As I look back over the past year — as one is wont to do on December 31 — it seems that yet again it has been a year of change, challenge, new endeavours and accomplishment. In fact, it seems each one of the past few years has marked a major turning point for me. Life has certainly been twisty of late!
Not that I’m complaining — most of the change in 2013 has been for the good, and I’m facing 2014 with a spring in my step. But life sure has been keeping me on my toes.
The tone of my ‘new years’ posts from last January (Recap on a year of word wrangling, 2013 is here – Let’s get to it!) was buoyant — and resolved. I was really focused on embracing the joy of writing and living and basically enjoying the journey.
I like that. I like the fact I have a record of my mindset at the time. Because a lot has happened this year that I could never in a million years have predicted then.
Finishing the first draft
On the writing front I set myself the goal (again!) of completing the first draft of the fantasy novel I’ve been working on for a while now. It’s exploded into something bigger than originally intended and I have spent much of the past year trying to figure out how to tie everything together.
For most of the year I felt as though I only had a handful of scenes left to write… I was going to finish in April! Then September! Two steps forward, one step back. At least it’s been forward on balance.
There isn’t a lot to go now, just a few additional scenes of denoument — one for each point of view character still standing. I’m not even sure whether I’ll write them now, or whether I’ll wait until after I’ve finished the major revision I now intend to do (after a short break). So I think I can consider the first draft more-or-less finished and one goal achieved. Huzzah!
Finishing this novel has been a major focus for me all year. But there has been some other big stuff happening around it.
The most significant was the change in my dayjob status… At the beginning of the year my dayjob position was the victim of a restructure, bringing with it all the attendant self-doubt and financial stress, not to mention the time-consuming and mind-numbing process of finding another job. This, coupled with the fact I secretly didn’t want another job and was actually quite happy to sit at home (or in a cafe) and write thank-you-very-much, made the first half of the year rather interesting!
It soon became apparent to me, however, that if I was brave enough to take the plunge, becoming a self-employed consultant/freelancer/contractor was a truly viable option. I have specialist skills in the area of science/technical communications and there is a lot of demand for this. So I have spent the past six months trying to get my head around the whole notion of being ‘self-employed’. It’s early days yet, and I still have a huge learning curve to ascend, but I’m actually excited about all the possibilities. Especially the part where I can still spend time writing in cafes!
The other truly significant event this year was my recent trip to the UK and the World Fantasy Convention. A fantastic holiday with a bunch of good friends, culminating in a meeting of like-minds in Brighton.
Lots of highlights
There have been other highlights of an ongoing nature. For instance, my decision to join the SoulSong community choir in January. That weekly singing fix quickly developed into a whole new bunch of friends and frequent Friday evenings of impromptu singing, harmonising and banqueting.
And our monthly gatherings to play Dungeons and Dragons (including sessions in Cornwall, UK!).
And regular cafe writing sessions — it’s got to the point where most of the staff know my order and now I’m lending one of them Robin Hobb novels.
And weekly coffee dates with my sisters and nephew.
And of course the wonderful online community of writers and bloggers and friends both here and on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for engaging with me so often and taking the time to read. I truly value every interaction and comment and like.
I wonder what I’ll make of this post when I come to re-read it in a year’s time? Perhaps not as buoyant as last year’s, but hopefully still optimistic and resolved.
How has your year been? Lots of change or status quo? Tough or exciting — or both?