It is that shiny, tinselly, reflective time of year when I look back over the preceding 11 and a half months and go, 'What the...'. It would be no exaggeration to say that this year has had more than its fair share of the unexpected. Most of the surprises have been happy ones but there have been a few shocks, frustrations and disappointments as well. Whether good or bad, it has been full on and I must say I feel ready for a bit of a lie down over the summer break. Although I won't be lying down too long as I am doing a talk on junior fiction to some Writing for Children university students in early January and giving some writing workshops at Selwyn College in the second half of January (more on that later in this post) and I have some workshop/talk notes to finesse. Oh, and I am one of the authors exhibiting 'What Lies Beneath' my most recent book in an Exhibition we are putting on at the National Library in Parnell beginning in January. Oh....
So 2013, I have embraced you and sucked the marrow out of you. However I feel like I am still digesting you. I don't know what to think about half the things that have transpired. I am hoping to have a handle on it all by mid 2014. If only things would slow down a little and give me time to catch up....
So my philosophical brain twirlings that have emerged from 2013....
- Don't put stuff off until a better time comes along. The time is now! Enrol, submit, apply, enter, participate! Just do it. Everything, especially in the world of publishing (whether trad or self) takes time. If you start now you will be ready by the time things are actually happening.
- the internet is designed to overwhelm you and suck you in. When I was a kid (bleat) I got a weekly magazine for girls and I could pull out the poster of my favourite boy band (I could tell you who they were but then I'd have to kill you - lets just say tartan was involved) and stick it on my wall. Now I can keep a 24 hour watch on my current obsession, and have a pseudo conversation via twitter when I am not googling their next project. No it isn't healthy. The internet is like a best friend that is a cross between the Bitch in Apartment 23 and Single White Female. Use it, but don't let it use you.
- Say yes to everything, but lock yourself away from time to time so no one can ask you to do something.
- Each year make sure you take on at least one thing you didn't think you could do. This year I wrote a story in rhyme. Next year I am moving to Dunedin for six months. Sucking the marrow folks.
- I have seen a lot of phoenix's rising out of some very deep ashes this year. I have been dead impressed listening to folk talk about the nuts and bolts of the publishing process and discussing the cost effectiveness of taking a particular route with printing, etc.... They've taught themselves how it all works and how to make things happen. The tools are out there. People are sharing information. You know the saying - when you are given lemons...
-doing the step before does not always prepare you for the step that comes next, both in terms of writing and all the associated stuff that goes with it. Bit like raising children really. Just when you've sussed the baby stage, they become a toddler. And when you've finally learned how to wrangle the toddler they morph into a pre-schooler. Each time you begin again figuring out the demands of the age stage and the strategies for growing them successfully to the next. At no point do you arrive at the resting-on-your-laurels stage. That is a myth created by advertising companies
- I have come to the conclusion I want to be a champion for NZ Children's literature. It deserves more attention than it gets
It's good to take stock of the year that's been. It's good to set some goals for the year ahead. Sometimes this can be a little like setting New Year's resolutions which I don't think I ever manage to keep, but organising your thoughts into groups of things you would like to do at least clarifies where you see yourself heading and can help you identify what you might need to do to get there. Want to submit something for the Tom Fitzgibbon or Joy Cowley Awards? They close October 31st so aim to polish that manuscript well in advance. Want to go to Storyline's Margaret Mahy Day (end of March, beginning of April) or Family Day (August 31st in Auckland) then pencil these in to your calendar now. If you want to take Massey's Writing for Children paper (Albany Campus) you will need to enrol for the 2014/2015 summer semester. And if you fancy taking any of the writing or publishing courses at Selwyn College in January you can check out the info here.
Go make plans - be bold and pick something fabulous to do that scares you - and get your marrow spoon ready for 2014
Educational Resource: A Winter's Day in 1939
- Educational Resource: The Were-Nana
- Educational Resource: The Half Life of Ryan Davis
- Educational Resource: Made With Love
- Educational Resource: The House That Went to Sea
- Educational Resource: A Winter's Day in 1939
- Educational Resource: While You Are Sleeping
- Educational Resource: The Song of Kauri
- Educational Resource: Fuzzy Doodle
- Book List - Complete List of my Publications