Sunday, 1 February 2009

Plans for February

February is going to be so busy, workwise, that I doubt I'll have a single day off (and, yes, that does include weekends). So I'm not going to have much time for writing. However, I do plan to find time to:
  1. Write two new short stories
  2. Edit and submit three short stories that I've already written
  3. Edit and re-submit three short stories that have come back from womags
  4. Submit the story I sold last October, in the UK, to That's Life Australia
  5. Make progress with the background reading and note-taking for my travel book (aiming to finish this by the end of March)
I think that's realistic. I can do an hour or two, most evenings. And I've got a train trip coming up when I can do some work on my trusty laptop.

So no work on the novel; no actual writing on the travel book; and no competition entries. I suspect March will be the same, but I hope to see a change in April.

Another thing I intend to do in February is stay off the booze. I'm so busy that I can't afford to have alcohol-related insomnia or dozy morning head. As I get older, my tolerance for alcohol gets lower. In my early 20s I used to go out and get hammered on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night, and I would still be up bright and early for work on Monday morning. Now, if I went out and got hammered on Friday night, I'd spend the rest of the weekend in bed recovering. I don't drink huge amounts these days, and I try to have at least two days off each week, but it's not unusual for the Paramour and I to share a bottle of wine some nights. I think I need to find a way to get the same amount of enjoyment from a single glass of wine that I used to get from half a bottle. Trouble is, that seems like a great plan before the single glass, but after it all my resolve seems to disappear! So I hope a complete break will help me rethink all this, as well as making it easier to get all my work done.

I last had a month off about five years ago. Then I was going to do it again three years ago, but on day 12 my cat died and I reached for the hooch. Which is drinking as stress management, and not good - one of the things I've been trying to change. The other is drinking as essential to social occasions. But I don't want to give up the booze altogether, because I love wine, enjoy real ale, like brandy, Calvados, Armagnac and single malt whisky, and generally find alcohol life-enhancing. I'd like to reach a point where I only drink what I want, when I want, and I don't turn to alcohol as a matter of routine, either when I've had a bad day or when I'm socialising.

Having said all that, I had a lovely boozy night last night, with the Paramour and an old friend. This morning, while I'm not hungover, the idea of a complete break from the booze feels like a relief. I am also aware that this feeling may not last for the whole of the next 28 days (February is a good month to choose for this!!). I'll let you know how it goes.


JJ said...

Hmmm, I'd be interested to hear how it goes not drinking for a month... Particularly how others react to your decision, for example. I find this one of the toughest things to deal with, despite the fact that feeling peer pressure in my forties is quite ridiculous.

HelenMHunt said...

That's a brave decision. I have done a whole month with no booze a couple of times - but it doesn't help if you hit stressful times half way through. Good luck with your goals.

Clare Sudders said...

Given how busy you are, that's an impressive To-Do list!

I'm planning on submitting a load of kiddy stuff soon, and also some old stories that have never been sold anywhere.

I've decided to get a seaparate agent for the kids' stuff, and now I'v had the idea I want top get stuck in. But I can't decide whether to submit to agents now, or wait until I've written the kids' chapter book I'm planning to write this year. I should probably go for the latter, but I've never been known for my patience...

Queenie said...

JJ, I know, I feel like that too. Another good reason for choosing this month is that I have very few social events lined up, so little or no peer pressure to grapple with. Helen: thanks - I'm hoping for a stress-free February, and it's going well so far! Clare: that sounds exciting, very best of luck. I'm not patient either so I sympathise with you there. Can't offer advice, I'm afraid, as I know very little about writing for children, but whatever you decide, I hope it goes well.

PI said...

I think it pays to 'listen to one's body.' I certainly reached the stage where the thought of anything approaching a hang over made me quail. When MTL and I first got together - for the second time - we had some long confessional nights helped along by tots of whiskey until the headaches got too much and now I rarely drink spirits, have a glass of wine a day (it's the law)and the odd little splurge with family and close friends.

Writing other stuff I'm sure will be a welcome break from the novel and you'll probably go back to it refreshed and rejuvenated.

Confidence should be kept buoyant at all times.

KAREN said...

I have no problem with the alcohol side of things, as I don't like the taste of the stuff! I have to have my wine watered down, and even then one glass makes me dizzy. Hopeless!

Good goals though :o)

Queenie said...

PI: I think I'm heading in the same direction. Karen: I know a couple of other people who don't like the taste of alcohol. Sadly, I love it.

Brennig said...

I'm taking a couple of months off from 'work'. The aim is to finish half a dozen writing projects, start two new ones, have a couple of holidays and rediscover quality of life.

Unfortunately I've just bought a second horse, so I'll be getting back to work a lot sooner than planned.

But the writing's been going very well.