It’s that time of year again. I’ve already started planning my 2020 goals, which I’ll tell you about in next week’s blog, but I wanted to end this year on a high, so to speak, and make myself a little Ta Da! list for 2019.
In a lot of ways it’s been a transitional year, one in which I have found myself facing challenges: I was turned down for every grant application I applied for and also although I knocked on a huge amount of doors, I never managed to make progress in the big projects I had planned. It’s almost impossible to get big projects off the ground without help from bigger names and organisations, but the catch 22 is that you have to BE a bigger name to actually secure the partnerships. I got a bit down about this, but actually, this has been an area of growth for me. I have learned to roll with the blows and be patient, to not compare myself to others. Once I started working on stuff I wanted to work on, rather than stuff that I thought the Arts Council wanted to see or publishers wanted to see or would make a successful PhD I found that I was happier in myself and pottering along happily in my career. Not everyone gets the meteoric rise, some of us are slow burners, and that’s OK. The other knock back came in the way of my new collection with an unexpected delay meaning that it might not come out for a good year or two. This is, again, disappointing and I’ll fill you in more when I know more. It would be easy to fall into a gloominess about all this and start labelling myself as a failure at everything I have tried to do this year. But actually, this is the arts, this is the reality of being a writer and it’s the bit that people don’t talk about. For every brilliant success, the road is littered with false starts. So, instead of focusing on the gloomy bits, I am going to celebrate myself. Well done Wend. Here is my Ta Da! list for 2019:
- I had my play show cased as a script in hand excerpt by the Stephen Joseph theatre
- I was commissioned to write an article for The Wellcome Collection on a subject that meant a huge amount to me.
- I was commissioned by Poetry Wales to write an article about creativity and grief, and my own journey.
- I had poems accepted for Poetry Wales
- I had poems featured in brilliant anthologies
- I had poems featured in The North
- My play is being produced as a script in hand reading for Huddersfield Literary Festival as part of their Anne Brontë day celebration
- I have been invited to talk about the play and Anne Brontë on a panel at Hudd lit fest.
- I was invited to teach a residential day for the Centre of Life Long learning in York, and it was a fantastic experience, it made me want to do more face to face teaching, I think I might be quite good at it.
- I made the decision to give Matilda’s things away, and I did it, and that was genuinely one of the harder parts of the last thirteen years.
- I worked hard to build the online courses without losing my ethical grounding and managed to increase my income. After leaving my job as a microbiologist four years ago, I am still no where near the £22,000 I was making then, but I am able for the first time in years to set a tiny amount of savings to one side every month. This was a big thing because it meant when a client let me down with a payment in December, I had savings ready to cushion the fall.
- I got up every time I got knocked down and kept going. I did not give up on myself, and I did the best I could.
Don’t forget there are still places for my Beginnings and Endings January online course, book quick though, I only have five places left!
I have big plans for 2020, but that’s for the NY blog post. In the mean time, thank you for reading my blogs, have a very merry Christmas and may your days be filled with love and light.