Random thoughts & things

One year on…

On this day last year my dad lost his fight with cancer.

After weeks of feeling numb, I vowed that I would dedicate 2013 to ‘turning my life around’ in honour of dad (I desperately wanted something good to come out of something so bad).

Today I am checking in as promised, to see what I have achieved…

The first thing to admit is that I haven’t achieved a complete 100% turnaround. But I am definitely well on my way (40% say). My about-turn started in March 2013 when I signed up for a mindblowing 30 Day ‘Do What You Love’ Challenge which took all my assumptions about what I wanted to do and dumped them in a heap on my head. I found myself going from wanting to be a photographer, artist, or greetings card designer, to realising this was all just a frantic attempt to escape from the thing I feared most; being a children’s writer.

So 2013 was the year I owned up to this once and for all.

It was also the year I started writing a ‘proper book’. I say ‘proper’ because I think I was just playing at it before, like I was warming up for the Main Event. My three previous manuscripts were picture book texts and, whilst I had some fun with them, they also felt weirdly strained. Like I wasn’t really being myself. Last year I found myself writing a book for 7-8 year olds. Which meant it had strange never-seen-before-things in it…like chapters. And a plot.

I have been working on the book for the past few months, with varying degrees of success (I use the term ‘working on’ very loosely). But yesterday I realised I CAN ACTUALLY BLOODY WELL DO THIS. I had started reading Piers Torday’s The Last Wild. Several pages in, I was in shock. He had sneaked into my head and pinched my ideas!! My first thought was that that was that. End of story. No more book. I had wasted the last few months. But then I listened to the calmer voice in my head which told the hysterical voice to bugger off and stop panicking; the story wasn’t exactly the same, there were simply some similar elements. And if Piers Torday had written a bestselling book based on some of these elements, then surely I was on to something? Weirdly, I went from utter dejection (“Bollocks, I’ve got to stop writing my book”) to complete determination (“Fuck it, I need to write my book and get it out there NOW!”) within the space of several seconds. So I am going to continue on as if nothing has happened and write my book, which will ultimately, of course, be very different to Piers’s. Because it will be all mine. (And besides, one of his main characters is a cockroach whereas mine… isn’t. So there.)

2013 was the year I achieved another big dream – to live by the sea. It took years of research, years of analysis, and years of procrastination. But once I’d done it, I walked round in a state of wonder asking myself, “Why didn’t I do this years ago?”. Typical! As I wrote in a previous post – this place and I are meant to be. I am quite simply deeply, deeply happy here. (I chat to dad sometimes when I am out walking by the sea – I know he would have loved it here too.)

Other 2013 highlights include designing postcards and creating Spark Stories; interviews with people who love what they do for a living. This was an excuse for me to interview and video some exceptional people – a jazz musician, an entrepreneur, a creativity coach, and a children’s author.  Every story was truly inspiring. These people know how to dream big (something I can definitely learn from).

Those were the highlights.

The ‘lowlights’ include splitting up with my boyfriend of 4.5 years. Yup. It was shit. But it was a mutual decision and we remain, miraculously, best friends. That’s quite a feat. Now I’m wondering whether meeting the right man might be just like moving to Emsworth; scary to think about but when it actually happens, it feels like coming home.

To sum up, 2013 was the year I finally committed to what I want to do (be a writer) and started to write THE ONE (my fourth book and the one most likely to be published, I think). It was also the year I upped sticks and moved to where my heart and I have always wanted to be.

So what about 2014? I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved but I’m not quite ready to shout from the rooftops that my life has ‘turned around’ (it’s in mid-turn).

A few weeks ago I listed my dreams:

Dream 1: Move to the coast.

Dream 2: Finish writing my children’s book and be snapped up by a publisher.

Dream 3: Fall in love, get married and by some miracle at my age, have children.

Dream 4: Buy my own home (a little place with a log fire and vegetable/herb garden).

Dream 5: Live a simple life by the sea; writing, doing yoga, hiking, cycling, paddeboarding, kayaking and camping.

Dream 6: Never have to worry about money again (sigh).

With Dream 1 ticked off the list, I hereby officially dedicate 2014 to the achievement of Dreams 2, 3* and 5!

(*I mean the falling in love bit; I’m feeling optimistic but I think getting married and having children might be a little too much to aspire to in just one year.)

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16 thoughts on “One year on…

  1. Your dreams and your journey are so similar to my own experiences (except the marriage and kids part). I must admit envy that you are living near the sea, but shall resign careful optimism of ‘one day…’ thinking :p

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  2. It looks like it’s going to be a wonderful year, Katherine – I think you’re already well on the way to achieving #2 and #5! I teared up a little, thinking of you chatting to your dad when you’re out walking by the sea – I think my dad is still hoping I’ll move to the sea, a dream of his that never happened (and also a dream of mine…)

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  3. Bravo Katherine! Loved reading your blog and I strongly believe that you have the strength to make all your wishes happen! I especially believe that when you will meet “prince charming”, it will be like going home…

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  4. Congratulations! You win!

    Really, though, to turn a sad thing into enough motivation to get out of one rut into something much better is really awesome. In my honest opinion, the change you’ve made matters much more than ticking things off a list. Still, ticking more off would be extra awesome to go to it!

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  5. Well done on achieving so much in 2013 Katherine, sorry about the shitty bits/man stuff, but hopefully it will all be for a reason.. Good luck for this year – I hope all your dreams get given! Jo x

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    1. Thank you Jo, it helps to think it’s all for a reason and I’m feeling good about this year and what it may bring! It feels like a bit of an adventure, which is exciting. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Wishing you a fabulous 2014 x

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  6. Katherine, it’s so wonderful to read this. What an amazing year of change. You’ve done so much, and now you’re doing the thing that you’re truly passionate about. I feel sure this year is going to be a great one for you. Wishing all the very best to make those dreams happen.

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  7. What can I say Sparky… I think you’ve made some massive and impressive changes to your life, some that felt good and some that didn’t, but all in the right direction. You sound so happy with your move to the coast. Your goals for the year are honest and brilliant and they made me chuckle too. We’ve got to laugh at the situation we find ourselves in sometimes haven’t we?! May your dreams come true in 2014 (2, 5 and a bit of 3 anyway). Rich x

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    1. God, we definitely have to laugh at the situations we find ourselves in, don’t we? (Humour has got me through some dark, dark times. You too I suspect.) It feels so good to admit to my dreams at last and go for them. Yippeee! Here’s to a sparkly 2014 for both of us x

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