For me, last year was going to be about writing. After spending most of 2009 coping with the move south and the new dayjob, and the various settlings-in and sortings-out that followed, I wanted 2010 to be about being quiet and settled, and wordily productive.
Life, it turned out, had other plans.
Don't get me wrong, there was writing this year, writing of which I'm proud and can't wait to finish. Mostly, though, my drafting efforts in 2010 can be characterised by being achingly slow to produce, or requiring five steps back for every step forward. Or both. The faerie novel gave me a major breakthrough while I was in Mongolia — or so I thought, until I tried to write the synopsis and discovered just how many holes were still missing. (I think I've plugged them all now.) The thorn girls short story was agonisingly demanding, fighting me for every word, a process not helped by how often my writing priorities forced me to put it aside for a spell. The possible third book for The Binding series was all but doing my head in, what with the sheer weight of ideas that needed dealing with. My Melbourne stories gathered in the corners of my mind, gleaming and shining with wanting to be written, while my blogging dropped to a frequency of weekly-at-best.
I could claim it was basically due to the eternal battle for time, which is not untrue. Between the dayjob and the commute and the basic-necessity-errands, time's always at a premium. One of the things I want to achieve this year is to prioritise my time smarter (I'm not quite sure how to achieve that, but here goes anyway), and work on a writing routine which is more flexible but at the same time more consistent.
But scarcity of time is not particularly new, and it was merely one of the symptoms, not the cause, of the course of the year. The real culprit was emotional burnout. I had no inkling whatsoever, this time last year, of what lay in store for me, but 2010 turned out to be one of the most momentous years I've lived through in a long time — and between family traumas and career dilemmas/changes among me and mine, and the various illnesses that plague naked monkeys, I've had my share of momentous years. This one took everything I had, and then some. More than once.
Last year broke my heart. Last year took my preconceived notions, and even my experienced and jaded and well-worn-in notions, and twisted them into the equivalent of a balloon giraffe to hang upon my wall in remembrance of everything I never knew. It took everything I'd worked hard to accept, and put the feathered thing — that cruellest of creatures — in their place. Last year showed me what people are made of.
Maybe, if 2011 slows down a bit, I'll be able to share some of the story of 2010. First, I need to take a little bit of time to step back from it, and let it fall gently into the past.
So this coming year? I'm going to spend breathing out. And writing.
And rediscovering whimsy.