New Year, New Words

Firstly, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope the first eight days of 2015 have been kind to you.
A lot of things have happened in the interval since I last posted some words, so this might be a little longer than normal. This post was also not written today, but rather in bits and pieces as they happened and then edited yesterday for posting today, so I beg forgiveness for any oddness of tense that creeps in.
Picking up where my 2014 entries left off, due to family commitments neither the reviews of theatre & film got written, nor did “I know Schnapps” and the work Christmas party happened without me. That said, it doesn’t sound like I missed much (hotel was, apparently, more than a bit not good) and I’m actually quite grateful to have been spared the Jaeger bombs.  
Christmas Eve was a sad time for the family, as my beloved Great Auntie passed away. She had not been well for many months but that didn’t lessen the pain. I still keep tearing up every time I remember I won’t get to hug her again. She will be missed and live long in the hearts of all who knew her.
However, as the presents had already been wrapped, the stockings filled and all the food prepared we had Christmas anyway. It was a quiet, peaceful and pleasant four day break; Mum & I indulged our love of jigsaws, books were read (just for pleasure, for an entire day – I love researching things, I really do, but it was so nice not to be making notes!) and Dog had many walks. I took a few photos as well:
An unexpected rose on the morning walk
The Christmas table
The Christmas Tree
A Christmas Kim and a Christmas Dog
Workwise, year-end has come and gone and, as far as I can tell until the actuals come in, all the juggling worked and the money ended up exactly where it was supposed to be at 5pm on 31st December. I still have no idea if my requests re salary and job will be met but I’ve started prepping my CV and perusing the London job market on the assumption that it can’t hurt to prepare for every eventuality.
New Year’s Eve was also spent quietly at home, as was New Year’s Day. Dog was walked, nice food was eaten, games were played and I relaxed as much as I could. One of the weird things about working all the way through Christmas and New Year is that you completely lose track of what day it is and when I went back to work on 2nd January, I spent the entire day convinced it was Monday!
The New Year’s Day table (apparently Frozen affected Mum more than I thought!)
I was most confused on Saturday morning but at least I didn’t mind being awake early, since I needed to be up to take Mum and Dad to London for our version of going to a pantomime – seeing Cats. We made a day of it and had a wander through central London in the morning and then lunched in the Criterion (it’s still my favourite restaurant in London, Sherlock connection aside, as the food is as gorgeous as the surroundings) before we headed to the Palladium for the matinee. It was just as spectacular second time around (why yes, this was my first obsession as a child and yes, I’m still indulging it) and I got “catted” by the White Cat & Mungojerry thanks to being sat on the end of a row in the stalls. Mum and Dad enjoyed it too and we were a content little family when we caught the train back to Telford.
Writing wise, these few weeks have been brilliant for two reasons:
1) My Twelve Days of Ficmas (plus Christmas Eve) was a complete success. I didn’t get all the fics finished before I started posting on Christmas Eve (and some were still just a couple of bullet points of ideas and no draft at all) so I ended up writing every day from Boxing Day onwards to make sure I got them all done but I did. All complete, all posted on the right day, nothing missed.
I wrote in fandoms I’d never produced anything for before (Cabin Pressure and ACD canon), rekindled my love for another (Merlin) and created some more backstory, head canons and continuations for a few of my BBC Sherlock ‘verses. It was a completely freeing experience, I wrote what made me happy, I wrote in styles and forms that I’d never otherwise have tried and, best of all, I didn’t panic about perfect. I just concentrated on creating the story and/or scene the prompt had put in my head.
Everyone who prompted seemed to like what I’d written for them (although I can’t quite shut up the small annoying voice in the back of my head that says they were only being polite – but that’s my own lack of self-confidence talking and I refuse to listen to it) and each of the fics seems to have been well received both by the group of people who regularly read my stuff and a few newcomers.  I’ve been left some truly wonderful comments and, between that and having written each prompt without worrying about anyone else would think of it,  I’ve rediscover my trust in my own writing instincts that I lost back in June during the “vicious anon hate for Backside Rodeo” debacle. In fact the whole experience reminded me why I started writing in the first place. Which is nice.
2) I’ve written between 500 and 1,000 words every day since Boxing Day and I am not intending to break my streak any time soon. This is, in part, because I’m just damn well enjoying taking pleasure in words again but also because I signed up for Get Your Words Out.
My GYWO pledge is 200,000 words by the end of 2015, which is approximately 550 words per day (or between 775 & 840 five days a week) and my personal target is 260,000, which is approximately 800 words per day (or 1000 five days a week). Between 1st and 7th January I managed just over 7k, which is 3k over the GYWO target and 2k over my personal one. This isn’t about posted words, or polished words, or perfect words, it’s about getting the words on the page. Finishing the first draft. Keeping going.
I’m under no illusions that it will be hard work sustaining the momentum, but I think being part of a public challenge will help with this aspect, as will the fact I desperately want to finish all my fan fiction WIPs (one of which is close to having a longer hiatus than Sherlock) and the first draft of my WWI/Afghanistan novel. I have made decisions in the past to put other aspects of my life ahead of my writing. They were valid decisions, made for good reasons, and I do not regret them in the slightest. However this year I am making the commitment, straight out of the blocks, that my writing comes first. I’m a firm believer that life is what you make of it and if I want to achieve my goals then this is now the time to push for them. I started by making my work position clear at the end of last year, now I’m doing the same with my hobbies.
Anyway, I’m going to make posting my word count part of this weekly blog (which is handy since 2015 started on a Thursday) to keep my eyes firmly focused on the prize. So, officially, word count at the end of Week 1, Wednesday 7th January, is 7,317 words.
Lastly, but by no means leastly (if Shakespeare can make words up then so can I), I thought I’d do a bit of a “what does 2015 have in store other than writing?”
The answer is lots of exciting stuff.
I’ve been lucky enough to get a ticket to the Sherlock Holmes Society of London Annual Dinner which means I get to dress in a posh frock and spend the evening in the House of Commons eating good food and talking about one of my favourite things with likeminded people.  This will be my third year of attending and I think I’ve got over my nerves about it all! I’m also going to be at SHAM on 24thDecember, seeing all my Sherlock buddies for the day, which will be fab.
There will be holidays to Venice (with Mum and Dad, to celebrate Mum reaching three score years and ten and me hitting half that), Wells (a girly weekend), and London (several times for various things). I’m also hoping to sneak in a visit to the Lakes, but that will be down to time and budget.
Unsurprisingly, I also have a few theatre visits already lined up:
  • Young Men (from Ballet Boyz) at Sadler’s Wells
  • The Boys Upstairs at Above the Stag
  • RSC’s Love’s Labours Lost (in the cinema via NTlive)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime at Wolverhampton Grand
  • A View from the Bridge at Wolverhampton Grand
  • The Ruling Class at Trafalgar Studios
  • Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre
  • To Kill A Mockingbird at the Barbican
  • Hamlet (an unapologetic three times) at the Barbican

I have no doubt there will be a few more added as the year goes on – I’m hoping to do another pass at War Horse despite the ugly crying it always induces, I’d also like to see Billy Elliot, and groundling experiences at The Globe are always lovely.
And that’s it for now. Next week’s installment will come from a hotel room in London, fuelled by coffee and Holmesian dinner excitement. Dog wishes it to be known that the gallivanting of her owner does not amuse her. Such is life.

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