Journal#7: When January isn’t what you thought it would be

Can you believe January’s nearly over? At this time of the year many of us are at our weakest. Maybe we’ve given up on our New Year Resolutions, or we’re ploughing on but we’re lost in the gloom of winter, shivering away against the wind. Maybe we’re still financially broke after Christmas, or we’re feeling a little run down, not having full detoxed after the Christmas binge and fallen prey to one of the many bugs doing the rounds. So what do you do if January isn’t what you thought it’d be?


My January has been a real mixed bag. In terms of my New Year Resolutions is hasn’t been all that great, but there’ve been some wonderful surprises along my twisty-turny path. I found out that one of my poems is being included in Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets 2018 Anthology, and I also discovered that another poem of mine is nominated for a Forward Prize! Such an unexpected joy to be grouped in with so many other incredible poets nominated. It’s a real first for me! I’m still waiting to hear back from quite a few submissions, and I’m trying not to expect wins like this all the time (because let’s face it, it’s not going to happen).

But as for the things I said I was going to do – that’s been more difficult. My main focus was going to be my novel, and while I have worked on it, it hasn’t been the everyday endeavour I wanted it to be. I’ve done a lot of work on an amended outline, and even built character moodboards for each character to help me when writing dialogue. It’s certainly helped me to get into their headspace (in fact, I might do a blog post on this in the future, as it’s something I made up and it’s been genuinely helpful). I also planned to do quite a few submissions this month but I’ve hardly done any. Argh! I’ll regret that in a few months when I don’t have any journals or publishers to anxiously await responses from.

So why haven’t I stuck to my guns? It’s a mix of stuff. Circumstance, being ill, my day job as a writer and content strategist generally wiping me out, and many many other distractions. Friends being released on Netflix hasn’t helped. 😉 But this doesn’t mean I can’t continue with my Resolutions, quite the contrary. Just because I’ve strayed a bit doesn’t mean giving up. Resolutions are for all year, so even if you’ve gone completely off the boil, those promises you made to yourself are still there when you want to make them part of your life again. Don’t give up!

And now it’s back to it for me. In the meantime, if you’re looking for something romantic to gift for Valentine’s Day, The Emma Press have launched their Anthology of Love, which contains two poems by yours truly. Hopefully I’ll be getting to a launch in the next couple of weeks and reading a piece about Mushroom Love. And of course, if you love someone right down to their bones, perhaps a certain book of Bone Poems (which includes at least one love poem anyway) might just fit the bill.


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