No one said it would be easy . . .

(Hitchcock Calendar - pic by Wayne Kelly) This year has been a scream - can you believe it's nearly over?
(Hitchcock Calendar – pic by Wayne Kelly)
This year has been a scream – can you believe it’s nearly over?

This will be a short post as I still intend to do a “Review of the Year/Looking Forward” type piece to kick off January, but yes, I feel I have neglected the Kelly’s Eye blog of late – my last real post being way back in July. July?! I blinked and now I’m staring down the barrel of 2014. Scary stuff.

I haven’t been resting on my rump though. My day job has been pretty full-on for the past few months, I’ve been trying to keep on track with my writing submission goals, working on a new project with Phoenix Writers and blogging over on the Phoenix Subs blog. Oh, and, you know, living my actual life. So, as a consequence, like a long suffering canine friend, my personal blog has been waiting patiently to be once more taken for a walk.

Whilst I have continued to submit my writing for competitions, I haven’t spent a lot of time working on new content. I did have a month of chairing the Phoenix Writers meetings, which was interesting and rewarding, but did mean that I focused less on producing new material to take for critique and more on ensuring the work of others was aired and commented on.

Having said that, I have written a new short story for an upcoming anthology our group is working on, and have edited and submitted another that I was working on a few months ago. I have also had some excellent advice and motivation from a fellow writer to help me get my unfinished novel back on track. My first draft is stuck around the 70,000 word mark and is so near to completion that I can almost see the words ‘The End’ shimmering in the distance. It is my number one priority to at least get the ball rolling again during the Christmas break.

I know I’m not alone in struggling to knuckle down to any focused writing at this time of the year. Everything is so manic, at work, at home and everywhere else that when I do get the odd half an hour to sit at the keyboard, my mind is zipping off in several directions at once or cloaked in the fog of exhaustion. For the past few weeks I was battling with this, beating myself up about not being as creative and productive as I would like, but then I realised I was fretting about a lot of things that are out of my hands.

I was getting stressed about ‘not doing enough’ when really I should have been pleased with the things I was achieving. I have managed to consistently submit work since joining the Phoenix Subs Group, I’ve written a new story and I’m regularly attending critique sessions. These are all positives and I just need to ensure that I make the most of the rest and relaxation I will have over the Christmas break.

So, what about you? Have you found the lack of daylight and the stresses of modern life have been affecting your creative endeavours or do you thrive on the extra pressure? If it’s the former, take my advice and go easy on yourself, stay positive and enjoy the holidays.

Merry Christmas and take a minute to comment below. I would love to hear how you are all doing.

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6 thoughts on “No one said it would be easy . . .

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  1. Tough year? You’ve had it easy 😉 looks like you didn’t do nano in November.. and I hate to remind you but April will be here before we know it.. Got your ideas and drafts done for A-Z blogging challenge yet?

    Don’t forget, I also did camp nano in july. I normally thrive on pressure but this year there’s been pressure and ‘wait while I curl up in a ball’ demands. Glad to hear Phoenix writers are going strong. We’ve not even got a fledgling writing group here yet.

    You are right to focus on what we’ve achieved though and you’ve had a great year creatively by the sounds of it. I’ve got my latest piece of art going ‘live’ in town on 17th so I’ll wait for the feedback on that before I pat myself on the back re my creative endeavours for 2013.

    Now, let me get back to hibernating and I’ll see you in April!

    1. Hi Lynne.

      Sounds like you’ve had a seriously productive year – I must try harder!

      Great to hear you’ve kept going and taking on new projects. I’m currently undecided about A-Z Challenge. One of my goals for next year is learning to say ‘No’ a little more often as I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew and then not really complete anything properly. I must get to grips with my novel draft early in the year and then make some decisions.

      Have a lovely Christmas and keep busy!

  2. Definitely focus on the good stuff, it’s so easy to lose sight of the numerous things we do throughout the year, which is why I’m a fan of recording successes. As well as keeping a tally of all your written work. I’ve lapsed a little with my own writing diary, but will definitely be bringing it back for 2014!

    You’ve achieved much more than what you think, and nothing is ever wasted either. Some of your pieces can be recycled, into bigger things, or revamped for competition entries I’m sure.

    Well done on your 2013 projects, I’m looking forward to reading your future plans here soon.

    1. Thanks Maria. Definitely been my most productive writing year – a large part of which has been due to joining the Phoenix Writers.

      Good idea re keeping a writing diary. I keep a record of my submissions etc, but am quite lazy when it comes to keeping a track of how many words I write each week and month.

      A good tip for 2014.

  3. I know they’re not to everyone’s tastes, but the title of this post reminded me of the Coldplay song, ‘The Scientist’, specifically where it goes:

    “Nobody said it was easy; nobody said it would be so hard…”

    It’s the next bit that makes it relevant for me: “Let’s take it back to the start.”

    When this situation arises, where everything feels like it’s mounting up and stopping us being creative – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be at Christmas – then it’s good to stop for a moment and take stock.

    Accept that things have got out of hand, but that you don’t have to keep on in that way. Hit the reset button and recalibrate to a more sustainable way of thinking. I’ve tried to adopt that sort of mindset a couple of times this year, and it’s worked pretty well.

    I need to do the same again now – I’ve been obsessing over my running, to the point that it’s become detrimental to my writing. Running was a means to an end, a way to be healthy, clear my mind, and have more energy for writing. So I need to scale back a bit – still be healthy, but write more!

    And hopefully I can do that over the festive break…! Merry Christmas, Wayne, thanks for all your interesting writing, tweets, and advice this year 🙂

    1. Very true Paul. Think we have to keep shifting priorities and goals depending on what’s going on in our lives. As long as we keep doing something – that’s what’s important.

      Good luck for 2014.

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