Wrapping up, Winding Down and Looking back

What a year it’s been? Some exciting highs mixed in with too many sad goodbyes.

Writing-wise it all kept ticking over. Though I can see now, looking back at the professional goals I set myself at the beginning of the year, that I was a tad ambitious, particularly for the year it turned out to be. Not least in aiming to not only finish my novel but to have it submitted to publishers and/or agents. Hmm, I’ve not quite kept to that timeline.

I’ve learned so much more about the crafting of a novel, balancing multiple character’s subplots and story arcs, and tying together all the different elements of story to result in what I believe is turning into a powerful read. Much of my novel is now at third draft stage and the characters have taken on real and emotional lives of their own, as strong characters should.

Such a long-length manuscript seemed overwhelming at times interspersed with grieving, an oversea’s trip for research, albeit with a fun part – Europe tour-  added in too, (though I have to say I loved the research and if that’s work, I’ve found my dream job) and then coming home to commence a Masters Degree. But at this end of the year all the work and effort seems so worthwhile.

Usually I like to tick off my list of accomplished goals at year’s end. This year, I can still smile to see I’ve only reached one of my early goals for 2010, in finishing a full draft of my novel. But then I hadn’t included the research trip, as I should have, or going back to uni. So some things may have dropped away, but others, more important, took their place.

I loved attending the SCBWI conference in September and pitching my novel concept to the publishers in the pitch session. What seemed the scariest thing I’d done all year, became one of the most rewarding.

I’m looking forward to an exciting writing year in 2011, and setting myself more realistic goals in the New Year. Undoubtedly, I’ll set the bar a little too high but finishing the novel and uni will be my main priorities.

First, I’m giving myself two weeks off to read, catch up with family and friends, take long, long lunches, and smell some roses. Hopefully I’ll get to play in my garden and pull a few weeds too.

Meanwhile, I look back on the excitement of our trip overseas last June and, since I’m tripping down memory lane, sharing some photos too. (Okay, I admit it, I’m in holiday mode already.)

Merry Christmas and a happy, productive New Year, Everyone. May Santa bring you lots of books, lorry loads of inspiration, and much more writing time in 2011.

Me, and is it, Danny Boy? Stirling, Scotland.
Stirling Castle, Scotland
"Eagle's Nest" Berchtesgaden, Germany (Hitler's mountain top retreat)
Hubby and me "on top of the world" - Eagle's Nest








Beautiful Venice
Chris and Bruce on a romantic gondola ride








My Dad joined us for the "fun" part of the trip









Fabulous Florence
River Tiber and St Peter's Basilica (in background), Rome
Best gelati we ever ate in Piazza Navona, Rome








A different, much scarier, gondola ride - Mt Pilatus, Switzerland
A gorgeous way to see the countryside - part two of the ride down Mt Pilatus


La Tour Eiffel
“For Mum” Notre Dame Cathedral
Traveller of my heart
Little candles, flickering lights –
lost in quiet memories
Lit to remind, honour, share
the journey
in churches throughout Europe.
Never far from, but with us.
Remembered Mum.

cb 5.7.2010

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Dale Harcombe" alt="Dale Harcombe">

Dale Harcombe

Good post. Writing a novel is like a journey in discovery.

December 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm
deescribewriting" alt="deescribewriting">


Wow Chris,

Your photos are amazing. Looks like you had a fabulous trip.

I hope that your writing journey in 2011 brings all the rewards you deserve.

Thanks for your inspirational post. I think I might be ‘raising my goals a little higher’ for 2011 now:)

Have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to catching up in the new year:)

Dee x

December 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm
    Chris" alt="Chris">


    Hi Dee. Our trip was amazing in every regard, from the writing connections, contacts and research through to the incredible personal experiences and places visited, but most especially shared with hubby, Bruce, and my darling 82-y/o Dad.

    I can see 2011 shaping up to be brilliant, and I thank you for all your encouragement and support in helping it head that way.

    Best wishes for a marvellous, productive and successful year ahead for you too.

    Merry, merry Christmas and a catch up early in the New Year would be great.

    Chris x

    December 23, 2010 at 8:31 pm
Sheryl Gwyther" alt="Sheryl Gwyther">

Sheryl Gwyther

Lovely post, Chris. And enjoyed looking at your photos – those places brought back memories for me too. And your poem to your mum is so beautiful.
Wishing you and your family all the very best this Christmas season and I hope 2011 is your big writing year!
all the best
Sheryl xx

December 23, 2010 at 9:41 pm
    christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


    Thank you, Sheryl. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe we really visited those heavenly places but the photos bring memories surging back and then into my mind come the sounds, smells and little encounters and I know how blessed I am that it was indeed real.
    Warm wishes for a very happy Christmas to you and your family too, and may your New Year bring more wonderful news and successes your way.
    Best wishes, Chris

    December 24, 2010 at 10:55 am
katswhiskers" alt="katswhiskers">


Gorgeous photos, Chris. Love them! I too aimed high with resolutions for 2010. In September I revisited my list, which was a much needed boost in activity and meant I could cross most things off, so I’m satisfied. That said, I didn’t achieve the big one I’d hoped for, so I’m looking forward to firing up again in 2011!


Kat xx

December 23, 2010 at 11:45 pm
    christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


    Thank you, Kat. Loved taking many of those photos too, but won’t say how many I actually did take overall. (Just a tad over the top.)
    May next year bring us both our writing heart’s desire, and the “big” one. Fingers crossed for you. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a terrific year and can’t wait to get back into it too. (Love knowing I’m having a brief holiday first though.)
    Wishing all the joys of Christmas to you and yours.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:00 am
BookChook" alt="BookChook">


A lovely tribute to your mum, Chris. May you have the success you deserve in 2011!

December 24, 2010 at 1:42 pm
Karen Tyrrell" alt="Karen Tyrrell">

Karen Tyrrell

Hi Chris, I finally got to your Blog and I’m so glad i did.
What an amazing year you’ve had with your writing journey and with your travels. Love your Italy photos. I too went there last January. Amazing experience. Wish you a very successful 2011. :))

December 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm
christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


Hi Karen, thanks for your good wishes and glad you could visit. I hope you have a very successful, productive and creative year in 2011 too. Best wishes, C.

December 29, 2010 at 10:42 am

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