So, that was 2012

2012. The year it rained. And my first year without formal study since 2006. I’d like to claim I threw all my energy into writing amazing things, but in reality I lurched between writing projects and long overdue decorating tasks. Every time I went rabbit-in-headlights with the writing another wall was painted, or another chunk of the garden was weeded and mulched.

During one of my rabbit-in-headlights phases I signed up for the online course Self-editing Your Novel run by The Writers’ Workshop and that turned out to be one of my better decisions. Workshopping for six weeks with a group of enthusiastic writers was a real game-changer and I learned loads, coming away with new techniques for tackling the work-in-progress.

Buoyed up by the course I entered the Bristol Short Story Prize and was bowled over when my science fiction story made the longlist. It was round about then The Fear clambered up onto my shoulder and began whispering: Why would they do that? That’s a rubbish line. Cliché. You cannot be serious … Trouble is, The Fear has a habit of being right on some level.

Since then The Fear and I have filleted the novel, thrown away the rubbish ending, brought one character back into play, refined another character. One of my aims for 2012 was to finish redrafting the novel: I haven’t. But I’ve learned a lot this year, it’s taken time to internalise new approaches. The novel I finish in 2013 will be stronger as a result.

The Writers’ Workshop Festival of Writing in York in early September was one of the high points of 2012. It was a luxury to spend a whole weekend immersed in all things writing-related, and great to meet so many online contacts who turned out to be every bit as lovely in the real world.

Goals for 2013? Finish more stuff and submit more stuff. Starting with that novel.