It’s now been over a year since I started this blog, and I thought it was worth taking a few minutes to reflect. In that time, I’ve finished one book (again), started another, entered some competitions with mixed levels of success, got an agent, and moved to a four-day working week. I’ve managed to keep to my self-imposed deadlines, writing blog posts on a variety of topics including cricket, music, trolls, the hidden gems of London, historical fiction, and how to write humorous poetry. Checking my stats, I see that I’ve had more than 2,000 views from people in countries including Canada, Israel, Malaysia and Kazakhstan. A number of different search terms have brought people to the blog, including ‘Giles Coren is a drunk’ ‘blah blah blah simple diagram’ ‘where to buy feuerzangenbowle’ ‘xkcd bubble bath’ and ‘Alastair Cook sexy and hot’, but by the far the most popular is ‘triple facepalm’. Not entirely sure what to make of all this, but hey, it’s feeling like some kind of success.
For my writing, it’s been a vintage year: I’ve improved my productivity and made some genuine progress towards publication, although there’s still a long way to go before I crack the Amazon Top Ten. This time next week I’ll be at the World Fantasy Convention down in Brighton, where I’m hoping to catch up with my agent, meet some interesting people and get some inspiration. Then I’ve got a whole week booked off to spend writing, coinciding with the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, where aspiring novelists try to complete 50,000 words in November). I’m not sure yet whether I’ll spend it working on my new book, Forever 27, re-working my first book, The Heartland of the Winter, working up some short story ideas, or perhaps just taking stock and thinking about what direction I want to take next.
I’ve always found one of the best ways to get in some quality thinking time is to wander around a local park or woodland. As well as being an aid to rumination, you can sometimes stumble across cool things – like a fine crop of toadstools. As a fantasy writer, I thoroughly approve of toadstools (Amanita Muscaria if you want to get technical) although I was amused to discover last year that some of my friends were under the impression that they were mythical. I can assure you that they are not – and here’s the photographic evidence. And with these pictures, my friends, I’ll leave you, until next time. TTFN.