Ok, now I’ve been reading last year’s resolutions and as I wrote them down I can be a bit more critical about whether I actually made them. This is what I wrote last year on writing.
I’ve been following Susan Hill’s creative writing course on her blog and her last post on the matter for the year was a kind of put up or shut up ultimatum, basically a ‘are you a writer or just somebody who says they want to be a writer?’ and the ultimate thing, what writers do, it submit to be published and that in 2008 has to be my goal. So far in my ‘writing career’ I have submitted unsuccessfully three short stories and three chapters which I’m still waiting to hear on. I am currently working on a children’s picture book idea which needs more research but if I actually got down to doing it wouldn’t actually take that long (it requires some trips to the British Library, so it’s more of a trying to find the time issue), I am also still trying to finish my Egypt project. So those two projects have to take priority in my writing time, no more attempts at short story writing (although I’ll finish my current one that I’ve posted the first half of), I’m not very good at short stories, short stories require a different discipline to writing novels and I prefer writing longer stories. I am also a pragmatist, although I know my chance of making money at this is slim, there is very little money in short stories and alot more money in the commercial fiction I am attracted to. I’m sorry, typing this sounds like I’m trying to ‘debase my art’ or something poncy like that, but I need to make a living, I have a slim hope that I could do it writing but to make a living writing means having to think about money.
I need to plan my time more carefully concerning writing, researching and the all important reading. My experience doing NaNoWriMo this year made me realise that although I may long for all day to write, if I allow myself vast amounts of time I can’t actually write for that long anyway! So I need to stop feeling resentful at the other domestic chores that take my time away, as there is time to do both, I just have to be (and I hate this phrase) more organised about it. Last Autumn I was lucky, Girl Lacer was at nursery and Boy Lacer napped, so I had two hours free each day and what did I do with it? I faffed, that’s what I did. Ok I did use that time to complete a 40 000 word novella during NaNoWriMo, so I guess I did something but I then spent the whole of December recovering! Once Girl Lacer goes back to nursery I will not have the luxury of Boy Lacer napping anymore, as he appears to have grown out of them, so I need to find my time elsewhere and unfortunately I am not an evening person but all I think I need for the moment is an hour each day to read, write or research and that will be progress and my resolution.
Ah RIP Susan Hill’s blog, I still miss that, although I have since learnt that she was probably in the minority of writers who don’t feel monumental self doubt about their work and that there’s nothing wrong with monumental self doubt, it doesn’t necessarily mean your work is cr*p.
Well, I didn’t write any more short stories (hooray – I suppose) but I never did find time for the research on the picture book story, the Egypt story is still stuck in research hell and I’ve got myself bogged down on research for my Charles story, see a common theme there?
It was interesting about what I wrote about how given all the time in the world I wouldn’t be able to write all day, I’d forgotten that and the fact that that means technically I have time to do everything else and write. I still fall into the trap of thinking I don’t have hours and hours to spare and therefore I shouldn’t write at all. I need to remember that’s not true.
New Year Resolution 2009: Boy Lacer starts nursery (so five mornings or five afternoons) in September, so that will give me a lot more time, until then I need to stop searching fruitlessly for big chunks of time and concentrate on the smaller gaps. The other writing resolutions is to start carrying round a writers notebook for ideas and to get that first draft done!
On the subject of housework I wrote;
As referenced in my previous resolution I do need to spend more time doing housework and to stop resenting it. I tried Flylady twice last year and it was successful, which annoys me even more know as I know there’s a method out there that works, so I’m annoyed at myself for not doing it. However it is soregimented and that is just not me. I think I need to find my own plan, something that works for me, using some of the tools from Flylady (some of which I still try and do even though I’m officially off the Flywagon). I spend too much time using the fact that we live in a tiny flat as an excuse, we could, in all likelihood will be, here for years, I can not wait until I get that big house I lust after. It is not just me who lives here, my children do to.
At least I didn’t go back on the Flywagon but I do still need to make more of an effort, yes living in this tiny flat is a nightmare but the only possible way we’re moving over the next few years (and years and years) is if the bank forced us out and may that not happen. So no more thinking ‘oh it’ll be better when we’re in a bigger place’ because it ain’t going to happen, so I need to make it better here, so that’s the housework resolution, same year in, year out.
I wrote on the subject of the internet
I need to spend less time on it. I am already fairly controlled with it, I know that there are some sites like Facebook, that if I got into that I’d never be off the computer and I have my messenger off most the time as well but I need to be more controlled, use my time more constructively. However on the other side of the resolution I do resolve to continue blogging! But less time on the internet means more time for housework, writing and the kids, which can only be a good thing.
Ooh, at first glance I did not do well with that as in 2008 I got onto Facebook, however I’m pretty much off that now, the novelty wore off very quickly. I still need to remember not to spend too much time on the internet though.
On money and cooking I wrote;
I’m still learning but I need to be in better control of it.
I need to use my vast collection of cookbooks a little more often and to stop relaying on Captain Birds Eye and pasta!
Money will be a big issue next year, I have to control it now on an even tighter leash and decide whether my book selling is economically viable. I could do with getting more tuition clients but I’m not sure how easily that will happen with the recession.
Cooking is a fine line, I need to make sure I plan for recipes that aren’t going to be too expensive and aren’t going to leave unfinished jars etc. that won’t be used. I think in 2009 I need to make my cooking simpler.
And finally on crafting I wrote:
I’ve been getting ’sewing urges’ for a few years now and so far it has totalled up to a nearly completed doodle embroidery, a toy dog for Girl Lacer, a scarf for Boy Lacer and a sewing machine I brought 3 years ago and have so far been too chicken to use. I buy books on how to make your own clothes from a vintage handkerchief or how to make a quilt and I have a collection of baby knitting books which are useless now as both my children are too big, although at the rate it takes me to knit something and with the fact that I would in three years or so like another baby, that maybe I need to start knitting now. So my resolution for next year is to be more crafty, I have the urge to knit my own socks (?!?) and Imust get out that sewing machine
Looking at the things I had made up to the beginning of 2008 is a good feeling because I’ve added so much to that list now. I feel that I’m now reasonably ok at embroidery and I’m starting to develop my own style. My soft toys are much better (not hard when compared to my 2007 efforts). I never did get round to knitting again but that will be this year. Oh and as for the sewing machine, I did get it out, managed to thread it up and it does work but I’m sorely in need of someone showing me how to do it properly, instead of a book, so I’m strongly contemplating lessons in January, as in 2009 I would like to start making my own clothes and furnishings.
Finally one last resolution, which didn’t feature last year, I must start running again, my waistline says so!