Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hopes for 2013

OK, so first things first - an apology. I haven't blogged for ages, and I assure you there's good reason for that. Because, dear reader, life took over and certain things happened with (a) my writing, (b) my personal life and (c) work that all conspired to make me realise that, actually, you know what, the blog can wait. Really. The world will keep turning without me pontificating on the latest issues in librarianship, the crazy world of publishing etc.

And besides, Cardiff City go in to the new year top of the championship, so all is well with the world at its most fundamental level.

Premiership football coming here next season, hopefully! (Photo courtesy of allyhook)
But as we enter 2013, it's time to figure out what I want to achieve in terms of my (i) writing, (ii) librarian stuff and (iii) this blog. Although that last one isn't so important, really, as you'll come to see...
As I'm agented but not published, I do realise I'm more fortunate than literally millions of aspiring scribes out there. It is an enviable position, and it brings out understandable green-eyed monster syndrome in many people. For instance, when I met some writers at a NanoWrimo write-in (I failed at Nanowrimo incidentally, but learnt a valuable lesson in so doing), when I told one of them I had an agent she didn't say "congratulations", but "you're very lucky"...
Because it is tough out there folks. For all the predictions about where publishing may be heading next, the fact is no one knows for certain where we'll be in, say, five years time. All we know is that it's harder to get published via the traditional route than ever, and self-publishing will continue to rise.
Given that I have an agent (who is wonderful, supportive and unbelievably patient with me), I've been given a vote of confidence that I am good enough to go via the traditional route, enjoying the editorial seal of approval that comes with it. But even if you are 'good enough' there are still no guarantees. I do want to keep at it this year, at least, by delivering a novel of such stupendously good quality to my agent that she'll have a bit less trouble selling it than she did with the first one, which is still out there and has a small chance of still getting picked up. You never know! So that's the writing hope for this year...
Things are going well here. As I recently reported, I managed to get a library assistant for next term, so now I can really push on and get the library to the next level. Trouble is, as the saying goes (well, my saying, anyway), when you set the bar high for yourself you still have to clear it...
There's my lovely library again...
In a nutshell, I want to get the library more involved in giving the girls at my school proper independent research skills. It's heartening how many of them, like, use books and stuff. But the majority still go to Google, type one word in and click on the first result. It's not their fault: they're of the I-want-to-find-it-out-as-quickly-as-possible-with-the-least-effort generation.
Which reminds you why school libraries are still relevant, really. These girls need to go out in to the big bad world properly equipped. It will require a massive overhaul of how things are done at the school, but now I'm properly freed up, I ought to have the time. I'm pretty happy with where we are regarding reading for pleasure, so need to keep going with that too...
Oh yes, and if you care about school libraries sign this petition. Do it. Now.
This blog
Despite me not being as regular a blogger as many, this blog still gets a decent amount of traffic. So I must be doing something right ;-)
As any good blogger knows, you should measure your blog by how helpful/interesting it is to other people. This year, my two most consistently popular posts have been one where I talk about the realities of being a school librarian (mostly thanks to it featuring on the ALA newsletter website) and how I got my agent, which actually is a guest post on someone else's blog. Both have had many, many views, though not very many comments (meh).
On the one hand, this obviously suggests that things providing useful information to other people are better blog posts than ones which are just you bleating about yourself (like, erm, this post). But on the other, it's got me thinking. Is this blog trying to be too many things at one go? Librarian types don't seem that bothered that I'm also an author (and vice versa), so should I set up two separate blogs? Difficult one...and one I'll need to ponder and find a solution to in the near future.
So there we go. What are your hopes for 2013?


  1. Nice reflective blog post, Mister. I'm a librarian with an interest in writing, (wouldn't even dream of calling myself a writer) I help run a writing group in my library. So I am interested in both sides of your blog, and having found it I will pop back! :-)
    I haven't worked out what I hope for 2013 yet - still dealing with getting shot of 2012...but at the very least it would be nice to still have a couple of libraries and a pay packet! ;-)

  2. Hey, thanks, and glad you find both aspects of this blog useful! Gives me the required motivation to, like, blog a bit more often than I have been lately...

    So what sort of library is it you run? Public? Guessing that's what it is, on the basis of what you've written! If you are, then hang in there - we really do need public libraries...

  3. I work in public libraries - wouldn't say I ran them! People much more organised than me do that! I mostly hinder their efforts by bringing the mayhem of author events into their calm lives... :-D

  4. I do that! By which I mean, I bring mayhem to the already crammed school calendar by hosting author visits which disrupt the timetable etc. All part of the job :D