Another year, another look back on what was before we turn our gaze to what will be. Already heartsore from a vicious 2020, I thought 2021 would be somewhat of a balm after what we all went through but it didn’t quite turn out like that.
A lot of the plans we had for our home got shunted when we found out we had woodworm and would need to empty the whole house, pull up all the floors (and much of the floorboards) to get it treated.
After that fiasco was completed, we plowed ahead with getting our upstairs walls skimmed, painted or wallpapered and the skirting replaced. This is where we hit yet another snag! The joiners who actually answered their phones seemed uninterest in work. There was one firm that was interest and even showed up to quote us… so we booked them in.
Then they failed to turn up! Ignoring every phone call and message we left. This messed up everything as all the other work we had planned had been sscheduled ready for this being completed.
Tired to the back teeth of useless of all tradesmen, we decided to bite the bullet, fork out some cash for tools and equipment and do the skirting and architraves ourselves.
Took a long time, lots of trial and error but we got three rooms done. Two are now fully furnished. One is almost completed. Still more to do but at least we can see some damn progress. Lots more to do next year though.
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Five months ago, one of our cats, Twix, became very ill. After several vet visits, tests, x-rays and some minor procedures we learnt he had a mass in his abdomen. There is nothing we can do for this given his age and where the mass is.
He is on medication for his hyperthyroidism that was also detected and some painkiller for his arthritis.
We stay in contact with our vet and we monitor him every day, taking each day as it comes. We know he will not get better from this and there will come a time, probably sooner than we hope that we will have to say goodbye.
But until that time comes, we are doing what we can to make sure he is comfortable while he’s still active.
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For the last four months, I have been ill for over a week, every month. So technically I’ve lost over a month of time being ill. Thankfully, not COVID but still these illnesses put me on my ass and forced me to “rest” (I don’t rest well).
It has been physically and mentally exhausting and I am still feeling the tiring affects of my “December illness” that turned into a nasty chest infection. This left me feeling weak, tired and thoroughly wrung-out. My immune system has taken quite a battering, so I need to make sure I prioritise self-care next year.
I did still manage to travel to see family, though kept away from all friends who I would have loved to visit. It was nice seeing the family over Christmas (didn’t manage it last year due to lockdown) but I am still in recovery mode as I always need several days to decompress.
My authoring life ground to a painful halt. Other than doing a little marketing and a little writing/brainstorming, I have made no real steps forward in my Author Life. Not to mention, since we had to keep emptying the house and redesigning my craft room, anything I did manage to start was quickly interrupted.
I have flip flopped about being on social media, which is still touted as important for authors in order to network, market etc. But honestly, I’m struggling with these platforms as they seem to be constant breeding groups for discontents and drama (this is not some shocking revelation, more that I don’t know how much of that I am willing to deal with any more).
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There was almost zero progress on my novels. In fact, I started to even wonder if I should continue with them.
This year has been one of the worst for my writing in general.
Apparently, this is when I realised I was suffering from depression and have been trying to remind myself of the fact so I don’t do anything stupid like delete all my files and shred hardcopy scenes!
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I am finally happy with my blog layout and the current 2 posts a week (one podcast, one blog post).
I’ve been able to work more consistently, though I’m struggling to reply to comments.
Again, I think this is partly because of my depression and because of being ill.
Finally, my blog was once again ranked as being one of the Top 10 UK Writing Blogs by Feedspot. Yay!!
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The podcast Rachel and I started back in 2020, has been doing really well. One of our goals was to hit 2,000 downloads on Podbean.
We not only hit that, but smashed it and have (at the time of writing this) 3,666 downloads on podbean.
Big thank you to everyone who has listened to any of our episodes, left comments or joined us as guests! It has been great fun and we have much more planned for 2022.
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In 2018, I created The Merry Writer Hashtag Game over on Twitter. It was a way to help me reach out to other writers and it took off so well! I pulled Rachel into the fray and for almost 4 years we have been running this daily prompt game. It even morphed into our podcast!
However, as this year moved on, I have been struggling a lot more than I realised with my mental health and I just found I needed to cut some things out. The game, while great fun, took a lot of my time and energy and I was finding it harder to be on Twitter and many other social media platforms (as mentioned above).
So Rachel and I decided that the December 2021 gameboard would be the last. I discussed it more in-depth in a Ko-fi post. It has been wonderful meeting all these writers and authors, making friends and even inviting several onto the podcast. The game may eventually return, but not for a while. I need a break.
2021 was a little more insidious that 2020. We know where we stood in 2020, global pandemic, riots, lockdowns etc. 2021 slipped into the cracks and left me feeling hollowed out before I even realised what was happening.
I will step into 2022 was hope, as I always try to but it’s a lot more tentative than ever before. I feel battered and bruised from all the stress and loss and overwhelm of the last few years. But still… a small candle burns, even if not so bright.
How was your 2021?