Thursday, December 27, 2007

Last year's resolutions - hits and misses

The end of 2007 is accelerating towards us with undue haste and alacrity, so it's time for a look back at the new year resolutions I made twelve months ago - a reality check before I put together my fate-tempting hopes for 2008.

1. Blog every day - didn't quite manage that, but certainly surpassed 1000 posts in total on this blog. I think the total's closer to 1200 by now.

2. Complete my screenwriting MA, ideally with distinction - achieved. Even got the university medal, a first for any student at Screen Academy Scotland. It's nice for the ego and looks good on a CV, but hasn't done much for me otherwise. Alas, I work in a field where winning a university medal is entirely irrelevant.

3. Write no novels between January and June 2007 - achieved, but I spent February rewriting a novel left over from 2006. I wanted to concentrate on other things for the first half of 2007 and did so, February aside.

4. Write a novel between July and December 2007 - achieved. Finished A Massacre in Marienburg on December 14, so snuck that one in under the wire.

5. Worry less about money and concentrate more on writing. Did my best to fulfil this but it wasn't easy. My income's been cut in half the last few years, as I've set aside paying work to pursue my dream of writing broadcast drama. So far, that hasn't paid off monetarily, but I'd like to think I've made some progress otherwise.

6. Get another radio play commissioned - nope. Too busy with the MA, the mentoring project, and numerous other screenwriting courses and workshops last year. Simply didn't have time to develop ideas for radio.

7. Get a TV drama broadcast credit - nope. This was definitely a case of aim high and you might hit something, if not your original target. I was hopeful of getting a credit by writing or becoming a storyliner or script editor. Alas, none of these has some to pass - yet. But I ain't giving up, not by a long chalk.

8. Finish the mentoring project with a good calling card script - achieved. Lots of people have read and complemented me on Taking Liberties. But I need more calling card scripts to prove myself a worthy prospect.

9. Finish the MA with a strong, feature length script to my credit - nope. Instead I wrote another 60-minute TV drama calling card script. My planned feature was not coming together, so I set it aside. For emerging writers in the UK, the best hope of getting work is on TV - yet the vast majority of scheme, workshops and showcase opportunities revolve around features. So I still need to write a good feature.

10. Get an agent - nope. I've been trying the last few months but no success, yet. Will probably let this lie for a while, try and acquire some more credits before having another run at the agencies. Need to make myself more enticing as a client.

11. Take proper holidays - nope. In 2006 I managed a week off in June and that was about it. 2007 proved no better, with a week off in - you guessed it - June and that was about it. Again. That situation will change in 2008, as I'll be away for three and a half weeks visiting New Zealand, seeing my family for the first time in five years. Can't wait for a real chance to unplug and relax, away from work.

Phew, that was quite a list I set myself for 2007. Five definite successes, five misses and one that's a bit of a score draw. Not a bad ratio. Now to ponder what I want and need to achieve in 2008.

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