Reflection & Resolutions

by Sylvia A. Winters

I learnt a lot in 2016. Not all of it good. Most of my time was probably spent watching political news as though as it was some really tense disaster movie, or more likely the prequel to one (except probably worse because it was real). But I won’t dwell on the bad things about 2016. We all know what they were.

Let’s focus on the good stuff instead, like David Attenborough surviving the year. Actually, I’m just going to talk about good stuff in my 2016, like finally getting my first tattoo, and then my second a few months later. I’ve wanted tattoos since I was a kid, but for years I didn’t know what to get or whether I should get one. Then I found an old Norse symbol I liked and just thought ‘fuck it’, and got it done a couple of days later. I lost three rats in 2016, including my heart rat, Ren, but gained another five (despite declaring I was going to take a break from animals for a while). It seems like it never happened now, but I fostered a rabbit and learnt a lot about their care, like how much space, food, and attention they really need (hint: it’s a fuck of a lot). I got to be a bridesmaid and watched two of my best friends get married. I spent four days in August at a music festival (only my third one), saw some great new-to-me bands and ended up queuing for something called The Big Ride which turned out to be a children’s wheeled horse pushed by a mime. Bat’s Children was published and it was nice to see that to completion, especially as it’s the first totally new publication of mine in about two years. The value of the pound dropped so I got paid more in royalties (always a plus side). And I finally got properly started on a novel (my first!) after months of thinking about the story and how it would work, and many scrapped beginnings.

For 2017 I have a couple of resolutions. One is something I should have been doing this year, but failed at miserably, and that’s to fucking budget. Since I got the job I’m in now, I’ve developed the tendency to throw money away on silly little things that all add up, when I could be saving it for those rainy days that are always lurking somewhere up ahead. So I’ve worked out a reasonable budget for at least the first three months of 2017 and that’s what I’m going to stick to. I’m going to stop slipping into my god damn overdraft and get some savings together. This means no more takeaway pizza or Best Buy samosas whenever I feel like it, and a lot more cooking from scratch.

The other resolution is to finish a few stories that really need finishing. These are:

Paranormal Private Investigators. M/M. This is a story about two men who own a small Private Detective company and end up falling on a mysterious murder case. This is the novel I started last year and there is nothing I don’t love about this story and these characters, except maybe just how hard it’s been to get the damn plot in order. I’ve just finished the first draft at 55k, so I’m already halfway there and hopefully I’ll have a final draft by March or April.

The same as above, but the sequel. Because apparently 60k is not enough for these characters. Selfish bastards. I’d like to have the rough draft finished by June, ideally.

Villainous Vampire Hunters. M/M. This one was actually finished almost two years ago, but got rejected and needs some heavy editing in certain parts. The main characters are not particularly likeable, which I like. I think part of me really worries about that, which may have something to do with why I haven’t really done anything with it yet. That, and it probably needs a sequel to be everything I want it to be.

Asexual Werewolf Story. M/M. This is something I started writing at the beginning of this year, and it kind of died on me halfway through, but reading back over it there’s still something there and I’d love to pick it back up again. This one kind of takes a back seat to the other stories though. It’s something I’ll work on when all the others are done.

So far, those are the main books I want to finish. Finishing specific stories may sound more like goals than resolutions, but the real thing is to beat back the laziness and apathy that stops me from getting shit done. If I have to spend 80% of my free time in the book room at work with my laptop, so be it. I’m going to make 2017 a productive one. Wish me luck!