2011 Review, 2012 Plan (list alert)

(Image: Plagiarism Prevention Blog)

This is a long one, go make a drink, pull up a chair, take a deep breath, and  …

How apt, finding an image on a plagiarism prevention and investigation site. Good work, Diane.

Review of 2011
It wasn’t the best of years, nor was it the worst of years, but it was a good year in the end for me, as it turned out.

The year started full of doom and gloom and I couldn’t wait to leave my day job. The problem was, they could wait but I knew that if I held out I’d be entitled to redundancy. They dragged it on and on and on and on and on, and totally forgot I was there. Yes, really. They even admitted it. BUT they finally let me go with enough of a handshake (and an apology) to pay my “wages” for another year.

That was when I got lazy.

I spent a chunk of the money finishing the cosmetic changes to the house so that it would be a nice place to work. My bedroom, the last room in the house to be touched, finally had the electrics updated and the office area smartened up, and it was all decorated. I ran out of money so couldn’t get a new carpet, but that wasn’t such a bad thing after all later, with a new puppy in the house.

The other house improvement I did was to the outside space. I tarted up the kerb appeal, in case I needed to sell or rent out the house, and I made the garden area slightly bigger and much more private. I also had the guttering replaced and a new damp proof injection course.

Then I got a little dog and a lot of time was taken up with that. A lovely man came and went but I hope we’re still friends.

My 2 highlights of the year were getting Rufus – he’s absolutely wonderful – and finally making it to the Edinburgh Book Festival, where I met long time blog buddy and mate Colin Galbraith. The festival was really the only properly writerly thing I achieved.

The rest of the year was spent setting the foundation for my relaunch into the freelance market. I picked up some nice proof-reading work from a local publisher and had some fillers and a short story published. However, this wasn’t good enough from a making-a-living point of view and Diane really does need to do better in 2012.

Plan for 2012
In 2012 I really need to pull my finger out. I need to get up earlier, go to bed earlier so I feel like getting up earlier, spend more time writing and working and less time playing games and socialising, and watch less television. And I need to make my objectives measurable, or at least when these are within my control.

Are you ready for that list?


  • Pitch for 3 monthly columns by end of 1st week (within my control).
  • Earn enough to at least make ends meet by end of January – £200 per week (apx $300) (desired).
  • Pitch for up to 4 marketing/corporate jobs per month, 2 days per firm per month, by end of 2nd week (within my control).
  • Write 1,000 words every day on a work of fiction (within my control).
  • Write and submit 1 or 2 markets articles each month (within my control).
  • Finish first draft of Catch the Rainbow by end of February (within my control).
  • Submit 3 lots of 3 pitches to 3 different magazines every week (within my control).
  • Start organising interviews with National Service veterans and  provide a sample chapter to my publisher by end of March (within my control).
  • Go and talk to me ol’ muckas at Solihull Writers’ Workshop in May (within my control).
  • Get that National Service book commissioned and started by end of June (desired).
  • Proof-read 1 book every week for publisher (desired).
  • Turn proof-reading around in 1 – 2 weeks (within my control when I have them).
  • Submit 1 commissioned article once a fortnight (desired).
  • Edit 1 book every month for publisher (desired).
  • Turn editing around in 3 – 4 weeks (within my control when I have them).
  • Submit 1 unsolicited article to 1 RTE magazine every month (within my control).
  • Write and submit 1 short story every month to fave market (within my control).
  • Write and submit 1 short story every month to a higher paying magazine (within my control).
  • Enter 1 FREE short story competition every month (within my control, when available).
  • Write and submit 1 filler/reader’s letter per week (within my control).
  • Earn enough to be comfortable again by end of June – at least £300 per week (apx $460) (desired).
  • Start The Fool by end of September (within my control).
  • Catch the Rainbow in production by year end (desired, within my control as can do it myself if necessary).
  • Take a holiday …

Everything else

  • Walk dog daily.
  • Start with 1 yoga session per week and build up to 3.
  • Attend every 5 mile walk with Ramblers that am available for.
  • Use the Wii at least weekly, or sell it.
  • Play with the DS at least weekly, or sell it.
  • Attend Ramblers National Conference in April.
  • Start and use the kitchen garden.
  • Only eat homemade cakes, biscuits and cookies.
  • Bake bread at least once a month.
  • Only eat homemade “ready meals”.
  • Ensure freezer is full at all times.
  • Do not buy another book until TBR pile has reduced by at least half.
  • Take a holiday …

As you can see almost everything on my list is measurable and, therefore, achievable. Most of it is within my control, only some of it is out of my control. Therefore any lack of ticks by year end will mostly be my fault and nobody else’s.

It’s going to be tough, there are 3 books in there, plus 3 short stories every month, plus around 10 articles or fillers a month. And fit in around the edges, a life.

This year is going to be better than last year, though. Watch this space and thank you to all those who keep coming back to read, lurk, comment, etc.


18 thoughts on “2011 Review, 2012 Plan (list alert)

  1. Elizabeth Ducie (aka Kate McCormick) 2 January 2012 / 11:37 am

    Diane, you had me nodding in agreement with every item on your list – and this one had me laughing out loud: “Do not buy another book until TBR pile has reduced by at least half.” So I’m not the only one who’s run out of shelf and table space with books that I will/must/would love to read at some point!


    • Diane 2 January 2012 / 11:52 am

      Hey, “Kate”, it’s nice to see you here. Thanks for dropping by.

      I think the important thing when making plans and resolutions is to make them measurable, this is why I put a word count or a date or a value on everything where I can. Also, “write 1,000 words a day” is less vague than just plain “write more”. But I’m probably telling people to suck eggs here by now.

      When you’ve done your list, let me know when it’s on your blog.


  2. Sarah Pearson 2 January 2012 / 12:18 pm

    I’ve been thinking lately about ‘goals’ as opposed to ‘resolutions’. Measurable is what I was looking for, although I didn’t know it, so thank you 🙂


    • Diane 2 January 2012 / 12:25 pm

      Let me know when your list is complete and on your blog. 🙂


  3. Elaine Everest 2 January 2012 / 1:12 pm

    A great blog Diane and good luck with reaching your plans. I’m sure you can do it. I always make a list for the new year and have gone one step further for 2012 – all my students are going to do the same! Part of our first lesson (Wednesday) will be to make a list broken down into monthly components and I am posting them on our website. This will be updated monthly so no ducking out! This year I am dragging the horse to water and forcing it to drink!


    • Diane 2 January 2012 / 1:17 pm

      Thank you, Elaine – and it’s nice to see you here too. 🙂

      Yes, I intend to do a monthly update at the end of each month to see how I did and what I have to do. I couldn’t work without my lists.


  4. esmeraldamac 2 January 2012 / 1:58 pm

    Yes, you’re right, Diane does need to do better in 2012. Just probably not the Diane you have in mind…

    Anyway, thanks for the list. I shall print it out tomorrow to add to the Writer’s News list you mentioned yesterday (assuming I can get to the papershop in town!).

    *rubs behind where booted*


    • Diane 2 January 2012 / 3:18 pm

      Glad to be of service … remind me, though. Which WN list was that? 🙂


  5. esmeraldamac 2 January 2012 / 3:41 pm

    Writer’s Forum. Doug MacPherson. Cat picture 🙂


    • Diane 2 January 2012 / 3:42 pm

      Ah, that was an old article clipped out probably this time last year. Sorry.


  6. Liz Crump 2 January 2012 / 4:03 pm

    Wow what a long list, but you can do it Diane! xx


    • Diane 2 January 2012 / 4:10 pm

      Thank you. It needs to be a good, long list to ensure the mortgage is paid. 🙂 Good luck with yours. xx


  7. Catherine Miller 2 January 2012 / 6:40 pm

    Great list, Diane! I’m sure you will do everything you can. I’ve cut my list down this year to concentrate on main WIPs, mostly to stop distractions. Hope 2012 is a great year for both of us.


    • Diane 3 January 2012 / 9:56 am

      I just need to apply that bum glue and get on with it. 🙂

      Good luck with yours too.


  8. Colin Galbraith 3 January 2012 / 5:32 pm

    It was great to finally meet you too, Diane! The book fest already seems so far away, but it’s great to see all your plans you talked about being penned out and ready for putting into action!

    Good luck for 2012!


    • Diane 4 January 2012 / 11:43 am

      Yeah, it feels like it’s been a long, slow haul, but I think it’s all getting there.

      Good luck to you too. 🙂


  9. Carol 4 January 2012 / 10:11 pm

    THUMP – Just picked myself up off the floor!
    Heavens, certainly got what I asked for. Just what I expected, glad to see there was a space for a holiday, but think you forgot to say time to breathe!
    However, a brilliant list and very motivational for the rest of us.


    • Diane 4 January 2012 / 10:28 pm

      I hope you didn’t hurt yourself …

      Was especially for you, Carol. Glad you found it motivational. 🙂


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