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Will it sound awfully cliché if I wonder, is it just me, or do years grow shorter and shorter as I grow older? Because… well, once upon a time, I used to draw my yearly sums, so to speak, at the end of December. A most sensible notion, you’d think, and a fairly common one.

Then, as I grew up, and writing turned from something I did when I had time to a daily thing, I learnt by trial and error to leave December out of things. There is Christmas at the end of December, you see, and Christmas entails a good deal of work and preparations, and in more recent years backstage work for December shows was added to an already busy schedule. It just seemed sensible to take a few weeks’ break from writing, and go eagerly back to it in January.

Therefore, I moved my yearly reckoning back at the end of November, the end of my Writing Year. Also, each and every year, I’d waste some time at the beginning of the month, wondering why it is that November always takes me by surprise, and how it is that, much as I like the notion of a made up deadline and a month-long writing sprint, I never get around to try NaNoWriMo…

Then last year, I had a writing December – a decently productive one, too, together with intense backstage work for A Christmas Carol and the usual preparations… All else apart, I saw that I can do it: writing and all the rest. So this year…

Well, this year, come November, I’ll be up to my ears in revisions and rehearsals. Why, in truth, I’m already up to my ears in rehearsals, and will be UTME in revision beginning next week. Because the fact is, I’ve finished the first draft of Road to Murder on Monday evening, and am now stepping back for a few day before plunging in revision work – which will take me, I expect, the next two months, until the end of November, when the book is due.

And we are already rehearsing “my” two one act plays – an adaptation of Frederick Forsyth’s The Shepherd, and an original thing about… well, more or less about Amelia Earhart. We are hard at work, coming to terms with the new Covid-time rules for everything, drilling a very young leading man for Forsyth, and getting ready for the 26th of November – and I’m, very happily, working as Nina’s assistant director on both pieces.

Oh, and let’s not forget Drama School, opening next week also – and I’m managing the Second Year courses now… So, no time to entertain even the most lackadaisical notions of NaNoWriMo in a month or so – and then it will be December, working backstage, minding my Christmas preparation – and, I rather think,writing.

It strikes me that perhaps I wasn’t entirely accurate in my wondering about shorter years and growing age: somehow, in my old age, I’ve recovered a twelve-month writing year – and right now, at the beginning of October, here I am, planning for the last trimester… Not shorter, after all – not in the least: if anything, this year, has just grown longer!