You know how writers sometimes beat ourselves up about not having achieved enough? It’s a pretty regular occurrence, so I thought rather than pitching headlong into the depths of despair over this, I might try a little exercise to help myself not do that this year.This will take the form of a wee monthly roundup of some of the good stuff that has gone down. OK, sure, in January I have not written as much as I might like. But here’s what I have done (in addition to working full time five days a week).

Writers Need To Read

So far this year I’ve read 8 books, and have stuck to my resolution to read a bit more widely than in 2017. 2 were by men, 6 by women. 5 fiction, 2 non fiction, 1 anthology with a mixture of both. 6 by writers of colour, 2 by Caucasian authors. There’s a full list at the bottom if you’re interested.

Writers Need To Write

I’ve written and submitted one short story to a literary mag, and had one rejection from a literary agent for my children’s book. That second one was not unexpected, since it was my first try, but it was still hard. Maybe it’s actually OK to cut myself a bit of slack before leaping back on the horse, then.

Writers Need To Live

I have had two roast dinners with my family, played some games I’d never played before (The Very Nasty Horse Racing Game, English Quest, the DVD version of Atmosfear and vast quantities of Fibbage. Would recommend.).

I’ve had afternoon tea in Leith and been to a Burns Supper with friends. I’ve walked to two places I’d never walked before (the Granton waterfront at sunset and Newhailes Country Park).

Granton Waterfront at sunset

I’ve broken in a new pair of boots. I’ve watched all of The Good Place to find out what the fuss was about, and caught up on Inside Number 9 and Star Trek Discovery. I’ve organised my sock drawer. I’ve seen two sets of pals welcome brand new babies into the world.

The biggest news for the month in our house, though, is that we got a cat. He is very handsome, and he knows it. I am smitten.

I may not have written a book this January, or worked out who to query next, or come up with an editing schedule and committed it to Trello. But I haven’t exclusively sat on my arse scarfing down Walkers Lime & Coriander Poppadoms whilst watching crap TV either. That was just one time you guys.

Basically, I’ve been thinking and faffing and reading and occasionally experiencing new things. I am hoping that whilst all this is going on, the brain soup of my subconscious is working on something pretty spectacular writing-wise.

Time will tell, I guess.

Books I’ve Listened To On Audible

  • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  • Hunger – Roxane Gay
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon
  • Stay With Me – Adebayo Ayobami

 Books I’ve Read With My Eyes

  • The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Why Weeps The Brogan – Hugh Scott
  • This Book Is Gay – Juno Dawson
  • The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write – edited by Sabrina Mahfouz