17 December 2016

Good enough

'Her life's ambition is to figure out what "good enough" means' - so says my author biography. It's a goal I've been reflecting on a lot recently, as the year hurtles to an end and I look back on what I have - and haven't - achieved in 2016.

The trouble with being a perfectionist is that, whatever you accomplish, it never seems to be enough. I'm not ambitious in terms of career or money, but I am incredibly driven in other ways and give my all to any project I undertake.

So, when I brought out my novel, it wasn't in the pursuit of fame or fortune, but to share my writing and my experience of mental health issues - albeit entirely fictionalised. In fact, I doubt I'll ever break even from my publishing journey! Especially given the way this year has panned out...

In January, I found myself unemployed after the conclusion of a temporary contract, but began a new part-time job in mid-April. The salary wasn't enough to manage on, but I planned to top it up with an unused redundancy payment and review my position when that ran out. 

Time was more important to me than money: I intended to devote my two days off mid-week to promoting my book and giving talks about living with OCD and anxiety. Mental health advocacy has become very important to me and is vital to raising awareness and reducing stigma.

Except, four months later, life intervened. Since August, my sister and I have devoted most of our spare time to supporting our parents, as a result of their declining health. For every item we tick off our 'to do' list, another two replace it, and there is no end in sight to the constant problem-solving. In spite of my wish to do whatever it takes to help my parents, it has been frustrating to have to put my own life and plans on hold

Feeling particularly gloomy one day, I decided to review my writing year up to August, to establish exactly what I had achieved. Amongst other things, I have:

  • Written 23 blog posts, totalling more than 12k words.
  • Given two author talks in local libraries and three about mental health for Barnet Council staff.
  • Delivered a 2-hour course on self-publishing at a writing conference - my first tutoring experience.
  • Got my book into four libraries in Barnet.
  • Recorded an interview for Barnet TV.
  • And secured an indieBRAG medallion award for my book and seven great reviews from book bloggers.

At the end of my talk at North Finchley Library
And I don't think I've done enough?! I need to give myself a break.

I heard a quote once along the lines of 'When you die, there will still be things to do in your in-tray.' In other words, stop trying to do it all. I have nearly two weeks off over Christmas and the New Year, so what better time for me to put that advice into effect?

Wishing you all a happy and restful festive season.

* * *

My novel waiting to be shelved
at North Finchley Library
If you'd like to help kick start my advocacy work in 2017, why not buy a copy of my book for yourself, or your family and friends? - see my 'Novel' page for purchasing options. And don't forget, a book is not just for Christmas! 

Please do also post a review, on whichever is your preferred forum - Amazon, Goodreads etc - to help spread the word.

You can check out all my news from 2016 here.