Start the year as you are likely to continue – late

"Abstraction of Plant 1" by kiddeeAh dear. Here we are, almost finished January, and I’ve not managed to get my shit together long enough to post anything for ages. Forgive me, dear readers. Life has been getting rather thoroughly in the way. The day before my Very Understanding Husband was supposed to start his week of proper holiday time, he had an accident involving an axe, a chicken, and his left index finger. Which meant two days in hospital, and a slow and frustrating recovery (ongoing). (And before those of you who know him panic – the chicken is deceased and was delicious, and Stewart still has the regulation number of fingers. Just one fewer knuckles than usual, a bit less bone, and the sort of stitching more commonly found on handbags and saddles.)

Which brings us to this point in time. We’re just about done with the EQC stuff, and the house looks amazing. I have finally managed to get all the bookcases repainted, replaced and refilled, and the various rooms in the house more or less reclaimed. My work corner is the last bit to be restored, but is just awaiting the arrival of my new round to-it. (Say it to yourself a couple of times aloud, and you’ll get it.)

Before I waffle any further, here are two links to articles that are worth a read. They’re parts three and four of a longer series of posts – they aren’t too taxing, so have a look. I’ll be here when you get back.

Publishing: Goals and Dreams – How to Set Production Goals
How to Keep Production Going All Year


Don’t know about you, but his ideas fill me with both horror and a kind of fluttering, breathless, hopeful enthusiasm. The enthusiasm is because the ideas seem so very practical. Work out what you can do, and do it. No excuses. But his stance on editing fills me with horror. Ok, I possibly fetishise editing, but that’s because I know what an astonishing difference that sort of discipline can make. But he does have a point: you can use it as an excuse to never actually finish anything, and ultimately yes, you almost certainly will learn more from writing the next poem than you would from merely editing this one into oblivion. But … the world is already drowning in crap. There are too many badly written stories and poems and songs and plays out there. And while his approach may well be good for the individual writer, it’s not good for editors. Or readers. Or, ultimately, for the art.


Being a Cantabrian, every plan I ever make these days comes with the rider “circumstances permitting”, because excreta has an uncanny knack of occurring. So with that in mind … my intention is to use some of Smith’s ideas, and to spend six months working solidly on Janus. And to say No to everything else during that time. Essentially it’s the plans I put to CNZ, just with no money. Maybe it won’t work. Maybe the schedule is impractical, or just not a good fit. Maybe life will get in the way. Maybe I’ll write crap. If that’s the worst that happens, well I will have spent six months writing and thinking about writing, so that’s still a pretty good outcome.

I’ll try to make a point of posting updates on progress too – not so much because I expect people to be anxiously awaiting news (well, other than my mum – Hi Ma!), but because it’s been pretty well documented that these sorts of resolutions have the best chance of succeeding if they are shared with other people. Of course, posting updates can become a sort of displacement activity, burrowing in to the time you should be spending working, so I will have to keep an eye on that. (Truly, I could procrastinate for my country. Any country. If procrastination was an Olympic sport, I would have ‘turning up to compete’ quite high up on my ‘to do’ list.)

4 Replies to “Start the year as you are likely to continue – late”

    1. I know what you mean. Fortunately my only goals for this month were rapidly resolved to Survive Without Attacking Anyone. Not entirely without struggle, but with three days to go I might just make it.

  1. Ahahaha! I love ‘If procrastination was an Olympic sport, I would have ‘turning up to compete’ quite high up on my ‘to do’ list’ I am totally the same! I’m procrastinating right now! That said, I sometimes get quite a lot done on one thing when I’m procrastinating about another thing. Maybe there is some way to harness that?

    I hope that, despite procrastination tendencies, and maybe even with them, you manage to get where you want to go with your new manuscript. And have a rich voyage of discovery along the way.

    1. I suspect harnessing procrastination would either contravene the laws of physics, or actually be the answer to the world’s energy crisis. Some kind of perpetual non-motion machine …

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