Well, if I thought 2013 was bad... Seriously, there has to be a point where things do actually hit rock bottom and I start climbing towards that pinprick of sky discernible miles above. A good post about the crumminess of this year was written in September called 'Taking Stock' and, I have to say, things haven't exactly improved. The only thing that's improved is my ability to roll with the punches a little more. So, on a personal level, 2014 stank but what about those goals I set myself? First are links to a few successes before we get into more failure.
Short Story Publication - 'To Catch a Fly'
Short Story Publication - 'Aldgate Echoes'
A Wakefield View of Westminster - Available Now
1. 2014 is, barring catastrophe, thesis submission year. It's been a long time coming and, I have to admit, the light at the end of the tunnel is frightening. Completion will bring its own set of problems but if I look towards them I'll panic and flee. So, let's just focus on finishing writing, submitting, the viva and... Actually, let's just think about the writing aspect. Everything else is too scary.
Does submitting two weeks into 2015 count as 'catastrophe'? That's the plan anyway and my only excuse is that, the number of times I've despaired of the thesis in the last year, it's a miracle it's getting submitted at all. And that light at the end of the tunnel? Even more petrifying now.
2. Some more conferences would be a nice idea - either just attending or giving papers, ideally the latter.
I gave papers at three conferences this year, taking me to Oxford, Nottingham and London. A review of those can be found here but, on a personal level, I'm particularly proud of making it through the Nottingham one due to some incredibly difficult anxiety issues on the day. Taking good from bad, that was a triumph for me this year.
3. I want to work on at least three academic articles/papers this year. Since I have four ideas already, that shouldn't be too difficult...right? We're going with optimism here.
Erm, misplaced optimism. Although the paper I gave at the VPFA in July is still ripe for expanding into a full essay and that will probably be my first academic task once I've submitted my thesis.
4. On the writing side, I don't want to promise too much. 2014 is the year of the thesis, remember. However, if I don't write then I go a bit batty so there will be work. What work? Well, I have eight novel drafts to play with. I want to do full-scale edits on, say, three of them (and I know which three, which is always good). I've already started putting the polished two out into the world. We'll see where that goes this year. A NaNoWriMo draft is on the cards too, along with finishing 'Kathy' (the novel I failed to complete this year) and maybe another draft about something close to my heart. I'm almost certain no one else could write this idea with the truthfulness required. The question is, do I have the courage? We'll see.
Novel-wise, I've added a NaNoWriMo draft to my bank, although I didn't manage to finish 'Kathy'. I've completed two second drafts and I'm partway through a third. The two novels that are in the best condition, having been through five or six drafts each, were refined in 2014 and I'm ready to submit them. I think. Not great but not bad considering.
5. I'm taking part in two reading challenges this year: the Chunkster Challenge and the TBR Challenge. I've picked out the books so just need to read them now. Easy...
I failed at both of these, as I summarised yesterday.
6. I want to continue going to the gym 2-3 times a week, at least until my membership runs out in August.
Until my membership expired, I managed this one.
7. I've asked for driving lessons as a birthday present in July. Whether this comes off is still undecided but I do need to learn and this year might be the year. Keep off Yorkshire roads in August.
Given my mental state around my birthday, it's probably lucky this one didn't come off.
8. I've been saying for four years I want to learn a little Italian. I don't really know why but it's a deep-seated thing I do intend to do at some point.