Summer Successes and Autumn Goals

This post is third in a series. You can find part one (covering January to April) here and part two (May to August) here. As outlined in those previous posts, I’m tackling this year in chunks, setting myself goals for four months at a time, rather than having a single set for the whole of 2019.

It seems to be working out.

My only year-long goal – the Goodreads reading challenge – has me sitting at 44 books completed off a total of sixty. That’s 73% complete/4 books ahead of schedule.

Before I get into my goals for the rest of 2019 going forward, let’s take a minute to recap on my summer goals and how well I did (or didn’t) achieve them.

In May, I set myself the following tasks:

  • Lose more weight
  • Continue to submit my first novel to agents
  • Make edits to my second novel and send it to beta readers
  • Draft yet another novel during Camp NaNoWriMo in July
  • Attended two publishing conferences
  • Complete my tax return

From that list, what I didn’t do was lose weight or write a third novel. The number of things I achieved (listed below) definitely outweigh these two failures, which I’m obviously delighted about, but they are still two pretty big failures. Though I will point out that I did take part in Camp NaNoWriMo, as planned, and got a few words towards book three in my trilogy. Overall, I wrote 25,000 words during July, much of it fanfiction works in progress that I wanted to get out of my head at long last.

Here’s the full list of what I actually did achieve: Continue reading

Gender Roles and Stuff

shelfieI’ve been ill, the past few days, and not doing as much work as usual because of it. Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot (and sleeping a lot. Not to mention putting together Ikea furniture – see photo).

So, here’s what I’m thinking: traditional gender roles are kind of dumb. (I know, revolutionary, right?)

I wrote this poem, a few years back, entitled ‘Woman I Am’, and it’s all about how women are defined by society, and asks the question: what do you do when you don’t meet that definition? What does that make you? How else are you defined? All that stuff – I’m sure you get the idea.

The point is, I’m now several years older, and still tackling the same question. I don’t consider myself particularly feminine, but does that make me any less female?

It may sound dumb, but I’m actually finding it surprisingly freeing to just think of myself not in terms of male or female, but just in terms of me. Yeah, still not a revolutionary concept, but I think I’m accepting myself – whoever or whatever that turns out to be – more, and I think that is quite life changing, if only for myself (and, really, that’s all I’ve been after. Figuring things out for myself, and myself alone).

Beyond myself, I don’t how to define myself beyond ticking the boxes that I’ve always ticked. There’s a lot of paperwork involved in life, and I think the people creating it all think asking you to assign yourself a label from a choice of two is a simple thing.

I keep coming back around to the fact that life is not simple. The longer you life, the more complicated it gets.

Here’s the final thing I’m wondering: submission forms that are open to diversity – how do you announce your diverse qualities without it being weird? I mean, I come across a lot of submission guidelines in my line of work. And I’m seeing a lot of ones with notes at the bottom, saying they particularly welcome people from diverse backgrounds. Which is great, of course. But, like, how do you let them know that bit applies to you? Dear Editor, I’m a lesbian, here’s a poem… Do you try and make it obvious from your line of bio.? I seriously would like to know. Curiosity (and the sneezles) is killing me.

I’m rambling. I know that. But this is my head right now, and I wanted to share that.