Looks like it's that time of year again... 2017 has finally come to an end and everyone is filling their Facebook statuses with reflections of the year gone by, as well as resolutions for the year ahead. I have to admit, I am a sucker for "year review" type posts, both reading and writing them. I think there is something wonderful about the closing of one chapter and the start of another, plus I love any opportunity to reflect on recent memories and make plans going forward. So here are a few thoughts on the past twelve months and all the things I have experienced.
2017 has been a totally crazy, life-changing year for me. I feel like a different person now than this time last year and I have achieved things I know I can truly be proud of.
Here are some of the main events from this year, all of which left a huge impact on me:
- I married my best friend (and it was the best day of my life)
- I turned 30 (and it was scary, but also I feel like this new decade will be a good one)
- I Honeymooned with Mat to Japan and it was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be
- We also had a Mini Moon in Brighton in a beautiful hotel and it was thoroughly lovely!
- I had an epic hen do with all my best friends and I will never forget how amazing it was!
- I had a cut on a worldwide #1 album it broke a sales record for the band's most downloaded B-Side.
- I had a cut on a #2 album in Japan, and got to visit a pop-up cafe in the Tokyo HMV playing our song over the speakers (talk about a dream come true)
- I travelled to Sweden by myself for a writing camp and met so many amazing new friends
- I had multiple music videos out for my co-written songs, something I've always dreamed of!
- I had two songs featured on a Dutch teen movie
- I had a B-Side cut with a Japanese actress
- I had multiple cuts with FAKY including the ending theme to a Gundam anime
- I had a song reach the heats for Lithuanian Eurovision
- I released my published my second e-book and made it into a few Kindle charts
- I finished the first draft of a brand new novel, and have put the wheels of a very big exciting new project into motion
On top of all this, I've had so many great times with friends and have shared lots of very special moments with people, whether it was to do with the wedding, working on music together or just hanging out.
In all honestly, everything has been somewhat overwhelming. I have experienced moments of pure joy and jubilation, but there has been a lot of pressure attached too. This year has been the best and the most stressful year of my life simultaneously. The anxiety and nerves I've felt about wedding planning, travelling and having work released in the public eye has been all-consuming. Not to mention the absolute crushing frustration I have felt at not being able to do what I love full time. After the wonderful highs of so many dreams coming true, it has been unbearable to go back to mundane work life again, without any free time to keep momentum moving.
But all that said, I don't think I would change anything for a second. Because all the highs have been worth the stress.
This year I got to see everyone I love in the same room and feel their joy radiating out of every corner. I got the chance to promise my love forever to the one person I could never be without. Relationships from the past became a little stronger and friendship groups got a little bigger.
I got to see hundreds of thousands of fans reacting to music I played a part in, and read strangers saying the song gives them strength in times of hardship. All I've ever wanted is to move people through music and I finally got to do that.
I got to see places I could only dream about, places I wasn't sure I'd really see in my lifetime. I got to meet wonderful, talented people who teach and push me to be a better songwriter.
I did things I've always wanted to do. And I'm so incredibly happy that I did, even when I had to leave my comfort zone and get a little bit pressurised in the process. I've discovered just how much I can achieve when I really put my mind to it and I'm actually really bloody proud of myself!
So now, going into the new year, I'm already thinking of all the resolutions I want to make in order to move forward to get the most out of my life.
First of all, I have to get my crazy anxiety under control! I am so sick of it looming over everything I do and I am sure there are ways I can keep a better lid on it and stop it affecting every decision I ever make. I want to give myself more time to enjoy the things that bring me pleasure on a smaller scale. I want to read more, watch more movies. Mat and I want to travel more and see as much as we can, even if it's just other cities in the UK. I want to get out of my own head and just live in the moment without worrying about tomorrow. When we went to Japan, it was the one time I really felt like I was living for the moment and it was so freeing that I want to be in that head space all the time, not just on holiday!
Secondly, I want to get more serious where my creative work is concerned. I feel like I've become a little aimless and have lost sight of my end goal over the past few years, which is to make a enough income from creative work to drop my day job hours. I am not as far off from this goal as I once was, and now is the time to start making creativity my number one priority again. It's always so hard balancing a day job with writing and music, because ultimately I need money and a steady job to live, but I feel like I have really lost that balance recently and I need to make more time to invest in writing and music if I ever want to make it to the next rung of the ladder (and I am sooooo close now!)
On top of that, I want to start being pickier with my time. I have had a handful of projects this year that messed me around big time, and there is nothing more frustrating than putting your all into a project, only to be let down by people who don't share your same commitment, or even seem to appreciate how much of your own time and money you have put in for free. Right now my time is so limited that I don't have a second to waste on people who aren't driven or who keep changing their minds at the drop of a hat. So I'm going to be very picky with who I collaborate with from now on. I also plan to stand my ground a lot more when people mess me around, and be a little pushier for people I really want to collaborate with. Luckily, I have some very rewarding co-writes in the works right now with some super talented and motivated people, so things are definitely looking up!
My final resolution for the year is to find my voice again. I have dabbled with performing again this year, but it's never been something I've done as anything more than a hobby. I am not a typical "pop star" and I have never wanted to be one, which is why I have left that part of me behind as I've moved forward songwriting for other people. However, singing and performing has always been such a passion of mine that it is something I've regretted not pursuing further. This is why I am SO excited about the new project I am working on with my amazing and talented friend Ellie. I don't want to share too much just yet as we aren't finished, but we are working really hard on it and hope that more will be revealed in the later half of 2018. It is something that will allow me to sing and perform again without the focus being on trying to get signed or be some kind of pop star... which is EXACTLY what I have wanted to do for a really long time! It is also something which allows for collaboration in lots of different directions, and it's also a project we have total control over (so no big company butting in with decisions that ruin the end result). I have put so much passion into what we are building and I plan to make it my number one priority next year. I just hope that people will love it as much as I've loved creating it... But whatever happens, I am super proud that we are making it at all and that we are on the way to getting it finished!
So there we go... 2018, I am ready and waiting for you. Fingers crossed you have just as many cool adventures waiting for me as the ones I had this year :) Thanks to all the good people in my life for sharing so many wonderful memories with me. Let's go do it all over again next year!
Wishing everyone reading this a happy and super prosperous 2018 - thank you always for your support with everything I do.
(PS. Here is me with my crew over Xmas hehe!!!)