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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Put together the manuscript for my poetry collection (chapbook or whatever you wish to call it) and start looking for a publisher.
- 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).
- 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.