Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head
This year held a lot. For me, it’s mostly held a lot of not enoughs.
I’ve not blogged enough, written enough, nor made enough effort. I have a hard time celebrating achievement because it’s never, ever, ever enough no matter what “it” has amounted to.
I might have started a new one, meaning I’ve now got 4 active blogs, but I didn’t post enough. Especially on the new www.teflmaterial.com or my Other Me author blog. The fourth blog, a, thus far, mostly private blog has had a lot of updating but, since it’s not finished, it therefore can’t have been active enough. Simple English started out better and this year has seen 45 posts, but I feel like I’ve tailed off and that, somehow, that number is a lie.
Stats wise, this blog increased by two and half times, my most viewed month was May (told you I tailed off) and my scathing post about the state of the industry was the most popular post. It was still beaten by the 2013 review of Duolingo though, proving that search engine friendly posts and topics are the key to good blog traffic and that my biggest impact (!) on the internet is already behind me.
So, 2014 saw 3 of my books come out — two ELT (Speaking Skills and a Graded Reader which is sort of out) and one, non-ELT, novella. That, to me, doesn’t count for much since they were all written in 2013 or 2012. What should have happened was that I wrote 3 books. Instead, I’ve taken all year to write one. Not good enough.
I’ve extended writing from blogging for myself to writing for publication on other outlets. For ELT this has been EL Gazette, ELTjam, Modern English Teacher and Exam English. For Other Me, it’s been a few online women’s magazines, websites and bits and bobs of publicity on websites. For ELT, there aren’t really that many more outlets I could have tried, especially not paying ones, but I didn’t pitch anywhere near often enough. For Other Me, no way has this been enough. I’ve not pitched enough, not persisted enough, not researched enough possible homes for my writing, not been accepted enough, and definitely not been paid enough.
My novella has equalled JK Rowling in sales. But I mean when she was writing as Robert Galbraith before her real identity got “leaked”. Which, in case anyone didn’t know, means an invisible book. Being published is what you think is the pinnacle when you’re writing for no-one but yourself. It’s not. Being a bestseller might be, but I have the horrible suspicion nothing is ever as good as having ideas and seeing them on paper looking like something you think just might be good enough to be published.
Winning an award for writing … I have to say that is pretty good. I can’t say it’s not a big enough award since it’s the only one I know of for ELT Graded Readers. What I really want for that book, though, is a film adaptation. And for the next one I just sold to a new publisher.
This is where most of my dissatisfaction lies. Along with not making enough effort at pitching, I fell way short of intentions with creative writing, especially short stories and flash fiction. I got two flash fictions published and a short story in an anthology which, judging by the others in its pages, wasn’t that hard. I didn’t get involved in Twitter enough, nor did enough to promote the novel as it all felt so pointless in the echo chamber of other writers tweeting their books at each other. You know when promotion pays off? When you’re already successful or famous.
I didn’t self-publish the novel I finished editing last year. I didn’t get my app done fast enough so that will be next year too. I didn’t do anything on the novel I started four years ago. I didn’t network my way to more ELT work enough. However, for that, I partially attribute blame for the ever-shifting ground beneath my feet as contacts keep getting moved/made redundant/their projects cancelled or put on hold.
However, I did finally put in a proposal for IATEFL and got accepted, along with Russ Mayne for 2015. So it only took two years to get my arse in gear over that. I also tried to launch a SIG for Teachers As Workers but IATEFL stamped all over that so I can’t blame lack of effort on my part.
So 2015, here’s what’s needed: