How's 2012 been for you?
For me, it was very much a year of two halves. At this point (almost) 12 months ago, I hadn't written a book, and couldn't work out which of the ideas I was carrying around in my head would be The One. I was looking forward to going on an Arvon course right at the start of the year to kick-start something I was sure would be either a straightforward, traditional novel, or a novel-length collection of connected short stories (which seem awfully fashionable at the moment). I loved the course, but the moment of clarity I was hoping for proved elusive. I didn't feel like I could commit to a long project without being sure it was the right one, and I drifted along for the next few months, sending out a few short stories, without much of a sense of direction, and with even less success.
Things picked up in the summer. I got a story published at The View From Here, and the 100RPM ebook came out, with a music-inspired 100-word story of mine included. Then it all went quiet again for a couple of months, until in fairly quick succession I scored hits in three competitions - a win at Flash500, a commended story in the Seán Ó Faoláin competition (my story has now been published online - follow the link to read it), and 2nd place in the inaugural 3-Into-1 Short Story Competition. These brought some much-needed confidence, as I had begun to regret frittering away so much of the time I could have been writing a novel on short stories.
I toyed with the idea of doing Nanowrimo, but I had a few things that I knew would get in the way, so I chickened out of that. I also wondered about trying to get an entry together for the Terry Pratchett "Anywhere but Here" competition, as a couple of my ideas might have been suitable for that, but I decided I hadn't left myself enough time. So, I'm ending the year novel-less, again, but with a few more publications and prizes in the bag. I'm happy enough with that.
Onto 2013, then. I've had a story accepted for the February edition of Jersey Devil Press, which I'm very pleased about. The story in question is the much-gone-on-about (on this blog at least) winning story from the Chapter One competition. As Ch1 don't seem to be doing any promotional activity themselves, I felt it was time to try to get the story out into the public domain. Jersey Devil Press is a great online magazine; I'm sure they'll provide a fitting home for the story.
I'm also judging a competition, which I hope lots of you will enter. 500 words, around the theme of "Start", more details here, and there's some extra guidance that I came up with after judging a competition earlier in 2012 here.
But, above and beyond all this, 2013 will be The Year of the Book. The "Next Big Thing" questions I answered in my previous post and general New Year optimism have got me fired up about tackling it properly this time, and setting myself some targets. I still have to decide whether I'll go back to the almost-finished draft I wrote years ago, or take on something new. There are so many plot holes and so much rewriting to do if I go back to my first attempt, I'm not going to save myself much time/effort compared to starting with a blank page and a new project. I also wonder if it's an idea that would be better saved for a screenplay. But whatever I do, I'm going to get it done. This year has taught me that it's much less frustrating to complete something you think is substandard than to fail to finish it at all.
Thank you to everyone who's read this blog this year, for commenting, for entering the competitions, for following the links to my stories. I really appreciate it, and I hope you'll stick with me into 2013, whatever it may bring. I hope the New Year turns out to be a happy and healthy one for you all.