I feel that I’m always starting my blog posts with apologies recently – for the gaps between/infrequency – but I’ve decided to stop doing that because, hey, aren’t we all only human? And here’s the truth; it’s been crazy busy all year and I’ve had little spare time and during the spare time I’ve managed to eek out, I’ve been trying to stay offline.
Why? Because as much as I love my friends, readers, fellow writers, and tribe online, I also love my sanity and it’s far too easy to stay connected. And when you juggle multiple projects/jobs and don’t take days off and the weeks/months begin to merge so you’re chained to your diary (otherwise you have no idea what’s coming next), being chained to the internet also becomes increasingly unhealthy.
So what have I been up to? Well, events galore for a start. And writing. And freelance work. And walking in the wild.
Writing wise, my last book The Book of Revenge – Nine Lives Trilogy 3 was published in February, and I’m delighted with the reception it’s received. I’m currently working on two novels – one for children and one for an adult readership – and they’re moving along at a pace that’s slower than I’d like but then that’s always the case.
I’ve also been writing personal essays, short stories, and flash, with pieces published in HCE Review, Autonomy, Ropes, and Headstuff, among others. It’s been so enjoyable picking away at smaller pieces while trying to keep up the marathon sprint of novel writing. There have been some collaborations started too, but they’re secret for now…
As for events, since being published in 2015, I’ve now facilitated over 600 events in school and libraries and festivals, and I’ve loved every single one…
From events in special needs schools (there’ll be more of that in 2019) to Things That Go Bump in The Night interactive storytelling events in theatres with Caroline Busher, from this year’s Battle of the Book reading initiative (via Fingal Libraries) with Alan Early, to European READ ON writer-in-residence initiatives through Cork County Libraries (Dunmanway 2018, moving to Skibbereen in 2019), it’s been a blast.
But there’s lots of travel in-between and as you can imagine there’s as much preparation as there is facilitation and it all takes time. To give you an idea of what’s involved, I’ve added photos throughout this post that show some of the fun!
I’ve also been busy with freelance work wearing various hats, including Big Smoke Writing Factory mentoring, reader reports, and online workshops (shout me there if you want one!), Writing.ie social media, and then my usual poker writing. I also help writer friends with reader reports and edits, because they help me in return and the one thing you can’t get enough of as a writer, is good readers/editors. And then there’s the local school reading initiatives, chats with film companies and scripts writers, and writing to partner schools in the UK…
Like I said, it’s been busy. And wonderful. And I feel really amazed by the opportunities that have come my way and the people of all ages that I’ve met and had the pleasure of working with. Long may it continue.
But winter is here. And I’m slowing down. My brain is tired and my asthma is giving warning signs. So, I’m finally ready to listen.
I’m still writing and working, but it’s much more low key and at a slower pace.
It’s time for:
- getting outside while light, exploring ground both new and familiar
- lazy afternoons by the fire reading
- chats with friends who’ve been waiting patiently to catch up for too long
- live music and singsongs
- writing at night with scented candles warming the air
- short stories and poems before breakfast
- craft fairs and Christmas markets
- seaweed foraging and making marmalade
- notebook observations on long walks
So, that’s where I’m at. What about you?
What have you been up to and how are you looking forward to spending your winter?