As sure as night follows day, three things follow Hogmanay: slimming club ads on telly and as junk mail clogging up your letterbox, new “collectible” magazines are launched, and I write a boring blog post about new year’s resolutions. Kinda similar to my previous one from the 26th of December, but expanding on a couple of things mentioned there, so here goes.
I read 138 books in 2013, finishing another three after my last blog post. My final read of the year was Cassandra Clare’s Harry Potter and the City of Bones and that total came without trying, so it shouldn’t take much more effort to bump my reading total for 2014 up to 150.
As for writing? I have a nearly-finished novel right hyuh on my hard drive; I aim to have that submitted around about the middle of this month, or the end. The end of January is my absolute limit.
After that, I have plans to write four novellas by the end of March. I know, I know. You’re thinking “Four novellas? Are you crazy?” But I’m aiming to keep them short. Given how my characters tend to take over once I get into a manuscript, perhaps it would be better to stick to a word count. Four novellas at 25k words each gives a total of 100k words, so I’ll say I’m going to write 100k words towards these projects by the end of March. A year’s total of 250k words would, as a consequence, definitely be doable if I can pull that off. And I’m not giving away any titles because yes, there are people out there who are happy to let me provide titles for their books without crediting me. So, you’ll just have to wait and see.
I also need to decide what I’m going to do with Long Time Coming and Plus One (now out of print on most sites) once the rights revert to me at the end of this month. I’m going over the manuscripts to see what needs cleaning up. Both were edited pre-publication of course, but the progress of one’s career naturally gives you ways of looking at prose that you didn’t have before. And let’s face it, if I was still happy with something I wrote at the end of 2008, that would be proof I hadn’t moved on in my writing.
I’m going to get my Great Big Divorced, Beheaded, Died Watchalong posts going again. Will keep you posted as and when, but I like the idea of having one every Tuesday, because Tudors Tuesday or Tudorsday makes me laugh.
Around the house? Well, there’s a distinct possibility I’ll be getting work done at home later in the year, which means there’s no point in redecorating now, because it’d end up spoiled. But there’s nothing to stop me swapping curtains for blinds as I want to do, or scouting around for a new bed and a new armchair. Window coverings and furniture are both okay, but decor will have to wait.
Incidentally, yesterday I went around the house taking multiple photos of every room so that on New Year’s Day 2015, I can look back and see in photographic form the progress I’ve made on getting my home looking the way I want it.
And personal stuff? The main aim I have in that regard is to recognise depression when it happens, and to stop it descending into despair, which all but immobilises me. There’s no shame in asking for help. And feeling down shouldn’t stop me carrying on with things, as normally as I can. Too, I believe this shows the importance of routine. I don’t have to think “What do I feel like doing today?” if I have set routines. I get up and think, “It’s Monday [or whatever day] so I know I usually do X, Y and Z today.” What I feel like doing is largely irrelevant, especially when it comes to writing. I might feel like staying in bed and eating Oreos, but that won’t get a manuscript finished or the chores done.
So here’s hoping 2014 is a success, and everything we all hope for.