Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013/2014

I'm not a fan of odd numbered years. It's not rational but there you are. I have plenty of reasons to like odd years and odd numbered dates for that matter, but I prefer even numbered.

Give me the choice of living in a pentagon shaped house and a hexagon one and I'd probably prefer the hexagon.

I wasn't looking forward to 2013. 2012 was a good year. A fun year.

Turning 40 was initially stressful but once I'd reached it, I began to enjoy it. What did I have to look forward to in 2013?

At the start of the year I felt I was no closer to completing a novel than I had been in 2012. For all that even numbered year was good, I tied myself in knots over editing.

I had no major goals planned though I did have one practical goal that I wasn't especially looking forward to: Goal 41: To install a shower downstairs and decorate room. I never noticed before now but I chose to achieve my 41st goal when I turned 41. That is NOT going to become a tradition!

Turned out that installing a shower downstairs was just about all I could manage last year. At one point it felt like it nearly killed me. But sometimes we need failure and disaster, just like some forests need to be burned down occasionally to enable new growth:
If I never fail, will I ever grow? A scary question.

I failed big time in 2013 but as a result of my foolishness when I injured my back, I had time to think. Time to remember what was really important to me. I decided I was going back to my first novel: Fallen Warriors.

All that editing failure in 2012 had taught me something. But it took a couple of weeks of lying on my back to figure out what that was.

I also decided to take a risk. A friend: Frank Mason, was offering coaching sessions. Signing up to let someone else help direct my life was scary. But it seemed provident.

Those coaching sessions have helped. I'm now paying Frank for one monthly coaching session and I'm using them to hold myself accountable for my writing. I'm also using them to analyse how I've gotten on and plan ahead.

The coaching has helped. I've written over 100,000 new words in 2013. That is over five books including my novel. My novel is now at 100,000 words long and I have a plan to complete it.

Did I mention I published a book last year? Just over 3,000 words long but I'm now finishing off the sequel which will be available by the end of the month. Then I'm going to complete the two other non-fiction books I've been working on and publish them.

2014 is going to be a good year. A fun year. But it is going to be good and fun because of the work that went on in 2013.

2014 also needs to be a year of hard work. I need to write another 100,000 words this year. Part of that will be completing my novel. Part of it will be yet more non-fiction books and I'm wondering, hoping if by year end I'll have started on my next novel... But that is too far in the future.

Have you taken time to look back over the last year and found what influenced and affected you? If not I encourage you to do so. May 2014 be a great year for you!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Salvador Dali Muffins

I had a hankering to bake last night. A few weeks ago I'd found a recipe for Butternut squash muffins by Jamie Oliver. They turned out pretty tasty.

I wanted to end the year doing something creative and I'd bought a fancy new muffin tray over Christmas and wanted to try it out. It has a funnel in each muffin base to speed the cooking and allows you to bake muffins you can turn over and fill with cream or some other filling. I'm thinking volcano muffins!

Also, I'd bought a butternut squash and was determined to use it!

Unfortunately I didn't grease my new tray sufficiently well and so I'm breakfasting on muffin crumbs. However you can get about 48 small muffins from one butternet squash and using the standard tray and muffin cases I was able to bake quite a few that turned out okay.

Well, okay apart from those cases I overfilled before placing in the oven (I can hear my daughter now: "It's pronounced oven, Dad! Not oven..." Eyes roll. Shakes head. How do you pronounce oven?)

Twenty minutes or so later I had a batch of Salvador Dali muffins:

They may look like the warped creation of a twisted mind but they taste just as good as the crumbs I'm eating for breakfast and as the ones whose cases I didn't overfill:


And for those expert bakers out there, that first picture... I know, that's not a muffin tray. I was too impatient and press ganged an ordinary cake tray. If you want to see a picture of my new fangled vented funnel tray - one that's not got deep baked muffin all over it - check out this one on Amazon:


And that's all for now. Happy New Year to one and all! May you all enjoy working towards and achieving your goals this year.