Recap & reflections

So, with the hangover dealt with, and the Bank Holiday sliding from ‘afternoon’ to ‘evening’, I figured I’d jot down some of the thoughts I’ve had…

2016, in the Lindsey household, has been somewhat of a rollercoaster. Ignoring politics (because I just don’t want to go there… more later). This time last year our main income was from self-employment – I never got to the point of giving up my ‘day-job’, but I’ve always seen that as being secondary income which stops us from dropping off the bottom of the overdraft – and we were hearing varying and at times contradictory rumours about the future direction of major players in the industry we were part of… but then in May, just as husband’s car went into the garage starting a months-long saga of Trouble With Cars, he was offered a job with one of the manufacturers. He works from home, receives a good salary, but most importantly he seems to be valued for his expertise & other qualities.

It’s made quite a difference to my life, and has taken several months for me to adjust as 8 years of him working away most of the week has meant I’ve got rather used to not having to take anyone else’s plans into consideration when deciding what to do of an evening. We’ve probably still got some way to go, but we’re getting there.

2016 also saw my first solo publication – Under Leaden Skies was released by Manifold Press in August – and also my first short story for several years: Man of War is contained within the delightful Austen-themed anthology A Certain Persuasion, also published by Manifold Press.

I started the year with plans to get at least one more longer work – if not two – to completed first draft stage once I’d completed edits on ULS. Finishing, alas, is not something I’ve done much of this year. I’m putting it down to the turbulence in both my personal life and the wider world (politics again…).

That seems an appropriate point at which to segue into my plans for this year, 2017. Firstly, on the writing front, Manifold Press have a call for submissions to a WW2 anthology, Call To Arms. I’m part-way through one story for that, and have ideas for at least 2 more. I’ll get as much written on all the ideas as I can, and then choose the strongest for submission. After that, I’ve got 2 longer length stories I’d like to get my teeth into – both, again, WW2. Not quite sure why I have so many plot bunnies for that era, but I do. After that (which will probably take me to the end of the year) I’d like to get stuck into the companion stories to Under Leaden Skies. I’ve a lot of details to flesh out still, but there’s a sequel (A Brighter Dawn), Cheeks’s story, and Grandfather’s story (Against The Tide) all floating round my head.

I’ve probably done more reading of new-to-me books this year than I have for quite a while. A good part of the reason for this is entirely prosaic: with a steady reliable income that pays all the bills without me getting super-stressed, I’ve been able to spend money on things I enjoy without feeling I have to justify every penny (not that I have been asked to justify such spending in the past 30 years, but still…). I’ve got round to purchasing books which I’ve had my eye on for years, as well as catching up with recent releases from favourite authors. Additionally, widening the circle of people I follow on Twitter has made me more thoughtful in my choices and the interpretation of the stories I read.

I posted yesterday about the 5 books I’ll be reading this month, and that I plan to write a post about each one, and that’s something I’d like to dedicate more time to this year as well: sharing my thoughts on what I read, because what I most like discussing is a good story.

There are several other things I plan to organise myself into doing this year, but the one I will mention here, because I said I’d come back to the politics, is standing up and speaking out. It’s only very recently (mostly within the past year) that I’ve started to find the right words to define my identity, and it took me a long time to work my way from “Well maybe, I think, possibly, this kind of sounds like me” to “Yes, I am. This is me. Screw your preconceived opinions based on what you know of my life”. And I’m blowed if I’ll crawl back into the shell of “Well it’s not like ignoring those parts of me is stopping me from progressing in life” because actually? It has been. All those doubts, those moments of “but really? That’s not how I see me, but if you say I am then I guess I’d better follow what you say” add up to a general dissatisfaction at best. I’m working my way out of the hole I dug, and I’m doing my best along the way to join hands with others so we can collectively drag our societies kicking and screaming into the century of the fruitbat.

Or something like that ;-) Couldn’t resist a Pratchett quote.

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