After the runaway success (for ‘runaway’ read ‘moderate’) of 101 things about 2017 a couple of years ago, I’ve decided to shake up the format.
Yes ladies and gents, here are NINETY-NINE THINGS about 2019(ish – you’ll see). After all, 101 is so 2017.
And if you get that far, number 34 might explain why I’ve been a bit quiet lately.
It’s been quite a year.
Five business highs
- Getting proper photos done at last. Thank you Alison! This is my face…
- Starting work with 26 brilliant new clients
- And continuing work with plenty of returning ones
- ONLY having to deal with three potential clients who were awful (and I didn’t work with any of them)
- Hosting #ContentClubUK on Twitter – twice!
One business low
- Having to learn about small claims courts (and still not getting my money back thanks to a client’s bankruptcy)
Nine types of copy I’ve written for money
- Web pages
- Slogans and taglines
- Case studies
- Articles and blog posts
- Social media posts and captions
- Bios for social, conference brochures, art exhibitions etc.
Go on, be nice. Take a look at my portfolio.
Two things I wrote not-for-money
- Theatre review (written for tickets, not money)
- Charity website (because each year I set aside a set amount of time to work on community projects locally)
My six most popular blog posts of the year
- Copywriting: from A-Z
- 101 gift ideas for freelancers (not from 2019 but still one of the most viewed)
- What’s it worth? The mysterious world of freelance pricing
- Repeat after me: “My own business is at least as important as my clients’ businesses”
- Balance… and flex
- Christmas copy: dodging the cliches and ducking the puns
Eight happy moments
- Lots of babies being born! Welcome Joshua, Imogen, Astrid, Freya, Molly and Jessica (wow, that’s a lot of girls now I come to write them all down – poor Joshua)
- An unexpected, last-minute visit from the American part of the family
- A glorious hamper of goodies from my freelance friends (you know who you are)
- A gift of excellent pens from Social Pip
- Taking my niece and nephew to see the new Lion King film (they grumped all the way there but had a great time in the end)
- Seeing Margaret Atwood talk ‘live’ via video link for the launch of her new book – utterly inspirational lady
- Going to the panto!
- A much-needed, lovely long weekend in Suffolk to recharge the batteries
- My neighbour leaving his gas on and trying to blow up my flat (thank you to the wonderful gas safety phone number people for sorting it)
- Spraining my ankle BADLY in June. Two torn ligaments and a torn tendon. Ouch. Still in an aircast boot in December…
- Being told by another consultant that my symptoms (not the ankle ones!) and blood test results suggested I had a tumour growing next to my brain and that I may need brain surgery in the new year. And then hearing just before Christmas that I don’t. Woop. Scary times, HUGE relief.
- One dead washing machine, and a replacement that was a nightmare to get installed
- And which was then recalled by Whirlpool (and then unrecalled again, thankfully)
- More physio than you can shake a stick at (NB I don’t shake sticks at my physio, she’s lovely)
Six things I learnt
- How to crochet
- To make a rag wreath (thanks Charlie at The Mill House!)
- How to make a white sauce – after more than 20 years of trying and failing
- How to walk in an aircast boot
- How to walk with crutches
Five things I learnt you can’t (easily) do in an aircast boot
And I learnt all these the hard way.
- Change a lightbulb
- Change the clocks (well, the ones that are high up)
- Deal with a beeping smoke alarm
- Basically anything on a ladder. Grr.
Medical fun and games in numbers
- Over 30 blood tests
- At least six appointments with consultants in different departments (I lost count, but it’s definitely fewer than last year)
- Two MRIs (to add to last year’s three – I swear the hospital are gradually scanning every bit of me so they can create a clone)
Speaking of which, seven great online business-people-friends on social media
- Laura Parker, copywriter extraordinaire and all-round superstar support in times of crisis. Thank you Laura
- Andrea Boughton, brilliant brand designer who I’ve worked with on all sorts of projects and who’s a lovely friend
- Carla Brown, social media wonder and life-saver when you injure yourself (she was there for ankle-gate), when your washing machine breaks down, when you can’t get to the shops and have run out of loo roll
- Charlie Bentley-Beach, genius behind The Mill House in Hertford, brilliant friend, excellent chauffeur when you can’t drive, wonderful drinker of coffee when you’ve been stuck inside on your own for too long
- Kate Ailey, pasta queen, lovely friend and bringer-of-new-kettle when mine broke and I couldn’t get to a shop. Tea is everything, so this was huge!
- Rachel Balchin, accountant to the stars (well, to me at least – check her out here) and more importantly, fabulous friend, support and pub-persuader
- Everyone at #ContentClubUK – tooooo too many to mention but all of you, you’re wonderful
- The whole Mama Hive, past and present. I love our meetups, the fact that we don’t just talk business, and that I’ve made some awesome friends there
Nine books I enjoyed
- The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
- The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons
- Brick by William Hall and Dan Cruickshank (I know, I’m weird)
- Predatory Thinking by Dave Trott
- Damn Good Advice by George Lois
- Failed It! By Erik Kessels
- The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown by Vaseem Khan
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
- After You by Jojo Moyes
Eight TV highlights
- I Was There: Kate Adie on Tiananmen Square
- His Dark Materials
- Mad Men (the whole lot, for the first time)
- World on Fire
- Shetland (I love Shetland, depressing as it is)
- The Bay
- The Handmaid’s Tale, as always
- Killing Eve
Six films I enjoyed
Be warned. They’re not going to be recent… or trendy.
- Saving Mr Banks (2013)
- Miss Sloane (2016)
- Arrival (2016)
- Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017 – getting more ‘recent’)
- Paddington 2 (2017, and yes, I have the brain of a child and I’m very happy that way)
- Holiday Inn (1942… hmmm. BUT Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and the first outing for the song ‘White Christmas’ – what’s not to love?)
16 things I drafted to put on a 2018 list but never published (check the title – 2019ish…)
Plus, I’ve been stuck in on crutches for over half this year so I have to fill the list somehow.
- Discovered that I like tuna
- And marmite
- And that I love a mocha coffee
- Learnt that Trello is my saviour (thank you Amanda Appiagyei!)
- Learnt to make pasta from scratch, twice over (thank you Cooking & Carafes!)
- Learnt how to hand sew a stretch hem (er, thank you YouTube?)
- Learnt how to replace the wiper blades on a car
- Re-learnt how to make pompoms (a lost childhood skill)
- Unexpectedly found that happiness is being sung to by a group of mechanics on my birthday
- Discovered the Rivers of London books
- Read Hidden Figures (and found there’s way more to it than is in the film)
- Read All the Light we Cannot See
- Read The Radleys by Matt Haig
- Read Sourdough by Robin Sloan. Loved it.
- Got totally addicted to Little Drummer Girl on telly
- ‘Met’ the (wonderful) Megs. Catch up here if you missed it.
And finally… two wishes for the next 12 months
- Less health nonsense, pretty please
- More brilliant, exciting, unexpected and fun things to put on next year’s list…