>How did I do?

>Last year I had such high hopes. I was going to sort everything out in my life and get writing again. Lots of things happened meanwhile, like a major recession that stopped our pay rise and bonuses and left a question mark over whether we’d still be in work by the end of the year. And during the summer a few things happened, including Tinker disappearing, that ground me to a halt yet again.

Let’s see how I actually did, though …

2009 goals

  • at least 2 holidays away – I’d like to make it to at least week 1 of the Edinburgh Book Festival, but the other holiday can be a walking one (in this country) or a foreign one

No. Boo! Mainly due to the recession, I couldn’t afford a holiday at all during 2009.

  • secure a publisher for one of my novels

No. Boo!

  • keep the day job

Yes. Hurray!

2009 dreams

  • get a publishing contract

Yes. Hurray! I got a contract to publish a local history book, deadline 31 March 2010.

  • reduce debt (see it coming down)

Yes. Hurray! I joined a Financial Management Plan, got my debts frozen, agreed to paying so much off per month, but leaving me with money to live on again – and NO MORE CREDIT.

  • ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends to stop stalking me, online and/or in person (I can SEE you)

Yes and No, but much of this is actually beyond my control. There was only one left by the end of the year, though, and even then hardly as often as before.

2009 resolutions


  • write something every single day

No. Boo!

  • complete 3 novels (Stevie Tarot 1: The Fool; Marcie Craig 2: The Beast Within; Catch the Rainbow)

No. Boo! (Didn’t even complete one.) (Although I did finalise an earlier one, Marcie Craig 1: Night Crawler. Hurray!)

  • complete 11 short stories

No. Boo! Only 1 completed.

  • complete 12 full-length articles

No. Boo!

  • submit 12 reader’s letters

No. Boo! Only submitted 4.

  • complete 12 fillers

Yes. Hurray! Actually completed and submitted 13 fillers.

  • make my desk at home a nice, motivating and inspirational place to work

Yes. Hurray!

day job

  • utilise time more efficiently
  • meet all of my appraisal objectives
  • keep the magazine going despite the credit crunch
  • make the magazine better, get more readers and people wanting to contribute

Yes. Hurray!

  • tidy my office and work out an archive system for the old magazines and newsletters

No. Boo!

  • write something for every issue

No. Boo! (Apart from the regular stuff I always do last.)

  • produce 4 magazines and 4 newsletters

Yes and No. Hurray and Boo! The newsletter was a victim of the recession.

  • assist with and produce 2 brochures

No. Boo! Recession again.

health & fitness

  • lose at least a stone (14lb)

No. Boo! I only lost 6lb.

  • walk or exercise every single day

No. Boo!

  • eat even more healthily
  • walk more and use public transport instead of rely too heavily on the car

Yes. Hurray!

  • get my cholesterol levels checked
  • arrange blood sugar test

No. Boo!

  • get broken tooth fixed

Yes. Hurray!

  • check dental abscess

Yes. Hurray! (Still there …)

  • pluck up courage to see an optician – and hope eyesight hasn’t dropped to below the recommended level for driving …

No. Boo!


  • cook more meals from scratch, in batches to freeze

Yes. Hurray! I’m actually getting quite the expert at this and don’t even like shop-bought readymeals any more.

  • USE the wool I already have to knit – don’t buy any more

Yes. Hurray! Although it’s taken me a whole year to knit an Aran and I’m still only halfway up the back.

  • WEAR the clothes I already have – don’t buy any more

Yes. Hurray! No choice anyway, no money.

  • keep weekly grocery bill to £30 or less

On average, yes. Hurray!

  • make more use of Shanks’s pony and rely less on the car

Yes. Hurray!

  • learn about alternative cleaning products and methods
  • DO SOMETHING with all the fat quarters I’ve collected

No. Boo!

  • bake more, including bread from scratch and not in the machine (don’t like the machine taste)

Yes. Hurray! Although I’ve decided to oven cook fresh bread only once a month but maybe use the bread machine every week.

  • (if successful, offer BM to a good home – offers on a post card)

No. Boo! (I’m keeping it for now.)

  • investigate the possibility of a slow cooker

No. Boo! Couldn’t afford one anyway.

  • kick start my freelance journalism to increase my earning power

Yes. Hurray!

  • reduce number of credit cards by 2 (currently 5 + 1 store card)

Yes. Hurray! (Fanfare please – NO credit cards OR store cards.)

  • reduce debt repayments by at least 33%

Yes. Hurray! (Thanks to the FMP.)

  • keep on top of budget and remember to keep card reader with me so I can check online banking daily, wherever I am

Yes. Hurray! Although this particular bank account was a victim of the FMP.

  • think about selling stuff on ebay or similar (juicer, ornaments, books, fat quarters …)

Yes. Hurray! Sold some jewellery, some DVDs, and some CDs.

  • keep in better touch with the money saving experts, instead of in fits and starts

No. Boo! It’s very time consuming.

  • cancel all magazine subscriptions

Yes. Hurray! Although I did then take out a special offer on the Radio Times, which was an alternative to TV & Satellite Week as the former includes the radio stations.


  • have 3 x 2-week holidays
  • get away for at least 2 of those holidays, whether in this country or abroad
  • get to the theatre/ballet at least 4 times
  • get to the cinema at least 4 times
  • a long-distance walk every month

No. Boo!

  • read a novel a month

Yes. Hurray! I actually managed 27 novels, which is more than 2 a month even.

  • listen to more radio/music – give eyes a rest

Yes. Hurray!

  • visit every place on my Yorkshire Life calendar

No. Boo! Not a single, solitary one.

  • get home to Birmingham more often, and see my sister too

Yes. Hurray! I’m making Birmingham once a month and often see my sister at our parents’. Twice I saw her outside of our parents’, once at Sheffield Wednesday v Barnsley football game, and again at Christmas.


  • only spend on essential maintenance this year

Yes. Hurray! I didn’t spend a penny on home maintenance … but I may have to spend some in 2010.

  • enjoy what I’ve managed to achieve so far
  • keep it clean and tidy
  • always welcome visitors and guests

Yes. Hurray!


  • start knitting again

Yes. Hurray!

  • knit an item from my knitting calendar every month
  • start sewing again

No. Boo!

  • be a more adventurous cook

Yes. Hurray!

  • cook something from my cookery calendar every month
  • make the most of RSPB membership

No. Boo!

  • check the Dearne Valley Ramblers’ walking calendar

Yes. Hurray! Although this stopped mid-February when I got injured.

So, that’s it. Not as good as I’d hoped, but not as bad as I feared. In 2010 Diane will try harder.