Funny how this day brings out the nostalgia. It's been an eventful year for me, and not always on the good side. I started the year full of hope that my revised novel would snag a certain agent who'd shown some interest. By the end of January my optimism had evaporated. Disheartened, I fought through the miserable winter weather uncertain about the future. Did I really want to keep going with this business which had brought nothing but disappointment?
Then in March my sister died. She was only 3 years older than me and although not in the best of health was hardly at death's door. The event was sudden and shocking, leaving all her family in a turmoil of grief and self-recrimination. I too felt a weight of guilt. I'd spoken on the phone to her a fortnight previously and she'd told me her symptoms. Concerned, I'd urged her to get to the doctor. "Maybe I will," she'd said breezily, before hanging up. It was the last conversation we had. I wish I'd pestered her about it now. How wise we are after the event. But one thing her death did was show me in technicolor clarity how short our time is and if there's something you want to do you better get on and do it now, while you can.
A few weeks after the funeral I fell down some stairs and sprained my ankle. Sitting in out-patients that evening - a first for me - I saw a big slice of life up close, many poor souls a lot worse off than me. Again, life's fragility on display.
An internet friend contacted me around this time to ask how things were going submission-wise. She urged me to keep sending the novel out and not give up. Talking to her made me realise I couldn't give up, I'd come this far and I had to see it through. So I jumped back on the submissions wagon again.
I had a perfectly nice week at Loch Ness in June. Time to get away from writing and take stock. By this point I'd more or less decided to forget about the novel and concentrate on other projects I'd had ideas for. When I got home I got right back to work and started writing Redemption, another ghost story. By October I was well into it and took the plunge to participate in Nanowrimo to get it finished.
The first week of Nano I was stricken with a nasty bout of what I suspect was swine flu. Dragging myself to the computer with blankets and hot water bottles to keep warm, coughing up my lungs and snuffling into boxes of tissues, was hardly propitious for a creative pursuit. But somehow I managed to do it. And at the end of the first week I received the email from my agent offering representation.
It's funny how life gives and takes simultaneously. Just when you think you can't feel any worse something marvellous happens. It's happened to me time and again throughout my life, but it still never fails to amaze me.
So that's where I am now. I've no idea what 2011 will bring, but I hope it brings success and happiness for all of us in whatever way we desire. Here's to a bumper writing year!