So it is Christmas Eve and I am off work now until 4th January, with no need to get up at my usual time of 5 am, but the Biffa truck woke me up at that time anyway. I could not get back to sleep – always had sleep issues and currently under a sleep clinic programme – so time for some reflection.
What a year it has been. I made a joke at the end of 2019 that opticians would be out of work this year because everyone one would have 2020 vision. Others jumped on that idea too and it was supposed to be a year of clear vision on many aspects. No one could have perceived what the world has had to go through. If we knew then what we know now, when the first news was coming out of Wuhan, China, would have done anything differently?
I am far too young to have seen World War II, my parents were only newborns then, but I would imagine that this year has been the worst to live through in the UK since those times. In fact, it is probably a worse year for the world as a whole because there were areas of the globe not involved in that conflict but Covid has not discriminated. It has been a year of tragedy and strife that we would not have imagined possible, except in the pages of a thriller maybe. Loss of life, loss of livelihood, loss of freedom. There have been victims, there have been heroes and, yes, there have been silly idiots.
If 1992 was the annus horibilis, I wonder what this one will be described as.
On a personal level, away from the main theme of the year, what has 2020 meant for me? Well, I had my first broken nose in February from a flying elbow when playing five-a-side, not really an achievement one would strive for.
In September I completed 10 years at my place of employment. That is a first for me. I have had stints of 7 years and 8 years at places but never 10 before. I didn’t choose insurance as a career, it was thrust upon me when my parents made me leave school at 16, the day before I was due to go back to school to register for the sixth form. I have worked in the industry even since and have sort of carved out a niche for myself.
I have been striving almost as long though to become a recognised writer. I started writing at 18 – initially just to see if I could actually write a novel. I did, despite the ridicule from the family, and a further two have followed plus a children’s book. No recognition though because I have not been able to get people who matter to give me a chance.
This year then has been spent, outside of the day job, in trying to get my name and work out there. This website was for that reason – to make it easier for people to find my books – and these blogs (if that is the word for them) are necessary to keep it alive, although I think it is probably on life support at the moment. There was a small spike in sales of Once Upon A Week initially but not much else. However, much like when I throw the paper across the room when I have made a mistake in a puzzle but then pick it up again later because I don’t like to be beaten, I won’t give in. The handful of reviews I have had make me believe that there is an audience for what I write, it just needs to be wider. All I want for Christmas is a literary agent and a traditional publishing contract.
Everything I have written is different, which is supposed to be a good thing, diversity. It doesn’t help the brand though. My brand is diversity. I am ploughing on with my new novel which is allegedly a straight thriller, no so called humour this time. I had hoped to have it finished by the end of the year but 61,000 words in that is not going to happen.
And so it is Christmas Eve, the one day in the year when there is supposed to be magic in the air. I fear a lot of that is missing this year. I must be one of the few people in the country who has not had their plans ruined. In my one person bubble, I expected to be by myself anyway so I won’t be disappointed.
For anyone who reads this, I wish you as merry a Christmas as the circumstances allow, and let us hope that 2021 is better for everyone. Fingers crossed for a successful banishment of Covid and life back to normal. And a David Wardle book on the bestseller list. Well, two out of three won’t be bad.