What A Difference A Year Can Make

It’s December again – how did that happen? Wasn’t Christmas just the other week? Scary how fast this year has gone.

Despite the wave of panic that is rising at the thought of Christmas being just over three weeks away, I took a moment or two to reflect this week.

In 2012, I sat myself down, did a lot of soul searching and gave myself a stern talking to. It was time to find something to do just for me; something to restore my self-belief. (It had taken a bit of a pounding.) It was time to find a creative outlet. After a lot of thought, I chose to complete a photographic challenge. During 2013, I took one photo for every day of the year, trying to ensure that it reflected something pertinent about the day. The photos were posted in an album on my Facebook wall and I was blown away by the number of friends who commented on and liked the results. Completing it gave me a tremendous sense of achievement and went some ways to restoring my self-confidence.

For 2014’s challenge, I deliberated long and hard. In the back of my mind there was a longer term goal beginning to form. I decided to use 2014 to overcome a major hurdle that lay in the way of that goal.

I had to overcome the fear of letting people read what I write.

As an aspiring writer, it is a crippling fear to have.

Starting this blog, as a means to overcome my fears, seemed like the logical creative challenge for the year ahead. The exact challenge I set myself was to complete and publish one blog post per week. (This will be blog post number fifty nine so I’ve exceeded my target.)

Little did I know how things would turn out.

During January and into February, I felt physically sick with nerves every time I hit “publish” on the screen. Gradually, however, it got easier. I began to add some poems onto my blog page, some as part of that week’s post.

While sitting in the car, in the dark, outside the high school, waiting for Boy Child to finish band practice, I wrote a short story called “The Imp” and posted it to my blog. Originally it was meant to be one short story but the interest it sparked among friends amazed me and The Imp’s tale was spun out to nine parts (and isn’t finished yet – I promise he will be back next year.)

In April, I answered a friend’s plea for assistance and wrote my first music review. I’ve just counted and, to date, I’ve written thirty one reviews for http://www.phoenixmusiconline.org  including reviews of five live shows, with more in the pipeline.

Music has played an enormous part in my life this year –much to the despair of The Big Green Gummi Bear, who doesn’t share my musical tastes. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to several gigs, with another two still to go before Christmas, that have inspired blog posts and reviews. Through the music review bit, I’ve also been lucky enough to befriend two up-and-coming bands – one from the USA and one from Australia. I’m looking forward to following both bands’ careers as they continue towards mega-stardom and headline appearances and to reviewing their future releases and shows.

Mid-year, music, or my love of one particular artist, led to another opportunity to exercise my creative side when I was asked to help admin a Facebook fan page for a couple of weeks while the two regular admins took a holiday. For one reason or another, six months down the line, I’m still happily helping out and loving every minute of it. This has also led me to make several new “FB friends” from around the world, some of whom I hope to meet later this week.

So, here we are, almost at the end of 2014, and looking forward to 2015’s challenge.

I hinted earlier that there was a longer term goal in mind when I began this blog and 2015’s challenge will be to turn that dream into reality.

In May 2013, I began the first draft of what will become my first novel. (There, I’ve finally said it!) I’m a bit old-fashioned and prefer to write long-hand for my first drafts then type the piece up as a first re-draft. So, while I’ve been doing all the other things I’ve just told you about (plus the normal day-to-day things like going to work and running the household) I’ve typed up the first draft and am part way through the re-drafting and editing process, with the help of several wonderful, dedicated friends. Without these guys, I would’ve long since lost the will to live over the enormity of the whole project. (From the bottom of my heart, I thank each of you for all the support, encouragement and feedback you’ve given me so far.)

The challenge for 2015, with the help of these beautiful people, and a couple of others, who are still to be drafted in and don’t know it yet, is to get my book published.

I think, I might have finally conquered my fear of letting people read what I write so 2014’s challenge can be deemed a success on that score. The blog and reviews and all the other mischief, including the occasional photography foray, will keep going  into next year and beyond, I hope.

Now Christmas beckons…guess I’d better turn my attention to that for a short while. Time to write a list!

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