Five good things I did this year

Fred At Boonah

If only you could see my face, all wide eyes and down-turned mouth, a silent scream.

It’s been forever since my last Daily (sic) Note but I’ve flipped open the laptop determined to publish. And as is my habit, I started with the title, jotting down the first thoughts to form in my fuzzy brain without any real plan around content.

What made me decide upon a listicle? The least creative genre for the serious writer with artistic ambitions?

I blame the gin and tonic followed by a champagne with a red wine chaser over dinner. Either that or I’m so rusty I’ve resorted to pedestrian click-bait for posts. And I don’t generally buy in to the New Year practice of review and resolve.

Any hoo. I’m committed now so here’s the list:

1. I escaped the volunteer vortex

After many years serving on the management committee for a state sporting organisation I did not renominate at the Annual General Meeting early this year*. I felt guilty then for pulling out and I still do. But only a little bit. Mostly I feel relieved. And it turns out I’m not as indispensable as I thought.

Athletes continue to train and compete in Queensland and other volunteers have stepped up to take my place, which would never have happened if I’d hung around. So now I’m patting myself on the back for risking community opprobrium by walking away.

When I say I’ve escaped, that’s an exaggeration. I still happily serve on the Board of the National Federation, so sport continues to colour my life

2. I built websites

Two. I built two websites. I’m so proud of them and of myself for learning how to do it. I don’t write code, but I’m now very confident in my skills with a WordPress page builder and a raft of associated plugins. I researched and studied and fumbled my way through trial and error to create two vastly different sites. In the process I gained confidence in my copy writing and design skills. I’m good at this and it’s inspired me to look for collaborative projects with web or graphic designers.

3. I pitched stories

Only two unfortunately, so there’s room for improvement. I need to work harder at this. But both  ideas received a thumbs up. One has been published and one will be published soon. So while I haven’t set the world on fire as a journalist I haven’t given up. Let’s call it a consolidation year. Given my tendency to quietly let ambitions slide, sinking into life’s quicksand with barely a backward glance, I’m pleased to have a couple of articles to add to the vault and am motivated to do more in the future.

4. Yoga resumed

The downside of all the writing and designing is too many hours slouching in an office chair and hunched over a keyboard. Result? Cranky back and gammy hips. But recently I stood up, stretched and gave my priorities a shake, making sure exercise is now the big rock I put in the jar first. After months off the mat I resumed yoga, first with some gentle classes toward the end of the year and then a week-long intensive before Christmas that challenged my aversion to early mornings and pretzel poses. Not only did I survive the 5:00 am alarms, I emerged re-invigorated and inspired to resume a regular practice.

5. I explored alternative media

Others may scoff but I’m in awe of social media influencers, people who post consistent and strategic content to gain a critical mass of followers,  thereby earning interest from product sponsors. More power to them. I might deplore the bad grammar and boring prose that peppers these accounts, but you can’t question their work ethic. These influencers are machines.

Taking a leaf out of the influencer book, this year* I beefed-up my LinkedIn profile, rejuvenated my website and threw circumspection to the wind by posting regular Instagram stories. None of this has resulted in an avalanche of work or sponsorship opportunities – yet. But I’ve loved learning more about different media platforms and how I can use them to express myself and tell a story.

*This year = 2018 – I’m a bit late with my reflections 🙂




Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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