As seems to now be tradition, it is time for my yearly blog post.
Over the festive period I've been very quiet and sleepy. I've tried doing things on my phone even though they take longer, because the thought of using a laptop is too overwhelming. I've struggled to do basic daily habits. Sometimes, that's just what you need to do. It's okay.
The last 12 months have felt like a very long year. My achievements seem very far away and, when I list them, they don't look like much:
Potential redundancy at work but new role offered
4 books rewritten
3 new drafts started
2 more full requests
It looks essentially like I am in exactly the same position as I was 12 months ago:
Same company/job/salary (almost)
But, and this is a big but, that's more than I've ever achieved in my writing life. I also have more stories now than I did 12 months ago.
I think back over everything I've written (and at this point this post becomes a self-pep-talk) and it feels like a lot:
- 2x standalone adult adventure stories
- Series of 8x pony books
- 7x YA/NA portal fantasy stories (2 trilogies, plus a standalone currently in progress)
- Series of 6x YA contemporary paranormal stories
- Series of 5x Teen fantasy adventure stories (3 still to draft)
- 1x YA coming of age story that is so 'me' I'm currently too scared to write the latter half
That is a sizeable list, and even my self-sacrificing 'modesty-martyr' self has to admit it.
Are they any good? I hope so, but above all they're mine and I am proud of them.
So, whatever you achieved in the past 12 months, even if it was just getting out of bed or saying something nice to someone that one time, remember:
There will always be people with more 'stats' than you. Always. I look at authors getting their debut books out, getting their agent, their competition wins and it's so easy to give up, and to doubt.
There will also always be people with less. People who say they haven't written as many drafts as you, or don't have as much time or disposable income.
As long as you are doing your best, whatever that entails and no matter what others are doing, then you are achieving every single day.
If this year has rammed home any message at all, it is that the only constant keeping us going is kindness.
- Being thoughtful before posting that scathing review/tweet/email.
- Remembering those who are usually chatty but have fallen quiet recently.
- Asking a person's viewpoint before automatically telling them what it should be.
- Noticing those who keep things running without thanks or accolade, whether in the wider public services or closer to home.
I've rambled on, so all that is left for me to say is:
A huge thank you to our nurses, teachers and support staff, the drivers and retail staff, and anyone else who keeps the country running.
Congratulations to everyone who had their books out during this tough year, or found their agent, or finished that draft, or started one!
A special thanks also to WriteMentor for being my constant source of writer joy, and to the whole community for showing me there are still good people out there in the world.
Be good to each other - the new year might not look too happy for many, so let's try instead for a Kind New Year 2021!