So this is it! The last post of 2017! The final day of the year to look back on the most important aspects of 2017, and look forward to 2018.
You could be forgiven for thinking I’ve been a bit negative in my previous posts – no, I didn’t achieve much on my 2017 aims list – but it always important to celebrate the positives. So often you can forget where you started out, or the things you have achieved because you are busy feeling disappointed about the stuff you didn’t do. In this spirit of celebration, here are the things I’m chuffed about for 2017 (both writing-related and not):
- Finally took the plunge and, in March, bought a beautiful new horse. After a year without an equine companion (and after losing my old horse after 15 years together), it’s been fab to start building a relationship with this gorgeous boy.
- Had some quality time with my Dad – to celebrate his 90th birthday, we spent the best part of a whole week together, and talked about some really good stuff. Funny how you can suddenly feel you know someone properly for the first time, even though you’ve known them forever!
- Was on the short story judging panel for the Hysteria UK writing competition. I learned so much during this process, and highly recommend it if you want to understand more about short story submissions. You can read my judge’s interview here.
- Wrote and published my first non-fiction eBook Short Story Competitions: A Writer’s Guide to Success. Writing non-fiction was really interesting – I’ve written fiction for years but, apart from a few articles, this was a new discipline for me. It’s pretty nerve-wracking sending a non-fiction book out into the world (lots of “What do I know?” self-doubt!) but I wanted to share what I’d learned as both an entrant and as a judge. Hope if you have ‘story competitions’ on your New Year’s Resolution list (particularly if you’ve not tried entering any before) you’ll be able to learn from some of my mistakes!
- After concentrating more on my social media presence over the year, I’ve experienced a 20% increase in Blog followers, a 30% increase in Twitter followers, and a 40% increase in Facebook followers – which is really rewarding. Thank you to all of you!
- Finally set up my mailing list! This has been on my “Things to do” list for years, but was one of those things I kept putting off (but was really straightforward!). It’s really in its infancy, but I have plans to explore content and free giveaways in the new year. If you haven’t joined already, please do.
- And lastly, for the first time ever, I had fan mail! Readers (who I didn’t know personally) took the time and trouble to contact me to tell me they had enjoyed my stories. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated this – it gave me a real buzz.
Right, so that’s me done with feeling smug about this year. Onto 2018! When it came to setting this years goals, I had an epiphany. I’d intended to buy two diaries – one for writing related goals, and one for my horse-riding related plans. Standing in the shop, I couldn’t find anything appropriate – and then I found this great diary which has a corresponding page of notes for each week. And then I thought, of course! I need everything together, because that’s where I’ve been going wrong. One day I’ve got my writing head on, and the next I’ve got my horsey head on, and I can’t maintain both separately. So, my new diary (and thus my new goals) are for the whole of life, not separate chunks. (And the cover is cool too!)
The notes pages mean I can always keep all my ideas for that week in view, so I don’t overlook stuff (which has been a problem this year). And there’s a little zipped pouch at the back for bits and pieces which you night need.
You’ll be pleased to hear I’m not going to list all my goals (there’s 25 in all!) but suffice to say they revolve around quality of life – building a sustainable (reading, writing & horse-related!) lifestyle, and devoting time to loved ones.
To all those who’ve read and followed my blog this year, I’d like to say a big thank you – and may you all have a successful, happy and healthy 2018. x