It was with some trepidation that I looked back on my “writing goals for 2018” post this week to see if I’d achieved what I set out to. I somehow remembered that I’d been too ambitious and I really hate and fear failure. But I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d known from the start that this year was all about finding paid work and that would mean my own writing would suffer.
I guess it’s fair to say, I’m pleased to have achieved what I set out to do – get a job. But I’m also sad that this meant, as predicted, way less creative writing for me. However, despite saying I wouldn’t manage it, I did end up doing most of GloPoWriMo2018 global poetry month in April, so that was a bonus. I did submit a few poems, short stories and creative non-fiction but all were rejected and I didn’t have time or the jive to revisit/rework them and keep submitting. Rejection stings. Then some family issues mid-year, combined with starting work really diverted all my energy to survival-mode.
I’ve been on somewhat of a journey this year (forever). My birthday falls in January and 2018 was a significant one that made me reassess a lot of my ideas and habits. It’s a process that is ongoing but I’d also like to acknowledge here the hard work I’ve done throughout the past 12+ months that’s along the lines of trying to be my “Best self”. This has involved mental and physical undertakings.
I’ve been trying really hard to shed some outdated beliefs / habits / addictions and insecurities. I’m not 100% there (is anyone, ever?) but I think I’ve made progress. And it’s part of the journey to take a moment to congratulate myself. It has not always been easy or enjoyable, although sometimes it has! Well done, Claire.
A big part of this year has been my running, too. It’s funny, when we moved to Zurich five years ago a friend here mentioned “there’s great running trails here,” as a selling point at the time. To which I scoffed dismissively “not interested, that is NOT my thing. At all. Ever! ” Well never say never. In 2018 I clocked up more than 1,000km of running. I’m stupidly proud of this. Not just because it’s a big number but because it means I was consistent. In rain, hail, snow, sun, heat, blahblah I kept on jogging all year. I went for runs in Zurich, Rome, Sydney, Porto, Perth, Ocean Shores, Dübendorf and Venice and I completed my first-ever Half-Marathon. And, to tie it back to my previous point: running has hugely helped my mental health.
It’s been an interesting year. When I look at my blog stats, they’re way down on 2017, which was a wonderfully flourishing period for my writing AND I did the 26Cantons52Weeks to boot. I wrote some decent stuff in 2018. I was going to say the quality had suffered, but I just read everything and… well… I like it! But I also know the difference it makes to write regularly, as I was doing in 2017. So I hope to get back to that in 2019. However, I am going to err on the side of sensible because I don’t want to set myself up to fail. So what are some reasonable goals…
- Short stories: I’d like to focus on short stories a bit more. I had some success in placing those in 2017 when I was really working at it, and I think it’s a good way to go. If I can write or hone 4x short stories I’m happy enough with to attempt to place them in 2019, that will be a good outcome. (Actually I already have one on the boil)
- THE NOVEL: I keep saying how I must get back to this. Maybe 2019 will be the year! I think if I can dedicate a few months of evenings / weekends to focus on it, it could happen. Maybe another NaNoWriMo?
- Running: I would love to run another half-marathon this year. Maybe even two – one in Spring and one in Autumn. I don’t have the bandwidth to train for a full mara. That’s a goal for 2020!
- Poetry: don’t think I need to put goals around my poems anymore. They can just come and go as they please.
Happy (almost) new year! What are your goals for 2019?
Photo: a wicked angel my son made at school
Hi there. I’m not one for setting many goals. I try to improve without putting too much pressure on myself. I admire the goals you’ve set. A very happy new year to you.
Thanks Neil and have a great 2019! 🙂
Great post, Claire! I am also thinking about what my writing (and other) goals should be and, more importantly, how to balance that with a job and life. Partly it’s wondering what to focus on: marketing Emma and the City (which I still owe you. New shipment finally came in. Perhaps you can email me your address?), drafting the next novel, doing non-fiction/blogging, or working on short stories … Sounds like you did really well overall in 2018! I am also thinking to sign up for a half marathon this spring to jump start my running. Which ones are you looking at? Happy New Year! Sending you good intentions and success in achieving your goals in 2019!
Thanks Amy! Yes, it’s hard to get the mix right. Haven’t thought much further as to which races. Would be great to catch up soonish! I will drop you a line x
I’ve missed your frequency Claire, but I’ve been in the same boat this year (back in the working world). In fact, after 12 months of working again the year feels like about 3 rolled into 1 😉
Happy New Year!
Thanks James. It’s nice to know someone noticed less posts! Hope it’s all going well for you being back at work. Looking forward to more of your blog in 2019 as well… In fact I’m just about to share it with another friend who has just started writing on similar topics (environment / sustainability!) 🙂
Yes! Who could forget your wonderful 26 cantons series? Work is both enjoyable and frustrating (!), and its hard to go full-steam on the blog at the same time. Hoping to address that this year. How about you?
Thank you and thanks for sharing the green stars project!
I’m not sure how much blogging I’ll do this year tbh. I would say my priorities are shifting. But we will see! 🙂
My birthday is at the end of December and I wonder if having a birthday around this time of year makes it feel different for us than for people who are born in July. It’s kind of a big thing, dealing with the another-year-older bit as well as the another-year-ending-and-beginning bit.
I don’t have goals or resolutions, but my focus word for 2019 is presence. I started reading The Time Paradox by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd because that felt fitting for someone aiming to live more in the present. So far, it’s just made my brain explode. In a good way. I think. Or in a way, anyway.
Also, your son makes excellent angels.
Thanks Tanya. I always love your comments. Not sure about the birthday / end/start of year thing but it does give a sort of neatness to things – that’s the year I was X age. Also, Capricorns are the best. Not that I believe in it 😉 Lots of love and best of luck – I hope 2019 is swinging into action for you x
I love your yearly goals posts. And I’ve been wanting to say for a long time, you’re such an inspiration to me with what you’ve achieved with the running, despite all other commitments. Amazing!
Thanks! I find it (the goal blogs) really helps not just to make a plan for the year, but to look back on and check in with myself. I appreciate the appreciation for the running. It’s been such an unexpected and wonderful addition to my life. And it happened so randomly! I am hoping to apply that sort of random determination to other stuff now. But keep running as well!