Monday, 31 December 2012

Last Word

Maria A Smith - December 31st 2012
The last twelve months have passed quickly, 2012 has been amazingly busy, especially here in the UK, well that's my excuse anyway. We had it all, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, London 2012, the rain! Even though they predicted a drought...its been horrendously soggy. In future I shan’t take any notice when I’m told there is a drought on the way. 

On the writing front, when I look back, I'm staggered at what I’ve done! I can assure you I don’t blog about every writing related event or happening in my life either, so its actually a lot more besides what you read on the pages of this blog.

Lets begin with blogging though...

I took part in a month of blogging each and every day during April, known as the A -Z Blog Challenge, it was a crazy month of daily deadlines, it was hard, it was crazy, it was silly, it was fun! I thoroughly enjoyed the process. You should sign up next year...

Afterwards, it so inspired me to give talks to a group of writers, on the subject of starting, and maintaining a blog of their own. I helped three of them to get started. All, are doing very well, and as far as I know they are enjoying the adventure.

I’ve supported fellow writers with critique, on manuscript, memoir, poetry, film and performance, as well as continuing with the second draft of my own novel. I've received a wealth of critique, and opinion myself, from lots of happy talented people, through writing groups, and on Twitter. Thank you!

I've visited lots of blogs, where people seem to exist only to help other writers, the warmth and welcome is fantastic around the blogosphere. People are amazing. 

I've attended writing conferences, pitched my novel to an editor in 3 minutes, took part in several workshops, spent a day at a writers summer school, and enjoyed many catch ups with fellow writing buddies over beer, coffee, or pasta... 

Its been wicked!

Things I liked about 2012

Friends - Meeting Twitter buddies for the first time. 

The ‘Get Writing’ Conference - Scary! In a good sort of way.

Alt Fiction - Friendly and fun.

Long walks with my camera - Creative.

Yoga - Totally relaxing.

Costa Coffee  - Time well spent with friends, catching up on gossip, and life in general.

Spa days - Ragdale Hall.

Cake - Finding delicious yummy treats in new venues.

London 2012 - The Olympics, I never thought I would, but I did enjoy the pomp and ceremony, and the games themselves were very entertaining!

Things I didn’t like

Rain, rain, and more rain - Flooding, and major disruption to holiday plans

Minus 13 degrees on my birthday when I had to travel - Two hundred and fifty miles round trip in freezing fog. No joke!

Bad manners - I won't elaborate.

Poor teaching - 'Fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail' wise words.

Asthma - Having to make lots of changes to my life.

I've enjoyed 2012, its been a happy, productive year. Lots of you have taken the time to read and comment on this blog. I really appreciate your time, it makes a difference. Thank you.

Incase you've been wondering about my absence this last month, I was forced to take things easy due to my health, which is now greatly improved. I am happy to report, normal service will be resumed.

As you can see, I'm standing in the rain again! My last thoughts on 2012... 

'It was an adventure.'

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Goal List Week Commencing 2nd December 2012

Cake Glorious Cake - Maria A Smith

Last week there was cake! As you can see I was spoilt for choice, I can't resist a delicious slice of  cake, and I love traditional teatime treats, like Victoria sponge and Coffee cake. I'm a self confessed addict, and I don't care who knows it! Shameless, but going out for cake and tea makes me happy...we all deserve treats from time to time don't we?

There is something very comforting about sitting down to a nice pot of tea, and a sweet treat. Savouring each mouthful as we relax, and forget about what is going on all around. I don't know about you, but I find real life can be quite mad, and really you couldn't make up some of the things that happen!

I'm on the road to recovery, at last, I think I'm making progress, although I've never been quite as tired as this for a long time. I must have been very run down, and coping with everyday stuff has been tricky to say the least. I'm really glad I didn't sign up for NaNoWriMo this year, I just wouldn't have coped with it at all...

Well done to everyone who did, you did it! Its a great feeling, and one not easily explained to those who haven't completed the marathon of words that is NaNoWriMo. My advice is REST! Take time out, leave that manuscript to settle. If only for a few weeks. Do take time out for yourself.

My November plans were somewhat scotched by my health, but I did manage to work well in the early half of the month on my second draft, I've revised many scenes, and now they are broken down into much more manageable chunks I'm happier going forwards. Although my word count has slipped, I'm happy with progress made.

Also, my foray into setting up a 'Subs Club' after my writers group session is up and running. We have had two meetings, the last being yesterday, and members have submitted work to either publications or competitions. Everyone is very positive, and only time will tell how successful the group is with getting their work out there.

So what is next? December has landed. Crept up on me actually. Below is a simple list of things I'd like to do throughout the month.

  • Read - I haven't read very much fiction lately, and I have a huge reading pile I need to make a dent in, otherwise I'm not allowing myself to buy any more books! Yes, really. It has gone beyond ridiculous, the pile of 'real' books is insane, and the Kindle is hiding a lot more besides. It can't just be me, can it? Do other writers have the same issues with HUGE stacks of books waiting to be read?
  • Exercise - I want to get back to walking.
  • Novel - Tidy up more scenes.
  • Make a plan - Before the end of this year, I would like a clear plan of what I want to do in 2013 
  • Rest - I'm off for 8 whole days as of the 25th, until January 2nd 2013, and I want to organise things so that I get plenty of rest! What do you think the chances of that are? I'm determined to try my best to organise things so that I can take a proper break from everyday stuff.

This week will be spent concentrating on recovery. A little walking, some writing of course, and perhaps I'll start to plan a menu or two for the up and coming festivities. What about you, what are you going to do?

Making Things Happen

Bluebells in the grounds of Chatsworth, Derbyshire - Maria A Smith Nearly two months ago I made this list of goals - See how I've g...