That was 2014… all of it

And it’s already weird typing ‘2014’, it feels so long ago. Not that it feels like 2015 to me yet. Not sure when it is, then. Not sure when I am. But as part of an annual tradition that I’ve just revived, this week’s Self Distract personal blog is an expanded version of my That Was… entries that I do here.

Each month I write out for you what I’ve done. As I keep saying, you don’t need to read it but I clearly and visibly need to write it because it is one huge element of making me do things. If I don’t do anything, I’ve got nothing to tell you and how dare I tell you to be more productive.

The full year’s review is over on Self Distract in quite arse-tinglingly long detail but because I do the monthly version here, let me summarise my 2014 for you:

Writing: approximately 620,000 words
Books: 2 written, 1 editing
Speaking engagements: 88
Produced Events: 9
Scripts: 1 Doctor Who radio drama, 1 stage short, 1 education script
Fiction: 7 short stories, 2 poems, 2 revised novels and 10,000 words of 1 new novel
Blogs: 1, 294
Attended: 79 shows, launches, workshops or other events
Journalism: 45 written pieces and 3 magazine issues edited


That was December 2014

It still is, as I write this. But I’ve been doing this accountability/atonement thing monthly for the year – after having accidentally done it for someone else the year before, as you do – and there’s that word year. I’ve used it three times now. It’s on my mind. Every month I wince and tell you what I’ve managed to do (though you’ll notice I never tell you in advance what I’m planning)(I’m not that stupid). So it feels beholden to do the year’s one.

Fortunately, I can’t do that until I’ve worked out December’s doings.

Unfortunately, December’s doings were a bit light. But here goes:

Writing: approximately 31,100 words
21 articles for (circa 11,000 words)
4x Radio Times reviews (400 words)
1x editorial for Write On! magazine (500 words)
Soundscapes script (2,000 words)
1x poem ‘Heart’ (100 words)
3x Self Distract blogs (1,200 words)
55x The Blank Screen news articles (15,600 words)

Ran Burton Young Writers’ Session
Ran Birmingham Young Writers’ Session
Ran Reaside Clinic writing session
Edited Write On! magazine issue 5
Wrote Writers’ Guild press release re Library of Birmingham cuts
Interviewed on Russia Today
Guest at British Film Institute’s Blake’s 7 evening

That was October 2014…

Previously… I write this list of what I’ve done in the month. I do it because I used to write a monthly report and had to do things in order to have anything to say. This helped me greatly. So I report to you. Here’s last month’s but here’s the a-little-better October 2014. Not as much writing as I’d have liked but I’m surprised how many events I ran.

Well, I say I ran them. Really everybody else did the work and I just got the best seat in the house, so.

Writing: approximately 58,049 words
Four guest blogs for Inkspill plus scripting and shooting an intro video with writing exercise (2,700 words)
Approximately 10,000 words on new book
Radio Times radio preview of the Free Thinking Festival (100 words)
Wrote poem “My Curse” (100 words or so)
Wrote 128 posts on The Blank Screen (40,610 words)
Wrote 5 posts on Self Distract (4,539)

Produced and chaired Steven Knight event at the BBC Drama Village for the Writers’ Guild and the Royal Television Society
Produced and ran The Blank Screen all-day workshop in Birmingham for the Federation of Entertainment Unions
Attended the Royal Television Society Midlands Awards gala dinner as a drama judge
Ran Burton Young Writers’ group session
Ran a radio writing workshop for South & City College
Performed my short story, The Book Groups, to the Combrook Reading Group
Depped for Polly Wright leading a reader/writer group (second of two)
Met with BBC to discuss general projects plus liaising with RTS and Writers’ Guild
Attended countless events at Birmingham Literature Festival
Attended Ajax, directed by Polly Tisdall in Oxford
Appeared on Poetry Please by way of the Birmingham Literature Festival
Attended Write On Young Writers’ group meeting
Attended Solomon and Marion at the Birmingham Rep (for which I wrote programme notes)
Attended Of Mice and Men at the Birmingham Rep (for which I wrote programme notes)
Attended Cucumber Theater: Sorry to See You Go at the Birmingham Rep (for which I wrote a sentence of the notes)
Interviewed Jo Bell for book
Attended BBC launch of Children’s Chaplains

11 (3 successful)

Officially made Regional Representative of the Writers’ Guild in the West Midlands
Arts Council funding discussions and meetings
Submitted my first Arts Council England funding application
Created MailChimp account for Cucumber Theater Group and sent their first mailshot
Briefed Cucumber Theatre folk on using Mailchimp and handed over the keys
Was handed the keys to the Royal Television Society Midlands Centre’s social media: have tweeted news for them daily since
Was handed the keys to the Writers’ Guild West Midlands social media; have Facebooked news for them daily since
Devised a new business in a morning, publicised it in the afternoon and got first clients by the evening (The Blank Screen mentoring/coaching)
Worked with Room 204’s Rivka Fine
Graphics work for Cucumber Theatre
Moved The Blank Screen to using Drafts 4 for writing text and Pixelmator for image editing

That was September 2014…

Excuse me? That was September? Are we not halfway or more through October? We are and if you feel this is a bit late for my confession and atonement for what I did or didn’t do in September, you are right. If you are suspecting that this delay has been an avoiding tactic because I didn’t want to admit to you that September was poor, well, I don’t want to admit it to you.

I just looked up August’s entry and it warns that September is dire. Warnings are true.

Writing (total approximately 53,880)
Wrote 8,500 words in Droitwich. Blogging book.
500 words short story Time Gentlemen Please
Time and the Conway Twitty Appreciation Society pitch (400 words) Wrote, illustrated and delivered guest blog to Coffee Birmingham (500 words)
Theatre programme copywriting for the Birmingham Rep (2 pieces, total 2,000 words) 4 The Blank Screen newsletters (3,800 words)
132 The Blank Screen blog posts (35,580 words)
4 Self Distract blog posts (2,600 words)

Room 204 Buddying
Took over the running of this and doubled the number of writers in it Produced buddying list and teased it out releasing news in episodes Organised a social event for Room 204 Buddies (7 people)
Facebook chats, emails and meetings

Events and meetings
Write On! Young Writers session in Burton (10 kids
The Blank Screen day-long workshop in Newcastle (13 people)
Depped for Polly Wright leading a reader/writer group (first of two) (7 people)
Produced Erica Whyman event at the Courtyard Theatre for Writers’ Guild (16 people) Chaired my last Screenwriters’ Forum meeting
Chaired my first Writers’ Guild meeting
Royal Television Society committee meeting
Ran one official mental health writing session and one unofficial (7 people) Ava/Soundscapes day meeting
Discussing Arts Council Funding application process with James Urquhart Discussing Arts Council Funding application with Jonathan Davidson Jeff Phelps River Passage and Room 204 Buddying system planning meeting Author visit to Bewdley school: (100 kids)
Met with Nick Fogg of Room 204

Kate Bush concert (called it a delicate shotgun)
Na Kingsley’s e x p a n d i n g
Birmingham Literature Festival Creative Launch preview
Peaky Blinders launch

2 (2 successful)

Took over Mailchimp duties for Writers’ Guild
Set up Mailchimp and sent promos for Screenwriters’ Forum
Wrote Young Writers’ exercises for other groups
Paperback edition of Filling the Blank Screen published
One copy of The Blank Screen book on sale secondhand for over £4,000