That was 2019

It’s that time of year when I take a look back at what I thought I was going to do in 2019 and say “Well, that didn’t happen.”

Looking back at what I intended to do is frustrating. On the surface it looks like I’ve done little to nothing. In truth, though I may not have ticked off much from the “To Do List”, I need to remind myself what I said on 1 January:

…plans never work. Plans can be too binding, make you think you have to do things in a particular way and to a particular timetable, and make what you have achieved seem like a failure just because it wasn’t in the plan. Better to have a direction of travel, something that allows for changes and for detours, for side quests and unexpected challenges. So let’s say this is the direction I’m heading in, and I’ll get there given the right amount of time.

And although I may not have finished much on the list, I have moved in the right direction and the time left to when it will be completed is shorter.

Edit and publish The Theatre of Shadows: The Vasini Chronicles II.

Well, part of that happened. I’ve edited it. But, I’m continuing to edit it – I’m on the fifth draft. As I said here:

The good news is that it’s a lot closer to being out in the world, to the point where I’m so tempted to turnaround and say it will definitely be out next year. The problem is that I’ve been burnt by my own expectations twice now, so all I’m going to do is keep it vague and say it’s ‘coming soon’ with no clear definition of what soon really means.

I hate doing it (not being able to get this out into the world as quickly as I want and not being able to say when it will actually appear).

It sucks.

It [INSERT MORE SWEAR WORDS OF CHOICE] sucks.

I’m not sure I’ve got anything more to add at this time, other than to say it’s closer still. I’m enjoying it (which makes working on it fun and worthwhile and keeps me motivated to finish it, even if the amount of time it is taking is a source of frustration). Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it too when you have the chance to read it. When that will be though, I’m still not quite in a place to commit without the risk of getting burnt again.

There’re some scenes from the novel that I’ve excised, at least one of which I may well post to my blog at some point. It’s inconsequential to the story – hence it getting cut – but there’s a little anecdote in the scene about the Ranters and their attempts to secure a chance to vote that I want to share.

Edit a novella.

Aka The Signal (working title), the sequel to the novelette The City Between the Books.

In the gaps between rounds of editing The Theatre of Shadows (ToS), I’ve been working on this. Given that it’s a quarter of the length of ToS, despite being lower on the priority scale, it could find itself finished and ready to publish before ToS.

Edit Tales From Vasini II.

The two stories that will make up Tales From Vasini II have a (current) combined length of about 64,000 words and I haven’t touched a word of them thanks to editing ToS and The Signal, which have a (current) combined length of around 230,000 words.

Given that ToS needs to see the light of day before these, then editing Tales From Vasini II is low down on my priority list and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Pity, as I want to get stuck back into them. They’re somewhat different to the other Vasini-based stories as they take place entirely outside of the confines of the city and it was great exploring the wider world of the setting and see what happens beyond Vasini’s rain-drenched streets.

Write The Vasini Chronicles III.

The Vasini Chronicles III has actually been outlined in rough, as mentioned here and here. It won’t get written for a while.

Write Tales From Vasini III.

This will be three novellas set in the lead up to The Vasini Chronicles III. They’re all outlined. I started writing the first of the novellas back in March. I’m coming up to being about half way through the first draft, as I’m only getting to write scraps around editing ToS.

And writing this post is now getting me down with the simple scale of the backlog that has formed. I so want to be moving forward with all of these stories, I want to be telling them to myself and then putting them out in the world for you and others to read, but…but I only have the time to work on one thing and that one thing, now, has to be ToS. I need to keep reminding myself what I said at the start: things are moving, I’m heading in the right direction and it will get done, every page, every paragraph, every word written or edited takes me one step closer to the end. In time it will appear and then everything else will follow. It will happen…It will.

Edit and try to work out how to publish a long novel.

I was working on this at the beginning of the year. It still needs work. It will continue to need work until ToS is off my plate.

Read at least 48 books and cut down my backlog of unread books to less than 270.

Well, I managed to do this. Kind of. 50 books read, although a lot of them were short and/or graphic novels. I finally got round to reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman, almost certainly my favourite of the books I read this year.

My backlog of unread books, though, sits at 286. That’s, admittedly, 28 books less than at the start of the year, but that means I broke my self-imposed rule of only buying three new books by some margin.

I did manage to do another review on Goodreads, doubling the total number of reviews I’ve written to two.

Blog more.

Technically, I succeeded. I only wrote six blog posts in 2018, this year I managed a grant total of 11 (including this one). Granted, several of them were holding messages rather than proper blogs, but, given the general lack of completing other things, lets call this a success and quickly move on.

And in terms of moving on, in 11 days time it will be 2020. My annual To Do List will look very much like the one for this year, almost identical in fact. But, despite appearances to the contrary, I do need to remind myself that things have moved on. Even if the big final goals have not been achieved, I’ve moved in the right direction along the path – I’ve taken a lot of the tiny steps that need to be taken to get to the end. Just not all of them quite yet.

Here’s hoping that 2020 will bring some closure to some of the above and maybe the chance to start on some new paths.

Best wishes for the holidays to all of you. May the end of the year bring you rest, goodwill and good times with those you want to be with. And may the New Year take you further along your own paths towards where you want or need to be.

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