I think it's safe to say 2016 didn't really turn out how I'd hoped. There were some amazing high points (our trip to Skye in the camper van) and some pretty big low points. The first half of the year was pretty much a write off in terms of achievements. Some health issues and work stress meant that I did virtually no exercise for about five months, had little energy or motivation for writing and watched way too much TV.
But I did turn a corner in the second half of the year once I'd dragged myself up out of the doldrums. Perhaps the biggest thing was deciding to take control of my career. Rather than waiting around for an interesting-but-hardly-inspiring job to come up, I decided I was going to build the job - and career - I wanted.
Having finally taken this decision, I then committed to it. I signed up for a course on building a freelance writing business and connected with other freelance writers. It sounds dumb, but this of all things made me realise that people actually do this stuff. For real. And making a decent living from it,
If anyone's interested the course in question was Untamed Writing's Start Content writing course, now re-branded to How to Build a Badass Freelance Writing Business. (I mean, who doesn't want to take a course with 'badass' in the title?) And I would definitely recommend it. Karen will kick your butt into shape, but in a nice way.
Anyway, once I'd paid up and invested my time and money in this, I had no excuses for backing out. Yes, it's been pretty tough juggling a busy day-job and trying to set up a business for the past five months, but the reward was being able to finally hand my notice in and plan for a phased transition to full-time writing. 2017 is going to be a pretty exciting year :-)
2016 GoalsBack to the goals I set at the beginning of the year. Or rather, we, as the goals below are a combination of both Sam's goals and mine. This is what we wrote down at the start of 2016:
Sadly one thing that has fallen by the wayside this year is climbing. Rather than training hard to push my climbing to the next level, I've actually fallen back a lot. This has been partly down to lack of time and largely down to exhaustion. Burn out isn't really conducive to hard training.
We also rather underestimated the Cuillin Ridge when we added it to the list at the beginning of the year. Given the right weather and set of circumstances, I think it's definitely doable, but this year that combination didn't happen for us when we were up in Skye. We did however have a great day out on the Dubh's Ridge with amazing views and it was great to tackle part of the Ridge.
Number three on the list also didn't happen, though this is partly because all my free time for the second part of the year was taken up with my work for Windswept Writing. And that work has meant that I will have dedicated time every weekday in 2017 to work on my fiction writing. So the book WILL get written, just slightly later than planned.
I did start making progress with learning Italian, mainly on my walks to work. I used an audio book, which I found really helpful (though I suspect the local school-kids now refer to me as the 'crazy foreign-talking lady') and put it into practice on our trip to Rome in August. Unfortunately the second part of the course was missing from our local library, but I'm hoping to pick this up again in 2017.
Number five, I think it's safe to say, hasn't happened...
Now we get onto more positive news! We settled into the routine of our new vegan/vegetarian/omnivorous diet quiet easily and with the exception of a couple of odd weeks we've kept it up all year and it's now become normal. We have two vegan days, two vegetarian days and three eat-anything days a week, which I think is a reasonable compromise. I'm not quite willing to give cheese up totally yet (the less said about vegan 'cheese' the better) and Sam is definitely a meat-eater at heart!
We had loads of weekends away and a couple of longer breaks in our camper van Sadie. These have been some of the real highlights of my year and I'm looking forward to more adventures in 2017. We also made pretty good progress with the wedding planning for next year and I *mostly* managed to stay calm and chilled about it.
I made it through most of my 2016 Reading Challenge, though didn't get time to read a quarter of the books I wanted to. More detail on what I did read, and what I've got planned for 2017 in this post.
As for number ten, well if you've read through to here then you'll know I failed at that pretty spectacularly. But hey, failure is all part of learning, right? And 2017 will be a new and different year.