I can, without any doubt or hesitation, say that 2015 has been my most prolific year of writing in a long time. For that I am grateful. I don’t want this blog to read as a brag but I’m really proud of the work I’ve done this year. Naturally, there have been plenty of ups and downs; that’s the nature of life. I’m going to focus on the positive here and recap on the good things that have happened from a writing perspective. Sure, nothing has been hugely life changing but I feel it’s all going in the right direction and above anything else writing makes me happy. It also makes me want to pull my hair out. And shout. And potentially turn to alcoholism and gluttony for solace. But, the flip side is that there’s an unmistakable surge of delight and joy when a story comes together. When your unconscious is frantically putting the pieces together for you and then it all comes to light in a eureka! moment. That is what makes writing a joy… and a curse. Craving that feeling and buzz; it literally is an addiction, albeit a far more positive one than some of the choices available.
Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of positive writing experiences this year. I’ve been included in two anthologies (one for flash fiction and the other for poetry). I completed my feature screenplay Grand and pitched it at the London Screenwriters’ Festival. That was a great, if slightly terrifying experience and I’ve high hopes for the future of Grand. A performance art collaboration How To Forget A Memory was chosen to be part of a festival in 2016 but unfortunately we (my colab partner Úna Kavanagh and I) had to decline the offer due to timing issues, which we are GUTTED over. We will continue to explore other options with it though. I managed to write a short play based on the theme of 1916, The Fruit of Her Hands, which turned out to be a lovely little piece that I’ve submitted to a competition (fingers crossed!). That’s been a key thing throughout the year- keeping an eye on competitions and open calls and using them as deadlines, and who knows, someone has to be chosen. 2015 was also the year of the review for me, as I joined The Reviews Hub team and have been regularly writing for them, as well as keeping some reviews just for my blog. In November I attended the Waterford Film Festival where my short Lacewing came runner up in the short screenplay competition. I was thrilled with this and it was a nice little pat on the back.
Then, as if I wasn’t busy enough, I decided to give NaNoWriMo a go and to my delight I got the first draft of my novel Bitten By A Dog On Tuesday completed. That was mind blowing. It was a truly incomparable writing experience to anything else I’ve ever done. I highly recommend it but preparation is key, as is the acceptance that it will consume your life (that’s the addictive side of writing I mentioned earlier). I’m going to begin working on the second draft over the Christmas period and then keep at it in the New Year. I haven’t even read it since I wrote the first draft so I’m petrified of what I’ll find when I do but as they say, you can edit everything except a blank page. My full NaNoWriMo post can be read here.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people this year and make some interesting connections. I’ve a few meetings lined up for early 2016 and I’m looking forward to seeing how these pan out. It’s great to chat about ideas and potential projects, and even if nothing fruitful happens immediately, it holds endless possibilities for future collaboration. These are just the public things; I’ve been working away on other little projects and tinkering with ideas that are still on the back burner too. A site-specific play, Two Views A Mirror, is starting to take shape and I think it has the potential to be a funny and touching reflection on inner city Dublin in the 1960s.
I hope this hasn’t been too braggy of a blog but it’s good to do a positive asset search of writing every now and then, rather than focus on the stuff that didn’t happen. Likewise in other aspects of life. If someone had of told me this time last year that by the end of 2015 I’d have written a full length screenplay and have the first draft of a novel done, I’ve had said they were dreaming. I’m genuinely excited to see what 2016 brings and based on my experience this year I’ve going to give it my all and hope for the best.