2017: The year of home

2016 was the year of gallivanting and travelling. At least once a month, I'd leave straight from work and soon be on a bus, train or plane to Edinburgh, Glasgow or London. When you live as far north as I do, you're the one who has to do the leg work when it comes to visiting friends and family. I don't begrudge them that at all; I've always been offered a place to sleep wherever I go and long journeys give me time to write without distractions.

But it's taken a toll on my bank balance and mental health, as I fail to pay off my overdraft and struggle to maintain a decent exercise routine. On Christmas Eve, Mike and I unexpectedly became parents to a three-year-old collie/lurcher cross and our world will now revolve around her. 

As Mike spends his weekends as a barman, I'll be on doggie duty for the foreseeable future. It'll allow me to save a bit of money and write, write, write. Here are some of the goals I hope to accomplish this year:

Have a piece of writing published in hard copy. It's no secret that print journalism is dying but some of my favourite magazines such as Oh, Comely and Parallel are still going strong. After overcoming my fear of pitching, I had two pieces published by The Olive Fox recently. I hope my confidence lasts and to hold a physical magazine with my byline in it would be a dream.

Get pre-diabetes under control with diet and exercise. My exercise routine has been no routine at all and my attempts at low carb have been laughable. I need to start taking my health seriously.

Go to Laura J Williams writing class. My favourite writer of 2016 has started workshops and I'm desperate to get my name down for one in Spring!

Finish writing my book. I'm currently writing a book. An actual book. Who knows if anyone will even get the chance to read it but I really believe in my writing. More details to follow next month!

Get better with confrontation. I am awful! My workplace can be very tense at times and if I sense an argument coming on between my colleagues, I have to go and stand in the corridor until it blows over. It's very impractical and I don't want to be going into my 30s still sweating when two people disagree in front of me.

If you have any goals for this year, let me know in the comments below. Let's smash 2017!

PersonalLauren Aitchison