Monday, 10 January 2011

What have we learned?

In terms of writing, 2010 has felt like a little bit of a disaster, enough to really get me down.

Of course, thinking rationally, it's been anything but. Let's see: I've finished my Creative Writing diploma, won a place on a really good screenwriting course, written about five short stories and a 30-minute comedy pilot, finished out the year by doing a lot of comedy reviewing for The Skinny, and the supersecret project I mentioned is actually still going full steam ahead. The Skinny stuff in particular I should be proud of: I've graduated to the paper edition, interviewed Russell Kane and earned probably the highest readership of my career to date.

So why do I feel down? Well, it's two things. One is that 2009 was for me, as a writer, probably the best year of my life. 2010 pales in comparison.

The other thing is that I've never really felt on top of things in 2010. A lot of the good things in 2010 have been down to some excellent people helping me out, nudging me on and giving me things to work on. I'm deeply grateful to them, but I haven't really felt much initiative behind me this year.

A lot of this is to do with the demands of normal life. I was discussing this with my writing buddy on Saturday, who is now going through a swanky novel-writing workshop run by Faber. She's in the same boat as me, struggling to balance writing with the demands of parenthood and having a full-time job.

(She has twice as many kids as me but she's twice the writer I am, so our burdens are roughly equal.)

The thing is, we've both been doing this balancing act for the last few years. We both frittered away enough time to write a dozen novels during our twenties; we've both written our best stuff while under enormous pressure from our personal lives. The demands of domesticity are not a good enough excuse for not writing.

Writing can be done anywhere at any time. Your office is in your head. The challenge isn't finding free time, the challenge is keeping your office organised and getting some work done.

So. A wobble in 2010, but back on course for 2011 is the plan. I've got a list of ideas, some little and some laughably huge. There will be successes, there will be some spectacular failures. Will I be happy this time next year? I will, if I can look back and say that I've given 2011 everything I've got.


  1. *cheers*
    Go you. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff, and more about how your stuff is getting out there.

  2. hey, go you. Now you've had an awesome 2010 both as a writer and a Sadhbh.

  3. Doesn't sound like a shabby year at all, and a good plan for 2011.

    I like how you say time can be found if you organise yourself. I think the shortfall can be in energy levels perhaps, (or the splitting of that energy in too many directions?). Best of luck anyhoo with the year ahead.