2018 was immense!
For someone who prefers to be a hermit and hide away at home this year has pushed me miles outside my comfort zone!
I’ve home schooled my children through grades 4 and 6, and started sporadic lessons a lot earlier than planned for my 4 year old who is insistent that she be taught how to read and write, NOW! While this is mostly, obviously, at home, we’ve done excursions to all sorts of places, visiting a whole bunch of different historical sites, bushwalking, swimming, getting lost in mazes, attending theatre productions, experiencing our local Indigenous culture at the Naidoc week celebrations, visiting Writers Festivals and Sustainable Living Expos, and so many other things!
I’ve chauffered the above mentioned children to a bajillion activities (no… I don’t know if bajillion is a real word, and yes it certainly felt like there were that many!) – dance,drama and music – lessons,rehearsals and performances. I spent a good deal of the year sitting in the car reading/writing while waiting for said children, or doing laps around our beautiful river.
I’ve made hundreds of Tasmanian beeswax candles; melting and colouring and pouring and levelling and packaging to send off to the handful of shops who stock the candles my husband and I make (with the children’s help, when they are feeling particularly keen).
I’ve ghostwritten two novels, which has been a fantastic learning curve, and given me the experience of working with an editor (which was nowhere near as scary as I thought it was going to be!). It’s also shown me just how fast I can churn out a novel when I have a plot sitting in front of me… for someone who is usually a ‘pantser’ (ie someone who writes by the seat of their pants – lets the story unfold as they go along) this has been eye-opening. (But I’m not sure if it’s enough to get me to change my ways… time will tell).
And I spent some time volunteering – transcribing convict records. That was a fantastic experience – there was a new, fascinating, real-life story at every turn, some of which I hope to share with you all next year.
As for my own writing, 2018 has been a huge year for me.
I’m not sure if I’ve written about this before, but for the last few years I’ve had a goal to submit on average one piece of writing each and every week. Now, I need to specify that I don’t necessarily mean one new piece of writing per week. Most of my submissions are older short stories that haven’t found a home yet. However, some of my stories are brand new, and this year, amongst the 56 submissions I made 18 of them were new stories, written just this year.
But the biggest news of my writing year was my involvement in The People’s Library project.
It started last year, really, with the invitation in December to submit my work to The People’s Library. That resulted in the editing and polishing of my novella ‘What the Tide Brings’, to bring it up to scratch, followed by months of checking and re-checking emails as news on the project dripped in – dates, covers, and most importantly – edits, while myself, Pearl and Isabel (two other members of my writers group who were also invited to include their stories) planned events to make sure we made the most of this fantastic opportunity!
When September hit, it seemed everything happened all at once.
I had a drabble (a story that is exactly 100 words) published on September 1st, and then on the 7th writers from all over the state made their way to Hobart for the opening of the library – what must have been the biggest book launch ever as 113 books were launched.
The following morning Isabel and I were the first readers in a month long string of events all centred around the Library. (Part of my reading was filmed… you can view it here, if you like).
That was just the beginning. This reading was the first of three public readings, the next held a fortnight later in Deloraine (although I had lost my voice, so Isabel did my reading for me), and another approximately 6 weeks after that, at the Little Laneway Festival, also in Deloraine.
Throughout the year I’ve also been posting regular stories on my rarely mentioned Patreon Page. While most of these stories have been published before, most are not easily available – if at all, and I’ve started branching out into some newer, only-available-on-Patreon short stories. (If you’re interested to see what I’ve written, there are some free stories on the page, and for $1 you’ll have access to the entire backlog of stories for a whole month.)
And my year has ended with the acceptance of another of my flash-fiction pieces ‘Tea with Grandma’ on a new Australian website – Lite Lit One. This story was written for a ‘Zine’ my local writers group planned, but which unfortunately fell through, so I’m so glad to find it a home!