In a few hours time I may just be with loved ones watching NYE fireworks, eating pizza, enjoying the cool sweetness of ice-cream on a balmy night (or all of the above) but not right now.
In this moment I can’t help but take a little time to reflect on the year that was: the year of our Lord 2015. Also more commonly known as as 2015, even ’15 to some unsentimental about four digit figures.
There’s a plethora of posts going round right about now that’s all about this line of thought: the highlights (or less commonly, lowlights) of another year that’s whooshed by. There’s a sense of looking at goals set and asking ‘how did I go?’ and there’s also lots of plans being made for next year. All this is good, all this is right.
But for my post, I’d like to say that while this year was a fairly great year work wise, it was great in the way I didn’t expect. There were some mistakes, some things that went wrong … some of these things were out of my control, others were not. There was a ‘first time’ in a lot of areas of my career and not everything went right…and so I will walk into 2016 wiser in some areas, more informed and empowered because of this. You need only to make a mistake once to never make it again. (That’s the plan, anyway!)
Some things which have been great about this year has been increased responsibility in some areas of my writing. Also I’ve worked in new areas, like styling.
I’m a person who enjoys – even, way too much – learning… and developing myself. So, I jumped at the chance to go up to Brisbane earlier this year and hear from the likes of Narratively founder Noam Rosenberg, authors like John Birmingham and veteran investigative journalists with truths to pass on. I also discovered Trent Dalton, who writes the most poignantly beautiful and narratively placed feature articles. This day was a chance to mingle with other freelance writers, find out about industry trends and happenings in particular to solo journalists and basically, be utterly inspired. This one day was a highlight of my work year, for its impact resonated well beyond that sunny Southbank day. [Blog post from September on that subject if you’re interested – Writing Conferences and The Unknown.]
Writing an architecturally focussed cover story on the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre for The Weekly Review Geelong was another highlight. Hats off to everyone involved there. [Check it out, if you’d like – Sphere of Influence]
I’ve also loved the chance to work in both fashion as well as interiors for this year. I’m someone who adores variety in my work so the chance to chat with all kinds of creative and talented people was a privilege. [Loved working on pieces like Tops In Hats, Coastal Style and the 70s trend, just to name a few.]
Working on this Mother’s Day cover story was an absolute privilege as well: Mum’s The Word For Three Generations.
I also revised my fiction novel again … especially the first 50 pages… to be sent out to prospective agents. I’ve gathered my courage to do this. Still need to ‘press send’ to agents but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.
For a while there, I rose extra early and wrote fiction first thing in the morning. A few short stories came out, all as different and surprising as each other. This wonderful, intense style of writing took it out of me a bit but I’m looking forward to coming back to that practice next year.
Practice. Writing practice… like sporting practice or music practice… it feels right. I don’t want to make writing a kind of sacred ritual, coming along only by unburnt candles, cold mineral water and a guarantee of no cat hair in my study. Those conditions are unrealistic… who can control where a cat may go to sleep… in my experience, this may encompass every single room in the house.
This is where the discipline of writing comes in. Regular attention to this is an area I would like to improve in next year, in relation to my fiction.
Also, this year I have stopped “trying”* to put myself in a box – quotation marks to indicate emphasis on this word, maybe I mean I don’t do this on purpose; this could be a subconscious action if you know what I mean?
I am a writer who writes fiction. I am a journalist who writes features. I am a strong artistic type who also paints, sketches and does DIY things while watching TV… I am also constantly moving around the furniture and objects in bid to keep things fresh and creative.
I now realise it’s ok to be all of those things… writer, journalist and artist. Funnily enough, being on social media – particularly Instagram – has helped with this. There are so many “slashie” titles on there… actress/model/author/founder type titles which have helped me realise that many people are creative in more than one – or two – areas … and that’s who they are. So, in that sense, I have a stronger sense of – it’s ok to be myself.
I also turned 30 this year … and celebrated with a fabulous French themed party… it was boho chic meets cupcakes meets gorgeous op shop finds and plenty of Edith Piaf and Carla Bruni, too.
So maybe, turning 30… along with all its insecurities, paranoia about hair changing colour and general shock… has given me more grounding, more confidence in my identity. Then again, we’re all learning who we are, aren’t we? Space to answer here: _________________________.
As we charge into a new year, here’s my chance to thank everyone who supports my writing, my wonderful editors and clients who give me the chance to write and anyone who actually reads my work – thank you so much and it means a lot!!
Onwards and upwards to 2016. (This will be the year I will send my novel out, I promise!!)
Let me leave you with a quote that, I think, will live on my desk for 2016…
“A life without courage is no life at all.”
Happy New Year!