Nearly at the start of a new year, so what am I going to do, or do differently, in 2014? It’s important to go for achievable objectives, although they can (should?) be stretching. So maybe they’re not really resolutions, just plans for the year ahead? Back in the day, I used to write the annual strategic plans for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, so maybe this should be my personal strategic plan. At least I don’t have to submit these plans to the Scottish Office for approval, like I used to for the Garden! I’ll start with the writing, because 2013 was a very successful writing year for me, and I want to build on it.
1. Send out a batch of submissions in January. I’m going to extend the range of magazines and e-zines I send out to, and I’ll make a list and add to it throughout the year.
2. I’ll enter more competitions. I’ve always been fairly ambiguous about competitions, but I entered three in 2013, and placed in two (neither a winner, but it was a hopeful sign).
3. Look at my priorities: readings, workshops, tutoring, projects. I was a bit over-committed in 2013, and I want to pace myself better. Readings and projects were more satisfying than teaching and workshops, so that side will be cut back (or maybe cut out).
On the publishing side, I will
4. Redesign the Calder Wood Press website, and make it simpler. It’s become too cluttered. It’s what happens when you keep adding bits on during the year without looking at the site as a whole.
5. Increase promotion and marketing of existing titles. I’m thinking of organising taster/ showcase readings for three or four Calder Wood Press authors, and maybe linking up with other pamphlet publishers to do promotions..
6. Edit and upload Kindle editions of titles by Mary Johnston and Dave Purdie. This might be the best way to promote my Scots language titles – it’s very hard to sell the printed editions.
I’m hugely enjoying playing tenor sax, and I want to
7. Continue to learn music theory, harmony and improvisation, and build up a repertoire. I’m also refreshing alto sax and clarinet playing, and learning soprano.
8. Try to develop some poetry and jazz projects. There’s one planned as part of Dunbar’s Festival of Words in the summer, but I’m hoping for more.
On the allotment I’ll
9. Build a fence so my apples don’t get nicked again.
10. Concentrate on high-value crops I can’t get cheaply in shops. So no tatties in 2014, but I’ll try celery and celeriac, and I’ll definitely grow Romanesco again. Where did I put those seed lists?
11. Tidy the shed so I can use it for writing in when the weather’s fine.
In other areas,
12. Learn hiragana and katakana Japanese script.
There are certain fixed events coming up that I know about: StAnza in March, our holiday in Italy in April, Dunbar’s Festival of Words in June, a trip to the Normandy beaches with friends in September, the launch of my new haibun book in autumn. But there’s plenty of room for the unplanned.