What a year it has been. So much has changed in my life in 2011 and it has been the year that set me on the right path to achieve my ambition of writing a fantasy novel (and hopefully getting published one day). Elloise Hopkins has been in the public eye for nearly 12 months now so I feel a re-cap of the year is necessary to see what I have done and where I am heading.
January I began my MA in Professional Writing and set up my own online profile. February I really worked hard on the planning stages of my novel and started to let it brew. In March we had a family bereavement and I also went to Dublin on a tag rugby tournament so that was a difficult month but I kept myself busy planning and writing in the background. April I ventured to London Book Fair to learn more about the industry and I also took a week’s holiday bereft of internet access and realised how much I actually relied on my online profiles for learning and support from fellow writers. May brought a trip to Oxford and a real boost to my networking and then June, halfway into the year I wrote a flurry of short stories and started to concentrate on structure and the technical aspects of writing with a view to improving my craft. In the first half of the year I also started writing regular book reviews for the British Fantasy Society.
After six months of full time work and part time study on top of all the reviewing, learning, networking and maintaining my online profiles I had a real idea of how much I actually took on in 2011. Sometimes it seems overwhelmingly too much but I have to remember that I chose to do all of these things and when I step back and really concentrate on that I remember how much I love writing and being actively involved in the genre industry. July was a blur of coursework and a well-needed holiday and in August I put fingers to keyboard and began my novel. Watching the word count increase week by week really encouraged me to keep at it. In September my enthusiasm for the writing had not waned although it was tricky balancing work and study as well as writing a novel. I became a reviewer for Fantasy Faction and a gorgeous weekend in Brighton for FantasyCon with the late summer weather helped to reignite my hunger to get my novel finished. In October the writing continued and I also finished another module of my MA. November was NaNoWriMo so writing took over my life. Enough said!
And now here I am at the end of December and what has been a fantastically enjoyable and an incredibly productive year. Yes I am tired and yes there have been some tough moments but look at what I’ve managed. I am a book reviewer for two prominent organisations and I have expanded my own blog to incorporate reviews. This means I get to read even more which I love. I have written over 100,000 words of my novel and aside from a couple of sticky moments it has flowed so much better than expected and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I have thrown myself into the world of social networking and found it incredibly useful for my studying. I am halfway through my MA. I have made some great friends and received some invaluable advice and for the first time I really believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I am in a really positive place to begin 2012 in the same vein and hopefully by this time next year my novel will be finished and I will be working on the second book in the trilogy. What a year it has been.