Attending the Geneva Writers Conference (2-4 March 2018) coincided with a personal anniversary of mine: a year ago, the last day of February marked the last day at my science job before quitting it to devote myself to writing. I couldn’t have celebrated this small milestone in a better way than going to Geneva: I met lovely people and encountered opportunities that might bring my writing further. I want to now take a little time to look back at what happened in the last 14 months and take stock of where I’m now.
On 24 December 2016, I finished the rough draft of my fantasy trilogy. It so happened that this coincided with me finally having the guts and opportunity to quit my day job as a researcher, which I promptly did as soon as the holidays were over.
What followed were two months of having to go to work (because I had a two months’ notice), but in my head, I had already moved on. This felt awful and when 28 February 2017 arrived, I was beyond done. I actually needed a couple of months to recover. I guess I finally had the peace of mind to realize how awful I had been feeling before.
But then the darkness lifted, and I was ready to start on my writing journey. I embarked on revising Book 1 of my trilogy, but it took me almost until now to find my writing feet. What do I mean by that? Working from home was a huge change from having always had a boss or a supervisor to answer to and an office to go to. But suddenly, at home, I had a quadrillion distractions to resist. I’m very driven when it comes to writing, so motivating myself to write was not a problem. Staying focused, on the other hand, was. Now that I worked from home, the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink were constantly calling to me to end their suffering, and the myriad of toys strewn across the floor were each one a painful prick to my need for neatness. So I went through cycles and cycles of refining to-do lists, best practices, and schedules until I learned to accept entropy.
Hence, the past year was a year of a steep learning curve: learning about my inner workings as a writer and the ropes of working for one’s self. At times, it was grueling—it’s amazing how much pressure I can put on myself even without external stressors. But then, in the autumn of last year, a trickle of positive feedback started coming in: my short story, “Clara,” was published in Electric Spec and another story was accepted elsewhere. Also, the first 10 000 words of my novel were long-listed in this year’s IWC Novel Fair competition (I’m listed as Adriana K. Weinert). And the Geneva Writers Conference capped this amazing year.
So, to sum it up Bridget Jones’ style:
Polished novels: 1
Published short stories: 1
Competitions: longlisted for one
Interest in novel: some
Looking back, this has been one of the most gratifying years in my life. I started out thinking that I must be crazy wanting to do this. Now, I’m starting to think that it would have been madness not to and deny myself a much happier life.
This year wouldn’t have been possible without my husband who made space in our lives for the writer in me. If you have such a person at your side, cherish them! And, of course, my novel wouldn’t have gotten as far as it is now without my generous and sharp-eyed beta readers and without my fellow writer friends whose support and advice at crucial moments was invaluable. Thank you!
Let’s see what the next year of writing will bring…