As it's the end of the year, it's time for me to look back at the goals I set for myself back in January to see if I actually managed to meet any of them. The original letter to myself is in black; end of year commentary in purple.
As usual, I’m late with this. Each year I plan to do it before I go away on holiday, before the end of the previous year even. Yet each year, it seems to get later and later before I start outlining my goals for the new year. But I’m here now, so let’s think about what I might want to achieve in 2022.
2021 ended up being a weird year. I wrote an entire novel in about six weeks toward the end of 2020, then spent all of 2021 procrastinating about editing it. So here we are, in 2022, and it still needs to be edited. I have taken a few looks at it, and there is a lot about the book I really like. The last third is pretty darn good, in my opinion. The beginning…. Less so.
So even if I don’t write a new book in 2022, I want to edit this one. I feel like the best thing to do is to start from scratch with the beginning, maybe. I think the first chapter is good, but I changed my mind early on about a key event I’d initially planned to have in there and the first few chapters referenced this. And cutting that event out means the rest of the book doesn’t develop quite as organically as it should. I’m hoping I still remember how to write a book since it’s been so long.
Well, I have done some of this. I haven't finished yet because I sent it to readers for feedback and now need to address their notes. I planned to do that while I was on holiday this week, but the weather was too nice and I ended up doing stuff in the garden and around the house instead... So something to work on in the New Year.
Remember when I was a pretty reliable two-book-a-year writer?
No. Me neither.
Which leads me to my other goal – to not be down on myself for not writing. I’ve spent much of the last year feeling guilty about not writing even though I didn’t feel like I had the energy, the capacity or even the desire to write. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have wanted to write; I just haven’t had anything I wanted to write. Maybe I’m just burned out.
I have written a lot over the last 12 or so years and the publishing industry is not easy. I have four completed novels sitting in my hard drive that I don’t know what to do with. And that’s not including the one I still need to edit. I think I worked out that I’ve written 14 or 15 novels all up. I have published four. Write off the four or five really dreadful ones I wrote early on, and there’s a lot of material there I should do something with.
I’m planning to do some work on Standing Too Close so I can enter it into a contest. I haven’t managed to get any agents interested in it, so I feel like this might be the last shot for this book I believe is the best I’ve ever written.
I did enter the contest. Didn't win. Still trying to find a home for this one.
But you never know. Maybe it isn’t the best thing I’ve written. Maybe I’m deluding myself. Maybe I need to just write something else to see if I can write something better.
Or maybe I should just keep on painting instead. I can see how I’m getting better at that. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but I enjoy it and I like seeing how many different things I can do. I have several techniques I’d like to try and master, so I will continue working on it. I may even start trying to sell some in the future. Painting is something I can only do in the summer because I have to do it outdoors, so there is a limit to how much I can do.
I've done a bit, but I'm running out of space for paintings and no one really wants them. So I'm experimenting with making things using the painting techniques, like coasters and vases and trays etc.
Other than those creative pursuits, as always, I will try to keep up with my exercising and maybe even try to lose some weight. It seems to get harder and harder, the older I get. I remember when I couldn’t put enough weight on! I was always turned away from giving blood because I was too thin. Not a problem anymore, I tell you!
Still doing this. Not sure if I'm losing any weight, but at least I'm not putting it on, I don't think.
I also want to keep going to the movies as often as I can. Once a week, if I can.
Done this. Not every week, but pretty close to it. I even went yesterday and saw what is definitely my #1 film of 2022, The Banshees of Inisherin.
And that’s really it for goals. I feel like this missive is a little depressing this year, but I think that may be a sign of the times. There is so much uncertainty about everything at the moment and so little to look forward to. No overseas travel. No certainty around events. I have tickets for a whole lot of shows in the next few months and the first has already been postponed (for the third time). I think perhaps it was optimistic to give and receive tickets to stuff for Christmas this year…
It was, yet we did it again this year... Maybe this time the shows will actually go ahead.
Maybe trying to do a whole year at once is ambitious in these crazy times. Maybe I should just look at six months. Or even just 3?
And that was 2022. I'll have to think a bit about my 2023 goals, so my 2023 "Dear Me" post will have to come after I get back from the beach in mid-Jan.
Happy New Year!