New Year, New Start

January – a month for promises and plans. I usually start the new year by making an effort to eat better and exercise more (along with everyone else), but this year I’m trying something different.

Back in December I handed in my notice. I’d been working in a full-time post in new sector since August, but I hadn’t enjoyed it and felt an almost-daily dread about going to work. I didn’t have another full-time job lined up to go to – in fact, I didn’t even want one. For the first time in my life, I wanted to try a different way of working.

I have wanted to write a book ever since I was a child. I wrote my first poem when I was seven, my first children’s story at eleven, and since then have been squeezing in my writing around full-time work, full-time study, a long-distance relationship or two, and a year spent living and teaching in Japan. I’ve got married, moved house almost once a year, travelled to America, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. Work has always come first, writing second. Or third. Or maybe fourth or fifth.

I’m now at the beginning of my thirties, and I’m not really any closer to being an author than I was at the age of eleven. So that’s what I’m going to do in 2017: write a book. Researching and writing it will be my nine-to-five, something I sit down to do each day. Even on weekends and holidays I’ll be writing for an least an hour a day. Although I might not make the magical/mythical 10,000 hours in just one year, I’ll be a couple of thousand closer.

What is the book about? Well, I’m going to be knitting my way round the British Isles in a year, writing about what I learn as I go. I’ll be blogging on This Golden Fleece and you can also keep an eye on what I’m up to on Twitter @thisgoldfleece, Instagram @thisgoldenfleece and Ravelry ThisGoldenFleece. I’ll also be experimenting with lots of types of writing and hopefully signing up for a course or two along the way.

I’m lucky to be part of a household with one full-time income guarenteed through my partner’s work, but I’m also looking to pick up freelance copywriting and creative project management work too (more on that here). My first offer of paid freelance work has just come in so will be looking to build this up over the next few months. If you’re looking for a copywriter or project manager specialising in literary heritage, do get in touch on https://estherphoeberutter.wordpress.com/.

Wish me luck!

Attribution: Johannes Jansson/norden.org

100 years of reading…

A really good way to broaden your taste in literature is to do commit yourself to a reading challenge.

Attribution: Johannes Jansson/norden.org

Attribution: Johannes Jansson/norden.org

I’ve just signed up for A Century of Books after being inspired by Stuck-in-A-Book, who has already completed one Century and is about to start his second in January 2014. A Century of Books is just that – a challenge to read one book for every year of a given century. I’m jumping in with 1900 and will blog about my journey through the 20th century over the coming months. Although you could take this up as a New Year’s Resolution, I’m going to make it my Academic New Year’s Resolution and start now. Who’s with me? I’ll be blogging about each book I read – and I’ll be reading them in chronological order, starting with Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad.

Other reading challenges to try are:

  • Six Books Challenge, for those who find reading difficult
  • Book Trust run a series of games and competitions throughout the year for readers of all ages, from babies to grannies and everyone in between
  • The Literary Exploration Reading Challenge at Literary Exploration – they’ve dated it 2013 but you could attempt it any time
  • Follow in the footsteps of A Penguin a Week but with any publisher or series: how about a poetry one using Faber’s iconic poetry series or Persephone’s beautiful ‘neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women’

There are also lots of great online memes and articles to get you thinking about what you read

Right, off to go and collect Lord Jim from his lofty resting place in the library…