Blog 34: Hello to 2017.

January 10, 2017

A warm hello to everyone!

Since this is the first Diary of a Young Writer blog of 2017, I hope you had a happy Christmas and a great New Year. Despite 2016 being a pretty bad year for a lot of people, I can actually say that my 2016 was pretty good, though that’s only when I ignore the political world.

2016 held a number of firsts for me, some of them were difficult and others I ploughed on ahead like an unstoppable steam train. I finally moved away from home, I reread my first published novel again and actually enjoyed it, and I’m being paid to do what I love. I also read forty different fictional novels during the year, just six shy from the previous year.

Throughout 2016 I listened, I watched, I thought deeply, and I learned through new experiences. I now understand a little about what it takes to work in retail and I learnt about the long hours and limitless effort it takes to run a small business. I’ve made new friends who have unfathomable amounts of general knowledge, and they have been wonderfully patient in educating me –  though I can’t promise that I’ve remembered everything!

The Diary of a Young Writer blog has been honoured with in depth and light-hearted author interviews from Daccari Buchelli, Sean Fletcher, E.K. Barnes, and M.S. Dobing. All of whom I highly recommend. There have, of course, been the blogs from myself about the challenges with writing and my ever growing knowledge and experience with the publication process. I also wrote an account about my first trip to Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown, back in October where I learnt more about book shops and the book trade.

2016 was a busy year. I’ve been working on my second novel and trying to improve my writing skills. So, due to my meagre literary education at school, which barely covered Shakespeare, and since I’ve only read Dracula and Wuthering Heights since, I have decided that for 2017 I’m delving into the ‘classics’. This means I’m looking at works by the Brontë sisters’, Jane Austen, Joseph Conrad and Mary Shelley to name a few. For whom better to broaden my literary knowledge with than those authors who are still considered amongst the greats today?

I can already say with unwavering confidence that Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a captivating and worthwhile read, it broadened my vocabulary and I was left trusting none of the characters in the end. Wuthering Heights is still perhaps my favourite so far, though I felt sympathy for Heathcliff who is apparently, as I found out recently and according to some scholars, the embodiment of evil. I’m not quite sure what that says about my psyche.

I’m charging on through my classic book pile, I’m currently reading Under The Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, an altogether different style, and type of book from Northanger Abbey, but nonetheless, intriguing. I’ve found with classic fiction so far, that they demand all of my attention as the language can be challenging and the storylines are complex. I will be writing a blog about what I have learnt from the classics when I have finished reading all the eleven books I recently bought. Speaking of, if you fancy a trip or are heading north up the M6 during the next couple of weeks, you may be interested to know that due to a certain infamous bookseller in Hawes, Westwood Books of Sedbergh are giving 50p to all customers who purchase books from their second hand bookshop during the month of January 2017.

Also, if you’re a UK resident between the age of 16-25, then you’re running out of time to submit an entry to Outlet Publishing’s Young Writer’s Short Story Competition. The closing date is February the 28th 2017, there are no hidden fees and first prize is £150. Click here to find out more.

Well that’s it from me for today, thank you for reading my blog and welcome new readers, hopefully 2017 will be a much better year for everyone. Let me know your thoughts and if you have read any of the ‘classics’ by leaving a comment below!