By Iola GoultonI recently finished reading an advance copy of If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock (an excellent book, but do read If I Run first).
Terri includes a message to readers at the back of each of her novels, and I hope it’s not a spoiler to discuss this message weeks ahead of the novel’s official release date (21 March 2017), because it’s a timely message. Terri says:
This resonated with me on many levels. It’s December, and the interwebz is (are?) full of advice about how to set goals to make 2017 a great year … much of it the same advice as was offered last December, about how to make 2016 a great year.
On the face of it, 2016 hasn’t been a great year for me. When I consider the list of things I wanted to achieve in 2016, I fall short. Way short.
Yes, I’ve achieved some of my minor goals.But I haven’t achieved the one main goal. Some days I feel I’ve barely even made progress on getting book one finished, edited, published, let alone the other two I wanted to write.
When I look at why I haven’t made progress towards those goals, there are good reasons. My father died, and that took a lot out of me both emotionally and time-wise. I’ve had some huge unexpected work projects, which take time away from those longer-term goals. So it’s been a hard year. Perhaps a hard two years.
Good things have happened.I won a major writing contest (and a less-major one), attended two excellent writing conferences, and I’ve just come back from a family vacation to Hawaii. I’m healthy, as are my family, and while I haven’t achieved my weight loss goals, I haven’t gained weight either.
I got to spend a week with my mother in June, and we visited my father every day. My sister and I were both with him when he died—he was unconscious and probably didn’t know we were there, but knowing he didn’t die alone gives us comfort. So that’s a good thing in the middle of the bad.
And the big work project is difficult and stressful, but I’m a freelance worker so I only get paid when I get a project. And let’s face facts: most of us can’t afford to turn down short-term paying work to chase long-term dreams. It’s the short-term pain for long-term gain.
So has it really been a not-great year?
Or has it been a good year I’ve risked missing because I was focusing on the wrong things?
Yes, you know the answer. It’s been a good year. Not the best, perhaps, but not the worst. Yes, there have been challenges, but that’s how we learn—learn how to deal with challenges, learn how to empathise with others facing similar challenges, learn to pay attention, to see the good as well as the less good.
How about you? Has 2016 been a good year … or do you need to join me in paying more attention to the right things?
About Iola Goulton
I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more atwww.iolagoulton.com.
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