A Bit of a Bumpy Year

This is our tree! Not bad, eh? (for a fake one!). Carrot family decorations courtesy of Aldi.

If I may borrow the Queen’s expression (apparently, it’s in her speech tomorrow), 2019 has been a bit of a ‘bumpy’ year for me (and the country, obviously – and maybe for you too?).

The Bad:
On a personal note – and sorry to put sad things here at Christmas, but it would seem odd not to mention it – we buried both my husband’s parents in 2019 and my own dear dad died on 8th December, which, although he was 93 and poorly, was still a shock.

And feels very weird to type it and it’s going to be a funny old Christmas without him.

If any of you are missing a loved one at this time of year – and I’m sure many of you are – I’m sending you a virtual hug. It’s bloody horrible, isn’t it?

On the writing front, as usual, I didn’t do as much as I wanted to.

Here are the many ways in which I failed:

* I only submitted 33 stories to women’s magazines (my target, which I’ve achieved for the past 5 years, is always 52, one a week).

* I didn’t complete NaNoWriMo.

* I didn’t send off my novel manuscript to the RNA by 31st August, so missed the deadline.

* Although I won a Writers Bureau course in a raffle in the summer (!) I have yet to complete and submit my first assignment (but I will!)

Christmas Eve sunshine (who needs a white Christmas?)

The Good:

But, in better news – in July we got married! At this wonderful place and I must admit, it was a fabulous weekend and I feel very lucky and – to use another fashionable word (which I doubt Her Maj’ will use tomorrow, but who knows?), I feel very ‘blessed’.

And on the writing front, there were some good things: I did manage 47k of NaNo and it’s still an on-going project; I went on two of Alison May and Janet Gover’s fabulous courses, in January and October and I was a tutor for the first time at NAWGFest in August, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

And I continued to blog, even through the stress and horrible times (yes, I am kind to you). In fact, this is my 39th post of the year and I’ll probably manage another one, bringing it up to a nice round 40, before 31st.

I came second in the Tamworth Literary Festival competition (and, ahem, finally got my prize money 5 months later! Hurrah).

I also interviewed an author for the first time ever, at Evesham Festival of Words and I couldn’t have chosen a better person: it was the lovely and very talented Ms Joanna Cannon. (If you haven’t read her 3 books, do! You’re in for a treat).

And looking ahead, in the New Year I’ve got a new job, teaching 2 Creative Writing classes at the theatre in Chipping Norton and I’m setting up a Book Club for Evesham Festival. Plus, I’m just about to book myself a place on a writing retreat so, there are lots of good things ahead. For you too, I hope. Bring it on!

In the past, I know, I have moaned and whined a bit about Christmas but I’m not going to do that this year.

I’ve just taken the Bonnie baby for a walk in the brilliant Christmas Eve sunshine, had a chat with two very nice dog-walking young men that I met along the way (honestly, they were like romantic heroes! One had the bluest eyes! And, most importantly, they had nice, well-behaved dogs too) and I have reminded myself, that, truly, every day is a gift.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas.

This entry was posted in Blogging, Bonnie, Competitions, Cotswolds. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to A Bit of a Bumpy Year

  1. Colette McCormick says:

    Looking forward to 2020 and wishing you only good things.

  2. Helen Lowry says:

    Sorry to hear about your dad and husband’s parents. All the best for 2020.

  3. pennywrite says:

    Thank you for all your posts, Helen. A restful Christmas to you!

  4. Maria Smith says:

    Ah Helen, yes horrible when we lose loved ones. My husband died suddenly in September and I’m in my own bubble just going through the motions for the sake of my son and daughter. Smiling when required.
    You’ve done loads this year, you should be very proud.
    I loved the end of your post, because yes we should count our blessings and enjoy as much as we can in life. Will that blue eyed gent end up in one of your stories?
    Have a peaceful Christmas.

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Oh Maria, I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I didn’t know, of course. Look after yourself and you have a peaceful Christmas too.

  5. Eirin Thompson says:

    I was sorry to hear of the losses you’ve been faced with, this year, Helen – I imagine many of us who follow your blog have come to think of you as a friend, even if we haven’t met you. Also, whilst I very much enjoy your posts and love to hear your news – writerly and otherwise – I would completely understand if you wanted to do a little less blogging in 2020, in order to leave time for more “selfish” writing. And I mean that in a good way! Maria – what extremely sad news. I hope you have survived Christmas and that you have better times ahead.

  6. juliathorley says:

    Every year is a mixed bag, isn’t it? I’m sorry for your sand and bad times, but congratulate you on what you have achieved. Here’s to a triumphant 2020.

    • Thanks, Julia and thanks for your comments on the blog throughout the last year (and before!). I do appreciate them and sorry I don’t always reciprocate as much as I should. Sometimes I try to leave comments on people’s blogs and they just disappear into the ether so it’s put me off a bit! Happy New Year to you and yes, of course, life’s a mix of good and bad for all of us.

  7. Kate hogan says:

    Well done for keeping so upbeat, Helen. So hard. Sorry to hear about your lovely dad – I remember you telling us he thought all your stories were about Aunty Mary! It made me smile. So sad to hear of the loss of your husband’s parents, too. May the New Year bring you love and light in your heart. Big hugs XXXX

    Kate Hogan

    • Thanks, Kate. Yes, he did say all my stories were about ‘Aunty Mary’. He also urged me to ‘write for the BBC’ as he didn’t think anywhere else was worth anything AND he said to me once, “You keep saying you’re going to write a book but you never have!” Not sure whether all his ‘helpful’ comments were inspiring or demotivating but they were certainly memorable! Happy New Year to you too, Kate and I hope it brings all you’re hoping for. x

  8. philippabowe says:

    Helen, so sorry you have lost your dad as well as your parents-in-law, those sort of losses do make the festive season much harder. Your writing year sounds more good than bad, so throw off the bad, take all the good and run with it!
    Maria, that’s a terrible loss, I hope you are getting plenty of support and love.
    Philippa x

    • Thanks, Philippa. Happy New Year to you, over there in sunny (?) France. I hope you had a good Christmas and that your own writing is going well.

      • philippabowe says:

        Thanks! Some sunny days here, some not so sunny, and Christmas restful if marred by a nasty bout of flu that hit my poor hub. Writing is going pretty damn well with three different flash fiction pieces published in two anthologies, my first print publications so I’m thrilled!

      • That’s great news, Philippa! (not your poor husband’s flu, I hasten to add, but your writing successes. Here’s to more in 2020!)

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