I’ll do a regular goal update in the next couple of days, but today, along with many others, I’m thinking about what I would like to achieve in 2016. And given that my goals seem to have been very similar for the past few years, I’m also reflecting on what hasn’t worked, as well as what has.
My ultimate goal hasn’t changed for about four years: “Get something published”. A sub-goal that has been in place for almost as long is: “Get something to a stage where it’s ready to submit to agents and publishers.”
The past four years have been a scramble: I broke up what I thought was a lifelong relationship, moved home from the other side of the world, and spent 2014 struggling with various gremlins that, thankfully, proved to be beatable. I spent most of 2015 digging myself out of the hole that threatened to swallow me in 2014, and am in a much better position now than I was a year ago. I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve always had what felt like a fairly decent excuse for not achieving my writing goals.
Right before Christmas, I got some potentially very bad news about a loved one. The keyword there is “potentially”. We won’t know the full story for another couple of weeks, but my mind immediately switched into overdrive, thinking about everything I was going to do to help, all the time I was going to spend, the sacrifices I was going to make to fix this potentially unfixable problem.
Your writing will have to take a back seat again, said a taunting voice in the back of my head. And that’s when I realised:
Life will keep happening. Awful things, and sometimes wonderful things, will keep taking over if I let them. Paid work will keep taking over if I let it.
I’ve written on most days for the past three months, despite working harder and dealing with more new things than I ever have in my life before. I’ve proved to myself that I can write, even with life happening as hard as it can all around me. The proof is there, in the almost finished new draft of one novel and the much fuller-looking outline of the other.
And so, while I will also set more specific goals, my aim for the year is simply to write. Write while I’m drowning in work. Write while I’m facing a scary set of new students. Write while travelling up and down the country to enjoy time with and take care of loved ones. Write when I have a blessed day off. Write when I have a week filled with catch-ups with friends I don’t see often enough. Write as well as live.
Because without the writing, I’m not living fully, either.
Wishing anyone who reads this the very best for 2016, in writing and life! ❤