These are tentative goals centred on a couple of areas of my life that I have control over. As things stand, I have a trickle of money coming in from freelance writing and tutoring work. It's not a lot but enough to cover my meagre expenses and ensure I can still visit Create for my afternoons of writing. I need to work on my long-term plan but, really, thinking along those lines was proving unhelpful so, for the time being, short-term goals are best.
- 'Max' Fourth Draft - I've had fun and games with this one in the last few months (see here and here) but I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It knows what it's doing and my aim is to finish the fourth draft by the end of February. It's currently at 43,046 words and I've got clear plans for the rest of the draft. It's half-editing and half-rewriting huge chunks but I'm confident I can make a huge dent in that in the next three weeks.
- 'Danni' Seventh Draft - I stopped mid-draft last year, having done most of the difficult rewriting but I'd gotten bogged down with the close editing. This one's at 54,342 words and it's reasonable to say I could complete it by the end of March.
- Other Novel Drafts - There are nine of these in various stages of rewriting. I listed them comprehensively last July when I was in a better frame of mind and I think the order of priority probably still sticks. If you add in my aborted NaNo project, 'Jess', then that's actually ten and that's a bit scarier. Optimistically, I'd like to work on four of them this year - 'Liz' has a complete plan and needs the second draft completing, 'Izzy' and 'Vic' need the second drafts planning and writing and 'Kathy' is a fragment of a first draft that needs rewriting in first person and completing. We'll see. If I can keep myself in the writing zone then anything's possible.
- Short Stories - I didn't submit any short stories in the last three months of 2015. I've already taken steps to remedy this and submitted three in January whilst devoting more time to my short story writing, rewriting and editing processes. I've got a little notebook that lists which stories are at what stage - 'Ready', 'Final Touches', 'Line Edits', 'Rewriting in Progress', 'To Rewrite' and 'Unsure'. Currently, I've got four that are ready to submit and three more that are nearly there. It's time to go through my list of magazines and competitions and find some appropriate venues and, if there aren't any right now, they'll pop up eventually. I'm not putting a figure on the number of stories I want to submit or write but I do want the list to be moving.
- Academic Work - Now, this is where I'm completely at sea. I'm deliberately not attending conferences this year as I just can't do it and my academic work's stalled somewhat. I've got one half-written paper, plans for several others and I wanted to rewrite and edit two chapters of my thesis to submit to journals. So what happened? Well, my anxiety kicked in. The fact that it's a year ago this week that I submitted my thesis isn't helping, nor is the fact that my certificate arrived in the post this week. I couldn't make it to graduation because of, yep, anxiety so it doesn't really feel as though I've achieved anything. Actually, it feels like a colossal waste of a chunk of my life right now. I have no idea what happens next with my academic work but the frustrating thing is that I still have ideas for papers and the desire to research. I'm a contradiction.
Anyway, with a bit of luck I'll manage to pull at least some of this off. I nabbed myself a cheap gym membership to get me out of the house and filled a playlist full of cheesy pop like Steps, SClub7 and Boyzone to get me through it. About a third of the songs on there are by The Nolans (and, as I'm typing this my iPod's thrown their 'Song Sung Blue' at me from over 8300+ choices) so at least I can have some fun whilst exercising. There's something especially amusing about listening to 'Don't Make Waves' whilst on the rowing machine - or is that just me?