At the beginning of 2011 I posted my hopes for the year. Let's see how I did with the things I wanted to change or improve on.
1. I have decided to work at my PhD until my eyes blur and give in from over-use. I will not try and figure out ways of getting around the work and I will be the most coherent and widely-read student I can be. I love my subject and I'm not half-bad at it. Come 2012 I will have been upgraded from MPhil to PhD status.
Well, I haven't upgraded yet! I've been up and down the research rollercoaster in the last twelve months and feel no closer to the final loop. However, I'm assured I'm edging towards it. I still enjoy my subject and I still appreciate the works of Edmund Yates, even though he's been getting on my nerves most of the year.
2. I have decided to focus on revising the unpublished novels I have waiting around before starting something new. One in particular has tremendous potential and with a restructure of plot I think it could really be something. By 2012 I will have revised this and (hopefully) submitted it.
I'm a little closer on this one. I've revised each of the two novels I had at the beginning of the year at least once and submitted them once apiece. Without anyone telling me, I realised they needed more work and I'm revising them again. I have also - despite my little focus point above - written two more complete first drafts. Well, I had to participate in NaNoWriMo, didn't I?
3.I have decided to continue with my good form of the last few months as far as submitting short stories goes. I will submit at least two a month to various competitions and aim to write a new one at least once a month. (I realise that doesn't add up but deal with it)
I fell down a little on this one. I made fourteen submissions of various formats throughout the year. One short story was shortlisted, one television drama was longlisted and one short play script was produced in September. I'd say that's progress enough for now. With the exception of the tail end of the year, my submissions were pretty regular. Meaning that I didn't have any major head-bashing periods.
4. I have decided to be the best friend I can be and be there for people who I know would be there for me in a heartbeat. I've got some great people around me and I need to appreciate them more. Also in this area, I will contact some old friends and family members I've neglected for too long.
Maybe I fell down on this one too. Or maybe I didn't. The fact is, there is no point surrounding yourself with people who don't want to be there and don't help when they are. That does neither party any good. The friends I've ended the year with are the ones that are sticking - and have stuck - for quite some time. Equally, why should I chase after old friends and family members? They could easily contact me. I shouldn't be the one doing the chasing all the time. There's nothing in life that makes you feel quite so unwanted.
5. Finally, I have decided that 2011 is the year to let go of the dreams that cannot be and focus on the dreams that can. I envisage this being the difficult one but I'm up for the challenge.
This one I toyed with. I took one step closer to being a strong person and simultaneously took one step back. My personal life has been sketchy this year but I've survived it. Given what other years have brought me, 2011 wasn't too bad in this respect.
So what else did I achieve that I didn't put in my goals last year? Well, I've started working with a political group called 2020UK whose aim is to discuss what form governance should take in the UK. We're eager for guest bloggers, article writers and anybody willing to retweet our stuff and gain us some more readers so please do take a look at the website. I spent a good portion of the year writing for a lesbian news site, Lesbilicious.co.uk, and I've discovered many new acquaintances, bloggers and funny personalities on Twitter. I am still into musicals and I swear that's never going away and I will never ever forget seeing Liza Minnelli at the Royal Albert Hall in June. That made my year and, quite possibly, my life. I must thank Claire for talking me into it. I should also thank Sal and Nicola for keeping me sane in various ways this year. It can't have been easy!
It's been a year that deserves mixed reviews on the whole I think. My great uncle died towards the end of it. I didn't know him as well as I should have but I knew enough about him to miss him. Let the final word on this post go to him: RIP Ken.