Monday, 22 November 2010

Breaking point

Each year, around about this point - a month or so before Christmas - I go into literary meltdown. It's not a painful process, least it won't appear that way to bystanders or those watching me knock back beers at festive shindigs. I tend to mosey on through life as if December was just another month.

But it's not. It's the end of another year, and it marks the end of another slice of life that passes with so many dreams unfulfilled. As the years pile on top of each other, the frustration - and subsequent meltdown - only increases. I look back on the past eleven months, and the end result is always the same - I've never achieved half of what I set out to do. In fact, might as well make that one third (I'm talking literary endeavours here, of course, not family and work).

Sure, there are usually successes along the way. This year, it's been all about Nemesis Publishing, and the progress we've made on that front. It's been a good year over there - our first book published, several other projects developing nicely. I should be happy. But I'm not. There's the Manx Lit Fest we announced recently (separate from Nemesis), and early buzz is encouraging. It's a big, exciting and somewhat daunting project. I should be happy. But I'm not.

Earlier this year I was asked to edit the first issue of the Muse e-zine, a cool creation from those within the Litopia Writers' Colony. It was, by and large, considered a success and drew some fine praise from within the publishing industry. I should be happy with such a result. But I'm not.

You get the message?

Those eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a common theme here. For those who haven't, it's quite simple. What have I written? In terms of fiction? Bugger all. That's not strictly true, as there have been dabblings here and there. A few thousand words of this manuscript, a couple of thousand on that manuscript. But the bottom line is, I've filled my year with so many other projects, that writing has been the very poor relation. Yet again. A little bit like this blog, to be honest.

And so once again I look ahead to another year, a clean slate come January 1, on which I can revise my goals and aspirations and promise myself that, this year, I really will knuckle down and aim for that fiction breakthrough. Am I kidding myself? Are these hundred and one other hats, which I seem to accumulate like the Pied Piper gathering kids, a mask for me, a way of deflecting attention away from my writing? If they are, I think I need to ask myself some harsh questions.

So another few weeks of soul-searching await. I don't have any answers. Hell, I'm not sure I even know the questions. I only hope that I can find some kind of resolution, because this frustration is eating away at me.