52 Weeks of Writing: Week 52—The end is the beginning.

52 Weeks of Writing: Week 52—The end is the beginning.
Photo by NEOM / Unsplash

Here we are. Week 52. In the first week of January this year (2023), I set out to edit and re-develop the original Amnar manuscripts so they could be published. Maybe I'd do a series on Tuesday Serial. Maybe I'd try to get them published traditionally.

Did I actually do what I set out to do? No.

Why not?

Well, that's an easy question to answer on one level, and trickier on another. From a "productivity" standpoint, there's a lot I could've done differently. SMART goals, am I right?

If I'd been sensible, I'd have set a particular time of day to work on the project. Say, first thing in the morning, for an hour or half an hour. I'd have set clear goals for the end of each week, to review where I was, what I needed to do next.

On a practical level, I know that this is how things get done. So why didn't I do it?

Because I don't have the kind of brain that's very good at that sort of thing (executive functioning, or lack thereof), and I get derailed easily. In the first few weeks of the year, I ended up having to re-submit the PhD thesis twice. That was stressful. Marking took over.

I wasn't aware of how stressed—and, on top of that, paralysed by stress—over whether I'd actually got the PhD. What if I hadn't? I was too busy balancing teaching and marking.

And, of course, there was something else. Going through the manuscripts themselves, I realised it wasn't a matter of doing line edits or basic re-writing of the same basic scenes. The whole thing needed to be transformed. I would have to go back and start re-building from the ground up.

Finally, there was this. I really, really hadn't thought about what led me not to do this before. That was a deep well of emotional darkness I'd been actively avoiding. Whenever I tried to go back to the world itself, I hit this wall of "Oh god, I can't do this!" from my nervous system.

The last few weeks of November, I wrote about some of the things that happened between finishing the first draft of the whole series of seven novels and the point when I was able to go back to university. The whole year was weird. It started off being about editing from a more technical point of view, transformed into writing about writing, then...

Then, half way through the year, I was diagnosed with anaemia, got my PhD, and realised I hadn't really processed a lot of things I should've done.

So here we are. A few days ago, entirely by accident, I started writing fiction again. I wasn't planning on it, but I was waiting in for my partner's birthday present to be delivered and felt inspired. So this isn't the end. In fact, it's the beginning of something new.

Starting in January (i.e., tomorrow), I'm going to be working on my first academic article, taking part in a four-month workshop to help get that finished. I'm also working on this novel, following along with an AutoCrit accountability programme. Yeah, I signed myself up for two things at once.

Now, before you tell me this is too much, too soon, I am approaching this from a different angle than I did last year. Rather than launching myself off on a big quest and just hoping it'll work out, I'm following a specific programme. I'm also incorporating everything I've learnt from the Sense Writing course.

The person behind the article-writing workshop actually recommends journaling or blogging about the process of writing and publishing your first academic article, so I'm going to write some pieces about the experience.

Other than that, I want to work on writing left often but more thoroughly researched pieces. Work on both the structure and ideas behind Amnar and the research I've been doing for the last six years.

I'm working on improving this site so it has more useful background information on my work, too. I may actually write an About page.

Other than that, I hope if you've read this far that you've surviving all right. Thank you for reading and supporting me for the whole of the last year. It makes all the difference to know even one person reads these.

Atashé uyadan.