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That was the year that was

If you are anything like me you set goals in January. 365 days seems like a long time and buoyed up by a new beginning we think we can accomplish all sorts of things.

Then reality takes hold and gradually we realise that our goal list is, shall we say, a little enthusiastic.

I have achieved some of the things on my list but it seems all the things I have learned over the years about goal setting and planning left my head when setting my 2021 goals.

I wasn't SMART. Some of my goals were not specific and therefore not measurable. They were achievable but not necessarily in the time frame I set myself. Overall I wasn't realistic.

I didn't break things down. I gave no consideration to the fact there may be curveballs and boy there were curveballs! Some of them were welcome, some less so but they all taught me something, in some cases quite a lot. I have done a lot of things that weren't on my list. I have surprised myself. I guess there has been personal growth.

I know that I should keep my goals to a minimum. If I list what I believe I can achieve, giving myself a buffer zone, and manage to do that I have succeeded and anything else is just icing. I also know that being accountable helps.

I am reflecting on the business of being an author. I was asked recently why I want to write and I didn't have an answer - writing is just part of me. Why do I want to write the things that I write? It seems I have something to say and certain forms of writing seem to be the best way of expressing it. What does that mean in relation to my goals? I want to try to write all of it.

I recognise I have a learning curve ahead of me and I can't accomplish all this in a year.

I am first and foremost a poet and I can't see that changing so more poetry books are definitely on the horizon - I intend to publish one in 2022. I regard my blog posts and newsletters as pretty decent now, most of the time at least, so I will be continuing those.

I am editing my first short story collection with a view to publishing that too. If that goes well there may be more in the future.

I want to write a novel and perhaps put together a series of pieces with my thoughts on various topics at some point in the future.

I need to hone my skills so I have been challenged to submit pieces to competitions and publications - 100 is the usual benchmark. I think that might be out of my reach given my priority is to publish my 2 books. As this is my first year at aiming to submit rather than taking advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves I have decided not to put such a high number on it. Realistically I will be happy if I manage to publish my books and make a reasonable stab at submissions.

My 2022 goals

  1. read/listen to 52 books

  2. publish my short story collection

  3. publish a poetry book

  4. 20 submissions

I will update you on my progress in my newsletter.

However 2021 has gone for you, you are not a failure.

Good luck with your goals for 2022.

If you are healthy, have a safe place to live, enough to eat and drink, enough money to pay your bills, suitable clothes for the weather, a decent education, affordable healthcare and people who care about you, you are rich whatever your bank balance says.

I wish you peace, joy and happiness in the months to come.

Happy New Year.


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