not reflecting on 2015… honest

It’s January, the first day of a new year and the traditional time to look back at the year gone by and make resolutions for the year ahead. I’ve read a lot of reflective posts from fellow bloggers these past few days and toyed with the idea of writing one of my own – almost felt I should write one in fact, as if it’s some kind of blogging law. After all, blogging is a kind of online diary so the task of writing some kind of summary should be so easy that, well, why wouldn’t you?

flooded flieds reflection

What’s stopped me (apart from a rather hectic diary and extremely dodgy broadband due to flooding) is feeling that, compared to others, I didn’t achieve enough last year. You see, I didn’t write an entire novel or find a publisher or an agent. I didn’t write for Huff Post, become Blog Of The Day on Mumsnet or be in the Tots100 index (honestly, I’m not even sure what that is!). Nor did I have a post go viral, gain masses of followers or have glittering associations with exciting brands. I didn’t travel the world, get a promotion at work, have a baby or, or, or… well, all sorts of things.

Which is all FINE, honestly it is. I’d probably explode if all that had happened in one year! But one of the perils of blogging is the almost irresistible urge to compare yourself to others and, while reading the posts of my lovely fellow bloggers was inspiring and heart-warming, I also found myself thinking:

Look at that! A whole book written and published! And this person’s just found an agent and that person’s written a whole novel in a month, and over here someone’s had a baby and still managed to blog nearly every day! They’re all AWESOME! How can I live up to that?!

You don’t have to ‘live up to that’ you fool! The more sensible side of me then counselled, It’s not a competition, you know.

Yes, I know that, but still, look – this person’s written enough poetry in a few months to fill a whole book, and that person’s got a massive promotion at work and…

Oh, SHHHH, didn’t I just say, IT’S NOT A COMPETITION!

Yes but..

Yes but nothing – look, all these things that people have achieved, they’ve managed through hard work, determination and being willing to put themselves out there, to take a few risks maybe…

But, I’ve been doing that too! I mean I worked my socks off on those three picture book manuscripts and I had them professionally edited and I sent them off to agents, and… and I went to my first blogging conference and a whole Writing Festival weekend which was totally out of my comfort zone…

Ah ha! See – you DID achieve some pretty cool things last year then!

I guess… yes?

No question about it… didn’t you write at least one blog post every single week of the year? AND didn’t Louise from ‘Little Hearts, Big Love’ include your blog as one of her top ten of 2015?

She did! It was totally unexpected and REALLY made me smile!

And haven’t you written masses of limericks? Weren’t you (and aren’t you still) an editor for BritMums? Didn’t you read and recommend fantastic books? Don’t you you run a linky that has built up a lovely community around it… in fact you even arranged real life meet up for that linky didn’t you?

Yes – it was fab! Our #WhatImWriting community is SO wonderful and inspiring.

Agreed! And then there’s that other work you do…

Well yes, though I’m not sure I’ve really achieved that much there…

I think you’ll find a quick look at your inbox will reveal an awful lot appreciative emails.

Yes, ok, I guess I have been of some value there too.

Absolutely you’ve been of value! Besides which, I know that one of the things you value most is your friends and this has been a wonderful year for friendship too hasn’t it?

It really has yes, you’ve got me there.

And, AND, you have three young kids! Three young kids who are clothed and fed and happy!

That’s very true…

And I know you’re thinking ‘but I could have been a better parent and I wish I never shouted’ but pah, no one’s perfect and your boys are loved. That’s the most important thing. They’re loved and happy. Trust me, you’re doing fine.

Ok, you win, I…

Wait, one more thing! it was your twenty-first anniversary with your husband just before christmas wasn’t it? That’s worth celebrating!

Oh yes, and we certainly did celebrate! I get it, I get it… thanks sensible side, you’ve made me see sense, I’ve achieved plenty this year and it doesn’t matter that it’s not exciting things like book publications, career advances and meeting celebrities (oh wait, I did do that), it’s the little things. I’ve kept chugging along, taking little risks and putting lots of time and energy into relationships which is what matter most. Now I come to think of it – 2015 was a pretty awesome year.

Totally! So… are you going to write that reflective, summary post now?

What, the one where I look back over 2015 and include links to lots of other blog posts?

That’s the one.

Nah, I can’t really be bothered. ;)

Writing Bubble
And then the fun began...

48 thoughts on “not reflecting on 2015… honest

  1. Alexandra

    A brilliant post! You’ve achieved so, so much- I feel the same, that I haven’t really done anything noteworthy, especially when compared to other people that I read about. But, do you know what? Your blog post has inspired me and made me realise that I have achieved loads and should be proud! So thank you honey and happy new year! Lexie X
    Alexandra recently posted…A Toast To 2016!My Profile

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  2. Rachael

    Hey Maddy,

    I love your alternative approach to the reflective post – nicely done! I didn’t even register all the links (apart from the one I wasn’t sure I’d read) until I got to the end…. You’ve had a great year, looking back :) xx
    Rachael recently posted…Looking back to move forwardsMy Profile

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  3. Dana

    I love this stream of consciousness post, Maddy. Your internal voice is hilarious and similar to my own :) I am a firm believer in the only person you should compare yourself to is your previous self (though I do often have to remind myself of this), and it seems to me you’ve had a kickass kind of year. I love being part of your linky and am so happy to know you. One day I can’t wait to read your books to my kids. Keep being your lovely, genuine, and talented self.
    Dana recently posted…Year’s End, A NoticingMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      What a gorgeous comment Dana. I totally agree you should only compare yourself to yourself and I am very glad to know you too. I’ll just have to keep slogging away on those books so they can one day end up on your shelves (hopefully before your kids are grown ups!) xx
      Maddy recently posted…not reflecting on 2015… honestMy Profile

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  4. Sumbel

    Oh Maddy, I can relate to this sooo much! As I read it, the words rolled off my tongue, almost as if they were from my mind. I am also guilty of comparing my blogging too much, that often I have considered stopping. The quality and quantity of my posts in no way live up to what is out there, that I wonder why do I bother. But then I remember, I blog for me. That time spent writing brings me joy. And there is no law that your blog has to be your whole life, it can be a small, but important, part of it.

    You have done so well, do not put yourself down. I can’t wait to read more of your writing. I really can’t wait to join your linky, once I work out how to do so! Happy New Year. xx
    Sumbel recently posted…My Blogging Experience: One Year On and Why I Still BlogMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Ah, Sumbel you write so well – definitely don’t stop! Bet you make masses of people laugh with your posts (or those I’ve read so far which have all been funny ones!) Would love to have you join in the linky – I’ll tweet you when it goes live (tomorrow) and can point the way if need be (linkies are easy when you know how but odd to newcomers – I remember the feeling!). Thanks for your lovely comment. xx
      Maddy recently posted…not reflecting on 2015… honestMy Profile

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  5. Jo Winwood

    I love your sensible voice, Maddy. Sounds much like my own! It’s sometimes difficult to see your achievements as we’re so close to them but you’ve done a good job of summing off a great year for you. Keep doing what you’re so good at and I’ll try to tag along more often!
    Jo Winwood recently posted…Setting some Writing Goals for 2016My Profile

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  6. Zoe

    I love this post. It’s like you’ve been inside my head and listened to my internal chatter. :) I’m hoping to be a regular to the linky now (I know I say that every week) but I really do have the best intentions! Happy New Year and well done on 2015 xxx
    Zoe recently posted…Happy New Year!My Profile

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  7. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    We all know that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’, and yet we still do it! But that’s the point of your post really, and I’m glad you saw all the positive things you have done. For me I see you as a really positive role model, and I’m really glad that you and #whatimwriting were part of my 2015 journey, and will be part of my 2016 journey. xx
    Alice @ The Filling Glass recently posted…The good enough motherMy Profile

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  8. Rebecca Ann Smith

    This is great Maddy, I love the two voices. Too often on social media we only hear the positive, self-assured voice, and I think everyone can relate to both! You’ve achieved masses in the past year in terms of your own writing, but I’m also very grateful to you for keeping What I’m Writing going and for all your hard work in commenting, encouraging, tweeting and retweeting, spreading the love, and so on. Here’s to 2016!

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    1. Maddy Post author

      You’re very right about social media – I think that’s why it’s such a double-edged sword – lovely for making connections and maintaining friendships but all the comparisons we draw with other people’s self-assured versions of themselves can be quite difficult. Thanks so much for joining in with #whatImWriting for all these months, I’m glad it’s been such a positive experience for you. xx
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  9. Sophie Lovett

    Love this post! You have achieved so much this year, but I totally identify with the comparison thing… There’s a quote that’s just sprung into my mind – ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. I reckon that has to be pretty much true for everyone. However successful you are there’s always someone who looks like they’re doing better. And if (like me) you’re just moseying along with fingers in too many pies then everyone you come across seems to be achieving more than seems possible! But I digress… Well done on everything you’ve achieved, and thank you for making me smile in the midst of new year overload with this post :) Onwards and upwards! xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…1/52My Profile

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  10. Sam

    I totally understand what you mean at the start about comparing ourselves negatively and then feeling bad about what we haven’t achieved rather than spin it on its head and celebrate what we have achieved. You’ve definitely had a good year – in fact now I’m comparing myself unfavourably to you! :-) You’ve really thrown yourself into the blogging community and got involved and I think I hold myself back from going for bigger or more impressive goals either because of fear that I’m not good enough or the feeling that there are external things in my life which need resolving first. Anyway. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout this week and GO you!! X
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    1. Maddy Post author

      Ha – and there was I looking at you as someone who’s thrown themselves in and achieved more than me! Honestly, we all need to just quit this comparison business don’t we?! Well done on everything you’ve achieved and thanks for commenting Sam. Oh, and I love your linky! xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week fifty-nineMy Profile

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  11. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    I love this post – what a brilliant way of looking back over the year and I’m quite amazed by how much you’ve managed to achieve even if you haven’t had a book published, posted on the Huff Post or been Mumsnet Blog of the Day etc. etc. I’ve not achieved any of those either and sometimes it’s hard to resist that temptation to compare ourselves to others. So glad that my top 10 blogs post made you smile – I always love reading your blog and your limericks are just brilliant. Wishing you all the very best for 2016 and hope it will be an amazing year for you x
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…Sisterhood of the World AwardMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Writing this post was a really cathartic experience because it reminded me how much I’d achieved! Reading people’s comments has been lovely because everyone has been so supportive and it’s made me realise how normal this sort of internal monologue. We’re all rather silly and rather wonderful! I really did appreciate making your top ten, Louise – happy 2016 to you! xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week fifty-nineMy Profile

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  12. Aimee

    Oh I LOVE this post! The reason I’ve stepped so far back from blogging is I compare myself and haven’t achieved everything I really wanted to do – even though, like you, I have done pretty darn well in 2015.

    You’ve done amazingly, and I’m so proud of you xxx
    Aimee recently posted…#WriteThinking – The Buzz.My Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Awww, thanks Aimee! It’s ridiculous (but also totally normal) that you would compare yourself unfavourably to anyone else given your whole publishing deal! You had an AMAZING 2015 and I’m very proud of you too. xx
      Maddy recently posted…plans for 2016My Profile

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  13. BloggerMummyLauren

    Brilliant, I absolutely love this! I’m new to your blog, and I love you already. You’ve totally hit the nail on the head, it’s so hard in the blogging community not to compare yourself to those around you, and you can lose sight of your own personal achievements.
    You’ve had a great year, and this is the best 2015 review I’ve read. Looking forward to seeing what’s in store for you in 2016 :)

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  14. nicola young

    You’ve echoed many people’s thoughts with this post. It’s hard not to look at what everyone else is doing and compare. I think we all try to show what we’ve been doing, rather than not doing, when we post anyway. But look at what you did achieve though? You had an amazing year AND we even got to meet which was fantastic!

    Well done for working so hard to build up this community of writers. We really do appreciate it.
    nicola young recently posted…On new responsibilities and getting back into the routineMy Profile

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  15. Emily Organ

    That’s the perfect way to look at life, when you set your own goals and consider your own achievements you need to make them relevant to yourself. Comparing yourself to others just reduces you to a quivering mess of jelly on the floor. What a great 2015! And it was lovely to meet you for the first time too. I hope 2016 goes just as well x
    Emily Organ recently posted…Almost the final draftMy Profile

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