9 Dec 2014

2014 In A Nutshell

I'm writing this a little early, but I am already starting to wind down for Christmas anyway!

This year has been a blur. In January, I set my sights on a number of things I wanted to achieve this year - and all boxes have been ticked. I genuinely didn't think that would happen, I have to say I'm quite proud of myself (and also very tired).

It gives me such a great feeling of motivation, I'm definitely going to set myself more goals next year.


Here's a look back at what those goals were and how I achieved them.


GOAL NUMBER ONE: TRAVEL BLOGGING

My main goal of 2014 was to go travel blogging. I didn't especially seek out digital PR companies looking for bloggers, I just made myself easier to find. Guest posts, heavy use of Twitter and Instagram and all that.

In May I got to go to Cardiff for a weekend as part of a Hotel ibis campaign, and then in August Visit Scotland sent me on a trip to Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye as part of their #homecoming2014 campaign.

I felt so lucky, privileged and incredibly happy with all of this! The Scotland trip in particular was a real adventure - I went alone and from Inverness drove myself to Skye in a hire car.


GOAL NUMBER TWO: SAVE MONEY

At the start of the year I worked two jobs - Monday to Friday in an office and weekends in a bar. I was completely exhausted and managed to keep it up for almost four months.

It worked though - I had a very healthy savings account by the end of it.

Tragically, these Cat Flats had their last meow this year and got thrown away
GOAL NUMBER THREE: COMPLETE A JOURNALISM COURSE

I stumbled across an online course from Planet Ivy. It was affordable and very task based - the course finished with you actually pitching a story to a real magazine or newspaper.

I found it incredibly useful and felt I'd learned a lot of valuable lessons.


GOAL NUMBER FOUR: GET MORE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE

This I mostly did through Social Sheffield, I was initially on the @drinksocialshef account and now use the main @socialsheffield account.

The way we're using Twitter for this project is really interesting and progressive, and I've learned so much. The way I write my tweets now is completely different to how I was writing them in the beginning.


GOAL NUMBER FIVE: DO SOMETHING SCARY, GROW AS AN INDIVIDUAL

I've done a lot of scary things this year, they mostly involve speaking with an ounce of conviction to total strangers! Managing and facilitating the sub-editors for Social Sheffield. Networking. Conducting interviews. Generally just being in a lot of situations where I've had to act confident but haven't felt it. It's a good test and it's getting easier.

I'm rounding off a year of doing scary things by taking part in Inceptions 2014. In this project teams look at ways to make 'going out in Sheffield more attractive to more people more often.' Our team's theme is Events, and we have to pitch our idea in a presentation to a panel of local leaders… on a stage. If that isn't scary then I don't know what is!


GOAL NUMBER SIX: DIP INTO THE WORLD OF FREELANCING

It is my dream to work from home. To dictate my own schedule, work at the times when I know I perform best.

This is one goal I genuinely didn't believe I'd achieve, but then one day a couple of months ago I literally ran out of reasons not to give it a go. Finding the work has been slow, and I'm still learning at lots of things - but that's the best way to learn, to just do it.


GOAL NUMBER SEVEN: START WRITING FOR A MAGAZINE OR NEWSPAPER

Another one I thought would be too hard to make a reality, but actually… it happened! I found a copy of Doncopolitan randomly in Doncaster earlier in the year. After hounding the Editor until she agreed to meet me for a drink, she asked if I'd contribute.

I've written two pieces for them so far, with another about to be published and a fourth in the pipeline. I get such a giddy feeling of delight when I see my name printed on real paper in a real magazine!


WHAT ELSE HAVE I DONE THIS YEAR?

- I moved to Sheffield and am really enjoying meeting lots of new lovely people at various pubs in this wonderful city (I rarely drink ale though, I'm a wine lover).
- I took three trips down to London to visit my brother, all were great fun.
- I went to Greece for a brief holiday with some Melbourne friends
- I learned a valuable lesson about work/life balance (i.e. I didn't really have any and needed to get some)
- I dropped a tin of beans on my head whilst reaching for the ketchup, and suffered a minor concussion #truestory
- I interviewed Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project
- I got to go to some really cool events like MADE Festival and TEDx Sheffield
- I met TONS of new bloggers in Sheffield and Leeds by going to some awesome events, including a photography workshop which was my favourite!

2014 has been brilliant. Here's to 2015 being even better!

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