2016 was a funny old year wasn’t it? There was so much loss in terms of celebrities we loved, there was Trump, and the whole world seemed to be filled with political unrest. Not to mention the many racist attacks that Brexit provoked. And I found myself nodding along when people say how bad a year it was.
But then I got to thinking. For me personally, 2016 wasn’t all bad. It wasn’t all good, but it had it’s moments. It taught me endurance.
In March of 2016, my Grandmother died. It was obviously an awful time, but she had been ill for a long time and by the end, I truly believe it was a mercy for her. Maybe it was this realisation, or maybe I inherited a bit of her fighting spirit (until she became ill, she was a very independent woman who still lived alone, socialised and had a very active life – she was 92), but I decided I was going to turn that year around. And I think I did.
So although I nod along when people say 2016 was an awful year, and although I can look at world issues and agree, it was also the year that I truly saw for the first time that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.
During the first few months of the year, I managed to go to the hospital to see my Grandmother everyday. I also managed to work full time, blog five times a week and write and publish Twisted Tales 2. Was it easy? Hell no. I could have quite happily let one or more of those things go, but that’s not my style. If I gave up every time something got hard, I’d get very little done.
Somewhere in the middle of all that shit, I got nominated for a BiBs award, and all of the hard work suddenly made sense. And I saw that with hard work, anything is possible. I didn’t end up winning the award – I didn’t even make the finals, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I came to see that even at the darkest times, there is light to be found if you look for it.
Fast forward to July and I decided it was time to stop talking about freelancing and start doing it. So I did. And again, it wasn’t easy at first. I trawled through sites trying to find jobs that were worth it. Jobs that didn’t expect you to be grateful for the $5 they wanted to pay you to write 50,000 words (and yes, that was a genuine offer). And slowly, I started to work on jobs that were worth it. Financially worth it, and mentally rewarding.
I made the decision to work towards quitting my day job by the end of 2017 and writing full time.
By October, something told me that if I didn’t do this now, I never would. So I did it. I handed my notice in at work, and I’ve never looked back. I’m now doing something I love for a living and I’m making more money than I was at my previous job. I was on target to hit my end of year goals and things were looking good. Yesterday, I launched my freelance website.
And then November hit. For some reason, on October 31st at 3am, I decided it would be a good idea to sign up for #NaNoWriMo (if you don’t know, the aim is to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel through November). It sounded easy enough. I think to hit target, its something like 1,667 words a day. Easy right?
In theory, yes.
Except I was still trying to forge my career in freelance writing and still writing the blog, and doing all of the things that goes with blogging. And before I really knew it, it was November 27th and I had 3,000 words done.
The sensible thing to do at that point would have been to shrug it off and accept it wasn’t going to happen that year. The fact was though, I had announced on my blog and Twitter that I was doing it – and the thought of failing publicly made me want to curl up in a ball and cry (a bit melodramatic I know, but you get the drift).
So I spent two days banging out the remaining 47,000 words. And the days after that catching up on the work I should have been doing those two days. It was hard. It was painful at times. But I did it. I spent my Christmas holidays editing those words, and now, the book I wrote is due for release on February 27th.
So yes, 2016 was slog. I would go so far as to say it was a bitch of a year. But it was also a turning point for me. It was the year that made me see that anything is possible – it’s all about mind set and sheer determination.
And if I can do it, you can too. I don’t think I’m some special case. Anyone can achieve anything they want to if they put their mind to it (and are willing to pull a fair few all nighters).
Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? Yes. It will.
How was 2016 for you? Do you believe you can do anything if you put your mind to it? Let me know in the comments 🙂