Happy New Year!
A fellow student on my MLitt Creative Writing recently shared this blog post with me, where writer Terry Fallis carries out ‘the annual counting of [his] writerly blessings.’ He certainly has worked hard and been blessed for it, as his long list of achievements is apparently only ‘some of the highlights’ of his year – I’d be happy to reach just a handful of these achievements in my entire lifetime! It’s an inspirational blog post, and one which made me sit back and think about just how far I’ve come in one year.
As we head forward into 2016, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the year gone by.
- My MLitt has gone well, and I have my family, friends and fellow students to thank for all their support along the way. In April, I completed my first year, and although the grades weren’t as high as I’d hoped for, they were still good and in many ways it was just an achievement to get through all the work with a baby in tow. Since September I’ve been throwing myself into my second and final year, and I’m feeling positive about the way it’s heading.
- I’m thankful to the people who advised me to change from full-time to part-time study (and everyone who was supportive of my decision, even if they didn’t necessarily agree at the time.) This was technically a 2014 decision, but it didn’t have much impact on me until 2015. Despite the nightmares it’s caused me (and is still causing me) on the tuition fee front, it has been the biggest blessing of all when it comes down to my writing. I spent summer 2015 reading and writing with a passion and energy that I’d never experienced before, meaning that by the time I returned to my studies in September, I was in a much stronger position. It might have cost me a bit more money, but it’s been invaluable for my writing and it allowed me to get the first draft of my novel well underway.
- In May, I joined a local writers’ group, Lockerbie Writers. Their enthusiasm and positive attitude was an extra push to keep writing over the summer, and I have received some invaluable tips and suggestions from them regarding my novel. I am thoroughly looking forward to the meetings resuming later in January.
- In spring 2015, I was lucky enough to be selected for inclusion in not one, but two, anthologies! My short story appeared in Crooked Holster, and an interview on creativity appeared in The Atelier Project – for more information, see my earlier blog posts. My thanks go out again to the wonderful people, all fellow students, who liked my work enough to feature it. These are my first publishing credits and I am still thrilled to see my name in print and find myself on Amazon!
- In November 2015, my poem The Enchanted Forest was selected for inclusion in a sound installation – again, see my earlier blog posts for full details. I was absolutely over the moon to have been chosen, and it was my first experience of having a recording made of me reading my work out loud. Thank you again to The Stove and WagTongues for such a great experience.
- And lastly, a huge enormous THANK YOU to my family and friends for their patience and support. I could not do it without my husband’s patience when I bring out the laptop and notepads at 8pm most nights and sit staring at the screen for hours on end, the grandparents who babysit and give me the chance of a few toddler-free hours to concentrate, and the friends who read draft after draft of my work. I love you all!
It’s not a long list, but for me every point is an important one. I’ve worked hard and I’m so thankful that it’s starting to pay off, but I couldn’t have done a quarter of it without the wonderful people around me.
The next year is going to be a busy one. This spring I’ll be compiling, editing and publishing an anthology for my local writers’ group – this is as part of a university project, but the most important thing for me is to do justice to the other writers and to see them happy when the finished product arrives. Over the summer I’ll be working on my final portfolio, and whenever time allows then I will be polishing my novel and possibly even approaching an agent and/or publisher. Eek!
I’m looking forward to 2016 – not least to August, when I will hand in my final portfolio and finish my MLitt! Graduation day this winter will definitely be a special one, and I hope that I reach that day with a smile on my face.