Monday, 28 December 2009

A look back on 2009

The thing about to-do lists is that they contain jobs that, well, have to be done. Anyone who knows me knows I like a good list. That's not to say that I'm any good at getting through them, but they sure are pretty to look at.

When 2009 arrived, I posted a list for the year on this here blog. It was ambitious, certainly. But I felt good about it. Twelve months down the line, and it makes for difficult reading; going through point by point makes me wonder what the hell I've been doing for the last year.

Have a shufty:

1. Send The Manx Giant to publisher. First draft is completed, work on second draft to start tomorrow, anticipated to be ready by January 31. Publication due for late 2009.
Done and dusted. Good start, although the time taken to complete the book had a knock-on effect on other projects, as you'll see...

2. Finishing touches to young adult novel, working title Quackenbush, polish submission package and start hitting agents. Submissions to start April/May.
Ah. Yes. Hmm, let's leave that one for now. Suffice to say, big fail.

3. Finish text for Nemesis Publishing website, and set up associated blog, which will be a warts-and-all look at getting a small publishing business off the ground from scratch. Website and blog should be up and running by mid-January.
Yes and no - the Nemesis website has been designed, but text has not been finished. Blog is up and running, although updates over the last few months have been scarce. Must do better.

4. Publish first edition of Vertigo short story anthology through Nemesis. Currently working with authors on edits for selected stories, publication due November 2009.
Close, but no cigar. The stories have been edited, the design completed (other than a few minor tweaks), and publication is set now for March/April. There was a reason/excuse for not hitting deadline - we agreed to publish a book for our local school, which celebrated its 175th anniversary, and this book was indeed finished and is now on sale (proceeds to the school). It was, however, slightly more complicated than expected, hence the delay on Vertigo.

5. Once Quackenbush is out doing the rounds, launch into next novel, the working title for which is Mr Stone. Aim is to have first draft of this completed by end of the year.
Another big fat fail. I did write a thousand or so words back in June, but Mr Stone still lurks patiently inside my brain.

6. Complete a batch of short stories and submit to magazines/anthologies/competitions. I’ve never focused on the short story format, but looking forward to the challenge.
Yeah, right. No chance. Moving swiftly on...

7. Develop script ideas – three in the melting pot, including two collaborations. Would like to have first drafts of two of the three finished by the time we’re singing Auld Lang Syne again.
Was I stoned when I devised this list? There was more chance of me getting round to clearing out the garage, which, as Mrs Q can tell you, is another constant on the house to-do list.

8. Lose two stone in weight. No, I won’t be cutting off a leg. A daunting peek at the scales on Dec 31 told me I was the heaviest I’ve ever been, period. With the big four oh just 15 months away, I want to be down to my fighting weight by April 4, 2010. Hitting 40 is going to be challenging enough for my state of mind without looking like this.
Hellfire. What was I thinking? The only good news about this is that, at last count, I'm a few pounds lighter, not to mention the fact that I have another three months before the day of reckoning.

So there you go. Not a particularly good strike rate. Yet as disappointing as the above might be, I can't be too harsh on myself. The last twelve months has seen The Manx Giant hit the shelves and the first book published over at Nemesis, while it's been a cool year for Family Q, not to mention a good and busy year over at Isle of Man Advertising & PR.

I've also been an occasional panellist on the Litopia After Dark podcast and I'm in the final throes of edting the first issue of the new Litopia ezine, Muse. So it's not as if I've been sat on my backside watching crap on TV.

Early in January I'll be posting my list for 2010, for which I will try to rein in my optimistic tendencies. Won't work, of course.

All the best for 2010 to those who stop by this blog, and here's hoping the coming year brings what we're all looking for.


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