January 2020

I took the first five days of this month off, because New Year, which was fun. And then on Monday 6th, I got back to it with a vengeance.

This year the monthly round-ups will be a bit different. I’m going to divide them into sections based on my 2020 resolutions, and also talk about how (and if) I have worked on my word of the year.

The sections will be:

  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Renovating
  • Bohemiacademia
  • Healthy life decisions
  • ‘Build’


  • I wrote two essays for the MA I’m doing last term, and passed both of them, which I am very happy about.
  • I am even happier that I sent off the latest version of my novel to an agent, who said she thinks it’s ready to be sent to publishers. We are meeting soon to sign a contract.


In January I read:

* I am not going to give a rating to my own book, for obvious reasons.
± These books have been marked for inclusion in my ‘Books of the Year 2020’ end-of-year post.

Guide to star ratings

Books read in January: 17.

I also read some interesting papers on Kierkegaard, and on neuroscience and how it can inform psychotherapeutic practice, and on (some of) the links between physical and mental illness.

Papers read in January: 21.


  • The columns are finally installed in the living room! For the last year and a half they had been leaning against the walls like in the picture above, but now they are hanging up like they should be. The living room is looking pretty good.
  • The hallway has been painted. It needs one more coat on the doorframes and skirtingboard, and then I just need to do the rest of the things I have planned for it.


Last year, the company got an office all of its own, so I no longer had to work out of my kitchen. By the end of 2019 it was making rent on the office via new customers, most of whom had come by virtue of us having the office, which was rather exciting.

This year, it is a goal of mine to hire someone to help with the day-to-day running of the company. Someone who is in London and therefore able to come into the office sometimes to help me out with things in person, rather than just working remotely. In the last week of January I secured a business loan to allow this to happen. This is a little nervewracking, since I prefer not to get loans and instead to pay for things when the money is properly available, however I decided to just take the plunge, since I really need an extra pair of hands. I’ll be going through applications in February and hoping to have someone in place by the end of the month.

Healthy life decisions

Several of my resolutions were around making healthier life choices this year. Most of them are choices I make regularly anyway (going swimming; going for long walks by the river) but I would like to make them more often. Some of them involve making unhealthy decisions (taxis, takeaways) less often. And following a tweet from @gretchen_H20 the other day, I decided it would be interesting to track how many things I said ‘no’ to throughout the year.

  • This month I walked: 49.6 miles.
  • This month I went swimming: 9 times.
  • This month I said no to: Four and a half things. They were: an investigation, which I was tempted to take on even though I don’t do that anymore; a proofreading project which would have been fun but would have taken a lot of time; and two social events that would have left me exhausted for several days afterwards. I also said a half-no to something, which I was proud of. I was asked to do a particular job during a certain week, and rather than rejigging everything and fucking up my schedule and making life harder for myself, I said I could not fit it in that week, but I could do it the following week. The client was fine with that, and all went OK.


‘Build’ is my word of the year for 2020. The idea is that the word gives you a theme to remind you of how you want the year to go overall, even if you don’t hit individual resolutions all the time (because let’s face it, who does?).

I spent 2019 laying a lot of new foundations: doing a course that got me onto an MA; getting an office for the company and securing some new clients; writing a novel; etc. This year I intend to build on those foundations.

January has been a good month for building. I like how ‘build’ is a word that doesn’t imply completion, so if I have made a small amount of progress, that still counts. My ‘healthy life decisions’ section of my resolutions, for example, has not seen as much progress this month as my ‘writing’ section. However, it has still seen some progress, and that is the point.

So, onwards and upwards.

How was your January? 

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