So 2008 is about to wink out like a candle, and as far as I’m concerned it’s not a second too soon. This year was really hard, for me and seemingly everyone else I know – and, apparently, everyone Jess Friedmann knows too. Milena Thomas recently blogged about how 2008 has aged her, and I feel the same way. I’m ending the year mentally, emotionally, physically and financially exhausted.
This time last year I mentioned that I was trying to move on from my entry-level publishing job. I’m still looking. I’ve had about ten job interviews this year. I rejected a couple and the rest rejected me. I was told when I finished uni that once I was in the workforce it would be easy to move around within it. Not true. If you’re in the throes of a shitty job hunt, I send you virtual hugs and bottles of gin. (Virtual gin.)
All that said, my job hunt has been pretty deranged. I’m not looking for a linear career move from where I am right now and I’m mainly looking at part-time jobs, which are hard to find. Also, my capacity to take risks has been curtailed this year by the fact that my partner was studying full-time in a postgraduate course with a huge practical component, making it difficult for him to spend time earning the sweet money. So hopefully in 2009 I’ll be able to look at a wider range of possibilities.
Thanks to all this stress and an unusual amount of pollen, things really went wrong for me in September when I developed asthma. I never had asthma as a kid but now, after this year’s horrendous hayfever season, whenever I take a deep breath it just suddenly – stops. Like it’s hit a wall. Which is probably exactly what’s happening. My immune system has been low, leading to several throat/chest infections and the annihilation of all of my sick leave. I have wanted to be in bed for most of September, October, November and December, and wherever practicable I have given in to this urge. If I missed your birthday/housewarming/bar mitzvah/engagement party/goat sacrifice this year, that’s probably what I did instead.
Somewhere along the line I invoked a new rule – when in doubt, go to sleep. I’ve done lots of resting. I’ve watched lots of TV. I’m starting to feel like I might be ready to get up.
But enough whining. It hasn’t all been bad. I’ve had a freaking great year for writing.
This year I realised my long-held dream of having an article published in a national newsstand magazine. In fact, I published four articles in the last three issues of frankie that came out in 2008. (I’m slowly getting them all up here if you want to read them.) It was the first time I’d written for a paying market. Here’s the weird thing: after years of dreaming about this goal, in the end it was fecking easy. The editor, Jo, spoke for five minutes at the Emerging Writers’ Festival about what she was looking for in a good pitch; after the session I went up, introduced myself, and pitched an idea, to which she basically agreed on the spot. Too easy.
A while back, to motivate myself, I decided that when my first article was published I’d go on a hot air balloon ride. So now I owe myself a hot air balloon ride. I’m not sure what my next goal is or what the reward should be.
I also had a couple of major achievements in the fiction writing department. My favourite short story, ‘Escargot postel’, was published in the Sleepers Almanac 4 at the start of the year and then republished in Best Australian Short Stories 2008 in November. That little baby’s brought in over five hundred bucks now. I also had another story, ‘Rock is dead’, republished by an American small press publisher in The Subatomic Anthology 01: One Step Beyond.
The other awesome career/media/creative thing I did this year was chairing the Creative Entrepreneur’s Toolkit panel in Vibewire.net‘s 2008 E-Festival of Ideas. The panelists and website members had a great discussion about forging a career in the creative arts and we had the most active panel of the festival. You can still see the festival content on the Vibewire.net forums, but you need to sign up as a member and log in first.
If anything, this year has taught me that I really am a writer. I don’t know if that’s a life thing or just a career thing. Maybe things will get clearer in the coming year.
So that’s my year in review. Bring on 2009. I’ve been looking forward to it, with growing desperation, for four months now. I’m nervous to set any ‘goal’ goals because the start of this year was all ‘push push push’ and the second half all ‘crash crash crash’. So for the time being I’m just going to go with the flow.
My new year’s resolutions are about developing habits: regular exercise, regular writing practice, regular art making. So instead of saying, ‘In 2009 I will exercise every day’, I’m saying, ‘In 2009 I will learn to exercise every day.’ There’s less pressure that way. I recommend it.
Happy new year.