Posts Tagged ‘New Year’

New Year, same me.

Friday, January 5th, 2018

I shall be 36 in two weeks and it’s taken me this long to realise that New Year’s resolutions aren’t compulsory. Sure, there’s stuff I want to change and habits I’d like to alter, but it’s yet to be a truth universally acknowledged that these things are not intrinsically linked to January 1st. Or a random Monday in April. Or in the hour after the full moon has risen. However, just to show willing, I’m going to list a few of my ‘resolutions’ in no particular order:

  1. Make sure that the empty wine bottles are hidden/recycled before the cleaners come. It’s unfortunate that they come, post-weekend, on Monday morning – spectacularly bad planning by me. Not once did I consider that evidence of the weekend’s drinking would be laid bare in the kitchen, the bottles all lined up ready to be cast into the darkness that is the bottle bank. And we do get through quite a few bottles of wine. They never comment, but on more than one occasion I have felt compelled to explain (lie) about why there are so many of them neatly waiting on the side.
  2. I will open the FitBit box and make use of my Christmas present (circa 2014). Just that, really. Like many other post-Christmas souls, I’d like to up my exercise and I have an idea that if a device is actually logging what I do, and how many steps I’ve taken, then I’ll feel obliged not to let it down.
  3. I will un-glue myself from social media. I waste toooooo many hours scrolling needlessly through Facebook, and don’t even get me started on Mumsnet. I have become scarily hooked on following the lives of people that I don’t know and will never meet. It’s a truly ridiculous waste of time, but I do love it. It’s the ‘peering in through front windows’ behaviour for the modern generation.
  4. I will drag my slightly unfinished manuscript up from its crypt and send it to my agent. It will be like a teenager slinking quietly into the house at 4am and hoping that your parents haven’t noticed your unauthorised absence.

And with my personality, that small collection is quite enough things for me to resolve to do.

I’m going to miss the Christmas holidays. My girls are old enough now that we all have enough space, peace and sleep to really get on quite nicely. Well, unless you’re a 16 year old teenager revising for mock GCSE exams that begin next week. The entire kitchen table has been taken over as a revision zone. Or ‘theatre of conflict’ as I like to call it. Did you know that teenagers can snarl? Each time I attempt to do something in the kitchen, like unreasonably make a cup of tea, hide empty wine bottles before the cleaners arrive, unload the dishwasher, those sorts of things, I am met with a death stare and: “Do you HAVE to do that now?”

“Tidy up the kitchen? I do a bit, yes,” I say apologetically and tiptoe even more quietly around the volatility that is being fuelled by nutrition and Christianity, (the topics she’s been revising, just for clarity). And woe betide you if you don’t acquiesce to a request:

“Mother, I need a new fountain pen in the next five minutes.”

“We can’t – ”

“Do you WANT me to FAIL my exams?”

And mornings. I’m not looking forward to waking up for the school run again. Left to my own devices, my natural sleeping pattern is 1-10am. But I’m pretty sure that the children’s educational establishments can’t accommodate those hours. To be honest, waking the younger girl up at 7am is like waking the dead. And a very cross dead person at that. You know when you light a firework and run away quickly before it explodes? This = youngest daughter in the morning. Sigh.

Happy New Year, all.

S xxx


A New Year – and a new decade.

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Right! I am seizing the very last minutes of my brain function today to write this blog. I popped on to my website to find a link for someone on twitter and I was horrified to discover that the last blog post I wrote was on October 18th!!! I mean – SO many things have happened since then and now. Mostly in the last week; I have had a fantastic Christmas and New Year and I am very sad that it’s over now. I had got quite used to drinking champagne at breakfast time, staying up till 2am entertaining friends every night and sleeping till 10am. I even lay in bed for an entire morning one day and read my signed (!) copy of the Peter James novel ‘Perfect People’ in five hours, cover to cover without stopping. That may have been my biggest festive treat. I adore Peter James, I cannot recommend his writing highly enough. He researches so thoroughly and writes so skilfully that it’s an absolute joy to read his work. But it’s back down to earth with a bump tomorrow as my husband goes back to work, yet the girls are at home for another week. Childcare will be solely my domain again. I love looking after them, spending time with them, playing with them and entertaining their little friends and everything, but at this stage of the holidays I just yearn to write. I’m ready to stop partying and start eating and sleeping properly again and along with that focus comes the need to write – and if I can’t I do get a bit grumpy and intolerant. It’s difficult to describe but it’s like the creativity needs to escape and I’m far too tired by the evening for it to escape properly. The only thing it manages to do is creep out a bit sometimes, look around half-heartedly and crawl back inside.

Christmas Eve Eve

At the time of writing the last blog I had just received my third publisher rejection. Hot on the heels of that one (I think it may even have been the next day) came news of the fourth, which wasn’t such a nice rejection and that one got to me a bit. I think it was having two so close together, it made me feel a bit despondent. However I got over it quickly enough and I haven’t heard from the fifth and final publisher yet but I am not expecting good news. With each day that passes that manuscript goes a little bit further away from my heart – all my attention is now on my new one. My new, new one. What I am about to say does not fill me with pride, I’ve done something that I don’t approve of and broken one of my own, unbreakable rules. It’s not a very harsh rule, it’s simply that if you start writing something, you finish it and yet I’ve abandoned the manuscript that I was working on the last time I blogged. It was an easy decision in the end. I was struggling with it and avoiding sitting down to write. I didn’t have a clear idea of the whole plot, never mind individual chapter plans and I was getting myself tied in knots about it as might be evident from the fact that I couldn’t even decide whether to write in first or third person. Eventually I accepted that it just wasn’t working for me at the moment and decided to draw a line underneath it. I will probably go back to it…..probably. But that’s simultaneously one of the most wonderful and most awful things about being a writer – you never know where your career is going to take you. Daisychain was on the back burner for a long while before I resurrected it so I know I’m not necessarily writing the manuscript off completely.

Anyway – the new one. I am tremendously excited about it. I’m about 11,000 words in and unlike the previous manuscript the words just flow and flow when I write. That’s how I know I’ve made the right decision about what to work on at the moment. When I was feeling so fed-up and uncertain about how to write I suddenly thought – I know, I’m going to write what I want to write. With all the things that I love mixed into it. And something that I originally wrote when I was fifteen shot into my head and it was perfect. It’s a different style for me, it’s part historical so it requires some careful research but it’s just a pleasure to write and I see myself finishing it quite quickly. Unlike the previous one I know exactly where this plot is going at all times, it’s quite simple, but the threads are very different so I hope it’s not dull. My lovely husband agreed to read it the other day and he said he enjoyed it so much it was like watching a film rather than reading a story, i.e. I’d brought all the characters to life sufficiently for him. And then a few days later he told me that when he felt like sitting down to read it wasn’t his current book that he wanted to read – it was my manuscript! Such a compliment, I was so touched. I’m reasonably certain that he meant it as well. I haven’t sent any of it to my agent yet but hopefully it will meet with her approval too. Watch this space.

The other thing that is taking up a lot of my time (and money) at the moment is training for the Brighton half-marathon on February 19th. I am very scared. As anyone who knows me will say, until recently I was more likely to fly through the air than run thirteen miles and yet I have agreed to do this. All for a good cause, obviously, and I do like a challenge but I wonder if I’ve got a bit ahead of myself here? I’m training religiously three times a week, I can run six miles on the road or on the treadmill easily now and I play a fair bit of racquetball too on my ‘off’ days just to try and increase my fitness. I was unable to face training outside during the winter in all the rain and the dark so I had to join a gym; it gives me no excuse not to exercise. I had to buy some expensive new trainers as well because my ankles weren’t stable apparently, which I found a bit alarming, I’d like to keep them intact if I can as I get older. And speaking of getting older – it’s my birthday in less than three weeks and I’m going to be thirty! THIRTY! I am ridiculously, childishly excited. In true Sarah Haynes style I have a big party organised and I am very much looking forward to seeing all of my guests and dancing the night away with plenty of champagne. I’ve bought my dress, arranged my hair appointment and the countdown is well and truly on. I’m not sad to leave my twenties at all and I don’t feel old, I just feel ready for the new phase of my life. I’ve done my twenties, bring on my thirties! A whole new decade…..I wonder what will happen?

Well I feel a bit less guilty now I’ve written a new blog post. I don’t tend to make resolutions but if I had to one would definitely be to write blog posts more regularly. I don’t think frequency necessarily matters, I follow blogs because I enjoy them and even if the posts are months apart I would still keep checking, but it is nice to know that someone is going to write every week or every month or whatever. So that will be my resolution for 2012. HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! xxx

A brand new year!

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! I couldn’t even begin to tell you what day it is as they all segue neatly into one another at the moment, but I do know that we are in a new year. Which is 2011! I love the new year; so shiny and full of promise and untainted by anything. And also the fact that it means my birthday is very, very close! I shall be 29 on 21st January. This is excellent for two reasons – one because I love my birthday and getting pink, glittery things, handmade cards from my children, drinking champagne and seeing lots of friends and family, but also because it means that I don’t have to spend the whole of January off alcohol like the rest of the population are trying to do. I just have to attempt to get to the 21st of January and then I can legitimately start drinking again. I have considerate parents you see, who knew that it might be a bit of an unpleasant struggle for me each year so they decided that they kindest thing that they could do would be to ensure that my birth was in January.

So, yes, a whole brand new year spreads in front of me – so exciting! What shall I do in it, I wonder? What will happen? The first thing I shall do is tell you all about my Christmas, which was as lovely as I had predicted. We spent six nights at my mother’s house and survived very well.  Obviously we drank an oceanic amount to help us get through – I dare not add up the number of units – but it was so nice to see my sister and brothers and just spend so much time doing…..nothing. We sat around, talked, watched television, ate and drank. And I shopped; I had to take advantage of Marlow and Windsor while I could. I spent quite a long time in the Jack Wills shop in Eton as well, in the company of my brother Charles, who proved surprisingly patient. But then he needed to be because it was him who had rung the house phone at 2am the night before and woken up 8 adults and 3 children to ask for a lift home from Reading for him and his friends because the trains had been replaced by night buses and they couldn’t work them out. Charles had no sensible explanation as to why he thought this was a good idea when he was questioned the next morning by an irate household.  It was, frankly, a time of excess but this should not surprise you because we were staying in the house of excess. I came downstairs one morning to find my mother wearing a rather nice shirt.

“That’s a nice shirt,” I said to her. And I doubt any of you could correctly predict her reply, which was:

“Thank you. I have fifteen of them.” I don’t know who was more shocked, me or my long-suffering step-father. In fairness to her there did follow a long and vague justification about colours and wearing them frequently but the damage was done.

New Year was equally as lovely; we spent it at my father’s house and had an uproariously fun evening, involving – again – lots of wine and leaping over obstacles in the later part of the night I seem to recall. I cut a dignified figure in my skirt as you can imagine. And also dancing at midnight and singing Auld Lang Syne, only mildly marred by the fact that no-one knew the words.

BUT, the consequence of all this loveliness was that I didn’t get one single word written, which is bad of me. Even when I returned home I didn’t manage to write anything because a) I was recovering and b) my girls are not back at school yet and it’s difficult to be productive with both of them saying “Mummy!” 57 times a day. Once they are back I shall be disciplined and focussed and get this manuscript completed. I have thought about it a lot and I do have a clear idea of where I want to take it, it’s now just a question of getting it written down. And it will serve me well to do so because there’s a lovely agent who I particularly like waiting to read it when I’ve finished it.

I also have a book recommendation for you all, it’s a book called One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner. I read it over New Year and I literally could not put it down. It’s incredibly sad and therefore not the sort of thing that I would normally choose to read, but woven into the sadness is such positivity that it rebalances the whole thing and makes a devastating story a very uplifting read. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. I happened to already know Sarah’s agent so I emailed her to tell her how fantastic I thought it was and she very kindly forwarded the email to Sarah who then wrote me a lovely email thanking me for my compliments and she sounds like such a nice person. One Moment, One Morning is her third book so I shall definitely be looking out for her previous ones.

So – belatedly – Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you all have a happy, peaceful and fortuitous year. I intend to, and I think I shall start by duplicating everything in my wardrobe to fifteen.