Farewell… not Good Riddance


Now seems as good a time as any to reflect on the year gone and think about the plans for the coming year. I posted something similar last year, 5 days into the New Year and in it I explained that I don’t make resolutions – I never keep to them – instead, I set myself some targets for the year. In writing our annual (love em or hate em) Christmas Newsletter, I think I made the comment that we hadn’t experienced a more dramatic year since the children had arrived – 2015 will certainly be the year everything changed! I reflected on the challenges of 2014 and how much I was looking forward to 2015 – how this was going to be MY year… the year I made it work. I couldn’t have realised just how right I was going to be! Below are some of the pledges I made – the targets I set for 2015 –

  • More blog posts for sure. The more I post the happier I become with my writing. (Yep – the blog has been a continued source of enjoyment for me and has taken a slightly different path as the year has gone on, but I don’t mind that!)
  • Child No1 and I have embarked on a crazy plan to walk 1000 miles during the year. I don’t mean the ’round the shops/about town’ miles, but meaningful miles, which will have a positive impact on our health and well-being. (Well… we’re a little off target – big changes meant we couldn’t get the planned walks in that we wanted, but a concerted effort to walk to town as often as possible has brought us closer to our target… more to follow on that).
  • Writing…hmmm… apart from the blog posts, I have been poking away at a couple of potential story lines, from the half-dozen or so I have been making notes on. My target is to get the manuscript for one of them finished and ready for editing before the end of the year. This means building confidence and finally plucking the courage to share my writing with the experts! I have been pouring over the advice in Carole Blake’s ‘From Pitch to Publication’ in the hope that I won’t make too many mistakes along the way! I have dubbed 2015 as the year I stop talking about it and actually do it! (And the manuscript is certainly on track for completion – but not in the next 3 days! However, with an editor on the horizon and a revised target of the end of March. I feel happy with the progress!)
  • To keep a 5 year diary charting the changes and developments in my life – I found this beautiful ‘Jane-a-Day’ 5 year diary in Waterstones recently and couldn’t resist. I love writing a few lines at the end of each day. Call me old-fashioned – I mean isn’t this what Twitter is for (?) I hear you cry, but in the same way I like to hold a real book when I read sometimes (yes, I know I have a Kindle too!), I also like to act of writing, even just a few lines at the end of each day. (With the exception of the odd day here or here, I have really enjoyed writing this and I have also resisted reading back through the year – preferring to leave it until I start all over again on January 1st. It will certainly be an interesting read!)
  • I have also set a number of other targets which I will share somewhere along the way – but which are not relevant today. Needless to say I plan to make 2015 MY year. This is an interesting comment and when I first read it earlier today, I wasn’t sure what it alluded to. But it became clear that at the turn of the New Year, I was already making plans in my head for changes in a number of area and had things gone as I had planned, I would have been sharing (I think) news on book developments, trips to see editors/publishers and possibly even the excitement of job changes. As it turned out – the excitement of job changes was muted in the first instance and then INSANE when the direction changed completely!

So – where to start… after 22 years in education the chance to step away and change direction was a welcome one – albeit a little earlier than we had originally planned. So 3 months into 2015 and I was getting used to a total change of daily routine – one which I blogged about from time to time. A routine which allowed me time to write and research and write some more… and to make it even better – the sun shone… lots! Then an email from a friend literally changed everything and before I could really get my head round it, I was travelling the A420 back and forth to Oxford, learning about what I have now come to call Radio Magic! I still cannot believe that in a time pressured industry, such superb professionals have taken time out to guide, support, coach (and sometimes b****ck) me, in order to develop skills only they seemed to see/hear…. because I’m damned if I can see them! But, it’s fair to say the second half of 2015 has been the steepest learning curve of my life (having a new born was a doddle, I can tell you – at least I kind of knew how a baby worked!)… I have stepped into another new word of abbreviations and acronyms… a world of mystery and magic… a world that had long fascinated me but somehow seemed just out of reach. At least it seemed that way for someone on the teaching treadmill! But here we are stepping into 2016 and for now I have no real idea about the future holds… I know what I’d like it to hold. I know it might take some effort to get there. But I’m not afraid of a bit of hard work…

In the meantime… the book ticks along and the end is in sight. But the end of the book means editing… redrafting and all the things I hear other writers moaning about! So who knows how long it’ll take me to get through that!

And so all that remains is to say thanks – too numerous (and too cringey) to mention by name, but if you have: fed me tea/cake, let me feed you tea/cake, listened to me on’t wireless, given me feedback (good or bad!), told me to suck it up or jog on (yes, some of you have been that blunt)… if you’ve held my hand, listened to my doubts, kicked my arse, given me a reference, joined me on social media, followed the blog, come to football matches with me, consumed prosecco with me – or if you’ve just generally been a good egg….. THANK YOU!

thank you

Sounds a bit lame… but I really am looking forward to 2016 and I hope that you will join me along the way in some way or another. So here’s to us ALL having a great year – to learning new things, going new places and meeting new people.

MJ xx

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