That was the year that was


Another year over and done with … where did all that time go? It seems only weeks ago since I was setting up my goals for 2009, and here we are, with the year ended and the chapters closed.

I’ve decided that I’m not going to look back on the big list from the beginning of last year, simply because it got revised along the way as I learned what was and was not important, and got to grips with new ways of working and new perspectives on the things I wanted to do, streamlining them down to the minimal, critical pieces of work that felt most important to getting to the place I want to be. On the whole, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve accomplished – I’ve had probably my biggest writing year ever, and have also made some significant changes in both my business and personal life that has made everything feel much less stressful, and has helped me to feel much less overwhelmed by the monstrosity of what-has-to-be-done.

And so to the detail:

1) Writing

  • I have 13 short stories out on regular submission rounds
  • I have rewritten (almost from scratch) SERPENT OF COLCHIS – 97K words of it, and taken it through an edit pass.
  • I have rewritten – from scratch, since I fundamentally changed the whole premise of the story – DISCONNECTION – 60k words
  • I have written two novellas  – STALKER – 21k words, and CONTAIN THIS HOUR – 29k words, and edited STALKER to within an ace of completion (the ending still needs to be finalised).
  • I have kept up with critiques for the three groups I’m involved in over on Forward Motion, writing crits on 3 full-length novels and 20 novel chapters or short stories
  • I have completed Holly Lisle’s ‘How to Think Sideways’ writing course – spectacularly helpful in developing my writing – YAY!
  • I have read over 30 novels in the past year

Working on so much in the year has really helped me to understand what I’m capable of achieving, and made me much, much better at estimating how much time I need for projects. I feel so well set-up for 2010, I’m really excited about getting stuck into the work.

Textile Arts

It’s been a difficult year on the business side. I’ve kept things ticking over on commissions (mostly by word-of-mouth) after I dropped the decluttering side of it. When the credit crunch hit at the back end of 2008, the business simply dried up, but the increasing ‘make do and mend’ attitude has kept the textile art side of things going strong. Funny how things work out that way. Towards the back end of the year I started diversifying into smaller pieces that are made ‘on spec’ – bags, accessories, etc – rather than purely relying on commissions, and had a pretty successful Christmas selling period, such that the galleries are keen for me to restock them. Which is nice 🙂 I set up a website early on in the year (which is now in crying need of revisiting) and a blog, both of which need more regular attention, but this is all new to me, so I guess it will take time.

I’ve stuck to my ‘buy handmade’ pledge, with the exception of Christmas presents for the children 😉 , and also my wardrobe refashion pledge, though I’ve been less successful in recording those efforts than I wanted to be.


Even with the busy-ness everywhere else, the balance has mostly felt about right between the work-and-writing side of things and the family side. Because I’ve worked to reduce my stress levels down to manageable levels, I enjoy the time I have with t’o-m and the children much more, and feel less pressured to be always ‘doing’ something. As a result, and perhaps unsurprisingly, family life has been much more relaxed and a lot of the unimportant hassles have just been let go. I guess it helps that Bella is growing fast and is so much less dependent on me this year than the previous. One of the big wins for me this year has been learning that ‘my way’ is not necessarily the only ‘right’ way to do things, and that I can therefore involve the children in my interests, activities and chores to a much greater extent than I would ever have thought possible before. It has amazed me how big an interest Rumpus has developed in cooking, just for an example.

Our efforts towards a more sustainable way of life will continue as they have done this year – minimising consumption, reducing energy use, reducing waste and growing our own fruit and veg. We did well this year on all our targets, hitting or exceeding each one, and that feels like a pretty strong message to give to the children, though of course they are very quick to pick up the inconsistency in having a car. We keep reviewing it, but without convenient public transport links to the school and our other regular journeys, and bicycles being an impossibility with the children on these death-race-track rural roads, it looks like we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable future.

Still got a way to go to reach a BMI of 22, but it’s getting closer. The nutrition course I did over October and November has helped enormously, and I’ve upped the amount of exercise I do to complement the amended eating habits, and the weight is fairly dropping off, and I *feel* great.

We’ve done very little of the work we wanted to do on the house, though we did have to completely replace the downstairs floor after the Great Fishtank Disaster. Little bits and pieces have happened here and there – our little conservatory got repainted and reorganised, and we sorted out storage in the downstairs utility rooms, and did a massive declutter of the loft. I’ve come to accept, though, that the house will pretty much *always* be a work-in-progress, and that actually there’s no rush to get it all finished in one fell swoop. Grabbing bits and pieces as and when the opportunity arises works just fine.

I guess that the biggest thing for me comes back to the two intentional words I set for myself at the beginning of last year. COMPLETE and ENJOY. In order to complete things, rather than just rushing from one thing to the next on the list for the sake of getting them done, I’ve had to narrow my focus down to the few things that are most important to me and just let go of all the extraneous kipple that just isn’t contributing to my overall sense of well-being. By doing less, I’ve accomplished more this past year than I’ve felt I have ever done before, in terms of properly finished projects, and have felt more like I’ve done them to the best of my ability and desire. This in itself has allowed me to enjoy what I do, giving myself the time and space for each activity or project, living through it for its own sake rather than some externally imposed notion of what I ‘ought’ or ‘must’ be doing. Doing less has made me much more aware of why I’m doing something, of its intrinsic importance or value to me, and that has made life much less stressful and increased my enjoyment in not only what I do, but my life in general.

It hasn’t been an easy year, and it hasn’t all been forward motion – there have been slips and crashes all the way along as life deals out its share of the crappy and noisome – but I’ve managed, somewhere along the line, to accept the fact that I’m not perfect, I never will be perfect, but actually that’s OK.

I am OK.

I am better than OK, almost all the time.

So thanks, 2009, for everything. I’ve learnt a lot, and I’ve gained a lot, and I’m looking forward to 2010.


4 Responses to “That was the year that was”

  1. You had a good year! Congratulations! 🙂

  1. 1 That was the year that was « A Mingled Yarn | credit crunch
  2. 2 Tweets that mention That was the year that was « A Mingled Yarn --
  3. 3 Weekly Report Card 1: 02-09 Jan 2010 « A Mingled Yarn

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