Some of the writers I know don't pay much heed to Christmas and New Year. There are deadlines to meet and things to be done, interspersed with the occasional mince pie. Plus, you're always thinking ahead - it may be January on paper, but my trusty spreadsheet says it's time to think about summer articles and ideas for Christmas piece pitches.
But, in the spirit of the calendar, it's a good time to pause and reflect on a 2010 writing year.
A fair amount of work came from the US and Canada and of course I was kept busy at A Word with You Press, where the regular writing competitions and ever growing community make for a lively crowd. Notable successes were in writing content for greetings cards and for magazine articles. I also edited a complete novel for a fellow writer, Martin.
Sadly, I still haven't placed my own novels. There were more rejections than ever and more submissions than ever (God loves a trier, as our mum used to say). In general, the lead-time for a response from an agent or publisher was extended from 12 weeks to well over 16. And even then I got the impression on a couple of occasions that writers are nothing more than an inconvenience to them.
I only got ripped off a couple of times - once by a would-be editor who needed some eBook material expanded and then she didn't feel the need to pay for it; and once by a publisher who was in such dire need of stamps and my submitted material (presumably for kindling) that they were unable to respond to a registered letter, after waiting six months. The weird thing is they they were much more attentive when they wanted to contract me to purchase 150 copies of the finished novel myself as part of the deal; funny that.
And the forwards part?
My first priority is completing the first draft of Scars & Stripes, a standalone novel about a Brit living in the US, set in the late eighties. A short tale The Wanderer is on the table for publication by AWwYP in the spring and I'd like to get started on the first draft of another Thomas Bladen related novel. Making some money would also be a positive move, preferably with regular clients (you know who you are!).
So for those of you who read or who write and read, here's to a creative 2011.