My writing year runs from September to July, with August my month off to evaluate and plan. Usually I do this during and at the Edinburgh Book Festival, but it wasn’t to be this year. Here’s how I did…
What were my GOALS for 2011/12?
PRIORITY 1: To Get All Outstanding Long Fiction Out On Submission – achieved
PRIORITY 2: To Publish The 5 Chapbooks Currently In Production – not achieved
PRIORITY 3: To Market My Name As A “Brand” Worth Investing In – achieved
PRIORITY 4: To Write A New Novel – not achieved
PRIORITY 5: To Increase My Visibility In The Scottish Literary Scene – achieved
PRIORITY 6: To Read 42 Novels – not achieved
What were my DREAMS for 2011/12?
To Have A Novel Published – achieved
To Move House – not achieved
What were my RESOLUTIONS for 2011/12?
Never made either.
Last year’s highlights
- Completed BACCARA BURNING; now ready for publication.
- Completed LIVING LEITH; now ready for publication.
- 47 Edinburgh Book Festival articles written garnering a lot of publicity and networking opportunities.
- Blogged from the West Port Book Festival.
- Blogged from Portobello Book Festival.
- Kept up the Man in the East gig reviews.
- Published illustrated SILLY POEMS FOR WEE PEOPLE in December.
- Published crime novel, SLICK, in January.
- Published crime novella, GREENER IS THE GRASS, in May.
- Published POEMS FROM A COFFEE SHOP WINDOW in May.
- Haiku selection published in book and displayed in a gallery for the Trees for Life charity exhibition.
- Haiku published by Every Day Poets.
- Savvy Authors Course: Advanced Dialogue Workshop.
- Publishing advice forum with Allan Guthrie (Jenny Brown Associates/Blasted Heath) Francis Bickmore (Canongate).
- Re-release POOLSIDE POETRY with new front cover.
- Attended Alistair Darling book launch.
- Attended first few Edinburgh Literary Salon events.
- Apple iMac installed, setup and running fine.
- Kept Ranfurly Review running and publishing on schedule.
- Met with Allan Guthrie.
- Rebranded myself: new crime/paranormal site. [www.colingalbraith.co.uk] and new poetry site under pseudonym, Chas Stramash [www.chasstramash.com].
- Sales of print editions on all poetry books up 300% since the Chas Stramash relaunch.
- Advice from Elspeth Murray on working kids poetry workshop development.
- Attended Trees for Life Charity exhibition opening night at Out of the Blue Drill Hall.
- Attended Marie Curie charity night.
- Attended RSA Annual Exhibition in the National Gallery.
- Won the grand prize at Trees for Life charity raffle: signed ltd. edition print by Trevor Jones.
- Had a tree planted (along with the other artists) in a new Caledonian forest grove .
- Became Patron and visited the SKY Project in Kilmarnock for poetry evening/workshop.
- Took kids poetry workshop at the Out of School club in Loanhead
- Requested to provide feedback over Story Shop bias to Edinburgh City of Literature.
- Met, and got pissed, with Keith Armstrong, England’s top poet!
- Met (several times) and got pissed, with top non-fiction author and academic, JF Derry.
- Initial tester stock of SILLY POEMS FOR WEE PEOPLE sold out at the Edinburgh Bookshop with great feedback. More stock on order.
- Was asked to sign up for a Meet the Author event at Penicuik Arts Festival in September.
- Was asked to give a kids poetry workshop at Penicuik Arts Festival in September.
- Got through 33 books, average 3/month.
- Asked to do several online interviews, one of which included a sketched portrait.
What writing breakthrough this past year made me the happiest/proudest?
Breaking through to decent sales and visibility through self-publishing advice received from a top literary agent/publisher in Edinburgh.
What unexpected writing joys did I discover during the year?
That I am unable to keep up the high output all of the time – so I’ve learned when it’s best not to write.
Last year’s lowlights
- Never got time to complete GATECRASH
- Although I completed 3 new full works of fiction, I never made the aim to write a brand new novel
- Never got DAFFODILS out in time for competition
- Only managed 3 out of 6 of annual goals, when if it hadn’t been for the day job adjustment, I would probably have completed 5 out of 6
- 1 dream and both resolutions ditched because of job situation
- Left my job
Looking back, would I have done anything differently?
No. Regret will get me nowhere.
What did you find you needed to release, because, as the year progressed, it no longer worked to struggle towards it as a goal?
Writing the new novel.
What expectations did I find I needed to let go of?
Don’t think I did. I do now, though.
How has writing become more important in your life this past year?
Writing has become more important because as my life has changed, I’ve realised how much I need it to keep a balanced perspective.
Where am I now with my writing career overall?
In a good position. I’ve worked hard and taken some tough advice but it’s paying off. Now I need to capitalise and build forward again. I need to re-rally the troops who think I’ve forgotten about them.