Picking Up The Pieces …

… of 2012, in order to move hopefully into this new year. Last year got a little crazy for me and many things fell by the wayside. In hindsight, perhaps I should have seen it coming. I had two new books out here in Australia, two books coming out for the first time in the US, and a third in the pipeline to do the same. Lots of people wanted me for lots of things. They were all good things, useful things, things it made absolute and perfect sense for me to do. And so I said ‘Of course!’ and ‘I’d be delighted’ and ‘Thank you for asking’.

Last year, it felt like I reached a tipping point of some kind. There were simply too many things pulling on me for to do much but keep paddling madly and try and keep my head above water.

I didn’t get much new writing done. By which I mean to say that I wrote about 90,000 words towards a new novel, but it is in a mess and the real work is just beginning (again). Does it make sense to say that I wrote lots of words but didn’t get much writing done? It feels that way somehow. I can get the words – the raw material – down in the cracks of other things; it’s the demands of structure and narrative shape, making the story work for a reader other than myself, that need stretches of dedicated time. I couldn’t find that space last year in the midst of everything else.

This year, things will be calmer. I have one book coming out in the US and one new book coming out here. I’ll write more about those things later. But after that I have absolutely nothing in the publishing pipeline. It’s been years since this has been the case for me. It’s a little scary and a lot invigorating.

I’ve committed to a few festivals, including one interstate and one overseas. I’ll be doing Book Week (and still have a couple of days free for that). But I’m keeping some of my decks clear. I’m learning to know my limits, to accept that they might come upon me sooner than is the case for others. And that what others can or can’t do has nothing at all to do with me. I’m practising the art of saying ‘No’.

I’m going to put my head down and finish this book. I feel like maybe it’s going to be terrible and maybe it’s going to be really good. I feel like maybe that’s the right way to feel at this point.

Since my head will be down, I may be underwater for a while. If I need help, I’ll simply raise an arm. Not drowning, waving. Always.

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