Hello world!

About this time last year, I declared 2019 as THE YEAR OF PUTTING WRITING FIRST. You can read about it here, but basically I made the decision to scale back on my editing and mentoring business, say “no, sorry” to new clients, and put writing (and school visits) on top of my TO-DO list.

So how did I do?

Well, I wasn’t as productive as I had hoped – mainly because life got in the way, as it does sometimes – but I certainly did better than the previous year.

What did I achieve?

  • I definitely scaled down the editing and mentoring side of my work. I still had plenty of  projects to work on, but I didn’t take on any new clients, and on occasion I even said “Sorry, I can’t fit that in at the moment” to clients I had worked with before. (Even when it was really hard to do so.)
  • I had a wonderful month in Adelaide for my May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship, where I worked on some comprehensive edits of my forthcoming book The Book of Chance (April 1) and researched a new middle grade novel set in Adelaide in 1902. I adored this stretch of uninterrupted creative time! And I was supremely productive.

    I started my research trip at West Terrace Cemetery – a fab place full of history, and ghosts, I suspect. It conjured some strong emotions within me. But that story will have to wait for another day!

  • I completed two new picture book manuscripts, one of which I recently signed a contract for with Walker Book Australia.
  • I worked on the various stages of  rewriting and editing for The Book of Chance – this was my major project for the year.
  • I wrote 17k of the first draft of a new youngish middle grade novel set in Antarctica.
  • I notebooked scenes and started plotting and planning my novel set in Adelaide in 1902.
  • I visited numerous schools, bookshops, festivals and conferences, and gave around 135+ talks and workshops!  And I loved every minute of every one of them. Even when I was exhausted. I also tested new material and stories and got so many ideas.Talking about books and writing is almost as important as the actual writing for me.
  • I launched my WRITE AWAY initiative – where I aim to do what I can to get kids writing daily at school. (The response to this has been ENORMOUS! And very encouraging.)

What didn’t I achieve?

  • I had hoped to have a completed first draft of the novel set in Antarctica – but I am making good progress and aim to have it completed this month.
  • I had hoped to be well underway in my first draft of the historic novel set in Adelaide. This will be my next cab off the rank and I aim to have a first draft completed by the end of the year.

So I didn’t do too badly. Though sometimes I had to really push myself to write – and to put writing first. It wasn’t easy at all.

And guess what? I have declared 2020 as another YEAR OF PUTTING WRITING FIRST.

It is already shaping up to be a busy year, with book tours for The Book of Chance and Good Question, my new picture book with Annie White, as well as many school visits already booked, but I am determined to get these novels finished and to continue to put writing (and talking about writing) at the top of my TO-DO list.

Happy 2020! (Belated. Sorry. I’ve been busy – writing!)


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