Every year, I like to do a little accountability exercise, where I set myself targets for the year ahead, then come back at the end of the year to see how I did. Then I weep when I realise what a piss poor job I did, and remonstrate with myself about watching too much Netflix. Honestly, it’s a lot of fun. So let’s see how I did against this year’s targets.

2015 was always going to be a personally challenging time for me, because I do like to pile more on my plate than I can reasonably manage (in more ways than one). I set myself only three goals this year, but they were all fairly major ones, so come with me, and let’s see how well I’ve done.

Target number one: Get Married. Hey! I did this one! I’m married now! Yes, that’s right, my wife and I (WIFE! I’M MARRIED!) managed to balance a very tight budget, pay for our wedding almost entirely up front, had a whale of a time, and managed to take a honeymoon with the kids to this new place they have now called ‘abroad.’ It was a splendid old time. The ceremony was small but lovely, with my beautiful daughter doing a lovely reading, and my adorable little boy acting as ring bearer (and not in a Frodo sense). In the evening we managed to get almost every single person from our nearest and dearest, and had a good old fashioned knees up. Highlights included engineering a little Demon Pigeon reunion which involved inviting people I’d never met to my wedding (and what a chuffing delight they were too), getting a huge photoshopped Mallrats poster from one of my oldest friends, and having excellent speeches from my Dad and my bezzie mate that didn’t involve me having to run out in floods of embarrassed tears. Oh, and I even managed to work in a joke about David Cameron and a pig’s head into my wedding speech. My wife was stunning, and it was, in every way, the greatest day of my life. So that was nice.

Target number two: Get healthy. Ahem. So… yeah. Hey look! A plane! *runs away*

In the run up to the wedding, the plan was to get healthy, and look good in my suit. In the first half of the year, I managed to do this fairly well. I lost two stone, and was all set to look fairly dashing in my suit. Then, I don’t know, the stress of the impending wedding all got a bit much, and I didn’t lose any more. I even started smoking again. I didn’t look bad at the wedding, but I suspect that had a lot to do with the radiance of the woman stood next to me the whole day. Since the wedding, I’ve positively rolled off the wagon, burping as I go. Oh well.

Target number three: Write all the words. I was quite specific about my goals here. Let’s roll back the year…

I’ll be setting an hour a night every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Tuesdays and Thursdays are exercise nights) and two weeks a day over the weekend. I’ve planned out the tasks I’ll need to achieve on a monthly, weekly, and even daily task list, which covers everything from finishing each individual draft of the three books I plan to launch with, to setting budgets for each project, to learning how to format right through to marketing and the tax implications of setting up a company.

I’ll need to finish Blood on the Motorway, write the sequel and then create a third book based on the idiotic Rolling Stone challenge. I need to get them edited, get covers designed and work out a thousand other details. The aim is to have it all in place by the end of this year and roll the three books out in 2016, along with a fourth book that’ll be done that year.

So how did I do? Well, the weekly thing worked out, for the most part, and while I did change around the schedule quite a lot, I did stick to it once moved around. In terms of where I am, Blood on the Motorway is ready for the editor, Sleepwalk City (the sequel) is in its second draft, and I’m 70% of the way through the first draft of A Final Storm. The Rolling Stone Challenge is finished, I just need to work out how to make it into a book.

I did create covers for all four books, but have since realised they’re not good enough, and have decided to engage my favourite designer in the whole wide world, because he’ll make it amazing. Really, the only thing that hasn’t been achieved is to get the books ready for launch, because I overspent slightly on the wedding, and needed to push the cost of editors and cover designers into 2016. All the back end stuff is good to go, I’ve taken courses on e-book creation and other such fun things. I made this website, which I still think is rather spiffy. So, while it’s been a stupidly busy year, I’m still more or less on target to launch as an indie author in the first half of 2016.

Other random target stuff: I set myself the same book challenge as I do every year, which is to read 24 books in a year. I have actually got closer than I ever have this year, as I’m currently on my 23rd book. So I might make it, just. We shall see. I wanted to do more with my weekends. We were a bit better about this, but the kids had to put up with a bit of a wasted summer, with us traipsing around organising wedding stuff most weekends. Next year, we’ll do better. *ahem* What?

So all told, not a bad year. Hey, maybe this whole accountability thing does work, after all.

Album of the Year – Sweet Cobra – Earth

TV Shows of the Year – Daredevil & Jessica Jones

Movie of the Year – Dunno on this one. Ant Man?

Book of the Year – Jay Stringer – Ways to die in Glasgow

If you want to hear more of my unsolicited opinions on music, you can find my review of the year in music here.

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