I’m going to start off my post by wishing every a hopeful year. Entering a new year always gives me a sense of renewed hope, which I’m definitely holding on to as 2021 rolls in. My biggest hope as we move through the months is that 2021 triumphs over the weirdness and weirdos of 2020.
Something positive that came of the weirdness was definitely the renewed importance I placed upon my writing. At the end of the year I was able to drop my hours in my day job, giving me a day all to myself to write. I feel very lucky to be in a position to be able to do this, and grateful to my employer for approving the change of hours with zero fuss. It has been something I have been desperate to do for so long, and much needed to help me focus. I close the door to my writing room, sit down at my desk and get lost in words. My partner has also given me access to his Spotify so I have now started to put together writing song playlists. I find choosing mood appropriate music really helps me get into ‘the zone’.
Other positives at the end of the year was finding time to explore other forms I love, such as flash fiction. My short piece, Exhibition featured in the first issue of the Dillydoun Review which you can read here: https://thedillydounreview.com/victoria-gemmell/ This particular publication meant a lot to me as the editor, Amy Burns, used to oversee the wonderful Literary Journal Spilling Ink and back in 2010 she accepted my first ever published piece of work, a flash fiction/prose poetry piece called Performance. So thank you, Amy, for once again giving my work a home in a brilliant journal.
I didn’t make it any further in the Guppy Books YA Open Submission competition but making the final eleven was a big boost, and the editor Bella was very generous with her time, offering all short listed candidates an editorial chat which I found really helpful. I have now started to submit to agents. Most of all I have stopped obsessing about the end results and have found a renewed enjoyment for the process!
Working remotely has given me confidence using new technology to deliver workshops. Workshops are one thing I feel will always work better ‘live’, especially when it comes to discussing creative writing as I like the interaction from participants, but the past week I managed to record a workshop within Powerpoint for the Scottish Association of Writers remote conference in March. The hardest part was getting the file to upload on the platform I needed to transfer on (due to what I think was a security glip!). I hate listening to my voice, never mind watching myself back on video, but I felt a great sense of achievement pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I think we’ve all done that the past year and I like to think we’ll all look back thinking about the good parts, as well as the challenges.
Good luck in all of your endeavors in 2021, writing and otherwise.