Goodbye 2016, it’s time to look ahead


I managed to do about half of what I’d hoped to do in 2016:

  • I published one Hana Walker novel instead of two
  • I published print versions of 9 TEFL textbooks for kids aged 3 to 11, but not ebook versions
  • I failed to complete a book on how to teach English in Japan, but did complete eight adult colouring books and one for kids
  • I didn’t manage to run a single kilometre this year, but did walk about 5km most days.
  • I read 25 of the 50 books I intended to get to.
  • I memorised a bunch of Japanese kanji at the beginning of the year, but from lack of daily effort have completely forgotten what I learnt.
  • But in the latter half of the year I’ve been finding my feet on YouTube and writing a newsletter every month. I’ve blogged more, but sketched less.

So, it’s been a half-full and half-empty kind of year. But that turned out to be a good result given that in January our youngest was diagnosed with bone cancer…

Thankfully, that diagnosis was wrong, it was downgraded to a bone cyst, which is vastly less serious and was successfully operated on in March. But for two weeks in January our whole world disintegrated.

Compared to the well-being of my own flesh and blood, any professional successes or failures since then have faded into irrelevance. Which is the way it should be. But sometimes in life it’s a good thing to get a reminder of what the priorities should be.

A final note on the year that was. In December, I offered newsletter subscribers a free print copy of some of my books. It was a real pleasure to get email from readers and their kind words encouraged me to get my ass in gear and write more, better and faster. To know and be in touch with folk in Nagoya, Brisbane and San Diego who are interested enough in reading my books to contact me is a fantastic feeling. It may be a tiny audience, but it is undeniably a global one. Wow, just wow.

So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2017:

Daily goals:

  1. Write or edit 1,000 words of book copy.
  2. Walk one hour a day.
  3. Learn one new kanji a day.

Weekly goals:

  1. Read one good book.
  2. Draw/paint one picture.
  3. Publish one blog post

Monthly goals:

  1. Publish/edit one project.
  2. Write one email to newsletter subscribers.
  3. Do one video.

End of 2017 goals:

  1. To have published the third Hana Walker novel.
  2. To have revised and offered a complete set of TEFL textbooks for Japanese kids from age 3 to 11 in print and on Kindle.
  3. To have published a guide for self-employed English teachers in Japan.
  4. To have writen, illustrated and tested with a live audience books for Japanese kindergarteners learning English.
  5. To have developed Hana Walker mysteries as a series for Japanese teenagers learning English.

What I’ve got to get better at is repurposing material to get the most out of everything I do. For example: If I read a good book, I can learn from it, review it (to fix it in my mind) and get my reviews and writing more widely known to readers on Goodreads. If my thoughts are good enough, I can eventually publish a book on the best 100 books on Japan, for example. The idea is to waste nothing.

We’ll see if that all works out.

But if I can stick to the daily and weekly goals, the year-end goals can’t be far away…

In the meantime, may I wish you the very best of luck with your own goals for 2017, or if planning is anathema to you, may the gods be kind to you. Let’s compare notes next December.

All the best, fellow chickens.