Back in January I made these New Year’s Resolutions. There weren’t many – only three – but as the longest day has been and gone and the mid-point of the year is here today, I think now would be a good time to check in on my progress. Which vows will I need to renew? What midyear resolutions should I be re-resolving?
Finish a novel
Now this one is going well.
Today I reached 130,000 words. You might remember that my original projection for length was around 80,000 – well, I’d never done this before. I wasn’t to know what I was getting myself in for. I am near the end though – I shouldn’t think the end result will be any more than 150,000 words and, at my established rate of 5,000 words a week, that’s only a month away. To say I’m excited is an understatement – both to see the end result and to write something else! Rosetta (working title) has had my full attention for over half a year now and I’d love to write a few shorter sketches just to get some ideas down.
Completing a novel will be a life milestone for me. It’s taken a lot of effort, especially since I’ve recently got myself a new job and routine, but the rewards will feel fantastic. It’s been an endeavour of discipline and hard work as well as love and creativity, and I’m really proud to have gotten this far. A finished and completed novel to my name is the promise that’s driving me on now.
Run 366 miles this year
You know, I was doing so well.
I started the year with a gammy foot, which stopped from running for about a month. No problem, I thought. I’ll make it up.
Running 366 miles in a year translates (for me) into either a seven-mile run once a week or a couple of three or four mile runs in the same time. It sounds achievable but as the adage goes… Life gets in the way. At my time of writing (once again with an aching foot thanks to an activity weekend in CenterParcs) I’ve done 139 miles – somewhat shy of the 183 I should be at by the halfway point.
I can console myself that I recently got a bike. I’ve been cycling ten miles to work and ten back most days, and cycling with my girlfriend at weekends has nudged my running onto the back burner. It wasn’t my resolution to cycle those 366 miles, but I made the resolution to keep me fit and to challenge myself. I’m still hitting these goals, so I’m not going to beat myself up too much for letting the running slide. Now when I get my trainers on it will be a treat, rather than the work it’s become in the past few months.
Play guitar regularly
Well, I’ve no excuse for this one.
I’ve not done myself proud with this resolution. Whenever I crack my guitar out I love to play it, especially since I’ve built this coffin pedal-board for my little set of stompboxes. But I haven’t been doing so nearly enough. At the end of a long day, it’s easier to whack the drums about for a bit than challenge myself with learning a new instrument. I’ve got a beautiful guitar and the potential to play it well, and I need to put the practice in that it deserves.
So, a mixed bag of resolutions so far this year. But my primary resolution, my novel, is well underway. It’s this I’m most excited for, and it’s this that is taking up so much of my time, pushing other pastimes aside. I know that I’ve made up for my running with extra doses of cycling, but I need to be playing the guitar more. Soon I’ll be good enough that it can fulfil the role that drums do for me – something to lose myself in, rather than consciously try at. And that it is of course what this reflection has been about – identifying those challenges I set myself and identifying where I’m letting myself down. Which midyear resolutions I need to set.
Well, I’m not going to achieve any these targets sitting here writing this post. See you round!
*Immediately after writing this post, but before posting it, I spent three fantastic hours learning some new songs on guitar. I’ll try and keep it up.
**Reading this back four years after writing it, it’s astonishing how many changes I’ve experienced. The girlfriend I mention cycling with is now my wife. I now have a novel to my name (though not the one mentioned above). And my guitar still doesn’t get the attention it deserves, though does live on a lovely hanging bracket in the spare room.