Last year I set myself a simple writing goal for 2013: tell six stories - ideally, to develop and write a polished draft of each narrative. I stipulated three potential candidates, but gave myself an opt out if other stories jumped the queue for some reason.
So, how did I do? Not bad, not great. I did develop and write a polished draft of three narratives - all of them comics. Two were scripts for Fantomen to see print in 2014, the other a six-pager for the Dead Roots Kickstarter collection. So far, so good.
But those were the only complete narratives I wrote in the last twelve months. 2013 was easily my worst year for output. There were lots of reasons for this - spending all of December on holiday in New Zealand knocked a big hole in my writing year.
I completed a postgraduate certificate in teaching and learning in higher education, for which researching and writing the final project ate most of April. It was valuable for my part-time teaching, but not exactly conducive to freelance writing.
Some work by me appear during 2013. Five new episodes of Nina and the Neurons written by me were broadcast by CBeebies, from scripts I'd written in 2012. Various other bits and bobs with my name attached to them snuck into the world.
There was a lovely surprise when my script No Tears was a finalist for the BBC Writer's Prize, one of 10 dramas [and eight sitcoms] chosen from 1200 entries. Not a bad result for a rough first draft bashed out in just 3.5 days at the end of 2012.
In between times I developed pitches for several new projects - the treatment for a putative feature film that several people briefly excited, a proposal for reviving a beloved British comic strip character, sundry other things - but none got commissioned.
Because I wasn't writing new scripts, I didn't see much benefit in doing a ton of networking. You need fresh material to make yourself interesting, and I wasn't able to produce any. So I stuck to writing tasks that I could do well in limited circumstances.
All in all, 2013 was a low point for my writing - and most of that was down to me. I didn't feel excited, I didn't feel motivated, and I didn't feel ready to write a long project. 2013 was the year that got away from me, and that's putting it mildly.
Normally I start the new year by publishing a bunch of writing goals, but I don't feel like doing that for 2014. Right now what I need most of all is to rediscover my writing mojo, to get excited again about creating new narratives. I need to be writing.
I'm rusty, which makes getting started that much harder. But I've got no shortage of stories I want to tell and a month off has helped put some juice back in the batteries. Now comes the hard part: knuckling down and actually bloody writing.
Wish me luck.