I’m late to the party with this, but here it is (finally)…
The year that was
Last year was a blur of juggling too many things, and managing chronic pain. I used visual goals that I set out at the start of the year in my Moleskine diary and found this to be really helpful. It helped me to get things done, and to also see in a glimpse what I wanted to get done. It was an incredibly busy year with juggling part-time work, freelance editing, writing workshops, parenting and writing. To say I am tired is a huge understatement. I am exhausted. Over this last year I read a lot of great books, exercised a lot despite a shoulder injury, wrote short stories, looked after editing clients, run lots of writing workshops, finished two drafts of my manuscript, hung out with writer mates and friends, mourned a friend, supported young people through some tough times, travelled over the seas for a wedding and some research, and went on dates with my love.
Each month I noted what books I read, how many painkillers I needed, how many days I was able to go without painkillers and how many days I consumed alcohol. It helped to keep me on track with the neurologist’s recommendations.
Over the year I had more migraines than I would like to calculate (the boxes that are filled in with black) with August being a killer month. They continue to plague me and I don’t have any solutions for them, but continue to work on this with my neurologist. What is not shown here are the number of very grumpy moments when I feel like I can’t survive the pain. I guess this page shows that anything is possible, even living with pain.
This year I sent off loads of work with very little feedback. I pushed myself to keep putting it out there, it’s a numbers game, and just the act of submitting is an achievement. I ended up submitting to 27 different things. I attended a wonderful novel writing masterclass with an incredibly nurturing soul as the teacher. It was an intense and wonderful five days. I went to two writing retreats with my writing gang and managed to make my way through two drafts of my manuscript that is based on my First Fleet convict ancestor. I was lucky enough to be able to travel to England this year for a wedding, and while I was there, I was able to walk in my ancestor’s footsteps and understand what the lay of the land is. I felt very close to her there, like I did when I was in Sydney in 2017. It all helps with the writing. I sent my young adult manuscript and a picture book manuscript out and received very positive feedback. I had two short stories shortlisted and longlisted in two different competitions. Most importantly, I kept going. I now have a draft of my biofiction that is looking pretty healthy and some great feedback for the other manuscripts.
Family life has been great this year. My young men continue to grow and mature as people I am deeply proud of. The eldest has successfully transitioned into uni life, and the other two have completed another year of school. Home life is enjoyable, and I am grateful for these moments.
My writing gang continues to be a wonderful thing. We meet on a regular basis, we support each other through our lows, and celebrate our highs. This year we celebrated Katherine’s debut novel The Helpline and Katherine and Kate’s podcast The First Time Podcast. If you are a writer, I encourage strongly to find your group. It is so important in a career that is full of rejection and loneliness.
What a great year of reading! I have read a lot this year. Ones of note are: Songwoman by Ilka Tampke, The Passengers by Eleanor Limprecht, Ironback by Jay Carmichael, The Helpline by Katherine Collette, Understorey by Inga Simpson, Common People by Tony Birch, Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, The Geography of Friendship by Sally Piper, A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly, Foals Bread by Gillian Mears, Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann, Into the World by Stephanie Parkyn, and Elizabeth Stroud’s Anything is Possible and My Name is Lucy Barton.
You can follow my reading on Goodreads.
The year to come
This year I have created my goals like last year with some minor tweaking. I’m taking on full-time work at the school. I’ll be looking after the library in addition to the communications and marketing work. It’s going to be a busy year as I juggle this, but I plan to keep writing before I go to work each day. I will have to drop the freelance work, so the job I’m doing now will be my last for the time being. And as usual, I hope to have a year with lots of smiles, fewer migraines, fewer injuries, and more words.
My to be read pile is threatening to tumble over me, so I’m hoping to get through a bit during the break. I have just finished reading Normal People by Sally Rooney and am about to read an advance copy of Graeme Simsion’s next book, The Rosie Result. Other books I’m reading this month are Border Districts (Gerald Murnane) and The Life to Come (Michelle De Kretser). I also can’t wait to read Small Blessings by Emily Brewin when it comes out in February and Lucy Treloar’s new book when it comes out. With the work I’ll be doing in the school library, I know I will be reading quite a few young adult and teen books too.
Here’s to more time to read!
Thank you all for reading my blog, and for encouraging and supporting me along the way. This writing gig is a lonely and often fraught business where the most negative voice is your own. Your words of support are brilliant. I hope that 2019 holds some wonderful things for you. Have a safe and happy holiday and I’ll be back here in February.