November Reflections

November Reflections – The Start of NaNoWriMo

October is over at last and I for one am relieved. Even though I’m not a fan of fireworks, I’m really happy to see November and more than happy to reflect on the fact that my site is now officially (I think) one year old! 

I remember when I first set this website up over on Blogger (I know) – it was meant as a bit of a testing ground for my writing and not much else. I think, like most of the other ventures in my life, I wanted to hedge my bets slightly when it came to writing as my real self. Test the waters, see how it goes, evaporate it without a trace if it looked like it was failing – that’s me in a nutshell.

Even though I don’t technically put my face and real name out there, I’m still writing as my actual self, if that makes sense. In order to set some new goals, it’s time to look back to last November and consider why I actually started this website up in the first place.

How did we get here?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and to write as myself online.  However, I often felt as though the whole niche theory of writing, and blogging, in particular, would never allow me to do that. So after giving myself a talking to last year, I tentatively decided to go for it regardless. Which was great, except that I never bothered to set myself any real kind of goals or make a plan of any kind. 

As time has passed though, I’ve realised that I actually do want to make something of my writing work. When I was younger, I imagined myself one day working at a newspaper or magazine as a journalist or creative writer of some sort. I imagined it so often, yet never took the actual steps to make it happen. I think I was like so many of my generation, in that we just didn’t know what to expect from life and weren’t given the right guidance to help us realise that we needed to make life happen for ourselves.

So instead of following my journalistic aspirations from the get-go, I went off to university and studied languages. Not because I had a burning desire to become a translator, but simply because I was good at it. It was something that I could somehow just do.  And yet, as life has since taught me, just because we can do something, it doesn’t always mean that we should.

What happened next?

November Reflections

I carried on from studying languages, into a natural progression towards linguistics, and then into teaching. I loved my work…to a point, but there’s always been a desire in my heart to become that writer and creator I wanted to become when I was a little girl. 

So now, at an age I don’t really want to put a number on, I’m finding myself considering my options again. I left the mainstream workforce a few years ago when I had my daughter, and have been living the life of a freelancer ever since. I’ve started a business doing design work (of the graphic, art and web variety), and also ventured into the business world in a separate endeavour, which I’ve since closed the door on for the sake of my own well-being.

It’s fair to say that this lifestyle of jack-of-all-trades has been a struggle to maintain at times. Which is why at this point in my life I’m finding myself looking into doing a qualification in narrative or creative writing, so that I can fine-tune my skills and perhaps apply for the role I’ve always wanted.

But as things stand, I’m focusing on this little website, the space I created for myself to realise some long-forgotten goals, and with that in mind, I think November is the perfect time to reflect and reevaluate what I’m planning to achieve in another twelve months.

November goals

This year, I’ll set myself some writing goals, in the spirit of motivation and productivity and all that. 

  • Next November, I will be able to make a living from my writing. A decent living, not just the odd bit of cash here and there. 
  • I’ll finish the first draft of my book.
  • No really, I will – I’m going to take part in NaNoWriMo.
  • I’m going to stay true to my writing values and write about what matters to me. 
  • I will have lessened my sense of Imposter Syndrome.

A year’s reflections

What have I achieved since I launched Actual Ar?

Well, I feel like I’ve achieved a sense of purpose in terms of why I chose this path. I often get asked ‘what is it you actually do?’ and before, where I’d have fumbled around with vague explanations or broad statements, I’ll now say that I’m a freelance writer. 

It still sounds a bit grandiose to me, but I feel like that’s my role now. That’s what I do, and I’m not frightened to say it out loud anymore. Imposter syndrome is a real thing, and I feel like I suffer with it on a huge level. For those of you unaware of this concept, have a look at this video that explains it briefly. 

I feel like since starting my writing work and beginning to build a portfolio, I’ve started to squash my sense of imposter syndrome, but it’s not gone completely. Hopefully, by this time next year, it will be. 

Achievement can be personal as well as professional. In professional terms, I’ve taken steps to get my profile out there a lot more over the last twelve months. I still write under my pseudonym and will continue to do so as it’s important to me to maintain my privacy. However, I feel that I’ve managed to build more of an understanding around that on a professional basis and many of the people I’ve worked with up to now have really respected that, which is fantastic.

What’s next?

I’m glad I decided to go for it with Actual Ar in the end. It’s by no means the polished, completed writing machine that I would like it to be, but it’s getting there, and is in a lot better shape than it was back in November last year.

I’ve still got a way to go, and some decisions to make about how to actually make my writing work for me long term, but to anyone who’s ever enjoyed my posts or read my stories so far, thank you so much for taking the time to do so and for sticking with me over this last year. Here’s to another twelve months, and smashing new goals.

What are your writing or blogging goals looking like? Have you reached any milestones with your website? Do let me know in the comments or as always, you can catch up with me over on Twitter.

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