Wednesday, 28 December 2011

It's that time of year again

I'm spending the Christmas/New Year period with my family down at Phillip Island. Mum, Dad and I arrived here during the afternoon on Christmas Day -- our first 'Christmas' spent at the island, even if Christmas lunch was a ham sandwich and Magnum icecream in the car, and dinner cold meat and salad. It's been a very low key Christmas for our family, particularly after last year's German extravaganza, but I've enjoyed it all the same.

Boxing Day heralded the arrival of my sister and her two boys, my nephews, aged 20 months and 3 years. Their presence here is both delight and distraction. Usually when I come down to the island my aim is to write, read, walk and go out for breakfast. In truth, I nearly announced a few days ago right here on this blog how I was going to do all these things, which have been neglected in the past couple of months (except the going out to breakfast part). A good thing I didn't, because I would yet again be eating my words. When two little boys are present, the days inevitably revolve around their eating and sleeping and entertainment. I love it, but it does mean adjusting my activities and expectations.

The break is nevertheless good timing for me. After nearly two months in a new job I was going a bit mental, and this has given me the chance to stop and catch my breath, if not all the other aforementioned activities . . . and in two more days I will have a car to make my life easier (more on that later).

As the new year approaches, I find myself in yet another new place. The transitional year of 2011 is over and my path seems fairly clear: make new job work for me, carve out writing time, keep fit and healthy. My aim this year will be to not let work consume me, to keep a healthy work-life balance, to write an entire novel. I'll be satisfied with that. I'm not going to make grand plans to get my bathroom renovation done (as I've been saying for about 5 years now) or fool myself that I'll finish all the books on my to-read pile. One novel written. That's the plan.

As always, I find it fascinating to look back over the past couple of years and remember my state of mind as one year faded and another dawned. A year ago, I was in Germany and contemplating quitting my job of ten years. Little did I know then that I'd enjoy nearly a year of leisure. The year before that, it was all about Trailwalker -- training and fundraising. Every year it's something different. There's always a common theme, though: write more, work less!

5 top highlights of 2011:
  • Quitting my job and taking a career break
  • Finishing the rewrite of that first novel (even if it proved to be bottom drawer material)
  • Inaugural MTC subscription
  • Weekly writing in the pub sessions
  • World Fantasy Convention, San Diego

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