A Review of 2014 Goals | A Look Back Before Moving Forward

Photo by Wendy Longo photography 
Photo by Wendy Longo photography 

Last year at this time I set goals and not resolutions. At the time I established the goals, it seemed a long list for one human.

As I review that list now, it turns out those could not have been truer words.

Christmas Day 2013 found my husband in excruciating pain that would last until back surgery in March 2014. At the same time, what I thought was allergies turned out to be a respiratory problem with a long recovery time.

With Bob’s home chores falling to my shoulders as well as his health care and my own, the writing life seemed to disintegrate before my eyes.

About the time the dust began to settle, I had the opportunity attend the annual Willamette Writers Conference. Local Portland writer and teacher, Jennifer Lauck, author of Blackbirdand several other books, facilitated two of the sessions I attended. I had met Jennifer before but not in the workshop environment. Jennifer excited me with her mode of teaching, her excitement about the written word, and her palpable desire to help others achieve their dreams.

By the end of the next week, I had registered to take one of Jennifer’s upcoming classes at a local writers’ cooperative. I made it to two sessions, and a bomb dropped the last weekend in September. Pain I hadn’t experienced since spinal fusion riddled one side of my body. A multitude of tests showed no reason for the pain. I had to decide whether to continue the class or taking care of myself. The latter won out. Dropping out was a huge disappointment.

Finally we insisted on another test, and a diagnosis took me into surgery. I am recovering well, and I feel better than I did 18 months ago. That in itself is a bonus.

I share all this with you to underscore the truth of goal-setting, making resolutions, resolving to adhere to a set daily schedule and/or to do list: [tweetthis]A writer’s “other life” doesn’t always cooperate with the plans for the writing life.[/tweetthis]

Lesson learned: I am one person with one life with days presented to me singularly to accomplish what I can. When all the parts of my life and days gifted don’t mesh, I will attempt to be flexible and set frustrations aside knowing there will be tomorrow.

Based on this newly ingrained bit of wisdom, I will be setting goals for 2015 and selecting a word to focus on as I move forward through 2015 while remembering what 2014 has taught me.

What about you? What did 2014 teach you that will impact how you plan as a person and/or a writer for 2015? 

22 thoughts on “A Review of 2014 Goals | A Look Back Before Moving Forward

  1. I tweeted your quote because it summed up my year. I had the first draft of my second book almost done and then multiple bombs hit my life. My beloved cousin passed away from a freak accident a month before her birthday, my niece who was even younger also passed away in Feb and then Oct my ex husband and life long friend was found hours after his death. I was grieving and my severe arthritis came back with a vengeance. Now, I am in the midst of major repairs to my house and I tore my rotator cuff while moving boxes from one room to the next. I share your physical pain but my writing block is caused by being overwhelmed by life. I pray this year will be better for all of us including our ailing world. Aloha good health to you in the coming year

    1. Marilyn, I’m so sorry for the losses and struggles you faced in 2014. Losing a loved one is loss enough to face but to lose three people you were close to is more than one soul should have to bear. I’m praying that you will find peace above all, but also that your shoulder and physical pain will abate and heal soon. I agree with your words “including our ailing world.” Take care of yourself, and we’ll all be here cheering you on when you can get back to blogging.

      1. I didn’t mention I also have a severely mentally ill son homeless in California who I tried to help but all this has weighed on me and I must admit, the anxiety I’ve dealt with my whole life has returned with an evil twin called depression which is new to me. Thank you for caring.. Aloha

      2. Marilyn, I will certainly add this burden to my prayers for you. I do help you are receiving some help with regard to the anxiety and depression. I have suffered with mild depression for some time, and I can’t encourage you enough to at least speak with your physician about it. God is watching over you and not only does He care for you, so do I!

      3. Thank you. I’ve suffered from anxiety my whole life and have been healing for many years. I have even written a memoir about it; “From Agoraphobia to Zen” and traveled throughout the UK reading and speaking about the stigma against mental illness. Since 2000 when I started my journey I lost 60 pounds of pain and had many adventures. Yet, this year has taken me far away from “Zen” which was just a way of saying how far I was from agoraphobia. Well, the “agora monster”is back with a vengeance and I can barely go out of my house again. Worse, I have anxiety and panic again although not to the extent as those in the past. I do pray every day and night and thank you for your work and caring. Much Aloha

  2. I’ve read the other comments and agree you have lemonade out of lemons – ha!
    When my mother died unexpectedly in July I realized I would be on a long detour of my writing plans. However, it all provided fodder for the blog mill as this post has done for you!
    Yet, I wish for smoother sailing for both of us. “The steps of a good [wo]man are ordered by the Lord.” a comforting thought.

    1. Oh, Marian, 2014 presented bumps in the road for so many. And thanks for reminding me that lemonade comes from lemons! You have written so beautiful and touching posts along the way in 2014, and so many as a result of the wonderful woman you call mother. Smoother sailing is in order, and we can continue to wish for those sails to billow smoothly. I appreciated your thought about the steps of a good woman. 🙂

  3. You are not only a survivor of 2014, Sherrey. You are a thriver in 2015. I can just feel your energy in this post. You sent me back to my own set of goals for 2014 as I too reflect on the year ahead. Next Wednesday I’ll be sharing my own thoughts online. But here I can say that one great accomplishment of 2014 was meeting YOU and Bob in person in Portland. Happy New Year to you both.

    1. Shirley, it is our joy to be among your accomplishments for 2014. We enjoyed meeting you and Stuart as well, and hope that you return to Portland when time allows us more intimate conversation. I like that word “thriver” — something to keep as a mantra going forward. Happy New Year to you and Stuart.

  4. Sherrey,Happy New Year…and you’re so right about being flexible because we never know what will happen…I’m glad you and your husband are recovering…praying you’ll continue to feel better…peace and joy to you and your family 🙂 Glad you were able to write this post 🙂

    1. Dolly, thank you for reading and leaving your comments. Also thanks for your continued prayers. Life is turning around, as it always does, and we’re feeling more and more like last year is a fading memory. Blessings and joy to your family in 2015!

  5. Dear Sherrey, you certainly have summed up how life with all its twists and turns can alter any plans that have been set. I must say you have managed to do a tremendous job of maintaining and excelling in your writing life in the midst of all your health issues. I applaud you and agree with Susan, you probably don’t even realize all your contributions. I’m thrilled you are feeling better and am inspired by your thoughts about flexibility and hope for a better tomorrow.2105 has taught me to listen to my body and not try to do everything at once. I hope to carry those lessons into 2015 as I continue marketing “Ever Faithful to His Lead” and writing my next memoir. I’m still thinking about my word for 2015 but it will be something along the lines of declutter or simplify..TBA. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015 for all of us!

    1. Dear Kathy, here you are knowing intimately the twists and turns life can take and you’re encouraging me and others along the pathway of life and the writing life. As I mentioned in my reply to Susan Weidener and Joan Rough, I suppose we don’t see ourselves as others do. So, I thank all of you for letting me know how I’m seen.
      Listening to our bodies is our first best step to staying healthy and caring for ourselves. I often take on too much and wear myself down and then struggle to get back on pace. Can’t wait to see what your word is for 2015!

  6. Not knowing what is ahead is a problem all of us face. Illness is a particulary difficult one and can crush our best made plans. But you’ve done a great job of keeping up, Sherrey and though you may not have spent a lot of time on your manuscript, you always have some wonderful piece of advice to share with your followers. Here’s hoping that 2015 will bring more writing time time to all of us!

    1. Joan, your words are making me blush, something my husband says I’m too good at doing. I do not, however, see myself the way others see me, I suppose. Thank you for your encouragement and your role in our writing community. Here’s to a 2015 filled with pages filled with words!

  7. Thank you Sherrey … yes, life gets in the way of plans sometimes. How can it be otherwise …Goal setting instead of resolutions is a great idea – one I hope to commit to, is exercising the writing muscle daily, if only a few hundred words or so … days can go by that the WIP gets no attention at all ..
    Here’s to a healthier and happy 2015.

    1. “How can it be otherwise?” It certainly can’t, and I need to accept that and not let life interrupted frustrate me so. I need to get back to daily writing as well. Have a handy spreadsheet to keep me accountable to the word count. Hope your 2015 is filled with warmth, abundant goodness and joy.

  8. Sherrey, Thank you for this post which eloquently sums up what many women face; life intervening and making a morning devoted to ourselves and our writing even more elusive and tenuous than normal. I think, however, you do an amazing job of abundant writing and blogging, reviewing books, supporting other writers . . . maybe you don’t realize just how much you do.
    As for me, 2014 taught me to slow down and not rush to completion the publication of “A Portrait of Love and Honor”. There is much to be said for taking the time to ponder and let ideas percolate and germinate.
    Here’s to a happy and fruitful New Year for all wordsmiths!

    1. Susan, thank you for your gracious comments. I don’t think we ever see our own productivity, or lack of, as others do so thank you for saying that. I am looking forward to your new publication. I feel it must have been difficult to write. Here’s to a happy 2015 and successful publication.

      1. Thank you, Sherrey. You’re very perceptive. The novel has been hard to write . . . it hits so “close to home.” But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Again, many thanks for all you do to support writers in such an intelligent and personal way. Wishing you hugs and blessings for 2015.

  9. I love that quote and it is so true. We can set goals, but we certainly need to be flexible. And sometimes those diversions can lead to better things. I’m so glad you are feeling better – I know 2014 was a tough year for you. Here’s to a healthier 2015!
    Blessings,
    Joan

    1. Joan, thanks for your gracious and thoughtful words. I too am looking forward to a healthier 2015, and I feel like I can safely say that! Happy New Year to you and wishing you much success in 2015.

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