My Plan for 2017: Be Like D

No seriously. Look at him, this is the most chilled out, ‘I don’t give a fuck’ cat on the planet. He’s the world’s best feline role model, even if he’s bitey.

For my health, I need to chill out. I’ve spent 2016 taking on too much, pushing myself too far. It’s not that bad; I got off with a micro, stress-induced manic phase and one hard-core suicidal one, coupled with time of the month crashing (thanks, body). That’s light considering the Five Manic Episodes of 2015.

But it doesn’t mean I can do that shit again.

2017 is going to be about self-care, about being a little selfish. I need to get my triggers and IBS under control, as well as focusing on snowballing my way out of debt. Plus 2016 was a shit year (bar like two things) and needs to burn and the earth salted. I don’t know if next year is going to be better but I need to take it out.

Writing-wise, my aim is to quietly potter on whatever calls my attention. I will still try and submit short stories (I have enough for a collection at this point and sending them out is easy enough that I can do it in my sleep thanks to the Grinder). I’m also aiming to get some work done on longer projects before doing a full rebrand once I have the money in 2018, republishing all my books under the Asha Bardon byline.

But as for publishing and, especially, editing. No. I haven’t got the energy to go through the process, much less the crowdfunding side of things. I’ve got to learn that saying I’ll do something doesn’t bind me into actually doing it and things will get in the way which will always call issues.

I need space to breathe, space to write without expectation. That’s what 2017 is about.

On a personal front, I’m coping pretty well. I’m adulting, though I hate it, and surviving without bipolar medication. The trick is staying calm, monitoring my moods and using the 30-day waiting period before purchases, big or small. It’s still a fine line and I don’t know when the next obsession or manic phase will strike. That scares me.

I’m still worried about Class and New Dog but it’s on the backburner. I don’t need to worry about that right this second. New Dog will come when she’s ready and I’m very used to waiting. For now, all I can do is enjoy the end of year peace, the chance to reflect. Gods know I have a heap of things to look forward to in the coming months.

It’s hard, though. My brain is stuck in ‘what awful thing is next’ mode. It’s a bit like flight mode except it’s more about anxiety than instinct. I have an amazing therapist whose helping and I’m finding that if I can avoid things which trigger me then I’m much more able to cope. I spent the rest of my time reading up on living with various conditions, coping with narcissistic people (avoidance/NC works for me).

Some things are unavoidable but Habitica gives me bonus points for those.

I’m lucky in that I have people around me who are amazing, a core group who are my chosen family. Ironically, it’s taken the last year for me to realise who that actually involves. Some of my oldest friends are no longer friends because their worldviews differed so much with mine, and my needs, that it turned nasty. I don’t need people who spew poison or try to control me in my life, especially not when I’m trying to dig myself out of a hole I’ve created.

The important people, they’ve been at my side all the long and I can’t thank them enough for it.

So yeah, the next twelve months are about me. I’m actually looking forward to it as my main focus has been ‘I need to be x in case y or z calls’. The trick is shifting my focus to ‘I’m going to x because I want to, meeting up with an alphabet of people is a bonus’. I need to teach myself that it’s okay if I want dinner or see a movie, I don’t need other people unless we make a date. I need to live my life for me, not for anyone else, even though all the people in my life are awesome enough to get that I’m stupidly altruistic and don’t abuse that.

At the same time I like my routine, it keeps me from descending into slobbery and I’m proud of that. I don’t want to be the stereotypical ‘on benefits’ person who sleeps into midday and, besides, productivity is my friend. Early mornings mean peace and quiet and I value that a lot, just as I do the odd quiet day at home with a queue of movies lined up.

So wish me luck as we finally see the back of 2016 and begin a new, fresh, year. I’m looking forward to it already.

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Goals for 2016


I know, it’s a tradition (I hate it) but here we go:


  • Get A Star Filled Sea off to editing and have proofs by Feb, out to backers by the end of Feb/mid-March, ditto BTSBTS.
  • Apply to Clarion West and maybe get in.
  • Finish my Juran Elaspe project (WiP titles include: Loyal at Heart/The Fractured Era/A Broken World, A Fractured Heart/The Starship Builder’s Soul)
  • Kickstart One in Blue, the Other Green and re-Kickstart A World of Strange New Things.
  • Finish various Ashteraiverse shorts/novellas including A Question of Faith (Liz Stone #1, possibly a short maybe a novella) and Astraea’s Case Files (maybe a series of short novels).
  • Get into Lesser Evils and finish it!
  • Submit one story a week to pro markets with the aim of getting a single sale. (That’s not bad, odds-wise, right?)
  • Write one stand-alone short story a month.
  • Get into at least one anthology.
  • Work on rewriting The Music of the Spheres as a YA romance.
  • Rework my AW novels and write The Crimson Sea.
  • Close Facebook whenever I’m writing. Actually, make that, spend time listening to YouTube videos instead of Facebooking (they’re my white noise).
  • Read as much short fiction as possible.
  • Completely update my website.


  • Quit drinking (my meds specifically say ‘do not mix with alcohol’ … hahahahahahahahahah, yeah … that).
  • Take my anxiety meds when I get anxious.
  • Go to two Zumba classes a week and try to ease myself into the cross-trainer/treadmill in the gym.
  • Try to walk 10,000 steps at least three times a week.
  • Cook at home more/take food (breakfast) rather than eating out.
  • Take Uni for a free run at least once a week/with Brams and Mhairi where possible.
  • Surround myself with people/dogs/cats I love.
  • Go somewhere on holiday at least once, even if it’s for a few days.
  • Cut down on the coffee, if not the number then the size of the drink.
  • Drink more water.

Fun Stuff

  • Go to see a film on my own when I want to see a particular release; I am not wasting a ticket by doing so (Uni can count as my plus 1)
  • See someone I enjoying spending time with at least once a week.
  • Go to Bath at least twice for ‘writing retreats’/lounging in the spa.
  • Actually use my passport for something other than ID.
  • Buy one thing I want a month but I have to wait 30 days before making the purchase.
  • Play video games one Saturday a month just because I can (rainy days are optional). Also finish Rise of a Tomb Raider.
  • Pre-order the books I want to read (Staked by Kevin Hearne, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin etc) using my Audible credits as they come in.
  • Catch up with Shannon at least once this year.
  • Go down to London just for ramen/fun/to see Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds.
  • Sleep in every now and again (my meds require it).
  • Hug Isis, Dion and Ceri daily.
  • Watch a beloved movie, something which lifts my mood, on Sunday afternoons after Draft Zero (my crit group).

Life Stuff

  • Get out of debt, stop using Contactless cards and pay with cash by September/October.
  • If I REALLY want something, seek advice before making the purchase (my bipolar means I sometimes rush into purchases; this morning I wanted a new backpack which I do need but don’t have the money for).
  • If I’m out of debt by then, look into a new fridge (it’s the last of my aging white goods that hasn’t yet died and I want an American-style one).
  • Try to actually put clothes away when they come out of the dryer.
  • Start spring cleaning the house/decuttering. Read that Kondo Marie book sitting on my iPad.
  • Make shopping lists and try to stick to them. Esp in Waitrose.
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