Friday, 4 December 2009

2009 Wrap-Up

For AW December Blog Chain our Theme is Wrap-up 2009. I am going to focus on how this year has been pivotal for my writing. I have been writing for several years, but not consistently, and not really in an organised or focused method. In the beginning of this year, I became acutely aware of that, and I realised that unless I did something about it, my dream to become an author was going to remain just that. In February, I came across an ad for writer’s bureau. I have posted here all about the signs behind that and why it was the right thing for me to do. But basically, that decision made the whole year productive. It wasn’t the course itself that changed things. But because of the course, I began to focus on writing. I learned about blogging, started my writing blog, joined AW, and began to connect to some wonderful fellow writers. I finally realised that there was hell of a lot of information out there about improving my craft, and so I began to look for that too. I feel that in this one year, I have made more progress than the last six years put together (Fall 2002 is when I first thought about writing a book). Those years weren’t wasted, because I did write a lot, and so I wasn’t starting with a totally blank page. But that learning wasn’t focused. Now, I know where I am going (I think). So here are a few things that I have figured out in 2009: Short Fiction
  • Short stories for popular magazines (i.e. women’s magazines) are not really my thing. I don’t like to read them, and I don’t particularly like to write them.
  • I prefer flash fiction over short stories.
  • Short stories that I enjoy reading are mostly literary. My favourite place to read them is the New Yorker.
  • Short stories I enjoy writing are quite hard to find markets for, because they are all non-mainstream.
  • A flash fiction can be a powerful piece if done properly.


  • I don’t lack ideas. I don’t believe in writer’s block.
  • If I am not writing, it’s because (a) I am lazy (b) I am not in the right state of mind (c) I am too tired. Usually, it’s (a).
  • I started off writing in only third person POV, but now I have realised that I am far better at first person POV, so I really need to work on my third person skills.
  • I am not quite sure yet what genre is THE ONE for me – if there is one. But I want to finish books in the three genres I have got going and see how I feel (Fantasy – various different types, Science Fiction, Multi-cultural)


  • I have finally figured out the outline method that works for me. I credit my NaNoWriMo 2009 success (full draft at 81K) to that outline. No more unplanned drafts for me
  • The most daunting thing about my current projects I face is sorting through the early finished drafts, which were written without any planning that it makes them much harder than starting something from scratch
  • I love NaNo. For first drafts, it’s a brilliant method, and I intend to do it at least twice a year. Once officially, and once in November.


  • Reading is just as important as writing, because if it wasn’t for the love of books, I wouldn’t be writing. I am happy that my reading for last three months (since I started recording) has gone well. You can what I have read here. I am going to set myself a goal to read a certain amount of books in 2010, and keep it on this blog.


  • Having a realistic dream to follow changes everything. Having a purpose fills the heart and soul with passion, and makes the life worth living. Achieving that dream might be very hard, but it’s still better than having no dream at all

And in the words of Warner Bros, “That’s All Folks!” I am the first in the chain, and the next person is Claire Crossdale. The rest of the participants are: Lost Wanderer -

Claire Crossdale - coryleslie - bsolah - DavidZahir - RavenCorinnCarluk - Ralph Pines - shethinkstoomuch - Lady Cat - truelyana - misaditas - collectonian laharrison - beawhiz - razibahmed - FreshHell - AlissaC -


  1. I like your lists. I think the key to writing well is writing often. A group of supporters helps, too. I haven't written a short story in ages because, unless you're "somebody", it's impossible to get them published. At least in my experience. There used to be more independent literary journals than there are now. Perhaps they've moved online? I don't know. I've been focusing my attentions on novels in the past 10 years. Best of luck to you!

  2. I like your lists as well. Like freshhell, I've noticed that writing well and writing often go hand in hand.
    Best of luck to you!

  3. What a great post and all so very true. I'm not in the writing chain, but I may steal your idea for a blog post of my own, if you don't mind.:)

  4. Short, sweet, and very informative of several levels. Kudos!

  5. Awesome wrap up. I'm glad you've made so much progress this year, and I wish you more progress in the next year.

  6. Seems you had a busy year and some life affirming lessons. Not bad, not bad at all.

  7. Great wrap up! Sounds like you had a very productive year :o)

    I love NaNo too. This was the best first draft I've ever written!

    Here's to a great 2010

  8. ralfast,

    Thanks. Yes, it was a busy year.


    Looking forward to hopefully more productive 2010.

  9. When you say your writing is not mainstream, does it mean you use metaphors? I find the same problem with my short stories, mainly because of my use of metaphors, which render my writing "not commercial enough".


  10. Ramona,

    I mean mainstream in a sense that publishers call it mainstream - the stuff that they can sell to widest possible audience.

  11. What a great way to start the blog chain for December. I am happy that you had a great year and hopefully next year will be better for you.
    I agree with you totally in this: “Achieving that dream might be very hard, but it’s still better than having no dream at all”
    Sadly, many people in the world do not realize this simple lesson of life.

  12. Wow! You've learned a lot this year! How awesome is that?! Kudos on recognizing the need for a method and following it. It's awesome that you've found that it works!

    I think what you said here ... "Having a purpose fills the heart and soul with passion, and makes the life worth living" is just so very very true. No matter whether it's writing or cleaning toilets ... purpose is a huge "win". :)

    Kudos on winning Nano and being the first of the last Blog chains for 2009! :)

  13. Many of your realizations are similar to my own, including admitting that I'm not a huge short story fan and discovering my method of outlining this year.Great post!

  14. Many of the things you figured out are ones I have as well. I agree with preferring flash fiction over short stories, although I do like to read short stories.

    I also agree with your views on writer's block, NaNo, and reading. I'm even thining about giving outlines a try. :-)

    Nice wrap-up and great start to the chain!

  15. Very interesting, particularly the comment about how the Writer's Bureau course helped you. I may have to check that out. Thanks for the tip!

  16. Aimee/Corrine/C R - Thanks.

    Writers Bureau has helped me more regards to looking at writing as a regular, ideally daily task. The course itself offers various options, so you might find one of them suited to you. If you want more information, feel free to ask.

  17. I tried to post this the other day, but my browser locked up.

    Finally, I can tell you what an awesome post you've made. 2009 seems to have been a very pivotal year.

    Finding the passion and dedication...that's awesome.

  18. Raven,

    Thanks for making the effort to try again to comment :-) I hope to continue the dedication bit in 2010. That's the hardest.

  19. What a wonderful wrap up, and at the same time a great list of lessons learnt in your experiences in writing and life in general.

    Beautifully expressed.

    I enjoyed reading.

  20. You really managed to wrap up everything rather well. I'm planning to do a writing wrap-up post, but hope to remember everything.

    I agree with you about reading. Learnt that this year too.

  21. I'm not able to write unless my mind is completely at rest so I understand what you mean by ' I am not in the right state of mind.' Yours is always an interesting read. My every thanks to you for your kindness to me and Simone in this last year.
    Warmest regards,

  22. Great lists. I love your way of thinking about things, and your no-nonsense attitude. I wish I could be so honest about the real reasons I end up having to crunch to finish a chapter. It's not that I have "so much going on", it's that I procrastinate too much!

    Good luck for next year!

  23. Ana / Benjamin,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment :-)

    Thank you for your kind comments. Wish you and Simone a great 2010.

    After years of wanting to be a writer but not working hard enough at it, I finally accepted that no-nonsense attitude was the way to go if I was ever going to get anywhere.

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