It’s that time again! The time of year when I reflect on the year that was, mentally and emotionally prepare for the year to come, and absolve myself from a selection of ‘must dos’. Life is simply too short to get swept up in ‘must dos’, especially those I have no inclination towards.
Aside: Looking back, I realise that I didn’t do my absolutions for 2022. This time last year was not awesome for me, as was the experience for many of you. I simply wanted to make it to 2022 and do my best to get through the year with my mental health intact (like many of you).
Also, looking back at my 2019 Absolutions, I admit to failing on two counts: I have since joined Instagram and I love Beatsaber, an extremely fun VR game in which you slash musical notes as they come towards you with lightsabers (yes, really and it is just as fun as it sounds and, yes, the tech has improved on stabilisation, so I no longer get sick―hooray!).
Onto next year’s absolutions … I hereby absolve myself from:
Not reading reviews
As authors, we’re constantly told, ‘Don’t read reviews!’ This is excellent advice when you receive a bad review because, as authors know, one bad review equals 10000 excellent reviews. Bad reviews burrow into your brain and nestle there, ready to leap out when you’re feeling your most vulnerable, when you’re crippled by imposter syndrome or awaiting the email that will tell you you’ve successfully pitched your next book and it takes months.
Yet, every time one of my books comes out, I read the early reviews. Every. Review. Every. Day.
Why? Two reasons: I am a masochist and most of my reviews are positive. This means that all those hours I spent labouring over my book have been fruitful, they meant something to someone. Some reviews even induce tears―happy ones. It’s a wondrous thing to have someone gush about how much my story or my characters or my turn of phrase impacted them for the better and how much they love my book.
So, I will continue to read reviews, even the bad ones, like this for my first book, One Summer in Santorini.
Actually, that review and others like it, make me laugh. If ever there was a reason to buy a book it’s because it’s sweary and sexy. And if that’s your thing and you’ve read all mine, check out Aimee Brown.
Paying for a blue checkmark
I have been actively building my Twitter following for years now, and have previously applied for a blue checkmark (when they still meant something). I wasn’t noteworthy enough to earn one a couple of years ago but, until recently, I was still working towards that milestone. While the verified accounts of notable people and organisations are still denoted by a blue checkmark, there’s now a cheaters’ route: the option to pay for one. Blue checkmarks have become the vanity plates of social media. I may still earn one, but I will never pay for one.
Catching up on the entire Marvel Universe
There are too many Marvel movies in the MCU. There, I said it. And because there are so many (and I have a life), I’ve missed a few―Iron Man 2, something about a civil war, a Spiderman or two (even though I’m a HUGE Tom Holland fan), and both Black Panther films. And some that I have seen, I wished I’d missed them. I’m looking at you Thor: The Dark World and Eternals (seriously, though, what the hell was that movie?). I say all this with the caveat that there are some MCU films that I’ve loved. Thor Ragnarok is hilarious and Chris Hemsworth is a massive spunk, especially with short hair. I loved Black Widow because Natasha is a bad-ass (and so is her sis). And Ant-Man is just fun, because … well … Paul Rudd.
Aside: Paul Rudd is the type of guy women both want to sleep with and have as their best friend. Fortunately, I have one of those at home.
So, while Marvel has had some hits, they’ve had enough misses―I mean, is Infinity War called that because the story goes on SO LONG it took two movies to tell it???―that I am absolving myself from watching their back catalogue, and very possibly their front catalogue too. Except Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania because (hello?!) PAUL RUDD.
Keeping track of which show is on which streaming service
When are household AIs going to get so good, I can ask, ‘Hey, Google, what the hell streaming service is [INSERT TV SHOW TITLE HERE] showing on?’ and it not only ignores my mildly rude profanity, it replies with, ‘It’s Disney+, which you pay for and share with your mum (who shares her Stan with you), your bestie, your Aunt Jackie (who also shares your Netflix account), and your cousin’s best friend, Sharon (who shares her Amazon Prime account with you)’? That’s what the brilliant minds at Google/Apple/Amazon should be working on.
Thank god I live with (aforementioned Paul Rudd-like) Ben, who not only keeps all of this information in his head, but also 1. sources most the shows I tell him I’m dying to watch and 2. keeps and eye out for shows we can watch together―White Lotus … Yellowstone … The Bear … Call My Agent … (Thank you, Ben!)
Joining TikTok (still)
Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the TikToks my family and friends send me. This one is the funniest thing I saw online this year and it still makes me laugh―EVERY TIME! I hope that family never has to work again for the sheer genius of filming that clip and posting it on TikTok.
BUT I already have two jobs. I work four days a week at my day job in adult education and every day as an author. I’ve published 8 books in less than 4 years and I spend 10-12 hours a week on social media and marketing. I is TIIIIRRRED. And even the thought of creating content for a new social media platform makes me queasy. The people who excel at it work so hard and do such a great job at curating and creating content. Maybe one day when I’m writing fulltime, I’ll consider joining TikTok (or its equivalent), but until then I’m leaving it to the pros.
That’s it. That’s all I absolve myself from for 2023. Wherever you are in the world, I wish you good health, love, laughter, good times with family and friends, grand adventures, and most of all, peace. Take care. Look after you. And happy reading.