Happy New Year!

I should make some resolutions, shouldn’t I? How about these -

Get back to my target weight.

(While I was ill, my digestive system went freaky, so I could gain or lose half a stone in a week without any changes of diet. I had absolutely no control over it, and after a couple of months of angsting about it I abandoned attempts to establish control as futile. Now that I am no longer anemic, due to the wonders of intravenously administered iron, it’s time to get back into the driving seat there.)

Walk or dance every week day

(I haven’t been able to get off the sofa for 6 months. I badly need to get reasonably fit again.)

Practice my whistle playing every week day

It’s amazing how fast you can lose all the tunes you know if you don’t practice them, and I have a massive book of morris tunes to learn and memorise. That’s not going to happen without some dedication.

Write at least 250,000 words of new fiction this year. Preferably 300,000.

(I wrote 260,000 words last year. Now that I’m no longer ill, I can surely add another 40,000.)

This one has sub-goals and a certain amount of vagueness attached, because you never know exactly how the muse will strike:

Finish editing Blue Eyed Stranger and Trowchester Blues before April.

Write third book in Trowchester series.

Find a publisher for The Glass Floor or publish it myself.

Write a new Fantasy.

Write that murder-mystery I’ve always wanted to try.

Edit and polish all these new things!

Try some short stories?

That’s it for new year’s resolutions. They’re more a case of setting goals which I know I can achieve. I will also not be too upset if I only walk or whistle 3 times a week – as long as I don’t end up not doing it at all.

People say that you don’t achieve your resolutions, but my feeling is that in that case you just set them too high. It’s useful to give yourself something to do that you know you can do. But even if you don’t fully achieve them, if you’ve tried to, you’ve probably achieved a lot more than you would have done had you not decided to aim for anything at all.

“Do or do not, there is no try,” is – excuse me George Lucas – bollocks. Everything that you achieve is achieved by trying and almost doing it, and then trying again and getting a little closer, and then trying again and doing it – fairly badly, and then trying again and doing it slightly less badly. Etc.

Edge up to your successes gently so that neither you nor they get startled and scared away.

Comments (12)

HJJanuary 1st, 2014 at 4:23 pm

So pleased to see you writing “now that I’m no longer ill”! I’m assuming they never found out what caused your anaemia? I had that experience too (although fortunately I was never as ill as you); lots of explorations to try to find where all the iron was going. It does make me wonder whether there’s some as yet unrecognised mechanism which causes it. I now take iron tablets for a week every fifth week and that seems to keep me stable.

I think it helps to look at resolutions as goals – as you say, set them realistically and don’t set yourself up to feel like a failure. I vote for the murder mystery!!

Alex BeecroftJanuary 1st, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Thank you :) They think it was the super-heavy periods I’ve been having over the last year or so, so they intend to put a stop to them (though the first attempt seems to have failed and I’ll have to go back to the doctors to get them to try something different before next month.) They just had to rule out stomach and/or duodenal ulcer first. The iron transfusion was positively miraculous once it kicked in and I can go back for another one in a month. After which I’ll have to start regulating it with diet (and a lack of periods.)

I can’t believe how much better I feel. I’d forgotten what ‘normal’ was like. It really is marvelous :)

I must say that having clear achievable goals has certainly helped me. And being forced to report on my progress helps too. I owe a lot to the getyourwordsout community.

HJJanuary 1st, 2014 at 8:28 pm

It’s amazing how many aspects anaemia affects, isn’t it? An astute therapist suggested I go for a blood test when I told her that I kept getting lost, to the extent that I couldn’t remember my way home from the nearest town. It was terrifying, but it was down to the anaemia.

I can see how getyourwordsout may help a great deal; I imagine it’s similar psychology to the November thing.

Take care!

Alex BeecroftJanuary 2nd, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Oh, that’s interesting! But it makes sense that if you haven’t got enough oxygen in your blood, of course it will affect your brain too. I will certainly never laugh it off as something that isn’t very serious again.

*g* Yes, I like the yearly goal because I have some months (with school holidays in them) where I don’t get much done at all, and then I have other months where I’m editing and can’t write new things. So the yearly total gives me a bit of flexibility in achieving it that the Nanowrimo thing doesn’t have.

Lillian FrancisJanuary 3rd, 2014 at 10:58 am

Happy New Year Alex.

Good to hear you’re back on the mend.

And good luck with those resolutions. I like the write more short stories one, not only because it would mean more books from you, but it is one that I wish I could adhere to myself :)

Alex BeecroftJanuary 3rd, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Thanks Lillian! Short stories seem like such a good idea, don’t they? And then I find I just don’t have any ideas for them and they don’t get done. I wonder if there’s some kind of course I could do to help me get to grips with them? That might be a first step.

Lillian FrancisJanuary 4th, 2014 at 9:07 am

My two latest manuscripts both come in at 125K, so that probably is a short story for you :) The problem is, with working full time, it’s hard to write more than one book a year when they are that length!
I get ideas that I think I might be able to keep under 50K but they just get away from me.

Alex BeecroftJanuary 5th, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Oh no, that’s about as long as mine. I think my longest only came to 148K. So I know the problem intimately – in the time it takes you to finish one 125k novel, you could have finished two 62k novels, but somehow they never turn out that short even if you mean them to. Have you tried novellas? I find if I set out to write 25K, I usually do end up with something around 35K and they take only a couple of months to write. Not as satisfying though!

Lillian FrancisJanuary 5th, 2014 at 10:33 pm

This last manuscript was 145K but I’ve just edited the life out of it in second draft and got it down to 125K.

I did answer a submission where the word limit was 25K and managed to come in just under but I think the finished story would be better for another 10K, maybe when I get the rights back.

Alex BeecroftJanuary 9th, 2014 at 8:59 am

Oh go you! I always find that I add words in the edit, because my first drafts often elide things, lack transitions and are a condensed form which makes sense to me but needs more explanation to make sense to others.

*g* I don’t think it’s a bad thing to write longer books. After all, all the books I like reading are long. I don’t feel like I’ve really had time to appreciate a story when it’s only 60K long. We’re just suffering for our art ;)

Lillian francisJanuary 10th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Ha, whereas I quite often say the same thing in a different way in the same chapter and need to decide the wording that fits better.

I like a short story when I’ve got limited time but I often wish I’d had more time with the characters.

It’s one thing us suffering but I need a couple of readers with some grasp of the historical to suffer on my behalf while I package this up for a publisher. World war two isn’t really your era, is it?

Alex BeecroftJanuary 10th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

I don’t know a lot about WWII, this is true. I might be able to help if it’s something to do with Lancaster bombers, but anything other than that is a mystery to me, I’m afraid :)

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