New School Year Resolutions

Call it a remnant of childhood (or habit resulting from protracted studies, plus a few years in academia, or living in France with their emphasis on la rentrée, plus now working in a university environment), but I always feel that September is the month for new notebooks, clean sheets and resolutions. Most of my resolutions are reading and writing related, with a few general lifestyle issues throwing in for balance.



  1. Rein in my social media, blogging, lit mag and reviewing activity. It’s not a question of not enjoying it, but it’s just not sustainable on top of a full-time job, two children, a long commute and my own writing ambitions. I’ve been reviewing for Crime Fiction Lover for 6 years now, and it will soon be a year since I got involved with Asymptote. I want to continue my collaboration, but not to the point where it starts interfering with my health. If I spread myself too thinly, I will end up not pleasing anyone!
  2. Accept fewer books for review and focus instead on those I really want to read, and on topics I feel strongly about (in a ‘spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’ kind of way), for example my much neglected #EU27Project.
  3. Stop going to so many events. I had a sobering moment when I put together a list of all my income and outgoings for the solicitor last week and realised that I have plenty of unavoidable expenses already with household bills, Council Tax, car costs and children’s school-related expenses. No need to live beyond my means quite so extravagantly. One event every month or two might be just about reasonable, but over the next month I have 8 planned, plus a trip to Vienna. Surely a little excessive!
  4. Stop buying so many books, for the same reason as above. There are plenty of books on my shelves still clamouring to be read. I can still get plenty of interesting books from the library, as well as all the review copies I receive. I do not have to read every single book every single person I ever admired ever recommended.
  5. Start writing new things (perhaps do that on the train instead of going through my Twitter feed) and start submitting once more, but more systematically this time.
  6. Put together the manuscript for my poetry collection (chapbook or whatever you wish to call it) and start looking for a publisher.
  7. Exercise more regularly, as my old bones are getting creaky and I want to be able to enjoy food instead of starving myself. A combination of Nordic walking, Tai Chi, contemporary dance and abdominal exercises in front of the telly should do the trick (I get easily bored in a gym).
  8. Set myself some checkpoints to see if I’m sticking to these goals. Revisit this post in early December and see what progress I’ve made.
And then I reach the state of no-mindedness in Zen…


12 thoughts on “New School Year Resolutions”

  1. Ah, yes. I’m with you on several issues. Most of all the books. I’m afraid it is beyond belief at this point and I am sworn to not purchase another until I can clear off at least one shelf! It is currently a labyrinthe of books in nearly every room… Another issue is, if I read all that I wanted to read, as I wished, I wouldn’t get any writing done. While I enjoy discovering new authors and even classics I hadn’t read before, one MUST do other things as well. Thanks Marina

  2. Good luck with your resolutions, Marina, or perhaps I should call them guidelines. I’ve fallen victim to my own self-imposed task list in the past and now try to think of it as a guide to what I hope to do rather than what I must do.

  3. Good luck Marina Sofia! As we discussed on twitter, the book-buying ban turned out easier than I thought, and it did encourage financial restraint more generally too – you can do this! Also, London has many free events…

  4. Excellent ideas Marina! I should adopt the buying of less books and accepting less for review – I do tend to find that easier as it gets closer to Christmas. And more exercisse definitely. Mind you lugging that Primo Levi box round London was a bit of a work-out so that’s one justfication for another purchase…. 😉

  5. I know what you mean about making resolutions at this time of year, Marina Sofia. I’ve done the same thing. I wish you will with working on these ways to manage your life so that it’s more in line with your goals. And I admire your discipline as you plan it all out.

  6. Great list of resolutions. I find putting on music and dancing for 20 minutes is good and fun exercise and it’s aerobic, too.
    Going to the library is my destination of choice many days. Great reservation system.
    Over here, Abe Books has inexpensive used books, often with free shipping.
    But I admit giving up visiting bookstores is a sacrifice.
    The events sound so enticing, it would be hard to give them up. But there must be free events in London.

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