My Writing Journey

An honest review of my year

Helen Redfern A Bookish Baker

On Monday 28th November I woke up feeling anxious. Unsettled, overwhelmed, worried. And low. At first I thought it was because December and Christmas were racing towards me like a freight train.

My immediate thought was to step back from social media. From twitter, from facebook and from writing in general. This wasn’t hard as I’d run out of things to say. My mind was empty, my brain was slow.

But it gave me the mental space to collect my thoughts, to work out what was bothering me.

So, with a deep breath I went through the projects I’d been working on. Then I thought about what I’d achieved this year:

  • At the beginning of this year I hired a mentor to help me with my instagram and photography. I also hired a coach to help me with focus and direction.
  • I rebranded and called my blog A Bookish Baker. I pushed the fear away and became more honest about my writing and even wrote some of my non-fiction chicken stories on my blog.
  • I learned new skills: how to make videos and also, more recently, I’ve been drawing and painting.
  • I went to Blogtacular and had a lightbulb moment after hearing from one of the speakers.
  • My instagram has grown and my followers have increased from under 1000 to nearly 8.5k.
  • I’ve developed an interest in writing my memoir. I’ve blogged about this, written and photographed my process on instagram and already have over 20,000 words.
  • I finished the first draft of my novel. It needs a hell of a lot of work but I’ve started a major editing project.
  • I became editor of Novelicious. The response from the book community was wonderful.
  • I made my first vlog. Put my face on Youtube.
  • I’ve taken on paid work through my blog.
  • I launched my newsletter.

I’m sure there are other things that I’ve forgotten to mention. All positive, all wonderful.

But this year I also parted ways with my literary agent.

At first I was pragmatic. But over time I’ve felt a sense of loss. That I’ve made huge strides in my career but also taken a massive lurch backwards. All the above meant nothing.

I threw myself into new projects. That’s my default response to bad news. It was overload. Eventually my brain couldn’t take any more and told me to stop. That was Monday 28th November.

This is the most I’ve written since that morning nearly two weeks ago. My head is clearer. There’s still fog there, there’s still a bit of confusion about my way ahead.

But there are also glimmers, small glimmers, of excitement at what I can do next. Imagine what these glimmers might have turned to once I’ve had a proper rest over Christmas?

So, unless I have something I desperately need to write about, my blog is going into hibernation. Just for a few weeks. I’ll be back stronger and more enthusiastic in the New Year.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year. From reading my blog, making supportive comments, signing up to my newsletter, writing and recommending me elsewhere…thank you! Everything is truly appreciated.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

Helen Redfern A Bookish Baker

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7 Comments

  • Reply CJ

    Helen, you’ve accomplished SO much this year, you should be really proud of it all. I hope you have a lovely break, it’s certainly very well deserved. And I hope that you have a really successful 2017 and get that novel edited and published – wouldn’t that be exciting?! CJ xx

    9th December 2016 at 3:36 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Hi CJ. I definitely want to achieve something tangible this year like a book!

      4th January 2017 at 11:19 am
  • Reply AJ

    Gosh, by anyone’s standards that’s tons to achieve in one year. I love your blog and your images Helen, and really look forward to seeing more of them both in 2017. Hope you have a restful and very lovely Christmas. When you’re ready to be back, I know loads of us will be pleased as anything to see you :-) AJxx

    9th December 2016 at 6:55 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Thank you, AJ. And an exciting year ahead for you!

      4th January 2017 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Hele

    Hi Helen!
    I have only been following you for a short time and I enjoy your writing! I too am a ‘bookish baker’. I enjoy your recipes and your book recommendations! . Because of you, I signed up to ‘ Slighlty Foxed’ – love it! Don’t beat yourself up lovely lady! This is just the beginning of a beautiful journey!
    Merry Christmas and lots of good wishes for 2017
    Hele X
    Yup – another ‘English’ Helen, currently in Venice, Florida until February! It’s a hard life! Ha!! Take Good Care…..

    10th December 2016 at 2:29 pm
    • Reply Helen Redfern

      Thank you so much, Helen! I’m looking forward to receiving my copy of Slightly Foxed very soon!

      4th January 2017 at 11:12 am
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