Tag Archives: resolutions

Waiting for the bounce back.

It’s 2023 – you probably noticed. It was all over the news. The internet, or at least the corner I wander through, has been filled with people rounding up their achievements in 2022 and setting out their intentions for the coming year. I explained in the last post why I don’t have one of those, and how our year got rounded off in a rather unexpected way.

There used to be a regular pattern to the end of one year and the start of the next. The excitement of the run up to Christmas (with three kids, you can’t avoid some excitement – it’s contagious). I’ve always had the kind of jobs where you don’t get a huge chunk of break over Christmas, and there’s no holiday allowance to book. That makes the days off more precious, and those weird in-between days, when I go back to work, but all the adults in the workplace are still away, fun and relaxing. In the Home Library Service, those days between Christmas and New Year are our Off Road week, where we don’t make any deliveries, but catch up on stuff in the office that we need time for – reorganisation, changing the shelving, looking at delivery routes and stuff like that. Again, it’s a quiet time in the library, and the senior staff often take the time off. It’s a fun time to be there, and low stress.

Then the New Year would kick off, and it would all be fresh and exciting again. So much possibility in those first few weeks, where whatever new routine I had assigned myself was still functioning, and the exceptions hadn’t materialised to spanner everything. I would be exercising, writing, planning… But not this year.

The Kidney Stone incident really knocked Christmas for six. I feel like I barely saw the kids when they came to visit, and I spent more than half the day in Emergency. Nobody got any real Christmas dinner. I got into work for one of the Off Road week days, but the stone kept me home for the rest of it, and then I got worried about Mrs Dim’s cold. She still hadn’t shaken it, so we took Covid tests. She and I were positive, Tiny Weasel was not.

So there we go, after nearly three years of dodging the bullet (you know, by getting vaccinated and being responsible and wearing a mask etc) we finally got it. Which meant I couldn’t go back to work on Jan 3rd, like I should. Worse, Mrs Dim didn’t get to do her first trial morning of return to work today, which she has been so looking forward to – it’s been a very long time off work for her.

So the beginning of this year feels like the inversion of all the others. It’s been a bit of a mess, a disorganised shamble to the finish line of 2022, and a rocky beginning to 2023. I’m hoping that means we get an inversion of the usual trope for January too, and we suddenly find things pick up, instead of falling apart. Fingers crossed.

Goals for 2018, or listing future failures.

Happy New Year! Assuming you’re working from the same calendar as me… Anyway, I sat in bed this morning and contemplated my view of the future.


Looks like the future is dogs.

As is traditional at this time of year, I have decided to lie outrageously about the things I absolutely intend to do this coming year, even though they’re things I have completely failed to do in the previous 365 days and no circumstances have changed at all. Well, other than my “Rogue One” Calendar being switched for a “Last Jedi” calendar. Cool.

1. Get fit. I mean, fitter. Well, less fat. Maybe lose weight. Get my blood sugars down. Eat more vegeta…wait, no one will believe that one.

2. Write that novella. No, not that one, the other one. Write it, make a really good cover, and then not sell any, just like the other ten e-books. Yes, ten. As has been previously noted, I spend more on toothpaste in three months than I make from e-books in a year. But this is a really GOOD idea, and I’m going to write it. Sometime.

Screenshot (47)

3. Write more plays. My plays have continued to sell well, with the last three months of 2017 being the best for TLC creative in several years. I’m chalking that up to my continued advertising efforts on Twitter, where I have over 600 followers. Although I’m not comfortable with the term “followers”. It’s not like I’m leading them anywhere. We’re all just sort of sauntering along in the same direction. So, yeah, write more plays. Format them properly. Get photos of people performing them*.

4. Finish some helmets. Not because I’m short of helmets, but because I’ve had the TIE Pilot helmet project under way for half a year, and I want it done so I can start the next one. These projects earn no money and have no practical use, so I call it a hobby, but it feels like more than that. A calling. An obsession. Or, as Mrs Dim puts it, “A complete waste of time”.


5. Do things less crap. As part of our family engagement protocol, we’ve all adopted House Names and Words, Game of Thrones Style, to inspire us in the new year. I am now of House Bodger, whose proud words are “Doing things less crap” with our sigil of crossed saw and hammer over bandaged thumb. 1st attempt at producing a plaque for my new house has already gone awry:

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6. Encouraging the Weasels in their education. I think it’s ironic that I need to resolve to drive the Weasels to school after spending a year driving them to school. Apparently I should have been driving them to bike to school, then driving them to school themselves while at home. Parenting is all about learning. We also need to have the courage to let them fail, a courage they already seem to have in bucketloads, because failure is a great teacher, something I have failed to learn so far.

7. Social media wizardry. I’m going to try and blog more often. Or at least, more often than I have been doing, which shouldn’t be hard. For a while I was trying to project an adult, socially responsible Author persona through my social media platforms, in order to encourage readership. However, that meant that people would arrive at my books or plays expecting a socially responsible adult to have written them, and boy were they disappointed. So instead I’m going to blog about the things I want to blog about, I’m going to say them the way it occurs to me to say them, and if you don’t like it, you’re in the majority.

So, having wasted a large portion of the first day of the new year setting down how I’m  not going to be wasting time in the New Year, it’s time for me to have lunch. I hope 2018 is kind to you and your endeavours, and if not, I hope it gallops past on feathered feet and delivers you safely into the loving arms of 2019, when I intend to go to Disneyland.


*To put on my website. Not for any sinister, secret police-type purpose.

It’s a brand New Year…Again

My actual white board, now no longer actually white. "Omar Serif" and "They're taking the robots to Alderaan" are jokes I haven't gotten around to yet. Be relieved about that.

My actual white board, now no longer actually white. “Omar Serif” and “They’re taking the robots to Alderaan” are jokes I haven’t gotten around to yet. Be relieved about that.

It’s nearly the end of the first week of January, and this is the first post I’ve managed in 2015, which means I ought to be talking about Resolutions.

But, as you may know from last year, I don’t do so well with resolving to change. I need a list every day just to get through the things that keep the house running, so adding grand aspirations to that list has been somewhat problematic in the past.

However, last year, I decided to just write more stuff. This was a simple enough idea that I could keep it in mind, and even put it up on my white board above my desk. “Write more stuff” translates easily into whatever project I feel like doing, and as long as there is more stuff at the end of the year, then it’s working. That’s a measurable goal, that is.

And last year I produced more plays, a new ebook and a lot of sketches. I found that the break of fifteen minutes at work is just long enough to eat a sandwich and write a page and a half of sketch, resulting in a sketch every week. That’s a sketch each week written at work, plus the stuff I can write when I’m at home. Like every published writer is fond of saying, there IS time to write, you just have to choose to use it for writing.

Like last year, most of what I plan to complete and publish won’t reach the marketplace until the later half of the year, so I’m not going to list my projects here. I will post about them when they’re complete, and then put up reminders with links when they get published. I’m hoping the Appraisal Service continues to keep me busy, and that life at the Library remains as fulfilling and entertaining as it had proven so far.

What are the big projects for YOU this 2015? Are you going to write that novel or sequel? Are you going to try writing something that’s outside your comfort zone, like a romance, or a horror story, or a poem? Are you thinking of writing for the first time? Because I have a really good feeling about this year. I think it’s YOUR year. I mean, obviously that’s bad news for everyone else, but we’ll cope, honest. Don’t feel bad for us, you just go on and make the most of it.

We’ll be over here. In the corner. Maybe crying just a little bit.

When the going gets tough…

The real Terry Pratchett - I took this picture!

January’s going out with a whimper, as they often do. This is the point where the resolutions begin to flag, where being a REAL writer is hard. But there are rules about writing, folks, rules we must obey. Trouble is, they’re not easy rules, like “Do not walk on the lava!” or “Remove your hat before showering.” No, these are hard rules, and the hardest one of the lot is Rule Number One: Keep writing.

A few years ago Terry Pratchett came to the Winchester Children’s Book Festival and I stood in line to get him to sign a couple of books. As he signed, I nervously asked what advice he would give fledgling writers.

“Get a proper job! Do ANYTHING else! Buy a farm and raise chickens! Writing means you blow your life to bits and then use the bits to make books!”

Oh. Thanks Terry, just the boost I was looking for… Though to be fair, he calmed down a bit, signed the first book, and went on:

“Read a lot. And write, write four hundred words a day. Every day. Even on the day your father dies. In fact, those will probably be the best ones you write…”

But getting those four hundred words down every day is harder than we expect it to be, especially once the glow of the New Year’s Eve champagne has faded. Like going to the gym, or cycling to work, they are a responsibility we shirk too easily.

And now, as Mrs Dim points out to me, we feel guilty about them. This time of year is replete with dire warnings about abandoned resolutions, lapsed gym memberships and running shoes thrown to the back of the wardrobe before they have had a chance to get really smelly.

“What people want this time of year,” says my sage wife ” is a bit of hope.”

Ever eager to please, here’s a suggestion. Look at the targets you set yourself back when the year was only minutes old. Just for a fortnight, reduce them. Cut them in half if you like. Divide them by a factor of ten, any size reduction you like, just DON”T STOP! And to prevent any attendant guilt, feel free to print out the card below to hand to any fierce “I do a million words before breakfast, I do, and I compose a haiku while I butter me toast..” types you might meet.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but nobody said they had to be big steps, and running all that way isn’t good for you, especially after a heavy meal. Take it easy.

Even considering the subject of this post, I spent WAY too long making this...