We’re now well and truly into 2021; January has flown by. It’s time to reflect upon 2020… oh, what a year!
A year of firsts…
I declared to my world at the beginning of last year, 2020 was going to be the year of firsts.
I’m happy to say, I achieved what I set out to do. Goals were set for some things and plans laid out to achieve them. Other firsts happened on by, some good, one not so good, I took them up one at a time. Some are writing-related, others are places visited, and some are activities. I’d like to share them with you
First, the not-so-good first…Covid-19. The pandemic happened in a way many of us have never seen before. Of course, it’s not the first pandemic to hit the world – Spanish Flu 1918. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, was the first of my lifetime. Thank goodness I live in Australia.
Writing related firsts…
TAFE Short on-line course – In February, my writing journey began. I decided to start a blog, amateur photography related, but I didn’t want to spew out nonsense. I mentioned to a friend I was looking for a writing course to help me create a blog in a structured manner. That wise friend suggested TAFE Statement of Attainment courses might be the way to go. I looked them up and found Writing for the Media. It was a short course, eight weeks on-line, and covered among other mediums, writing blog posts. Bonus – I was eligible for the free course. In May 2020, I received my certificate to hang on the wall.
Short Story Essentials writing course – The links provided within the TAFE course warmed the embers and reminded me I loved writing as a child. I discovered the So You Want to Be a Writer podcast, then the Facebook podcast community of the same name. and subsequently the writing courses through Australian Writers Centre.
Short Story Submission for Assessment: I wrote and submitted my first ever short story for my first ever assessment. There is some editing to do, so I’ve put that aside for now as I concentrate on my next first.
My Manuscript – A Work in Progress: I started writing in July. For the moment, I can say it’s a post-pandemic, sci-fi murder centered in a small (fictional) mining town just outside of Sydney.
July’s Furious Fiction Competition – A monthly micro-short story competition run by the Australian Writers Centre. I’ve entered a few more Furious Fiction competitions since then. No wins yet, but meanwhile, I get writing practice in.
Submission for publication – August. In September, Spillwords.com published the first of my short stories to their publication. I’ve since had two more stories published. Yay, I’m published!
A Writer’s Retreat – September – Urban Writer’s retreat organised by Cassie Hamer, author of After the Party and The End of Cuthbert Close. It was lovely to sit and write with like-minded people. Participants had the opportunity to discuss their writing or submit the first few thousand words ( I think it was 3000, I can’t be sure), which is what I did, for an assessment by Cassie. Sound advice was given, and some of it I have taken on board. I also learned it was a viable product, which was reassuring.
My First Reject email – September. Yes, that list begins. A little disappointing, but not disheartening; it’s a learning curve. It also means I am submitting, so eventually, I’ll be read in other publications.
Other firsts –
- February – I attended an Amanda Palmer concert, with friends, in the Blue Mountains. Before January, I hadn’t heard of Amanda but found out she was the wife of Neil Gaiman and that hooked me in. I wasn’t disappointed.
- Hoyts, Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, has those new recliner seats that rumble. The movie was Star Wars, The Last Jedi. The earth under my bottom moved for me in that one, quite literally.
- Pole Dancing class – I didn’t embarrass myself, I thought I might. I’d envisioned landing on my head, I didn’t, thankfully. I’d hoped to take it up as an exercise, then Coved happened.
- A ghost tour at The Rocks in Sydney. No ghosts, I think they maintained a coved-safe distance.
- I entered a photography competition – Australian Photography Magazine’s Mono Awards and won a Commended Certificate for my entry The Boat Shed in the Places category. That counts as two firsts.
- The Van Gogh Alive digital exhibition. An awesome visual experience, I’m so glad I went.
- A number of other locations and restaurants were also visited for the first time.
That’s my list…
The highlights? The Commended Award, definitely. I’m a published author on Spillwords.com and the learning processes of the courses have enabled me to work on my manuscript.
The benefits of doing all the firsts – I’ve seen new things, tasted new things, felt new things, and listened to new things. My senses have been enriched from the experience. My blog is progressing slowly, I need to work on that more regularly. “Treat it like a job” is a sentence I hear often in the writing community, so for 2021, that’s my plan. I don’t think I am spewing out nonsense, so that’s an achievement. When the pandemic hit, I was beginning my writing adventure. I was in a position where the pandemic didn’t drag me down but enabled me to progress at a faster rate. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.
Doing new things doesn’t have to be a big adventure. It can be as simple as trying something different rather than the same dish, at your favourite restaurant. Maybe call into that little gift shop you always walk past because you don’t think it will interest you. This reminds me, I walk past the Penrith Regional Gallery when we walk the Nepean River, Penrith / Emu Plains(NSW) loop and I always say “Next time we go past, we’ll go in and check it out”… I may have to start a list of firsts for 2021.
What’s one thing you did for the first time in 2020?