“An optimist stays up to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old one leaves” Bill Vaughan.
And so another calendar year passes us by, and leaves us begging the question of what have (or haven’t) we achieved and can we build on it (or make up for it) in the next twelve months. For me personally the past year felt like an almighty struggle, holding down eight jobs, moving into my first flat with The Fiancée, managing the bills on a still meager wage and pursuing my ambitions in teaching. However over the Christmas period when I was writing out cards for colleagues, family and close friends I came to a startling conclusion. I actually had a lot to be thankful for; Myself and The Fiancée had begun our life together away from the family homes; I had clocked in over 200hrs of volunteer teaching and done paid work in five different schools in my region, which was wonderful experience and very fulfilling; by working those 8 jobs I had met dozens of lovely people who I enjoyed seeing each day and would go out for staff drinks and meals; and last but by no means least, I had started to write on a regular basis for the first time since I was a kid.
Inspired by friends example I started up the Cul De Sac, named out of cynicism for my ability to start strong and write myself into a narrative dead end, and proceeded to write a dozen short stories in the last six months sharing about half of them on here, facebook and twitter. I took nearly two months away from the blog as I worked on a planned competition entry called Katakomby which instead secured distribution for my stories on the Ether Books mobile platform. From a standing start, I finish 2010 feeling humbled by the fact that people are not just clicking onto the blog to read my stories but paying 59p each to download them on their iPhones. The connections I have made on twitter with people like Rebecca Emin, Marc Nash, Nettie Thomson, Catherine Ryan Howard and others have inspired me and I look forward to 2011 with optimism.
However, so as not to leave 2010 without a proper send off I thought I would trawl the statistics of the blog to find out which of the posted stories had proven most popular with readers. The results are in reverse order;
|3. For Daniel’s Benefit|
|2. The Lady Medusa|
|1. The God Particle|
Katakomby (exclusive to Ether Books) and my Write Links Tinsel Tale entry “Christmas Dinner” are not included in the above table as the stories weren’t posted on here, just notice of their release. One of my hopes for 2011, now that I seem to have found my feet with a mixture of story writing and book reviewing is the hope that I can deliver at least twelve complete stories to the website. Amounting to at least one every four weeks, which will be aided by the fact that I am hoping to have a regular full time job as opposed to 8 casual jobs which leave me without the ability to plan time for writing, studying or reading. I also plan to release a couple of serials, fulfilling a long term ambition to partake in a story form I utterly adored from the classic pulp magazines. I hope readers will enjoy what I have prepared and find the hooks make them want to come back for each episode. Competitions are also on the agenda, having finally entered one for the first time with Tinsel Tales. As sceptical as I find myself of competition’s they do provide the opportunity to try something more focused and for a specific audience. Its all practice isn’t it? Lastly, I hope to be able to contribute more original content to Ether Books, if they’ll welcome it, and continue to champion this brave new future for marketing short stories.
Before I leave you until next year I wanted to share with you two stories that caught my imagination and inspired me to put pen to paper at various times in the year. They are from two fantastic writing ladies both of whom deserve more plaudits than they get for their work.
Rebecca Brown – Moving on
Nettie Thomson – And the Angels Cried
I look forward to what they will write in 2011, and what stories other writers I will meet on twitter will have to share.