2014 was a year of extremes, for me. I said it was likely to be a year of shifts, and I was right. While not “bad” like 2013, it was intense and full of ups and downs. It was, however, an amazing year for my writing.
I had a bunch of goals for 2014 and I met all but one.
Write regularly, submit regularly. Attend Continuum in Melbourne.
- Participate in an obstacle course race.
Run 5kms unbroken. Go camping. Do more poetry readings (including Speedpoets as a regular thing).
Continuum was amazeballs. I was a bit sick so my energy was lacking, but I still had a fantastic time. I spoke on panels, attended other panels, listened to some fascinating people, met new people, hung out with people I don’t see enough normally, drank coffee, went on missions to find decent food (Melbourne CBD on a long weekend is a bit of a food desert), drank some alcohol, bought books, went to book launches… and learned stuff!
I learned to run. I’ve never been a sporty person. I used to wag PE at school (it was pretty much the only bit of rebellion I did at school–and we would go hang out in the music block and play music instead haha!) But with a bit of inspiration from friends and a lot of encouragement I figured I’d give it a try. It’s been a long slow hard slog, I’ve been sick so many times this year and that set me back a bit, but in November I finally ran 5km without stopping. It was slow but I don’t care!
I did my first poetry reading in January at Tom Dullemond’s “At the End” poetry reading night that was held at The End in West End (too many ends!). I missed the first couple of months of SpeedPoets, and the last couple, but attended and read a lot of poetry.
I wrote a lot, and submitted a lot. I did have some fallow writing and subbing periods but I’m not beating myself up over them as they were pretty much out of my control. It was a very productive year. The camping trip was marred by rain and difficulties, but we did it. The obstacle course race was the only thing I didn’t do, and well… that was just bad planning.
I did more art! I arted quite a lot. Rekindling my love of visual art has been an enormous positive to come out of the year. While there was a lot of awesome in 2014, it was also very very very stressful. I had one severe depressive episode and at least two more moderate episodes. My dodgy health also made life harder.
I cracked some of the markets I had in my sights. I was published by Fablecroft, and I’m due to be published by a few pretty damn awesome markets next year.
So, to the list of stuff what happened in 2014 (writing style):
- The following stories were published: “Diary of a Tree-Sitter” and “Proximity” by Tincture Journal; “Paradise Drowned” in Undertow; “Chasing the Storm” in SQ Mag; “Perfect Soldiers” in Equilibrium Overturned; “Banned Girl” in Fictionvale; “Shades of Memory” in Suspended in Dusk; “Kneaded” in Phantazein; “I Have Never Seen the Sky So Blue” in Vine Leaves Literary Journal (technically a vignette); “Labyrinth Hope” in Inaccurate Realities.
- I also had a few poems published: “Fracture” by InDaily; “Whisper” and “Abyss” in Deep Water Literary Journal; and “Heat, Flies, and Cane Toads” in Tincture Journal.
- I did my first poetry reading in January at The End.
- I attended and read at SpeedPoets regularly.
- I resigned as Membership Officer of the AHWA.
- I went to the Brisbane Writers Festival.
- I went to Continuum in Melbourne which was SO MUCH FUN and I met some fabulous new people.
- Furious Writer Drinks became a thing.
- “Poppies” was included in Ticonderoga’s Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013.
- I got another Best New Talent nomination for the Ditmar Awards.
- I was invited to do a reading at QWC’s salon event, Whispers.
- I was interviewed by Sean Wright for Galactic Chat.
- I sold a flash fiction piece to Tiny Owl Workshop so get to be part of the Lane of Unusual Traders.
- I sold a sci fi story called “Going Home Sideways” to Dimension6.
- I sold a poem to a pro SFF market (I’m superstitious so not naming this one out loud until I have contract!)
- Some great reviews of my stories (particularly “Kneaded”)
- I discovered a story I’m utterly in love with and plan to make into a novella, if not a novel. I even joined Pinterest because of it!
- I enrolled in a Masters of Information Science (Library and Information Practice) to begin in 2015.
- My youngest child turned 3, and is now “in the system”. He’s had physio, speech therapy and occupational therapy and is on the waiting list to see a developmental paediatrician.
- My middle child turned 7. She won first prize in the Brookfield Art Show in her grade division, and we spent the last term of school together while I homeschooled her. She was motivated and made a LOT of things and did a LOT of art! It was fantastic to share my love of art with her.
- My eldest child turned 10 and we waded into some big tricky parenting issues. She became obsessed with Warrior Cats and continued to rock at most things.
- I discovered a lot of things about myself, some surprised me, some explained a lot.
There have been a lot of people important to me this year. More I think than any year previously. My little writing community is full of generous, warm, astounding people, and I am blessed to know them and have them in my life. I started to list them and then realised it was too complicated to list everyone who has made a difference in my life this year… I hope you all know who you are (and if you’re a Brisbane writer or someone I talk to on facebook chances are good I’m talking about you ;)). Also my friends and family who endured me rabbiting on about writing and bought stuff I’m in, and read it… yay you all and thank you!
The 4 people who made the biggest impact on my life and my writing this year were Helen Stubbs, Jodi Cleghorn, Tom Dullemond, and Lloyd Barrett. Thanks you awesome people. No matter what 2015 brings, thanks for supporting, critiquing, collaborating, and listening to me whinge.
This is my favourite photo of myself from 2014. No make up, no alcohol, no awesome friends. Just me after having done a 6km beach run, barefoot, in under 40 minutes. I love it because it is the culmination of months of perseverance. Running doesn’t come easily to me. And some time in the last 3 years I broke, and I’ve been rebuilding myself ever since. I might look strong on the outside, but what seems strong from the outside can be brittle, if you test it. This photo shows my inner strength. It tells me that, even though my brain might at times be my abuser that isolates me from the support of my loved ones, and been my worst enemy that I’ve had to ignore to survive, I am getting there. It tells me that what might appear impossible, at first glance, may be achievable if you hold on and just keep swimming. This applies to running, to writing, and to living.
2014, you have been an amazing year for my writing. Next year won’t be quite as frantic but hopefully more focused. as I work on “The Forgotten Children of Zurat” while studying. And of course there’ll be Drinks and friends and GenreCon!