My Writerly Year

When you’re going through the daily grind, you can feel as if you’re not achieving very much, as you wade through the treacle of emails, social media posts, bills and deadlines. This is a good time of year to lift your gaze up from the ground and take a birds-eye view of what you’ve done throughout the year.

That is what I’m going to do in this post, so that if, God forbid, things go a bit pear shaped in 2015, I can look back at this post and remind myself that the pendulum always swings back in the right direction. I also want to encourage all of you readers to look back on your achievements and be proud.

So here goes.

Workshops

This was a bumper year for workshops. As well as the ones I run myself, I was approached to run workshops by different organisations. In January, I gave a half-day workshop to people with intellectual disabilities at Waterford Institute of Technology. The participants were full of stories were fun and it was a delight from start to finish.

I ran an eight-week creative writing course and two intensive one-day workshops for more advanced writers, which all went well, but one of my highlights was the series of workshops I gave for Waterford Libraries. I did half-day workshops in three libraries throughout Waterford and they were well-attended, with lots of enthusiastic writers.

I also gave plenty of children’s workshops this year. In March, I worked with a group of teenagers who were part of the Waterford Young Arts Critics scheme. Over the course of two two-hour workshops, I imparted the delicate art of critiquing writing. I also gave an Easter camp and two summer camps for 8-12 year olds, and have just finished a highly successful run of Christmas workshops for the Winterval Festival, when budding writers got a chance to create their own Christmas story

Editing

I got the chance to work on some meaty editorial projects this year, such as theses, novel extracts and marketing material. Particular highlights included:

Tuesday Miscellany. This was an anthology of writing by Tramore Writers’ Group, filled with poems and stories about nature, family, dieting and much more. I proofread each entry twice, gave critiques to help the authors polish their work and had input into the final choices of work to be included in the anthology.

Goodbye Frying Pan, Hello Fire. This was a memoir by Jennylynd James, which chronicled the trials and triumphs of her relocation to Canada. I copy-edited each chapter, checking for spelling, grammar, sentence structure and coherence. I also gave suggestions on the order the chapters should appear in.

Upon Your Agony. This was a book of poetry by Matty Tamen, a collection of eloquent, thoughtful poems with a strong political theme. I was the final pair of eyes on this collection, making minor changes and checking for inconsistencies.

Copywriting

I scaled down my copywriting activity this year, but hope to do more of it in 2015. I did have a chance to work on some very creative copywriting projects this year. I did a lot of work for a printing company which is launching a service that offers people the chance to create personalised prints using their own photos. As well as writing content for a large website, I got an opportunity to write scripts for two how-to videos which would appear on the site. This was a new challenge, but I was able to draw on the skills I learned when I used to write scripts for radio.

I also worked on a unique marketing pitch. I was asked to write a pitch for a big exhibit for children and families in the style of a modern day fairytale. This was also a challenge because I had to balance a whimsical, highly creative writing style with hard facts which would appeal to potential advertisers and reconnect them with their inner child. It’s good to work with people who understand the creativity that a copywriter can bring to the marketing of their company’s products and services.

Other Achievements

Funding Application

I decided to take the plunge and make my first-ever application for arts funding. It was through a scheme called Arts and Disability Connect, to fund an anthology of writing by visually impaired people. While I wasn’t successful, I did a course with Artlinks on funding applications which helped me to redefine what success means. An unsuccessful funding application does not mean the idea isn’t viable. I can satisfy myself that I did my utmost at the time and that I will be more ready for it next year. I’ve already made a start. I gave a workshop at the National Council for the Blind in Dublin to a group of creative and very well read visually impaired people, and I realised that there’s a huge demand for creative writing among visually impaired people.

A Book in the Making

Another service I hope to develop more in 2015 is my writing consultancy service. It aims to give people who want to write a book a framework that helps them get started and then over the finishing line. I did a session with a man who has an idea for a self help book. We discussed his goal for the book, his potential audience and what message he wanted to get across. Based on what we did in our session, I sent him a report summarising what we discussed and outlining a structure for him to follow, which will make writing the book more manageable.

So that’s it. Let’s hope that 2015 will bring more of the same for all of us. I want to thank all of those who read my blog this year, all the people who commented on my blogs and social media posts and all the people who took a leap of faith and hired me as a copywriter, editor and workshop facilitator. I also want to thank all the adults and children who came to my workshops, for their enthusiasm, dedication and inspiration. None of this success would have happened without all of you.

What achievements from 2014 are you most proud of? I’d love to hear from you.

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