Out With The Old and In With The New

by Gurpreet Sihat

I’ve been sitting at my desk for the past three hours trying to think of a positive way to start this blog post. 2016 has been such a terrible year – both for the world and personally – that everything that came into my head began so negatively it induced an anxiety attack. For the first time this year, my solution wasn’t to change the conversation or to distract myself, it was simply to turn off the television and flick through my Filofax, physically searching for things that went right in the past twelve months. As hoped, I filled a whole two pages listing the good things that happened, no matter how small and insignificant they appeared to be (yes, even seeing the private screening of The Neon Demon at the BFI made my list!).

So, what did happen this year?

Well, in no particular order…

  • I was enrolled in the Aaron Sorkin Masterclass by my sister as a birthday present where I’ve rediscovered my passion for screenwriting and learnt so much more about my craft that I almost immediately implemented it in my own work;
  • In the space of 25 days, I completed a Christmas Chick-Lit novel which, subsequently, meant that I won my first ever NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge;
  • My wonderful writer friends, Melanie, Heidi and I launched our own writer’s group, Round The World Writers, which exploded back in October and is scheduled to take over the online writing world in 2017;
  • I completed not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR giant ghost-writing projects with amazing clients who I look forward to working with again next year;
  • I submitted several projects to various agents and publications this year, including my adaptation of The Silence along with the most wonderful letter of recommendation from the book’s author, Sarah Rayne;
  • The Old Vic welcomed me into their audience twice this year to watch Ralph Fiennes take the stage as The Master Builder as well as their hilarious production of Art with Rufus Sewell, Paul Ritter and Tim Key;
  • A travel bug suddenly took hold this year and trips to Canada, Bournemouth, Edinburgh (on more than one occasion) and even a road trip with my cousins up and down the United Kingdom pulled me away from home sweet home;
  • And, for the first time (but definitely not the last), I had the opportunity to work at the Edinburgh International Film Festival where I met some of the film industry’s most talented individuals, both current stars and future stars alike!

Who did I meet? Who inspired me?

The list that answers those questions really does seem to be endless this year: Cillian Murphy and Ian McKellen, Dougray Scott and Michael Fassbender, Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel, Danny Glover and Paul Verhoeven, Meg Ryan and Brian Cox, Paul Anderson and Steven Knight, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jesper Nielsen… it just goes on and on!

But, perhaps the most important and beautiful of them all was the bundle of joy that completed my sister’s family this July: my nephew, Nikhil. He even inspired my latest children’s story, Cot Break Baby, the illustrations of which are currently with my new illustrator, HRN Studios, going through the drafting process.

And that takes us perfectly onto the adventures to come

Earlier this week I read a quote by American television personality, Fred Rogers:

Often when you think you’re at the end of something,
you’re at the beginning of something else.

The words, simple as they may be, have been ringing in my ears ever since. Yes, 2016 is finally coming to a close and everything that has been going on will be last year’s news but we’re standing on the precipice of something else. Something new. Something that (if we let it) can be wonderful.

2017 is almost here, readers!

It’s not just a new page or a new chapter, it’s a brand new book and I love the fact that the writing of it will be in our hands! The big goals that will shape the year, the smaller ones that will shape the weeks, the to do lists that will shape the day – everything is in our control.

I don’t know how far any of you believe in Chinese astrology but 2016 was the year of the monkey; a creature who enjoys causing mischief and throwing everything up into their air (especially in the lives of tigers, snakes and other monkeys and in regards to finances and politics). But 2017 is the year of the rooster and it settles the shenanigans of the hyperactive monkey and bring fresh challenges into the foreground. It’s predicted that those who stick to practical and well planned paths (as opposed to risky ventures) will reap the benefits this year so I, for one, will be planning each week as meticulously as possible!

With only another five minutes until the new year finally hits in the United Kingdom, I’ll bid you all a good night and a prosperous new year!

See you in 2017!

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