Farewell to a trio of obsessions (and when I say obsession, I mean day on day, everyday, not quite mania but sometimes damned close):
Writing Big Year – you drove me mad and I let you down and you didn’t “work,” but I can’t gainsay the many huge gains I made over the year. I’ll learn from you and turns 2017’s disappointments into 2018’s successes.
Fitness Big Year – you were tough to uphold (man, did I bitch and moan!) and I recast you a few times, but I’m now half a cyclist on top of being a jogger, my fitness is improved (whatever that means), and I’m addicted to daily workouts. My gratitude to you, old friend.
Rock Music Big Year – your daily aural treat was sublime, and if you haven’t rekindled my old fixation on life-saving toons, something nascent smoulders inside me now. Bless you (and I wish I could repeat you in 2018).
Family aside, 2017’s core was the Writing Big Year, which I defined on January 1 as full morning concentration (with various regulations and processes) and, far more important, finishing a draft of the book. Well, the Big Year concept – daily service to an obsession – doesn’t work for a project that carries any uncertainty at all, let alone the bottomless unknowns of my book attempt.
Within weeks the completion goal revealed itself as make-believe. After a series of rewrites of the Writing Big Year, I changed tack a little (note that I was working very hard and most productively) and then more, and in the middle of the year switched to exercising first thing in my mornings, before realizing that was stupid, etc., etc., etc. I paid lip service to the Writing Big Year until late in the year, and then abandoned all hope.
Look, the initial goal was aspirational, motivating enough that 2017 was a terrific writing year for me. My friends and family wouldn’t agree, but I’m making fine progress. It’s just that it would have been better to align the work with the “do it daily” discipline.
2018 will learn from 2017.
I’ve walked to the edge of this cliff a few times in 2017. I could have jumped: abandoned the book, given up the writing fantasy, retired.
What’s your precipice?
Oh, I strove this year but, as someone close to me observed last night, “you’ve mastered the art of writing a book impossibly slowly.” The Writing Big Year, which was meant to provide structure and underpin a proper “plan,” sped me up but not enough. Bleak moments abounded.
But the night lifts and a sweet day unfurls, and the name of that day is 2018. This time next year I’ll toast success!
I’ve nothing to do here except work, but the best work still occurs out of town. In Sydney I had a number of exemplary days of heads-down drafting.
The plan: next year will see nothing but exemplary days!
This bemuses me no end. Because he’s been shortlisted five times but never taken final prize, Flanagan formally boycotts the Miles Franklin. Writing is writing, and reading is reading, and a writer wins an award because a certain group of readers admires his/her book. Surely luck will always play a large part, i.e. the precise group of readers doing the judging. On the other hand, I don’t intend to waste any more emotional energy fussing over this. It’s his choice and so be it.
Back at Kelby’s Cafe in Marrickville, after too long a gap. Thursday sang especially wonderfully but yesterday was also great, and I have high hopes for today. Inching through the plot points, making sense of it all, and hopefully talking sense to the world . . .