Monday, December 3, 2018

It's Elve o'clock, have you got your tinsel on? ...

Somehow the clock is broken and this year ran fast. In a surprise twist that I (and only I) did not see coming it is Christmonth already! Also known as Tinsel Time and elve o'clock. At this time of year the shadow is permanently over the yard arm and we look back bewilderedly at the last eleven months and ask what the hell happened, and squint ahead fearfully at the year threatening to jump out and ambush us before we are any where near ready for it.

AKA time for a wee stock-take of 2018 and some prognosticating over 2019.

So, in review:

- I was honoured to participate in my third year of the Otahuhu Project, a magnificent programme operating in a cluster of deserving South Auckland schools, bringing authors and students together to work on writing skills and a love of books. Long may this project reign.
- I visited lots of other schools and had a real blast - thank you to all the schools who invited me and the NZ Book Council who bring authors, illustrators and students together in the best possible way.
- I attended my first ever KidsLitQuiz World Final and associated celebrations, and oh my goodness it is just the best to have your reading habits outshone by smart, witty, engaged intermediate age students from all round the world. It was a real privilege to be a part of this.
- I was disappointed to find that one of my favourite stories I have written could not find a home. I'm still pushing on, but it's sown a few seeds of doubt about the story and my writing skills.
- But then a picture book has been accepted (see you in 2019/2020, little book!) so all is not lost.
- and I am working together with the Ahoy imprint (of the Cuba Press) on bringing out a collection of my short stories which I have always wanted to do. More news on this soon I hope
- there may be other book news shortly - fingers crossed - watch this space...
- I assisted on, and then ran, a 'Write Like an Author Camp' over the October school holidays. This was a new experience for me and I learnt some new skills and unearthed a few latent ones.
- I got invited on a couple of writing retreats on Waiheke Island with some very good writer friends. These were wonderful - a good  way to refresh your writing mojo, grow your writing project, and talk shop.
- I became part of the Storylines (an organisation I have belonged to for many, many years and benefited from in many, many ways) Management Committee and I'm really pleased to be able to contribute to such a hardworking organisation with some truly great goals.
- a kind person (to whom I am extremely grateful) made a wikipedia page about me which you can see here. This is quite a thrill!!
- we put our house on the market - results are currently mixed - no one has bought it yet but it has never looked tidier :)
- I achieved 25 rejections, three acceptances, and 8 submissions/applications are still in play.

Looking back on it all, I realise I had forgotten some of these things (and I suspect there are some things still missing from this list) and in the grand scheme it has not been too bad a year at all. Getting and staying published is still proving challenging but my writing career is still alive and I give thanks and raise a glass to that.

And in 2019?

- Hopefully a book, maybe even two, will be launched.
- Hopefully my current project will be completed - I estimate another four months of work on this.
- A new game plan for finding a publisher for my much loved manuscript.
- Maybe moving house, if we sell the current one.
- Attendance at at least one writers retreat
- aiming for 50 rejections. 

The rest I have no control over. While an unfilled dance card is always a little daunting, as a writer I always have some incomplete projects to fall back on and keep me out of too much mischief and there will always be new ideas that spring up as well. And if my thumbs are threatening to twiddle there are plenty of good books I haven't yet read to get on with.

What about you guys? What are your 2018 highlights? And what are your most ambitious plans for 2019?