This Year I…

Newsletter 055 – January 26, 2024


This year I will hopefully not run into as much external interference as I did last year. The “interruptions” I mentioned frequently last year did pull me off track and slowed down my progress, but I can’t afford to use those as excuses. I need to be more diligent and more effective in my writing process, so I want to make a few blanket statements about my plans for this coming year. In order to better explain what those plans will (or might) entail, I’d like to cover both opportunities and goals. Lets do opportunities this time, and I’ll cover my goals in the next newsletter.

Part of what happened last year was that (in addition to the interruptions) I also allowed a few opportunities to pull me away from my writing. I suppose opportunities (which do crop up occasionally) could also be classified as a sort of interruption, since they do disrupt the flow of whatever my current project is. Because they sound interesting it’s easy to let them divert my attention toward them instead of my writing. I mentioned one of them in Newsletter 032, a four-week writer’s residency in Scotland. I didn’t get it, but I spent several days working on the application for it when I could have been writing.

I also applied for something else just a few days ago (1-13-2024), a $7,000 grant. If I win that, I will use it to fund research for my post-apocalyptic Arthurian series (Newsletter 014), which I hope will be one of my major projects over the next few years. Like the previous “opportunity,” though, this grant is very competitive, so my chances of getting chosen aren’t great, and applying for it did take me away from writing for a few days.

Is that sort of thing worth doing? Maybe, maybe not. It’s not like I’m playing the lottery and throwing money into a deep pit with everyone else, hoping that I’ll be the one person out of several million who will be chosen at random to gather all of the money out of the pit. When I try to get something like a grant or a residency, I am applying (yes, along with a lot of other people) to be rewarded in some way, but I’m also pitching a commodity, my writing, hoping to help make it accessible to a wider audience. Even if I don’t win the prize, the application itself forces me to critically examine my work. That sort of introspection does help me become a better writer, but the act of applying also diverts my attention from whatever I’m writing. Last year was an unusually splintered one, though. I’m really hoping this year will be much smoother.

In the next newsletter I’ll cover what I hope to accomplish this year (provided I can keep the interruptions and opportunities to a minimum). 😊

See you then,


[“Time is that wherein there is opportunity,
and opportunity is that wherein there is no great time,”
Hippocrates, Precepts.]

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