I got some good writing news at the end of the year. My short story, We battle for the Taj, was Highly Commended by the Highlands and Islands Shorts Story (HISSAC) competition. http://www.hissac.co.uk/WinningStories . The competition was started in 2004 by novelist and short story writer Clio Gray, (nominated for the International Booker in 2015 for The Anatomist's Dream) with the aim of supporting emergent writers. Ms Gray knows how important validation is. Being recognised for what you've done helps an inordinate amount. Perhaps it shouldn't but it does. After sitting for hours on your own, making things up, writing things down, when that email pings into your inbox with a message that yes, someone else considers what you’ve written has articulated something original, captured a mood or described feelings that ring true, there is nothing more wonderful.