This time last year, I was sat at my dining table/office desk drawing up plans for what promised to be an exciting and productive 2014.
I was going to run my second marathon (Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota), then come back home to complete my second Wigan 10K in a faster time than 2013’s outing. In between, I was going to find an agent for my sci-fi novel, launch my content marketing company OneCo Creative, and hopefully complete half a dozen other goals in the process.
Twelve months on, I’m not too embarrassed to admit that I achieved exactly none of those things.
The need for MPFL reconstruction surgery in September put paid to any hopes I had of running even a mile, let alone 26-and-a-bit of them, whilst my usual belief that my own writing is never good enough meant editing on The New War: Escape from Asylonia went on far longer than it should.
Elsewhere, the after effects of said knee surgery, coupled with a bout of pancreatitis and several other issues kept OneCo on the To be Continued shelf.
All in all, a complete failure of a year then, right?
OK, so I didn’t achieve any of the things that I set out to a year ago, but as I sit here now, I can confidently say that 2014 was a pretty good year.
Highlights included my 30th birthday, meeting a hero of mine in the form of Counting Crows frontman, Adam Duritz, and yes, even the knee surgery. Hell, I’ve had a dodgy pin since I was a kid, so finally getting it fixed up has come as something of a blessing, even if it hasn’t always felt like it when I’ve been struggling to move, sucking at physio and suffering several minor breakdowns in the process.
Yet there was something much more important to me than all of that which made 2014 special:
I survived. On my own. As a freelance copywriter.
Throughout my 20s, I made frequent attempts to branch out on my own and add the words ‘freelance writer’ to my resume. For a whole bunch of reasons all of my making, those attempts never came to much, and it was back to plodding on with the day job.
This year, things were different. This year, freelance writer was my day job.
I’ve often told my friends that I feel as though God has spoken, saying something like ‘Ok, buddy, if this is what you really want, here’s another shot at it, don’t mess it up this time.’ Whether it really was God or just coincidence, all I know is that I’ve been so grateful to have another opportunity at this stuff that I’ve busted ass to ensure the one thing I haven’t done is mess it up.
Oh, I’ve made mistakes along the way, some pretty big ones too, but unlike all those other times, I’ve learned from this time, taken action to prevent them from happening again, and actually -if you’ll pardon my lack of modesty- become better at this stuff as a result.
For the first time in maybe 15 years or so, I’ve actually gone an entire calendar year without relying on a ‘normal’ job of some kind, and even though nothing quite turned out as planned, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Today, I’m at a different desk in a different house with different goals and priorities in mind, but other than that, nothing much has changed in the last 12 months. I’m still as excited about what the New Year may have in store for me as I was back then, and whether things go my way or not, my only hope is that I’m still doing what I love for a living.