2013 in review / 2014 in preview

2013 in review / 2014 in preview

I didn’t write a recap of 2012, because I was occupied by being smug about how excellent it had been. I had nothing to get off my chest, no demons to exorcise and no feelings to work through. I was all, “Onwards and upwards, 2013!”

Unfortunately, 2013 was not on the same page. I’m not going to write a thousand words about why it was so awful, because even I am not that self-indulgent, but the main highlight was a depression blanket so heavy I began to feel comforted by it, which is a real deviation into the dangerous.

Fortunately my goals list for 2013 was blessedly short and easily achieved:

Read 20 books. I read 30 books! Which doesn’t seem like very many, when I consider that my to-read list is about six thousand, but most of them were very fine books indeed.

Write 300 words a day. I didn’t write 300 words every single day. But I did write 150,000 words in total, including the 55,000 I wrote in November, which gives me an average of 410 words a day.

That’s it. Those were my only goals for 2013. Thank you, 2012 Anna, for being so lenient.

This is not to say that nothing good happened in 2013. It wasn’t about the goodness or badness of the things, it was just a kind of soulless year. The world has had a real sag about it. It’s not plucky or upbeat, but sitting in a chair in the corner with its chin in its hands. This doesn’t seem to have been specific to my 2013, either. It seems everyone I know is tying up their 2013 threads with dark faces, saying “I’d like to skull fuck 2013.” or, you know, similar.

Whether this is actually what the Mayans predicted remains to be seen.

I’m wary of standing upright and saying “2014 will be better! It’s a new year! A fresh start!” because it isn’t, of course, it’s just another Tuesday that becomes another Wednesday, without profundity. Just another tedious orbit around the sun. Besides which, I am horribly superstitious and would never say anything like that, in case I anger the irony gods, or the karma gods, or any other vengeful gods (which I believe is all of them?). Instead I will just hope that it will be better than 2013, and hope that I don’t have to look back at this blog post at the end of the year and kick myself in the balls for being so predictably naive.

My 2014 goals are straightforward. They’re mostly some variation of “finish the draft of this book” and “be gentle with people”. I have forgotten to be motivated by cash money or career status and have instead made a conscious decision to read more, learn more and write more. I have a literature subject to do at uni, and a to-read pile so high that there’s snow on top of it. These are the kinds of things I want to achieve in 2014. Being enriched by knowledge and music and the rhythm of words, and also buying a hammock.

I’d like to make new friends, too; the kind that read and create and don’t take things too seriously. I don’t know how to do that, though, having learned basic social skills as a child and never expanded them much.

I’d like to keep a cat alive for a whole year.

I’d like to buy fresh flowers every week, and earn enough money to buy fresh flowers every week and be satisfied with that.

I’d like to look out of this window and watch my deciduous tree change with the seasons.

Now fuck off, 2013. I have had enough of you for six lifetimes.

How was your year? Did everyone else actually have amazing 2013s but I missed it because I was feeling sorry for myself?

15 Comments
  • Kelly Exeter

    December 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm Reply

    Don’t know what’s been in the water this year, but it’s been diabolical for so many people I know. Not me. I’ve had a lovely year. But just about everyone else … shithouse! Bring on 2014 :)

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      December 22, 2013 at 8:55 am Reply

      I’m glad you’ve had a lovely year, Kel. You deserved to! x

  • Natasha

    December 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm Reply

    Yes, 2013 really can go sail off a cliff.

    Your goal list sounds amazing and well done on exceeding your writing target! I love your writing btw, honest and from the heart. A delight to read.

  • Megan Blandford

    December 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm Reply

    In some ways 2013 was great for me, in other ways not so much. But I too want more people around me who share those creative goals -and really enjoyed chatting in the small amount of time you and I spent together this year – let’s be friends! ;)

  • Psych Babbler

    December 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm Reply

    It’s a shame 2013 was not a great year for you…
    For me personally it was an incredible year after a shitty 2012.
    Hopefully 2014 will have a lot better things in store for you! Best wishes for the year ahead!

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      December 22, 2013 at 8:57 am Reply

      Thank you! I’m glad 2013 was not terrible across the board. I’ve obviously had my head in the sad sand a bit.

  • JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)

    December 20, 2013 at 6:44 pm Reply

    A soulless year. That is so haunting Anna. I know you *won’t* say it so I will say it for you, 2014 is going to be a better year for it. I am going to think positively for you and wish all the good fairies who deliver light and kindness your way.^
    As for me 2013 was in whole a pretty good year, there were of course moments but I’m choosing to overlook those in light of the positive change I am making in my thinking for 2014.
    Here’s to 2014. Whatever it may bring, it’s coming. xx

    ^Disclaimer: I’m not exactly sure they exist but just in case they do they’re being willed your way.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      December 22, 2013 at 8:58 am Reply

      Thanks Jodi, I hope so :) I have no doubt 2014 will bring you the kind of change you’re after.

  • Melody

    December 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm Reply

    Good for you for being honest about the year and not sugar coating it. I had a very complex sort of year, full of good and bad, happiness and sadness and that to me is the most meaningful kind of thing that can happen. I believe that we shouldn’t expect to be happy all the time, life just doesn’t work that way. But, if we can take it at face value and accept what happens, good or bad, then I think we have reason to be glad of what we’ve achieved.

    Good luck in all your endeavors.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      December 22, 2013 at 9:01 am Reply

      Thanks Melody. I totally agree – it’s the hills and troughs of life that give it texture, and I have no desire to be happy all the time. Just some fewer troughs and some slightly higher hills would be nice this year!

  • Sam Ryan

    December 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm Reply

    A long, frustrating year but some important goals met, the groundwork for a fruitful 2014. Sounds much like mine! I know everyone says it every damn year but I’m excited for 2014. It’ll have crap things but much opportunity awaits! Good luck to you, Anna :o)

  • ali

    February 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm Reply

    I’m pleased to hear that you’ll be writing even more. That is good news.
    You already know that I adore your words and the sentences they make, but in case you need reminding: they are so shiny and lovely that sometimes they deafen me. Someone said something like that about bright things once.
    May your 2014 be amazing Anna.
    All the loves,
    Ali

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