Well, 2008 is nearly over, and I'm now four months into my writer's olympiad. I felt that this would be a good time to post some of my thoughts on the year just gone, and start looking ahead to the year to come.
2008 was the year that I came up with my four year plan to try and improve my status as a writer. I started my Open University course in September and so far it's gone OK. I did my first assignment at the end of October, and, whilst my mark wasn't mind shattering, I still did well, and I should be able to improve as the course goes on. I have my second assignment due in by Monday, and hopefully I can do a good job with it. I've also made some really nice friends through one of the OU groups on Facebook, which helps makes the course even more enjoyable.
I wished we had something like Facebook back when I was doing my degree at Aberystwyth. Towards the end we had a website called VirginStudent, which was an early social networking site. There were a few people from my Uni on there, and that was fun. But things would have been amazing with Facebook. Just when you think technology and the internet have given you everything that you could possibly think of, along comes something else to amaze you. It's been great to find old school friends on there, and for keeping in touch with everyone. And it's also great for making new friends too.
November saw NaNoWriMo and, whilst I failed to reach my original target of 125,000 words, I did make it to an impressive 80,000 words, and I'll be going on to finish that novel soon. And, like last year, I met some really nice people along the way (and, again, Facebook played its part here!).
On the work front it's been an... interesting year, which is about all I can really say... Next year probably won't be too eventful, although I am due to switch departments around November (it's standard practice where I work to switch jobs every two years or so). Things should be fairly quiet, until 2010...
The biggest story of 2008 has been the credit crunch. I'm not so badly affected as I'm quite comfortable financially, but there are many others that have not been so lucky. Woolworths is probably the best example. I still find it hard to believe that it's about to disappear from our high streets. Over the years I've bought so much stuff from there - everything from kitchen utensils, to stationery, to DVD's and computer games. My local branch is due to close forever on Friday, but, because of the fact that I'm working this week, I may not be able to get in there again before the doors close for good. And you've got to feel for the 27,000 people across the country who are losing their jobs because of it - this is a terrible time of year to be made redundant, and especially in this economic climate.
(And there have also been some pretty big political stories in 2008 but, because of work, I prefer to avoid discussing them in my blog.)
Looking ahead to 2009, whilst I'll hopefully be able to keep my bank account in credit, I'll be wanting to step up a gear with my writing. As well as finishing off my NaNoWriMo novel and the OU course I'm currently on, I'm planning to take part in Script Frenzy in April - the aim of this is to write 100 pages of scripts in a month. Last year I failed due to illness, but this year I'm out for revenge! I already have a rough idea of what I'm going to write about. And, on top of all this, I'm planning a new writing project that's due to start in either late January or (more likely) early February. It should be pretty good if I can pull it off, and it'll require a lot of hard work, but I think you'll like it...
Overall, whilst everything in 2008 may not have gone as I would have liked it to, and despite the credit crunch and looming recession, I'm fairly optimistic for 2009. The bills will be paid and I'll still be able to do all of the things that I'd like to do. Even with the financial situation as it is I'll still have a roof over my head and food to eat, and there are many others in the world who are far worse off. And my writing will hopefully go from strength to strength.
But, more important than all of that are my friends - friends from school, friends from college, friends from Uni, friends from work, friends from Harrow, friends from NaNoWriMo, friends from Facebook, and all my other friends. Apart from my family, you are the most important things to me, and it's great knowing you all. Whether your 2008 was good or bad, whether you're looking to the year ahead with enthusiasm or trepidation, I hope that all of your 2009's are fantastic. We can all make it a great year.
Let's all make this year one to remember, and for all the right reasons. Let's all work hard to make our dreams come true.
And let's do it together...