Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and that all you hope for this year will happen.
I don't make any special resolutions at this time of year, but that might be because I seem to make them every day. It's like a fast-flowing river of good intentions. The trouble is, the current sometimes rushes along while I'm gripping to a tree on the bank, listening to the roar of the water.
I've tried to avoid the despair that can result from my own plans leaving me stranded, with a greater degree of success in recent months.
I'm taking one project at a time and letting it reach a good point before turning to others. I'm learning to listen to my own stories and wait for them to be really finished before submitting them. I'm thinking about them hard before I let them go and have developed a warier eye for errors or dull sentences or lack of actual story. I've been reading more than ever and analysing sentences to find out why they are there and how they work. Mostly, I've been working out how to improve. And most important of all, I've remembered that it's all about loving the words.
My novel is with an agent now, after reaching the top ten of an independent publisher's competition. I was so relieved someone liked it and offered encouragement that I thought I'd give it a try.
Writing the covering letter and synopsis was harder than fiction, but in the end, I decided to just keep it brief and honest. Submitting it felt toe-curling, like dreams where everyone in the butcher's shop turns to look at you and you realise you're just wearing a vest. I felt exposed and silly, imagining that first chapter being glanced at with derision or, worse, boredom. But I should probably consign my over-excited imagination to writing, rather then manipulating real-life to suit the flagging ego.
And actually, I don't think we feel that much embarrassment in our dreams. There's a lot more brazening it out.