Well, will you look at that? The end of the year has up and rolled around on us once more and all we’ve got to show for it is our brand-new shiny fascist government. Well, that’s how it feels, anyway. If you’re left-leaning (or left-horizontal like me) and British right now then the chances are you feel a lot like I do. Sucker-punched and bereft. That’s as maybe, but I also need to do my end of year review. Every year I set myself a bunch of goals in January, and then I come back to them in December and see how I did. So, I can’t just look at the last few weeks of sucker punches, I’ve got to look back at a whole year of them.
Back in February, I was enjoying my first real holiday from the new job I’d had for only five months, the one I moved my family across the country to the Tory heartlands for. The holiday went pretty well until I found out my employer was shutting up shop and said job was going in the toilet. Somewhat understandably, that’s put a bit of a wrench in the rest of the year. I’m still there and will be for a little while yet, but it’s thrown a level of disruption and uncertainty into my life that’s not exactly unexpected, and certainly not welcome. All of which is to say that when I look back on the goals I set for myself at the start of the year, I find most of the boxes resolutely unticked. Let’s have a whizz through, anyway.
1. Release three books: Ah, well, you see, what’s actually happened here is that I’ve released precisely zero books. None. Nada. Instead of publishing a quarter of a million words, I published none. Definitely a non-tick.
2. Write two more: I actually did manage this, more or less. Well, one and a half, at any rate. The good news is I think they’re pretty good, even in their first and second draft phases, respectively.
3. Build, build, build: This one was about growing my reader base, which really was an offshoot of the first point, and as such, I can’t really claim much success. I have sold over two hundred more copies of my Blood on the Motorway books and had many hundred more readers through Kindle Unlimited, however, so that’s something. Not bad for a three-year-old series.
4. Find my tribe: Again, not much progress made here. I’ve struggled to find writers in my area, to be honest, and with everything else going on it hasn’t been the highest of priorities.
1. Get healthy: Of all of this year’s missed goals, this has been missed by the widest amount, and by widest amount I am referring to my waistline’s outward trajectory.
2. Buy a house: I might not be living in it, just yet, but there is progress here. I won’t say more in case it all falls through, but I am making progress.
3. Explore our new home: Despite everything that’s happened this year, we’ve made the decision to stay. That being said, for me, there’s a long way to go before I feel this place is home.
All told, that’s not the best result. But that doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. In some ways this year has been incredible, especially when it comes to the love, support, resilience and overall magnificence of my family. My wife has thrown herself into a whole new possible career as an editor and done an incredible job on my next novel, which is absolutely ready to go in January. I’ve been developing my skills as a graphic designer, and I’ve broadened my plans for the future when it comes to being not just an author but a publisher, too. So I’m not feeling too down about these missed goals. Goals are aspirations, they’re targets. Nobody has died because I didn’t get Sunrise out onto digital bookshelves, and the book is going to be better as a result. So no more looking back on them, it’s time to look forward.
I’ll be back early in the new year with my goals for 2020, and before that with a roundup of some of my favourite albums of the year. In the meantime, if you’ve not checked out any of my books yet, why not make yourself one of those new readers? And did you know that books make excellent Christmas presents?
Paul Stephenson is an author and blogger. His first series, the post-apocalyptic thriller trilogy Blood on the Motorway, is available now in ebook and print from Amazon, and free to read for Kindle Unlimited members. Get Short Sharp Shocks, a collection of three exclusive free short stories when you join the reader’s group. Subscribe to the blog to get a weekly roundup of all posts sent directly to your inbox. Also you can share using the buttons below, or why not buy Paul a coffee?