2017 has been a strange year – on a personal and professional level, it’s been a triumph for me. On a political and wider world level, I’ve spent most of the year wanting to bang my head against a wall. These two things are not unconnected.
Writers work best when we have something to say, and whilst my books are by no means searing political commentaries, they are a way for me to work out my snarkiness, focus on human interactions and (shocker) give everyone a fairly happy ending.
We need a little light relief in our lives these days. We need books that make you laugh and cringe and smile and sigh. We need books about food, books we can enjoy with a glass of wine, books we chat about at book clubs, hand over to our friends, dog earred and devoured.
This year I have been outraged, screamed, cried, pulled at my hair. I’ve had more arguments with people about the future of our country, about my heritage, about our place in the world. I have become more ballsy, and inversely, more anxious. I have doubted myself, felt sick at the arguments, felt my cheeks redden and my stomach clench. I have been obnoxious and sincere and desperate.
That is starting to be an element of my personality, I fear, this awkward little voice telling me I’ve done something wrong. But that’s okay, everyone learns which voices are intuition and which are anxiety. The wolf you feed is the one that wins, after all.
And yet, this flash of real world has not damaged my insatiable belief that I am meant to be writing. In fact, this year, I’ve smashed my own targets, pushed my limits and done things I wasn’t sure I could do (that little voice has learnt, professionally at least, to fuck off):
- I signed on to write a three book foodie series with Canelo.
- I wrote a domestic noir thriller under a different name (in a month!).
- I wrote a Ruby Tuesday novella.
- I ran workshops locally.
- I got a day job where I get to be a professional writer.
- I committed to learning as much as possible about writing, through self publishing podcasts, TED talks and marketing books.
- I got signed by an agent.
- I had an article published on The Creative Penn’s website. (I’m a total fangirl)
- I passed my MSc in creative writing for therapeutic purposes.So what’s next?
Well, I’m hoping 2018 will be less of a political shit storm. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep chugging along and pushing more boundaries:
- Writing a book for my agent
- Writing the third in the Martini Club series
- Giving a talk on my creative process at a lit fest (will be working on my public speaking!)
- Aiming for paperback
- Making the most of my rights
- Looking into running a summer writing retreat
- Possibly giving a talk on my MSc research (eep, again with the public speaking
What are you proud of having achieved this year? How are you challenging yourself next year? Be loud and proud about your goals – they might not always happen at once, but if you keep the dream alive and keep your focus, they get closer. And then there’s always another dream.