We were in Rhossili Bay for New Year, staying in this little place with the dog, just down the road from a 3 mile sandy beach.
I know it looks a bit like a shed but it was, honestly, called a shepherd’s hut and it was cosy and warm (although it was so windy on all 3 nights, that we were rocked to sleep!). Fabulous but I must admit, as much as I enjoyed it this year, I always breathe a little sigh of relief when the kerfuffle of Christmas and New Year is over and we can all get back to ‘normal’!
I thought I would do a little review of 2017 – my writing and the blog (and those of you who are new followers may have missed some of these posts), so here goes:
January – I was a guest on Tracy’s blog talking about my self-published book on starting a creative writing class.
February I gave a talk at Evesham library, as part of the Festival’s Second Friday Stories, a free event for writers and readers.
Then, in February and March (I must have been short of time or ideas!) I posted a few of my articles that had originally appeared in Writing magazine:
In April I wrote a post about getting inspiration from sport and, ahem, I also left the handbrake off my car – the first time I’ve ever done that! and I wrote a poem about it (and haven’t done it since – honest!)
In May I wrote about going to the Stratford Literary Festival, handed in my notice (I used to work part-time for a children’s charity. I need to find a new part-time job this year!) and won the Tamworth Literary Festival short story competition (they’re running another one, closing 31st March 2018, if you’re interested in entering, the details are here.
The prizes are CASH this time but when I won it was £100 of book tokens (very useful for Christmas presents!).
I published another of Writing magazine’s posts, this time about ‘Ditching the Distractions’
And in June, I wrote about the benefits of keeping a diary.
I also bid for – and won – a full manuscript critique from Alison May on the Authors for Grenfell site (which raised over £180k in total).
July was the Evesham Festival of Words. I ran two workshops on writing short stories and my friend Chris and I ran the Book Quiz for the second time.
The dates for the festival, if you’re interested, in 2018 – are Friday 29th June to Sunday 1st July. We’ll be running the quiz again (3 tables are already booked!) and I’ve also been asked to run a workshop on Writing Serials (so I’d better get moving on another one as I’ve only actually ever written one!).
There’s a short story competition linked to the festival too and the details are here (you’ve got until March 23rd to get your entry in).
In July I went to Writers Holiday in Fishguard which turned out (sadly) to be the last one. So in 2018, I have to find somewhere else to go for a summer writing holiday.
In August, to celebrate reaching 700 followers I launched a little ‘random word competition’ (and now that I’m just 12 off 800, there’ll be another one soon).
In September my restaurant review won first prize and £100 in the Writers Forum flash competition.
In October my blog was 7 years old and I got a bad back (the two things aren’t linked) and talked here about how to protect your back, as a writer.
I went on a novel writing weekend, to get some tips on my (very rough!) first draft. I now have until the end of January to get the second draft done and then send it off to Alison May for the critique. It was supposed to be with her by the end of the year but illness and Christmas have got in the way, so I have a ‘reprieve’!
In November I went to the library to write a few times (something I’m going to do more of this year) and I wrote here about how difficult I was finding it to write both short stories and longer novel type stuff.
Which brings us to December! I was ill for nearly the whole month! (that lurgy thing that’s been going around. The one that fools you into thinking it’s gone – and then comes back with a vengeance). It’s been busy like it always is in December and so, not much writing has been done.
I said a little while ago that this was a year when lots of things changed. And the final one was…I went to the dentist on 28th December and my lovely dentist, who I’ve been with for over 20 years, told me he’s selling the practice… noooooo! So I have to find a new dentist now and I’m not very happy about that.
Writing Review of the Year
* I submitted 48 short stories to women’s magazines (my target was 52).
* I wrote a first draft of a novel, which is further than I’ve ever got before, so that is GOOD. Although I’m aware that the really hard work starts in January, when I want to try to get the second draft done and sent off for a critique.
* I had my first short story translated into another language (Swedish), when Allas magazine bought my story about the Rome marathon (previously published in Take a Break).
* I didn’t have any guests on my blog in 2017! How did that happen?! I will rectify that in the new year, definitely. I already have one lined up for January!
* I didn’t have any articles or non-fiction pieces published last year either (I used to have a fairly steady record with Writing magazine). But I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t do everything and there’s no point trying.
How was your writing year?