Happy New Year, everyone, and as we say in Scotland, "Lang May Your Lum Reek," which means 'long may your chimney smoke', In other words, may you have a long and healthy life.
I like to start the year with a long walk. Over the last few years, it has been with my dog, Amber (you can see the highlights of our walk in my latest episode of Screenwriting Tips While Dog Walking on TikTok). We enjoyed a three-hour walk to nearby Pollok Country Park in Glasgow. It is one of my favourite places to go, especially early in the morning when the forest is just waking, and you can see the local wildlife stirring.
I also used the time to consider my New Year's Resolutions, and I thought I would share them on this blog (some of them at least). It will be a fun exercise to revisit this list in 12 months' time to see how many I managed to achieve.
Start a podcast
Yes, everyone and their gran has a podcast, so why start one in 2024? Well, this is actually a resolution from 2023 that I didn't achieve, so I'm carrying it forward. I've spent a bit of time working on what I wanted to talk about, whether I could bring something new to the table, and what the format would be. I even have some original intro music courtesy of my friend and composer Ken Weissman. It will be based on my travelogue from 2011, My Right Leg Is Tastier Than My Left. It was the first thing I ever published, and I've been slowly working away on an anniversary edition since 2022. I'm hoping to relaunch the book alongside the podcast, but they are two different beasts.
Walk 5000 kilometres
No, it's not a horrendous cover of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers. Last year, despite working two jobs, having a baby and drinking some lovely beers, I managed to lose 20kg. It was one of my greatest achievements of 2023. How did I manage this? By walking a lot and not eating as much, maintaining a calorie deficit of 1800 calories.
I used the app on my phone to track my walking and I regularly hit 10km. Now, to walk 5000 kilometres over 365 days requires an average of 13.7km, so I'm going to have to up my game. I'm also aiming to lose some more weight (at least another 10kg) and increase my weight training, which I gave up towards the tail end of 2023.
Watch 365 films
As a filmmaker and screenwriter, 2023 was probably my worst year for seeing films. Between working and becoming a father, trips to the cinema went out the window, while my concentration at home was nil.
So this year not only am I making a more concerted effort to watch more films, I'm going to try to watch one on average per day. To help me achieve that goal, I've finally joined Letterboxd. Feel free to come connect there and see what weird and wonderful films I find.
Finish writing the third Spirits of Vengeance book
It is coming. The end to Kamina Elloeth's epic adventure in the magical world of Enara.
I had been hoping to publish the conclusion to the series in November 2024, exactly 10 years since the first book, Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits, was published. However, it is more likely to be 2025, but it may depend on how the year ends.
Write a couple of screenplays
I mean, why just aim to write a book when you can also tackle a couple of screenplays as well, right? Well, 2023 saw me collaborate on a couple of short films and it stoked the creative fires in me to get things made, so I'm hoping to crack on with a treatment I've been working on for a low-budget gangster thriller set in my native Glasgow.
However, I've also had a couple of ideas for low-budget dramas that I'm playing with in my head, and it would be great to try and get at least one of those into an expanded treatment form by the end of 2024.
Keep my websites and social media up to date
One area where I really fell down in 2023 was the upkeep of social media posts and the websites I manage. While I went into the previous year with the best of intentions, they never really translated to any significant increase in posts or general maintenance.
However, with the help of some new apps, I'm feeling more confident in my ability to stick to a schedule and engage more with people via my own blog, but also social media platforms I use less frequently, such as LinkedIn or Stage 32.
Volunteer for an animal charity
Use the paddle board I bought and never opened
Read. More. Books.
Let me know which ones you think I'll achieve (and which I won't - I'm good for a wager!) Also keen to find out what some of your resolutions are and if I can help you achieve them - do you need someone to cast an eye over that screenplay in your drawer? Or do you need a book cover for that novel you're thinking of publishing? Let's make 2024 the year of getting things done!