Contact me at because I'm always up for a natter about anything. Well, mostly.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Farewell 2013...

Sure I'm not the only one thinking that 2013 went ridiculously quickly. It has been punctuated by the odd personal crisis and some things I really wish I could forget in the new year but it won't happen. On a professional front, though, I made a list of things I wanted to achieve this year in January. In addition, I made another list in September of things I needed to complete before the year was out. How did I do?

1. My PhD is obviously the most important thing in my life. With a little bit of luck I'll be close to completion by the end of the year - or at least I'll have all the blocks in place and just need to rearrange them a bit. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but goals were meant to be challenging.
Well, I'm close to having the blocks in place. Full drafts of all chapters need working on, as do the introduction, conclusion and appendix but - I think - we're almost on track. (More on this below)

2. Related to the above, I want to get some conference experience under my belt. Talking in public is not exactly something I'm good at but it has to be battled at some point and now is that time. I've submitted abstracts for a couple of conferences already but if they don't come off then there's plenty more to have a crack at.
Miraculously, I managed this one. I sat on the organising committee of the School of English Post Grad Colloquium and gave a paper to a select audience (okay, it was small but it still counts). Then in July I attended the VPFA conference in London and gave a paper there too. Experience under my belt so definitely a tick on this one.

3. Writing: In terms of priority for working on this year, I'd put them in this order: 'Lily', 'Danni', 'Liz', 'Lauren', 'Max' and 'Vic' (which is the actual order they were written in the first place!). Realistically, I think I'll only work on the first four of those - although all six would be nice. In addition, I'll try and resist adding new first drafts to my pot (excluding NaNoWriMo).
Further detail on individual writing projects is below but I will say that I did add two full first drafts and half of one to the pot. Whoops. Also this autumn, I parted ways with my agent by mutual agreement. Back to the drawing board, folks.

4. I'll participate in NaNoWriMo again - provided I have a decent idea come November.
I did. I succeeded too.

5. I'm working on a transcription (and introduction) of Edmund Yates's Black Sheep for Valancourt Books. By the end of the year I'd like to have made a huge dent in this - if not have it completely finished and submitted.
Unfortunately, Valancourt decided not to proceed with this. Fortunately, I'd only done a little of the transcription by the time they let me know.

6. Although I'm not quite sure where my work with 2020UK will take me this year but I'll continue working with the group.
Sadly, with too few cooks and too much broth (I think that's a good way of putting it), 2020UK and its successor TeamUK fell by the wayside. I couldn't devote the necessary energy to it and other people had similar problems. It's something that continues to upset me because working and communicating with like-minded people was excellent.

7. I'm not taking part in any reading challenges this year but that doesn't mean I won't be reading! My marvellous Christmas present of a Kindle (thanks to my sister and family) means I've started downloading loads of things I didn't have access to before. Some of them are work related (complete works of Wilkie Collins and some lost texts of Mary Elizabeth Braddon have already found their way onto the list) but others will just be plain fun. In addition, I'll be watching loads of classic films this year as my reward for doing some of the above stuff that looks terrifying in a list like this.
Haven't done as much reading as I wanted to but I have made a dent in the classics - two Anne Bronte novels, some Edith Wharton, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Bram Stoker and two Gaskells. In fact my collected book reviews list this year was very Victorianist - either traditional or neo-Victorian!

Goals from September

8. Final chapter of my thesis - Non-negotiable. This will be done and redrafted several times.
Well, it's onto four drafts, although they aren't complete redrafts, more like partial redrafts and more added to the chapter. However, it's certainly getting there. Didn't help that I spent a good proportion of December full of cold and unable to focus on my thesis.

9. Rewriting first chapter of my thesis - I'm pragmatic enough to realise the final work on this may end up being done in January. It's a hefty job and it all depends how long writing the final chapter takes me. More details on my thesis completion schedule can be found here.  
Haven't even started this. Again, illness was an issue plus the fact that I cancelled two supervisor meetings in December and my supervisor cancelled one. December was a wash-out on this front and January needs to be much better.

10. Research and write a Yates/Dickens article I've got in mind - Pie in the sky this one. I'll only have time to do it if the days are magically extended by fifty percent.
Pie in the sky indeed. Nary a minute of research done.

11. Research an article on dead insects in a Yates novel - Don't ask. Also, see above.
Likewise. I'd actually forgotten about this one!

12. Corrections on Downton Abbey essay when these come back - Non-negotiable.
Done, done and done. Yes, multiple corrections! I'll let you all know when the collection featuring my essay is out.

13. Finish sixth draft of 'Danni' - This is essentially a polishing exercise. I finished the fifth draft earlier this year and now I'm trying to make it perfect.
I managed this one. Apparently, the epic cold of doom removed the pressure from me to work on my thesis and I worked on this instead. It came in at around 77,500 words and I'm proud of the effort I put in. Word choices, pacing, characterisation consistency - the nitty-gritty of fiction writing and it was a delightful change to working on first and second drafts.

14. Finish first draft of 'Izzy' - I've been stopping and starting with this one all year and I know where it's going. Just need to get it finished. The first draft's about two-thirds done.
Yep, this one was accomplished too. Right before NaNo. I went from one first draft straight into another.

15. Finish first draft of 'Kathy' - This is less than 20k in at the moment but I would like to complete it before the year's out. 
Unfortunately, Kathy got left behind this year. I still think she's worth completing and hopefully I'll manage it in the coming months.

So what do we think? Nice mix of pass and failure there, rather more of the latter than I would've liked though. I need to pull my socks up. Funny, I said a similar thing last year...

No comments: