If I leave it any longer it’ll be too late to wish you a happy new year, so consider it done – I hope you had a good break over the holidays. This is just a quick note to say I’m back, at least in theory… like many, I’m not a fan of January but it seems to be going fast and the sun is shining on this chilly day in north London.
It was great to have a couple of weeks away from writing after an incredibly intense few months on my manuscript, and three away from social media. Nothing makes me happier than having my family back together – our eldest son was back from his year in Senegal over Christmas, and the rest of us are excited to be going out there to visit him next month – there will be a travel post in that. Over new year, the four of us spent a wonderful cosy week in a converted barn on the north Devon coast, going for long head-clearing walks to enjoy the stunning scenery, cooking together, watching films, even playing our favourite board game from when the boys were younger. I’m less inclined to take things for granted these days.
There is a lot of anger, fear and anxiety ‘out there’ over where this country is heading – I feel very strongly about it – but I think this makes it more important than ever to try to be kind, to appreciate the good things and people in our lives, and to put positive stuff out when there’s so much doom and negativity around. (Note that I say ‘try’- I’m too cynical to be as annoyingly worthy as that sounds!)
My main personal goal for this year is to finish my novel, make it a cracker and get a book deal. After my experience with the last two I don’t say that lightly, but following some significant encouragement I’m feeling optimistic. Speaking of creativity, motivation and challenges, I’m planning a post sometime soon about my first ten years as a writer (it was a decade ago last week that I walked into a beginners’ class).
Voula Tsoflias and I will be doing more of our Resilient Thinking for Writers workshops this year – the next open-to-all date is at London Bridge Hive on Saturday 23 March through Retreat West (Amanda Saint will also be doing a Fantastic Flashing workshop in the afternoon) – generous early booking discounts inc a combined rate for both events are available until 13 January. Voula and I have been thrilled with the feedback so far and it really is a passion project, knowing that the skills and strategies we share can do for other writers what they’ve done for us. Hope to see some of you!
I will be continuing to spread book love and support authors here on the Literary Sofa but due to time pressure and the need to prioritise paid work, it will be on a more relaxed schedule than before, including more spontaneous posts about whatever occurs to me – something will.
On that basis, I’ll be back in two weeks’ time with my New Year Spotlight, a selection of recommended new releases – a few more titles have crossed my radar which I want to consider and as I don’t feature anything I haven’t read in full, that takes a while. After that, I’ll be inviting some of those authors to visit the Sofa.
Happy 2019 – what are you hoping for?