During the longer winter nights, curling up on the sofa under blankets, it’s easy to lapse into quiet contemplation. Nearing the winter solstice, I thought about where my life had led me over the last twelve months, in particular my writing life. Waiting for the slow lengthening of days seems akin to watching an egg-timer; with each grain of sand that falls from top to bottom, a moment has passed. I thought about all the moments I could remember from the year and decided to share some of them.
Following advice from my editor, 2012 had been the beginning of a rewrite that seeped into 2013. Mostly an enjoyable experience, at times I did struggle with the changes my decisions forced me to make. I needed a fresh pair of eyes and someone I could sit down with and discuss where my book was going. In January I began a three-month programme with a personal mentor to assist me. Sharing my problems erased them, or at the very least made them less difficult to process.
March involved a day trip to beautiful Ludlow to meet some fellow writers from Twitter. Social networking is fun, professionally enlightening and proves the world is not so vast. However there is something to be said for meeting in person and having that special connection we humans crave. I remember we camped at a table in a tea shop for 5 hours, consuming both elevenses and lunch before we all headed home. We shared our love of writing, gave each other gifts and pledged to keep the friendships alive. I’m glad to say we remain in touch and another memorable day is being planned for 2014.
Summer began with a drive to the south of France, to stay with a friend I made on school foreign exchange over 20 years ago. Unusually for the time of year the weather was wet and cold, though nothing could dampen a joyful reunion after an absence of 10 years. Occasional letters and emails cannot compare to a real-life embrace and telling someone in person how much they mean to you. On the return home thankfully the weather improved, which facilitated the new roof we had planned. We avoided the noise spending most days enjoying the garden, playing and dining outside.
Autumn heralded my writing group’s Literary Festival. During a rainy weekend in September the Prince of Wales Writers on Writing (PoWWoW) succeeded in providing West Midlands’ writers with enthusiastic speakers and useful workshops. Held in Moseley, Birmingham, attendees on and off stage came from several counties to huddle round the log burners with hot food and drinks, listening to poetry, prose and invaluable advice. As the trees turned from green to gold I embarked on a final edit of my WIP, freshly inspired from the PowWow Litfest. Soon afterwards I descended upon gorgeous Cambridge with a group of friends from Britain and the Netherlands. Another reunion, again uniting friends from far and wide, we strolled through the cobbled streets, outdoor markets and innumerable coffee shops. A visit to the museum and art gallery fed our cultural souls and wonderful food and endless conversation enhanced another unforgettable weekend.
Still editing as the wild winds of November crept in, I returned to the ever-welcoming Roman Fort and Bath House at Letocetum. Invited to headline a ‘Winter Talk’, I chose buildings and their history as my theme. Giving the talk in the cosy village hall one very dark and windy evening, I asked the audience to imagine those who had lived in buildings of the past and how they had lived their lives compared to us. I also read a completed extract from my WIP, fortunate to receive interest and praise from enthusiastic readers-to-be. I look forward to returning next year for their Summer Event.
Friendships, home and writing have coloured 2013 for me. As for 2014 and what is yet to come, several dates have already entered my new diary, giving me a glimpse of the times ahead. There are meetings with friends and the business of more writing. My final edit is on target, my unspoken deadline earmarked for the beginning of the New Year. Excitement, wonder, hard work and fulfilment are some of the things I expect to encounter and I can’t wait. Well, that was my year. What about you? What has 2013 meant to you? Did you achieve all your goals? What does 2014 hold for you? If you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, the brightest of blessings for a love and light-filled 2014; may it bring you all you need.