Between Christmas and New Year, I lose myself in wistful thinking. Away from my day job writing in an office environment, I become solely focussed on what I want to do. It’s short-lived of course, as in a matter of days I have to become a square peg in a square hole again, but for a few golden days I begin to know myself again. It all sounds so overdramatic, but nevertheless it’s true. It’s a time when anything seems possible, we’re paused on the brink of some great shift into another year. Or – it’s just like any other night. Whatever floats your boat.
But I have been looking back over the year for sure. Even though there’s still so much I want to change and do, it’s been a big year in terms of progression. Since April I’ve been writing as a career full-time, working for once organisation that allows me to write to improve lives (put like that it sounds wonderful), and alongside that my first mini-collection of poetry has been published (Bone Ovation), by Valley Press. I’ve gushed on to the nth degree about how wonderful VP have been, but I can’t say enough about how supportive and empowering they’ve been during 2017. It’s not only thanks to Valley Press that I’ve had a book published, by I’ve also taken part in chapbook battles at literary festivals, performed dialogues at magazine launches, read at book launches, and have actually started to believe in my own abilities. And (as of about 2 hours ago), I sent them the manuscript for my next book, a full length collection of poetry that we’ve been talking about for a few months. But more about that later. 😉 I’ve met so many wonderful poets, authors, and artists this year that have opened my eyes to a world of creativity. In my own way I feel like I’m really becoming part of a community, and I’m valued in it. I’m feeling the love. It’s because of these people I’ve edited anthologies (if you’re a fan of ghost stories, look no further…), been experimental, and finally found the confidence to talk to people about poetry. Thank you TO EVERYONE.
I’ve been struggling a bit with writing some resolutions for 2018. My friends all know how writing these is always a big deal for me, it’s a way for me to shape how I’ll grow and develop as a person. It’s something that could be done at any time really, but I use the new year as the marker point to understand how the world is changing, and how I’m changing within it.
I usually write between 10 and 20 – which may seem excessive but it’s usually because I don’t mind if I don’t do all of them. It’s not about that – it’s more like I’m writing a guide for how to be me in the next year. Even if I only manage a couple, then that’s something.
The problem with 2018, is I feel that there are quite a few things which are out of my control. I feel like my main focus almost needs to be to maintain steady footing on an unsteady ground. How do you build when you have such soft foundations? Regardless, I have to plough on. I have the next collection of poetry to edit over the first half of the year I expect, and I’ve applied for a few other opportunities to keep me busy too. And then in March, I’m heading to Nepal for 15 days, where I hope to light a spark of creativity and wonder in my world. I’ll be travelling around the country meeting traditional artisans, visiting ancient temples and wildlife reserves, and watching the sun meet the caps of the Himalayas. One of my biggest faults is that I’m a terrible coward. I’m guilty of often opting for an easy life over the edgier alternative, despite the streak of wanderlust lighting up my adventurer soul. But this year I’m going to be brave. I’m going to do things I’m scared of, whether this is travelling, making a fool of myself, or risking it all for a change of direction. Who knows what I’ll be writing about by the end of 2018, but as long as I’ve leaped over some fences and learnt about myself, that’s not all bad.
And alongside this, there’s my novel. It was a resolution last year to start writing one, and this year, it’s on my list to finish it. Who knows if that’s even possible but I’m going to try it. I have it in my head that by autumn I’d like to have a draft ready to send somewhere (even if it’s just to an editor to look at), but I don’t want this to be a project that drifts from its original premise. It needs to be written quickly, as the earth moves quickly too. Wait too long and my science fiction piece will be science fact, and I’ve already seen evidence of this happening in the news…
Want to join me on an adventure to who-knows-where and uncovering secrets-of-the-universe along the way? I hope so. I’m a natural born wuss, and I may need a hand to hold along the way.
Happy 2018 everyone!