Well, it's been quite a year. After a family bereavement in autumn 2011, I stepped back from the writing for a few months, only to suffer another bereavement in March 2012 when my father passed away.
In May I returned to the writing circuit properly when a couple of poems I submitted to the Worcestershire Literary Festival got through to the final and gained me fifth place. I was, as you can imagine, rather pleased with that.
In May I also visited Frankfurt am Main on business, which was wonderful. I much enjoyed the experience, and from a writing point of view my only regret was not finding time to visit the Goethe-Haus. I am a big fan of the poetry of Goethe!
I have also been occasionally contributing to the current affairs website, Voices of the 7 Billion, which has been a lot of fun!
I had numerous opportunities to perform my poetry and prose throughout the summer in the West Midlands, and one of the most popular poems was "Notional Health Service", a fictionalised account of a negative experience of being an NHS patient in the UK. After each poetry event where I read it, I often had people coming up to me telling me of their bad experiences as patients! It seems to be quite a hot potato of a topic.
Late in the year, five poems we're published in an anthology. Furhter information will be available on that in due course.
In November, I succeeded with both a triumph and making a big mistake. The mistake/triumph? NaNoWriMo, that write-a-novel-in-a-month thing. it was good, because for the first time in my life I have completed something of novel length, but bad because I found it such and endurance test. Writing a minimum of 1667 words a day when you are visually impaired is not easy, and I honestly think I pushed myself too far. I also have other goals set down which I need to explore further, but it involves writing non-fiction.
I now know my limits, and find it hard to even write a long letter these days, and have done almost no writing in December. I am considering whether I should focus my creative output in the future on much shorter pieces instead, such as poetry, stories or articles, instead of the long held goal I have of becoming a novelist. However, I won't give up just yet, just maybe scale down word output goals drastically. After all, it is reported that Graham Greene wrote just 300 words a day and still produced many fine novels.
So what's in store for 2013? I have set forth a number of plans in big writing in a notebook (my eyesight is such now that one short sentence just fits onto one page, and has to be written in large thick felt pen). One of the plans is to collate some of my already completed and published work into an anthology and independently publish it on Kindle and for other e-readers. Some of my writing friends have already had some success with this. I will also maintain a regular writing schedule, but will take care not to overdo it.
Finally I have to thank a number of people for their support this year. There are too many to note individually, but of particular note are my wife, Angie, and my writing friends Andy Owens, Geoff and Polly Robinson, Holly Magill, and Suz Winspear.