Saturday, January 03, 2015

Saturday Morning Musings - new year targets and writing

This year's first post, Mr Abbott’s Great Wall of Australia, was political. I couldn't help myself! Last year's first post, Joy, sharing and the goals for 2014, was more your conventional new year's post. The post began with a reference to Peter Black's blog, freedom to dither. Here I see that Peter has again set detailed targets. I have not.

Last year I set just two targets.

The first was to beat my daughters at tennis. Fail! As events turned out, their busy lives including Helen's travel prevented us playing tennis for much of the year. We have only just begun to play again, and my tennis shows it.

The second target was to complete a first draft of my main history book. Again, fail. While I did make progress over the year in my writing, the combination of too many projects with other pressures (it was a very messy year) blew the main target out of the water. Ah well.

I still want to beat my daughters at tennis. However, the window here is very brief because Helen takes up a job in Copenhagen at the start of February. I am excited for her, but will miss her greatly.

On the writing side, I did do my end year review trying to focus on what I might realistically achieve. I can see the progress, although I can also see that I am still trying to advance on all fronts at the same time.

I did achieve one publication, two chapters in Came to New England. The photo is from the launch and shows John Ryan (editor) with UNE VC Annabelle Duncan and Dr Suzanne Robertson, one of the other contributors. John Ryan is a remarkable man. I really must try to write something on him.

While the much delayed launch was in September 2014, the book is really a 2013 piece. I wonder what I can get out in 2015? 

My first History Revisited column for the Armidale Express for 2015 is already done, and will come out next week. My first Express column appeared in December 2008. Since then I have written over 280 columns, first as Belshaw's World and then History Revisited. I guess that's a fair output considering the many other things that I have written over the period, but it doesn't give me the thing that I most crave, the physical feel of a book in my hand! Nor, in fact, does it ensure that my writing is preserved in some way for later use. 

I know that it's egotistical, but none of my main blogs have been classified as worthy of permanent retention by the Australian National Library Trove project. They survive only as long as blogger survives. So I have to think about how to best make my writing accessible now while preserving the best of it for the longer term. 

Looking at my book projects, I find that I have actually been making progress. At some point this year, I am going to have to select one, but not now. The target, I guess, is just to have one 2015 publication. So my targets for 2015 turn out to be almost the same as 2014, beat my daughters at tennis, complete one book!

 Interesting to watch youngest, Clare's, writing progress. She is miles in front of where I was at the same age. Her blog, A good whine, has only just been updated, but her main writing is for The Australia Times - Games Magazine, and Media Hype101.Interesting having a daughter who writes on such different topics. It introduces me to new areas, but also creates a mild competitive rivalry! I suspect that's good for both of us.



Anonymous said...

Peter Black, 2015: i reason that as i already (over)share every tiny aspect of my life on twitter, tumblr, swarm and facebook, it makes sense to also post my resolutions online.

Henry David Thoreau, 1849: Behind every man's busy-ness there should be a level of undisturbed serenity.

My eyes glazed over reading Peter's link; I think I'll go with Henry David.

Happy New Year Jim! And maybe think of "aspirations" rather than resolutions :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you, kvd. I really liked that Thoreau quote, as well as the idea of aspirations! 2015 shall be the year od aspirations!

Anonymous said...

We had a very intense storm here last night - over 3 inches of rain in about 90 minutes, complete with hail larger than a 20 cent piece, and with the result that half my sloping driveway has been removed down the hill, and several perspex-covered areas have large holes. Cost, maybe $2-3000.

Then there's ticks are bad this year, and snakes, and bushfires always threatened. My staff always goes into a funk about all this with endless discussion about "what if?", but it leaves me with a different feeling, associated with that word 'serenity'.

Perhaps the only 'good' thing coming out of my wife's struggle with the same sort of thing which took Denis Wright is a sense that it just isn't worthwhile spending time worrying about things over which I have little or no control. Fix them where possible - yes - but what I suppose some would call fatalism, I have come to think of as a sort of serenity.

Have a lovely day; I'm off to sort out a temporary fix for the driveway somehow. And if I can't, well, I can't.


Anonymous said...


Ken Parish follows 322 followed by 578

Catallaxy (can't be arsed to find Davidson) followed by 1061

(UPDATE: yes I could: follows 510 followed by 986)

Helen Dale follows 188. Followed by 785


Peter Black follows 8892 followed by 9339

Sorry Jim, sometimes I just can't help myself following your references back to root. Passes the time, and provides a larf or three :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Hope you fixed that driveway, kvd!

Just for the record, I follow 93, am followed by 180, so a bit under 2 for 1. That's roughly the same as the ratio for Ken and Sinclair. Helen's ratio is much higher, Peter closer to 1:1.

No idea how Peter follows that many. I couldn't.

Anonymous said...

Was intrigued by Peter's mention of "swarm" the other day, so finally checked and found it to be associated with Foursquare.

On the one hand it seems like a fairly good descriptor, but on the other, Wikipedia describes swarming as Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour exhibited by animals of similar size which aggregate together, perhaps milling about the same spot or perhaps moving en masse or migrating in some direction.

- which I think is quite funny when applied to humans. Maybe v2 could be termed 'pointless'.


Jim Belshaw said...

That's entertaining, kvd. I could never motivate myself to become involved in foursquare; to much like hard work! Flock and swarm much the same.