They say the older you get, the faster time passes, and by the time you’re eighty you’re having breakfast every five minutes. (Any octogenarians out there like to confirm or deny?) It appears to me that by the time you’re thirty, you’re looking at the year in review every few months.
A year ago I had 2015 laid out on a page, and rather depressing viewing it was. I expected the same from 2016, given how disrupted it felt, but it wasn’t quite as bad as I’d thought. Quite.
A quick note on how the analysis works: each day gets one cell in the spreadsheet, which mentions one thing I did. So if it says ‘blog’ it means I worked on my blog, but not my WIP, though I may have done other things as well. It’s a subtle hierarchy of achievement.
Of the 366 days with which we were blessed in 2016, I actually spent 112 days working on the WIP rewrite in some way, shape or form. A lot of it felt guiltily like time-wasting when I looked back from a short distance, but months later, I can see that that was the time that the story most changed form, from the first draft to the second.
On at least 62 days I worked on blog posts. Writing a puppet play was my sole occupation for one day; another was devoted to writing a newsletter for family and friends, and two days I worked solely on a sermon (for this coming Sunday). There was also one day I focussed on a book about writing (The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke), which I shall charitably include in the writing tally. Ditto the three days I pondered whether to do a sort-of NaNoWriMo, decided I would, and prepared accordingly.
By my count, that’s 182 days spent on writing in one way or another – almost exactly half the year. (Though, rather depressingly, 17 fewer than last year.) So where did the other half of the year go?
Leaving aside the 52 Sundays and concentrating on the remaining 132 days, it is easy to see where a lot of them went. The big distraction of the year was housing: trying to buy a house, buying a house, working on the house (toxic linoleum, anyone?) and finally moving house, unpacking and settling in.
There are 38 cells marked ‘house’ in the spreadsheet, and 22 marked house which was my attempt to make up for the big empty space around moving day when I didn’t make any notes at all. I may have done some writing work, I may have done nothing but lie on the couch and read Agatha Christie, we’ll never know. The presumption is that I was working on making the house habitable, since when we arrived you couldn’t see from one end of the living room to the other, let alone walk across it, and it is now entirely habitable.
Plus one ‘moving day’ makes 61 days spent on house-related things. But wait – there’s more! There were also ten days of Grand Purge in February, four days marked ‘housework’ and one marked ‘garden’ – the day we pruned the apple-tree. That makes a total of 76, leaving a mere 56 to be accounted for. (Mere! That’s over nine working weeks we’re talking about there…)
I had ten health days; all, with the exception of a visit to the dentist, between the 15th and the 21st of their respective months. Obviously that is the week to get sick (or go for eye check-ups). I also took three days in bed (half last year’s total) and a rest day. 14 in this section, leaving 42.
The largest section of the remainder, is, I’m afraid, blank – eight days on which I failed to record what I did, and therefore can’t count for either woe or weal. Five days were devoted to handwork, two to reproofing an oilskin coat. Fifteen, leaving nine.
Five were in January: the day when we pray through the year ahead; the day we charge through the ensuing one-off to do list; the day I got my fountain pens cleaned and refilled with the appropriate inks for the coming work; the day I analyzed 2015; and the day I made plum sauce (ripe fruit waits for no man).
The remaining four were: a day when I got a lot of exercise but didn’t have energy for anything else after that (exercise is energizing, but only in the right proportions); the day I disassembled and cleaned my typewriter; Good Friday, and our fifth wedding anniversary.
Shows improvement, in fact, but Could Do Better – particularly if we don’t have to move house again this year (ohdearGodpleaseno). And now that I’ve done my PseuDoNaNo, I know what I am capable of, although I don’t think I could keep that pace up year-round. Not without a permanent cook-general.
If you recall, 2015 was my Year of Finishing Things, during which I not only finished things, but grew to regard finishing things as a natural outcome of starting them. 2016 was my Year of Trust, and I think I have made progress in that respect. No doubt I still have further to go, but I find I am less anxious than I used to be, which is a welcome change.
2017 is my Year of Persistence. I know what I need to do. I just need to keep doing it. Some unknown person once said (or wrote), “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s little nut that held its ground.”