It's my birthday.

I have completed 46 years on this planet and decided that today was a good time to reflect on the past year and share some of my plans for the future.

The past 12 months have been trying for everyone for many different reasons and I'm not going to talk about the global ones, primarily because this isn't a post about that.

The last year has been one of very intense highs and lows, including losses, some expected others not so much. I lost an Uncle to cancer and an Aunt to MS. The same night that I got the news about my Aunt, I also lost a friend.

We weren't particularly close and I only ever saw her when we were at our favourite drinking establishment. But, once together we often had conversations that ranged from putting the world to rights to moaning about our jobs. I had been waiting excitedly to see her to tell her my biggest news of the year and to celebrate/commiserate with her. Unfortunately, I never got the chance and I will miss her enthusiasm for life and her infectious smile greatly.

Looking back I wish I had taken the time to drop her a message, even though it was out of the ordinary for us to talk outside of the pub.

The news I wanted to share was the ending of my 13-year marriage; possibly the one thing that has impacted my life more than anything else in the past 12 months. I'm now a single parent with all the ups and downs that come with that.

What this taught me very quickly was that I was stronger and more resilient than I realised and that I was already achieving more than I had ever thought possible. Yes, I've had days when I've screamed and cursed, but mainly things have gone smoothly, which is always the upside of an amicable split.

This year also brought with it new fights, primarily for the right support for my daughter. Whatever my plans and choices going forward, her needs and goals will always come first.

Continual negative experiences of the platform I use for my freelancing work have also fuelled my need for a change of approach. I love freelancing and the freedom that it gives me, but I also want more work out there in my name, which means balancing my workload better and gaining a larger readership on Medium.

Moving Forward

I don't have a set five year or even one year plan, yet. I do have a good idea of where I want to be and what I need to do to get there.

  1. I need to have more faith in myself and my writing.

  2. Organise my time better - something I've been working on.

  3. Finish the projects I currently have through the platform and find a better one or better still sell my services direct and pay less in fees.

  4. Post more regularly to Medium and submit more work to publications.

  5. Finish the first draft of my novel (rough deadline is the end of the summer)

  6. Ideally, have my novel ready to go by Xmas (this is a very loose deadline depending on how much work it needs after going through beta readers)

So, there you have it. My plan, not set in stone but at least down in writing. One of the reasons I started these regular updates was to give me a sense of obligation. If I haven't achieved anything, I can't update my readers and people lose interest.

I don't intend to let that happen. See you next week.