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Happy new year, internet! I hope everyone’s Christmas was as fun, peaceful and enjoyable as mine. I only got a few days off this year and have been very busy the past month due to starting a new job. The good news is that I’m financially independent now (more or less). The bad news is that it severely cuts into time spent writing or starting up my freelance business. At first I was very stressed by making the transition from having most of my time free to having to work 5 days out of 7. The huge amount of Christmas shoppers certainly didn’t help. But now I’ve settled in, gotten used to juggling two part time jobs and the Christmas rush has died off, I’m feeling much better. That said, my schedule for next year is already pretty full, and it’s not even 2013 yet!

At first I was very worried about having virtually no time to write or focus on the career that I really want to have. But now I’m getting used to scheduling time into my day to bid on projects and writing in the evening. This job may even be the best thing that could’ve happened to my freelance career. It’s not that I don’t like the job, the staff and customers are all very nice (minus the occasional grumpy) and in this recession, I’m far luckier than many. But working tills isn’t what I set out to do when I left home all those years ago. It’s very tiring, not intellectually or creatively stimulating and the corporate side of things just makes me want to tear my hair out sometimes. It’s made me realise that I want to do whatever it takes to take control of my life and work full time as a freelancer. I would still like to continue working at the cinema and volunteering at the museum, since I do still enjoy both of those and those places mean a lot to me personally.

It’s been almost a year since I decided freelancing was the right choice for me and so far my career is going along nicely. In that it’s not coming along at all. I did some useful things like ordering business cards and putting together a portfolio, but almost everything else I did turned out to be a timewaster or just a big mistake. But that’s a good thing! Society makes us think that mistakes are a bad thing and something to be ashamed of. That’s not true. Now I’ve gotten all the inevitable mistakes of start up businesses out of the way, there is only room for success. So I hope that even with the limited time I have, 2013 will be a good year for freelancing.

Last January, I made a list of goals for 2012. I only achieved a few of them, but at least it’s still much more than I had at the end of last year. And it’s not like I wasn’t busy this year. It’s just that the things I did and achieved weren’t the things on my list.

And I’ve figured out why that is. I want to do too much. I’ve been reading The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner which says:

“Are you a short story writer one day and a novelist the next? A memoirist on Monday and a screenwriter by the weekend? Do you begin sentences in your head while walking to work or picking up the dry cleaning, sentences so crisp and suggestive that they make perfect story or novel openers, only you never manage to write them down?”

That describes me eerily well. I’m young and just starting out on this crazy road called life, even if I feel I’m way behind most other people my age. Like all young creatives, I want to be everything and in doing so, I never get round to finishing anything. The reason I didn’t complete my 2012 goal list is because there was so much stuff on it that was impossible to do all at once. I experimented with lots of different things while at university and doing so helped me learn what my strengths and weaknesses are. My best marks were for young adult novels and scripts. I won an award for a short film too but I still think my filmmaking skills are pretty poor so I don’t think I’ll be pursuing that as a career (shame too, I have a great idea for The Hobbit reenacted by ponies).

So thanks to Lerner’s book, I’ve decided that I will focus on only one big project for 2013, my novel which I have been meaning to get round to for years now, and ignore any other big ideas that come crashing into my head. I’ll still do a few smaller side projects like short stories and reviews for my blog but otherwise my writing time will be spent on my main passion – novel writing. There will be lots of time later to try to be a cartoon scriptwriter or a graphic novelist or an internet video reviewer.

I now present to you my goals for 2013, which I am putting up here for the world to be my witness:

  1. Work full time as a freelancer. I know I may not achieve this in a year, but it’s still what I’m aiming to do with my life.
  2. Finish my short story ‘Fish and Chips’ and submit it to a contest. I’ve already found a suitable contest to submit it to and I know lots of others if I don’t get short listed for that one.
  3. Write at least 6 first draft chapters of ‘Firestone.’ It’s a fantasy novel and some of the plot details still need some work, so I know I won’t be able to finish the whole first draft in a year. Or maybe I will…That would be sweet.
  4. Re-write and edit old blog entries. Some of the old reviews on my blog have become old shames by now so I want to re-work and proofread them (that is what I supposedly do professionally, after all). I also want to review every single episode of Merlin, but I don’t know if I’ll have time for that right now.
  5. Read at least 20 books. I managed 13 and a half this year. Above my goal and some of them were very big, long books but I can still do better. Right now I’m reading The Great Gatsby. It’s ok…
  6. Market proofreading business. I struggled a bit deciding this one. It’s not enough to have a webpage and say ‘hey I’m a proofreader, hire me.’ I know next to nothing about business but I do know that if I want this one to go anywhere, I need to market like crazy. That’s how The Little Theatre stays open. So I’ll do it even if I have to read every boring business book in the land. Oh look at me, being a grown up!
  7. Make cosplay outfits. Nothing to do with work, it’s just something I do for fun and am very behind on. I’m currently looking for things in the January sales but everything I want is too small. I don’t even know how that’s possible, I’m a fricking pixie!!
  8. Write every day. Every writing book ever says you should do this so I guess it must be good advice.

I’ve got the written list on my wall by my desk so now I just have to wait and see how many I achieve. Wish me luck. And have a fun new year!