entered plenty of smaller writing competitions in the past and NOT won and actually the 2 stories that won those competitions were, in my humble opinion, two of the best stories I’ve written, which just goes to show that, ‘little’ or not, you still have to submit quality work in order to have a chance! I had to smile at your husband’s mistake with the roasties. We found a dozen ‘pigs in blankets’ lurking in one of our ovens about 4 days after Christmas! In the rush to get everything out, still hot, it’s easily done, isn’t it!?


  4. Well done Helen, I’ve read your dishwasher story recently, and you seem to have ww in the bag, so don’t beat yourself up about tab. I was hoping to have a womag story accepted, but… here’s my pat on the backs for 2013. I had a story in the Came as me, left as we anthology by Alfie Dog. An article in Best of British, managed to complete the novel in a haphazard form for nano… Entered competitions, had more critiques, and joined critique groups. In all, I feel I moved forward a few steps. Oh, had Stardust the Racehorse as story of the week a while back on Alfie dog. And, I’ve had a smidgen of pennies paid in to my bank for something on Amazon, that I don’t know what. Small things I imagine, but morale boosting to me. Great news on your Christmas Day spread, sounds great. Look forward to your blogging in 2014, you are an inspiration to lots of us, you didn’t mention that….

  5. I had a poem published in the OU Poets Anthology this year but I had to wait until this month to get the best surprise of the year. I’m runner up in Kingston Libraries Poetry competition and will get the chance to read my poem in January at the presentation and collect my prize of £30 worth of book tokens! Now what to spend them on…..?!

  6. Tracy Fells says:

    You deserve a pat on the back, Helen, well done on all your success this year particularly the Mumsnet children’s story. I think we (writers) tend to focus on what we’ve not done or the rejections rather than the good bits – it’s always worthwhile doing a mini review of the year and reliving the high points! I’ve been enjoying this post-Xmas lull with lots and lots of reading. Not writing is actually helping to generate a some ideas for new projects. Happy New Year and for an even more successful 2014 🙂 x

  7. swanview says:

    Well done on your success. I wrote 22 000 words during NaNo which was a little disappointing as I managed 50 000 words last year, but I also managed to get to terms with Scrivener. But I have also just started my blog which I am proud of and I’m determined to work on that 22 000 and try for 50 000 next year.

  8. Just like to say, that I look forward to reading your blog. I have been feeling a little downbeat recently about my writing as I don’t seem to have done much since the summer, and you’re blog inspired me when I read it this morning (I save it for quiet breakfast times, kids and husband free!) to actually think about the things I’ve achieved this year and the things I’m potentially capable of achieving, instead of dwelling on the things I haven’t done – which I was leaning towards as the year end loomed. Wishing you a Happy New Year 🙂

    • Glad it was helpful. It’s all too easy I think, to dwell on the negatives and what we haven’t done (I do it too and beat myself up!) but forget all that now and look forward to the New Year and everything that you’re going to do! (Ooh, listen to me, Barbie Brightside!!)

  9. I started making bread this yea…I mean last year. Not done that since I was a kid – under the supervision of me parents who always made bread.
    I now bake four different sorts of bread on a regular basis, but can’t eat them quickly enough so that I can make more.
    ‘What has that to do with writing?’ I hear you ask, well I write up notes every time I bake, and hope to be able to re-write them one day, for a book. It would make a change to the soppily-romantic-theological-science-fiction that I normally write.

    I don’t know how many words I have written this…I mean last year; I do have a couple of new short stories, but most of my writing has been re-working and editing older material.
    I had hoped to have got something published at Christmas, but it didn’t happen. Maybe 2014 will be my beginning.
    Happy New Year

  10. philippabowe says:

    It does seem to be part of human nature, focusing on the negative rather than the positive – your carrots are an excellent illustration! So yes, the pat on the back is a great idea. And Helen you have done marvelously well, you deserve huge thumps on the back (including for your lovely blog)!
    I have had a very busy work year that did not leave a lot of time for writing. I managed 11 competition entries, with one long listing. But what I am really proud of is joining in with Nano for the first time, and completing 17,000 words – it was pretty exhilerating, and my novel has now been properly launched.
    Well done to everyone for all the creative efforts over 2013!

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