When you struggle with perfectionism and self-doubt, it can sometimes seem like your life is grinding to a halt and you are spending your days doing nothing. So, in an attempt to not beat myself up, here is a laundry list of what I’ve been up to in the past 6 months.
I had a successful annual review of my Ph.D. and I’m progressing with the writing.
I presented at 2 student-led conferences.
I submitted a distributed paper for a third.
I submitted an article to 2 different journals (it needs work.)
Volunteered for Childline.
Raised £200 for the NSPCC/Childline by running two half marathons
I travelled to Florence.
Reading (non-academic, because if I include that my head will explode):
- The Gastronimical Me, M.F.K. Fisher
- Leg to stand on, Oliver Sacks
- Bound Feet and Western Fress, Natasha Pang-Mei Chang
- On the Move, Oliver Sacks
- Rising Strong, Brene Brown
- M Train, Patti Smith
- Regarding the pain of others, Susan Sontag
- Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
- The Dandelion Years, Erica James
- Some personal opinions, Margaret Mead
- Slow Motion, Dani Shapiro
- Love, Undetectable, Andrew Sullivan
- New Suicide Squad, vol 1
- Why we write about ourselves, edited by Meredith Maran
- Art and Lies, Jeanette Winterson
- Why we write, edited by Meredith Maran
- The Complete Butcher’s Tales, Rikki Ducornet
- The Girl on the train, Paula Hawkins
- Polar Bears, Mark Haddon
- Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed
- Deafness, an autobiography, David Whyte
- A little life, Hanya Yanagihara (reviewed for Bibliodaze, here)
- The Sadeian Woman, Angela Carter
- A Year of Marvellous Ways, Sarah Winman
- The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge
- Far From You, Tess Sharpe
Not nearly as exciting as my peak years on Goodreads, but not too bad either.
Ah, the big one. See, in terms of writing, I can’t say I can complain, even if my progress with the novel has reached glacial pace levels. Because after I read this article on why we ought to collect rejections, I went back and looked at how many I’ve amassed in the 8 months of queries I’ve done (plus all the contest entries and short story and article submissions.) The result was… unexpected:
Total submissions: 78
Non-response (silent rejections): 38
Acceptances: 3 (more on those soon-ish)
+ One very strong encouragement following a writer’s retreat with SCBWI
Add to that my newfound push for blogging, including the Lenten Stories, and a few pretty long fanfics, and I’m surprised my fingers haven’t fallen off from typing.
Add to that the fact that I’m about 2/3rds through version 3 (and rewrite number 8) and all the Lenten stories I’ve written, I’ve got to say, it’s been a good 8 months.
Misc life stuff:
I resumed driving lessons.
I got a car (AND PAID MOST OF THE DEPOSIT AND ALL OF THE INSURANCE AND ALL OF THE ROAD TAX MYSELF!)
I got my purple belt.
I ran the aforementioned half-marathons.
I finally furnished my room.
I resumed learning Italian.
I also resumed my drawing/painting.
I finally bit the bullet and made a plan with my doctor to help myself.
As we say in my support group, that’s a lot of NSVs all around.
How’s 2016 been treating you?