Welcome to the Dragon's Pen, the blog of an aspiring kiwi author ... chatting about reading, writing, querying and publishing

Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking Back on 2009

Happy New Year!!

It's the first day of 2010!

So, in fare-welling 2009 I began to contemplate my writerly year.

Much changed for me in 2009 in both my personal and writer lives - if one can separate the two.

I have learnt so much about myself and my writing this year which has been humbling, challenging and invigorating!

I've discovered many fellow blog-writers and new authors I'd never read before and I've benefitted hugely from their wisdom and their honesty about their writing experiences (Big hugs to T.K. Roxborogh, Nicola Morgan and Natalie Whipple). And I'm still learning and still honing my skills ... I know I still have sooooo much to learn and I'm excited about what 2010 has in store!

On one hand it feels as if 2009 passed very quickly, on the other, when I look at what has actually happened, it is hard to fathom that so much happened last year.

I'm pleased with what I've accomplished.

I joined my first writer's group at the beginning of the year and at the close of the year co-founded another.

In April I created The Dragon's Pen and started blogging.

I finished writing my first children's novel, Princess of the Pigsty, in February, wrote a novella titled There's Gotta be More to Life than This, and began writing a YA fantasy novel which is now 3/4 finished at 46,7000 wds. I also wrote 17 short stories.

One of my short stories was published in an inspirational anthology, Fuel for the Soul. A couple of my pieces were also placed in competitions. I collaborated with a friend to write my first play, Roman Runaway, and watched it be performed (an awesome and surreal experience).

Add in a few projects that I've started but haven't completed and I've written a fair few words this year.

But one of the things that excites me the most is how much my writing improved in 2009. Looking back at my work at the beginning of the year it is easy to see the changes. I began to dabble in short and flash fiction, a learning curve and a lot of fun, and really helped me grasp some of the finer points of writing tightly and succinctly. Compared with how much I tended to overwrite things my work it now cleaner and tighter than ever before - this isn't to say I never overwrite anymore, I just do it less.

I'm now more aware of some of the quirks in my work and my tendency to over use certain words and phases.

I've learnt to be patient with an idea, letting it brew and take shape before beginning to write, where once I would have rushed to the laptop and started thumping the keys way before the story was ready to be told.

I now have a better grasp of how to build a story, whether short story or novel, how to plan and develop the basic shape of the story before I begin to write. Now I have a method that works for me and I'm thrilled at how much easier and faster writing my novels is because of it.

As I mentioned earlier, my first story was published and I attended my first book launch!

And Sue and I enjoyed running away from "real-life" on a writer's retreat. We explored the landscape and history of Central Otago and immersed ourselves in our writing in our free-time. So much fun. Sue - my writing buddy - honestly, I wouldn't have got here without you! Thank you for all your insight and words of wisdom.

So, all in all, 2009 has been a successful and interesting year full of new experiences and learning curves - some more humbling than others. A year of constructive growth. A year of writing firsts.

Farewell 2009. Welcome 2010!

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