Thirteen months ago I stepped off the edge of a cliff.
In my post “The Daunting Prospect of Reinvention” I described how I was about to leave my most recent job – well paid, professional work – and embark on what had been loosely termed ‘the glide path to retirement’. It was, I told myself then, a real opportunity for me to focus on my writing, and on what I felt was important. Yet I was doing so with a sense of trepidation, not only in the fear of failing to achieve the goals I set out for myself, but also in that I would find myself soon enough back on the 9-to-5 treadmill, the opportunity lost.
Even though necessity may force me to dip my toes back into the murky waters of employment soon enough, a little over a year later and I have yet to return to ‘honest labour’ – partly through choice and partly (largely?) because a man of my age is not as attractive a commercial proposition as I was ten or twenty years ago, experience notwithstanding. Ageism is a reality. All of which means that I got my September 2020 wish: time enough to do what I wanted.
So how have I got on…? What does the school report look like?
- Publication of my novel “On Parliament Hill“.
- Publication of a largely autobiographical collection of poetry, “The Homelessness of a Child“.
- Drafted (and currently editing) a non-fiction book based on the contents of nearly forty years of ‘writing notebooks’ and writeral.com posts to mid-2021, “Shrapnel from a Writing Life“. This should be published at some point in the next six months.
- Currently working on a number of projects, including a loose collection of short stories and an idea for a new novel. Both could be 2022 debutants.
- A good twelve months in that I published:
- Currently working on:
- An international collection of ‘longer’ short stories for a Q1 2022 publication.
- The inaugural edition of “Line Breaks“, an on-line poetry anthology and e-book with the first ‘issue’ probably live from 1st January 2022.
- A collection of poetry for an individual poet (to be published before the end of 2021).
- Planning for Contextual, a potentially monthly series of on-line poetry readings by various poets with the first event hopefully this month.
- Attended a short Writers’ Retreat.
- Landed a gig early in the new year as guest reader / workshop lead at another Writers’ Retreat – which is really exciting!
- And – not related to writing – started working on a new allotment (worthy of note because of the positive knock-on benefits of doing so).
So what’s the verdict?
Trying to be dispassionate, I’d have to say pretty good. Taken in the round, that represents seven books published one way or another, and four more in the pipeline. I’m also hoping that next year there will be perhaps two of three more editions of “Line Breaks” – assuming the first goes down well enough – plus another “New Contexts”. And there may be opportunities to produce more books for individuals.
Not such a bad thirteen months then…