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Thursday, 3 January 2013

Farewell 2012...

At the beginning of 2012 I posted about what I hoped to achieve in the year. In addition to that, in September I compiled a 'traffic light' post about what I needed/wanted/would be grateful to get done in the last three months of the year. Time for seeing how I did.

1. I've signed up for two specific reading challenges this year (see the links on the sidebar). I aim to complete them. In addition, I want to read some of those books I've been meaning to for a while - Wolf HallThe Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister and Nella Last's War to name but three.
I failed at both challenges! The classics summary can be read here while the short story summary is here. However, at least I read loads of books this year, including a decent balance of non-fiction.

2. I daren't make any predictions about my PhD for the coming year. I just hope that I'm still studying at the end of 2012. Whatever happens, I've already learned a lot from my research. That'll never go to waste.
Well, I upgraded in the early part of the year and have been working hard at it ever since. I'm definitely still studying, though I'm a little further behind than I hoped (see below).

3. I want to complete some revisions of all four manuscripts I've got floating about. Two are in the later stages of development and two of them are first drafts. I will also aim to have at least one short story published this year and try and complete a few of the unfinished projects I've got hanging around.
I didn't quite complete those manuscript revisions. Really, I've focused all my revision efforts on one novel (the one that got me an agent) and I'm even running behind at that. But - and this is a healthy 'but' - I've got big plans for some of those manuscripts (for details of my major writing projects see here). I may not have put them into practice yet but at least the ideas are there. I haven't had any short stories publishing because, again, my enthusiasm for submitting waned early in the year when other pressing matters took over. It's still a goal but I don't think it's an immediate concern. As for the unfinished manuscripts - I didn't finish those but I did start (and finish) two more first drafts. 

4. I will continue working with 2020UK and hopefully attract more people to the ranks.
This one I've done! I've enjoyed my year working with like-minded political folk and I look forward to whatever 2013 brings in this respect. 

5. I'll continue being there for the people who need me (for babysitting or a chat) but I'm making no predictions about where I'll end 2012.
Fairly sure I've been a good aunt this year. I've been lacklustre in the granddaughter department but that's not entirely my fault - she's slowly mentally disintegrating and my best efforts can't reverse that. All I can do is answer the phone when she calls in the early hour of the morning and listen to her crying when she needs me to. She's not a damn burden to me and I resent the people who make her feel that way. 

My PhD has to take up one of the priority slots. I'm currently working on my second chapter (on disability representation in the works of Wilkie Collins and Edmund Yates, if anyone's interested) and I want to have that finished by the end of the year. Polished up to the hilt too. Got 3000 words which just need tinkering with then only another...10,000 of analysis or so. Easy. 
Failed. It isn't polished up to the hilt, nor is it actually finished. I'm close to completing a draft of it but that's not what I was hoping to achieve. Still, my supervisor seemed pleased by the fact I've pulled this chapter together more quickly than the last one and the next will be even easier because I've got pretty much all of my secondary reading out of the way but I'm not satisfied.

The novel that helped me get an agent is in the middle of a complete rewrite. When I say 'in the middle' I mean that I've only rewritten around 15,000 words so far. It was a 70,000 word novel and it's now shaping up to be around 85,000 I think. That makes me not so much 'in the middle' as 'somewhere near the beginning'. Nevertheless, I want this redraft to be finished by the end of the year.
Failed. Only up to 44,000 on the rewrite which might look good but it's not what I was aiming for. This needs blitzing - and soon. 

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is soon going to be upon us again. I've achieved the 50,000 target two out of three attempts and I am determined to give it a go this year. I already have my idea and everything. I enjoy taking part in NaNoWriMo because it gives me a first draft in the bag in a month which I can then work on later. I haven't yet had time to look at the one I finished last year but it's there waiting patiently in line!
Passed. Finished NaNoWriMo just over the 50,000 mark. My wrap-up post can be found here.

I'm around 36,000 words into another first draft (the one which I keep abandoning and picking up again). I'd tell you about it in detail but then I'd have to go and chop off my fingers from the sheer embarrassment of it. However, I would like to finish the first draft of this novel by the end of the year, and I don't see it stretching beyond 60,000 words. So that's doable.
Passed. Although it also barely scraped over the 50,000 mark, it's another first draft in the bag bringing my total to six manuscripts in progress.

I've been thinking over the second draft of another novel I've got on the go. Although I was surprisingly pleased with the way the first draft worked out, I know I've got to make some fundamental changes to the background of the piece and that'll impact the front story. So far I've got a few thousand words of the rewrite which I had to abandon after other areas of my life took precedence but I'd love to have a second draft finished by the end of the year. 
Failed. Haven't even looked at this one since September and there are others now ahead of it in the queue. 

Blogging is an important part of my weekly routine and I'm not given it up. After consultation, I've decided to aim for at least 40 posts in the next few months. At least. They will probably mostly consist of book and classic film reviews because I'm doing, well, a lot of reading of books and watching of classic films. In a way, blogging counts as the fun part of this list though, of course, it's all fun.
Passed. Forget over 40 posts on the blog - I got over 50! That's procrastination if ever I saw it. 

So, yes, my report card screams 'could do better'. On the other hand, I keep piling my plate full of projects so it's no wonder that I'm flagging. Nevertheless, 'could do better' means 'should do better' in my book. And I will in 2013. 

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