2012 in review

So here we are at the tail end of the year. For me and my family, 2012 has been a year of spectacular highs and one or two crushing lows – a weird year in some ways, but it’s been creative and funny and scary and challenging and all of that stuff. In summary:

January was the month of snow, walking to work across drift-covered fields and nervy preparation for our first ever skiing trip in February, which was terrifying and exhilarating and expensive and fabulous and a thing to be repeated when we have saved up again. Real life, school and editing seemed terribly dull on our return.

March disappeared in a blur of school and work stuff (seriously, I’ve been back over my diary, and nothing happened. NOTHING), so we’ll move swiftly on to April, which was Book Club month, the inaugural meeting of a small group of friends from work. We have kept meeting, and during the year we have read a variety of books – not always ones I would have chosen, but isn’t that the point of Book Club? We’ve also had some truly memorable conversations, and not always about the books. Reading ladies of AHS, I salute you and look forward to more in 2013.

April was also the month when I was, rather astonishingly and out of the blue,  commissioned to write a book of my own. Therefore, writing and research in May, burying myself in the ancient and splendid Sussex dialect and peppering my conversation with words like sureleye and pathery. Turns out writing a book is actually quite hard work. Who knew.

June was more writing and great joy when I turned in the manuscript on time, but also sunshine, our brief warm summer, spent at school and guiding Molly through the first real round of her GCSE exams. Not that she needed much guidance; if ever a girl deserved to do well by dint of organisation, application and sheer gutsy hard work it would be my Molly. So proud.

In July I concentrated on getting to the end of the school term without collapsing or killing anyone (dropping my hours to four days a week certainly helped with this), and had a week at home on my own when Tom took the children to the coast (they had already broken up, I was still at school – happens every year). This was at the same time dark, empty and dreadful, and blissful, liberating and QUIET. Then, of course, came the Olympics – a fortnight of marvelling and weeping and laughing and marvelling all over again.

August was Big Theatre month, when we sang and danced and played and acted until we (literally) dropped, and between us produced The Blue Dress, the best show we have ever pulled off. So proud of all the Big Theatre babes, but (naturally) of my own children most of all. We also camped in Yorkshire, spending five wet and windy nights under canvas wondering where the tent was going to spring a leak next (once – memorably – under my bed).

Back to school in September, but as always the bitter pill was sweetened considerably by my birthday on the 11th. Also, I took part in a community performance of Carmina Burana, accompanying an 80-strong choir as part of a semi-pro orchestra brought together for the day. I’ve never been prouder to call myself a violinist.

October was theatre again, recalling the Big Theatre cast and reprising The Blue Dress from the summer for a triumphant three-night run over half term. I also worked through the final edits for the Sussex book, involving lots of to-and-fro between me, the commissioning editor and the designer before we finally arrived at the print draft.

Eventually in November  Sussex Dialect was published, amid a great deal of pink-cheeked grinning on my part. Pity my poor friends and family, who have been forced to read the wretched thing over and over again and answer questions about it. (They haven’t really.) I also took part in my first podcast recording, having a total ball with Dion, Barry and Clo from the Scrolls book group at Geek Syndicate. I definitely want to do more of this.

December, as always, was a frenzy of concerts, school performances and preparations for Christmas, but also, out of nowhere, Wandering Weeds was published, containing a short story of mine which I had more or less given up for lost. Unbelievably happy about this, especially since fantasy fiction is what I really want to be writing. In the absence of any further ideas, though, I also signed a contract to write a Norfolk dialect book. Something of a pattern here.

Through this all I have edited, and written, and knitted, and edited more, and edited a LOT more, and generally wondered where all the work is coming from. If my freelance work continues to gather momentum in 2013 I’ll have to take serious stock of whether my current school commitments are sustainable, but that’s for the future. For now, I’m looking forward to going back to school and getting my teeth into writing Norfolk and editing a couple of novels which are lined up for the early part of 2013. Also, the last two months of 2012 showed an impressive average of a book published a month; I know I can’t sustain this over the next few weeks, but if 2013 can match 2012’s total in terms of publications with my name on (or in) them, I’ll be delighted.

3 thoughts on “2012 in review

  1. Steph says:

    I wondered how you remembered all this, and then you mentioned your journal. I love that you keep one! I’m forever in awe of you, how you fit in everything from school to writing to editing to family to orchestra and theatre and then going for walks and such. It boggles my mind!!

    I need you here to teach me a thing or two about time management – whether or not you find that utterly laughable, you seem to be able to fit in more in a day than I do.

    I’m happy about your achievements this year, but most of all, I am so excited for you: I feel your freelancing is going to take off such that you’ll be able to enjoy the time home full-time, as I do. There is NOTHING like it. With your other things, you’ll find some balance. I wish for you constant work. How *do* you get it all?

    I wanted to write you a good, old-fashioned letter for Christmas and instead I sent you a card. Typical! But I haven’t stopped thinking of you. Have you got it yet? I sent it before Christmas, perhaps two weeks or so before? I so enjoyed addressing the envelope to Masson House! It seems so magical to me.

    • Louise says:

      A card? How exciting! Nothing yet, but the Christmas post here is always unreliable. I’ll let you know when it arrives.

      Time management – really and truly not my forte, but I am dogged, and I do plug away at things until they’re finished. Although other things (like sleep) get sacrificed along the way…

      I would love to go full-time freelance, but that’s a massive decision -you know how it goes. So for now it’s as you were, although I do seem to have some unscheduled free time in January. Which is good, since I have a book to write!

      Looking forward to the card, my lovely. 🙂

      • Steph says:

        Yayyy! Unscheduled free time!! I wonder how long that will stay unscheduled… 🙂

        I do know how it goes. It took some convincing not only from Colin (miracle of miracles) but also from therapy to quit the job and regular pay from the bookstore and go back home, again, for the third time, full-time. My thinking has changed and so have the jobs, and now I’m happy as a..whatever is really, truly happy. The expression is clam, but what?

        Anyway, I’m going to email you something that may change your life. I know how that sounds but because I have it now I will never be without work. The joy of freelancing is that you can do it from wherever you are…

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