So.... 2013 then. Only a month of it left to go (and that'll go in a blur of Christmas-shopping-why-haven't-we-done-any-yet-we've-still-got-to-buy-the-food-and-who's-going-to-whose-house-for-what-day-anyway-aaarrggh!!) So I figured I may as well look back on it now, while I've still got enough brain left that hasn't morphed into Christmas Pudding.
In terms of life, 2013's been a bit of a roller coaster for me and mine. On the upside, husband got a new job with way better prospects than his old one - woohoo financial stability, we can finally see you out there on the horizon! The musical version of 'Cinderella' that Steven Rodgers and I co-wrote is undergoing a revival (you can hear samples of the all-new versions of some of the songs here) and it's all looking very exciting indeed. And I finished Draft One of The Renegades - hooray! Now knee-deep in Draft Two - something I believe I may have mentioned... oooh, maybe once or twice in this blog...
I have discovered some great writing blogs this year; my Top Three are as follows:
1 - Chuck Wendig's terribleminds.com - he's irreverent, he's straight-talking and he's daaaaammn funny. He also has the heart of a warm, cuddly teddy bear, although he does not want you to know that, so pretend I didn't tell you. And he also gives the best writing advice there is, telling it exactly how it is - the fluffy kittens and nursery puddings of fake platitudes will not be found here. You are permitted to give this site a miss if you are of maiden aunt disposition (i.e. swearing and non-polite conversation makes you come over all peculiar) but other than that you must check it out. You'll be so glad you did.
2 - Patrick Ross' The Artist's Road site - Inspirational, encouraging and with a wonderful 'community feel' (Patrick responds personally to almost all comments, and the atmosphere on the message board is like that of a discussion among like-minded friends.) The place to go for great conversation about creativity - and for feeling good about being a writer. And lord knows, us writers need that a lot of the time!
3 - Nathan Bransford's Blog - he's not been quite so prolific of late, but that's probably because he's just published his new book and is no doubt caught up in the whirlwind of marketing that - congrats, Nathan! Another goldmine of writing advice and insider information about the world of publishing (he's an ex-literary agent and now works for the Freelancers Union. Whilst also writing his own books - yeah, I do feel totally lazy next to him!) Upbeat, funny and insightful, his site is well worth a look.
Of course, the thing about roller coasters is that it has downs as well as ups. And the very big 'down' this year was the death of my father-in-law in August (which I talked about here.) Although he was already in hospital this time last year following a heart attack, this will be our first Christmas truly without him; particularly hard since he was always 'Mister Christmas,' throwing himself into the decorations and yuletide spirit with the enthusiasm of a child. We will raise a glass or two to him as we miss him desperately.
But for now, it's all about frantically getting ready for the Big Crimbo. Have you; done all your Christmas shopping, bought all your Christmas food, made all your arrangements with friends and family and (if you fit the criteria) got through the final weeks of your kid's school making random pre-Christmas end-of-term 'requests' for help/costumes/assorted 'stuff' for fundraising and parties at massively short notice? (In my case, 'No, no, almost and I should be so lucky,' if I'm honest.) Or are you one of the Other Half of People, who leave all that organizing stuff to their partner/parents/children and basically just show up for the big day with this warm, fuzzy feeling that everything will probably be just fine? (If you are I will try to suppress the urge to squash a mince pie in your face...)
Whichever it is, it's counting down. My kid knows how many 'sleeps' it is until Christmas Day - I don't and have no wish to, even though I know I probably should. (Roy Wizzard, you're a bloody fool - let's see if you still 'Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day' when you've got to organize the thing!)
But other than that - yaay, woohoo, Christmas, bring it on!