For a year that has been difficult personally for many I know (and with the loss of so many important icons), I have to admit I’m looking forward to waving goodbye to 2016 in a few days. However, it has been a good year in other ways.
I like to start each year by setting a word to focus on and mine for 2016 was “knowledge”. However, I think after reviewing what I’ve done through the year it should have been “write”. Makes sense that a writer should write, doesn’t it? Sarcasm aside, I have written thousands and thousands of words for my PhD thesis, newspaper articles, blog posts and creative pieces, not to mention hundreds of social media updates. Words are my life.
Here’s a run down of what I was up to during 2016:
As I mentioned above I’ve written thousands of words. Some of my writing highlights have been:
- Mentoring 17 grade 5 and 6 students at Trevallyn Primary School during The Write Road creative writing initiative
- Pushing myself to write creatively – and share that work with others, such as my lipogram or my piece about the muse
- Attending (and speaking at) Tamar Valley Writer’s Festival and the National Writer’s Conference
- Continuing to share my experiences blogging for HerBusiness and CBCA Tasmania.
My professional goal for this year was to finish the year more confident in my understanding of my PhD topic and I’ve definitely achieved that. I’ve presented my research twice this year, and have been able to put forward my academic ideas and answer questions about my research on both occasions.
I’m finishing this year with more than 60,000 words of my 80,000-word PhD thesis written. More than 35,000 of those words were written this year, along with finishing my data collection and writing my first academic journal article. I’m hoping to finish by Easter and end 2017 as a Doctor of Philosophy.
This year saw me celebrate 10 years working for myself, which I think is a pretty impressive feat. There’s been many times I’ve wondered if I’m cut out for business, but there are more times where I’ve enjoyed being self sufficient, able to make my own rules and responsible for creating something lasting.
Some of my highlights in business this year have been:
- Celebrating writing for The Senior for 10 years, giving me the opportunity to interview fascinating people like Margaret Steadman and Jerry Blackman
- Gaining fantastic coverage for the first ever Tasmanian Whiskey Live event and the launch of Maggie Moo Music in Australia
- Curating knowledge gained over seven years of writing this newsletter.
Sometimes I find studying, running a business and being a wife/mum/friend takes up so much of me that I feel a need to exercise my creative muscle and remember what it is to just be me. To do this I like to be in the moment creating something. With this in mind I challenged myself to indulge in more creativity this year, and I:
- Tried poetry for the first time since school
- Revisited cross-stitching
- Made collages
- Started a fiction writing course and shared one of the exercises on my blog – What could Alder be thinking?
- Completed The Photo Essay online course and published my own essay about Launceston’s CBD on my blog.
I’ve had eczema for longer than I remember and have just accepted it as part of my life, but a combination of the weather, stress and diet made the first half of 2016 a painful one as I dealt with flare ups almost constantly. In August I decided I needed to do something serious about the eczema that has plagued me since I was a baby and I undertook a 12-week elimination diet to find out what my triggers are. I already knew I was lactose intolerant, and have always tried to avoid dairy products, but now I can add wheat to that list.
Milk and wheat are in a LOT of foods I used to consume so I’ve changed my diet significantly and feel so much better for it. Not only has my eczema pretty much disappeared, but I’ve lost weight too so I’m revisiting old wardrobe favourites. I still walk every morning with Suse and Bastille around Trevallyn’s streets, enjoying many sunrises as Launceston sleeps in the valley below.
I have not raised a mountain of money like I did last year, however I have worked diligently to build a social media following and increase brand awareness for Rotary Action Group Food Plant Solutions all year. I have also mentored young writers for The Write Road and other business owners throughout the year.
Looking back through all this shows me I’m finishing the year richer in knowledge and experience than I started. Now for next year!