29th December 2018

You really never know!

I’ve never before bothered to write a reflective blog. Largely because I’m usually too busy, in my AA Editorial Services arm, writing them on behalf of clients to think about it. Besides which, I’ve not felt I’ve had much to reflect on. Or maybe I simply haven’t bothered? Be all that as it may, 2018 is a different ball game altogether – in respect of me having something to reflect on. As ever, my clients still keep me busy enough. Phew! Blessed relief there – Champagne to buy and all that.

Here, courtesy of the exquisite Eight Interactive, is a bite sized, You-Tube shaped summation of my super nova 2018.

you really never know

2018 saw me enjoy a range of unprecedented personal – yet business related achievements – that I couldn’t leave behind without recording. And anyway, as Fiona Scott asked of us in her own end of year blog, New Year, New You? New Business? New Goals? : ‘Do we all reflect in business too? I don’t think we all do if we’re really honest.’ I’ve been remiss there for sure. 

Four Full Financial Years

2018 marks my fourth full financial year as a small business owner. I think too, it’s taken me this long to reach a point where I’ve felt I’ve made enough progress to let me step back and look at what I can do differently now. Or at least try too. I’m not big on goal setting. Chiefly because life has leapt up and bitten me on the bum a few too many times now – I am quite old. And, I won’t lie, the thought of it all makes me tired! 🙂 Nevertheless, as Fiona also says, ‘If your business goal is to ‘maintain’ (and that’s one of mine) that’s a goal like any other.’  So – I’m reflecting! 

And what I’m largely reflecting on – and as cheesy and clichéd as it sounds – is that one really, really never knows where a thing might go, what a thing might lead to. That’s my big learning from 2018. I’ve said it and thought it often enough. But late 2017/July 2018 saw that particular cliché turned into solid paperback, book-form proof. 

Some recent book/blog feedback

All of which leads, in a roundabout way, to my big learning/takeaway of 2018: that of never knowing what something might lead to.

Born Again Swindonian – and how you never know where a thing might lead

I started writing this blog around five years ago now – when I was still at the University of the West of England studying for a joint English Hons degree. It began as a means to an end: to provide material for a travel writing module. But as I wrote, I fell head over heels in love with Swindon and so continued writing about Swindon. In particular, when the odious Katie Hopkins decided to join the long and tedious list of people to take a pop at Swindon. Where oh where do these misconceptions about Swindon arise? It mystifies me. That’s something I’ve worked hard on this blog to dispel. And ditto in Secret Swindon. I appear to have had some success in that.

Review left on Amberley website

Katiegate then (about 4 yrs back) prompted BBC Wilts to invite me into the studio in defence of Swindon. As I went in, I crossed paths with someone on her way out. She’d also been on air in defence of Swindon with an A-Z of fab things about Swindon shed written for the Swindon Advertiser. That someone was – well she still is – Carole Bent. I and this blog were unknown to her at that time and she took the trouble to seek me out – something she’s jolly good at – and we became friends. And I carried on writing about Swindon and giving shout-outs where ever and whenever warranted. Which, it delights me to say, is often!

So, when I had the book launch for Secret Swindon – and what a wonderful, joyous event that was, Carole was kind and generous enough to say that I had bothered to keep writing about Swindon when others might not have. And that I had bothered to speak up when some others didn’t.  Until that moment I hadn’t looked at it that way. But she was right. I did.  I did it out of love for this town and its people. And such joy both it and the ensuing book have brought to me.

I had no way of knowing of course, that a commissioning editor from Amberley Books would one day chance upon this blog via our old friend Google. Then, having found it, make contact apropos writing an addition to their series of local history books ‘Secret XXXXX’ – Secret Swindon. The key words in all that are one day – because this was no overnight success. FIVE long years of blogging to get to this point!

Yet that wasn’t a stroke of happy chance. No, no, no. This particular stroke of serendipity came about through several years of slog at the blog. I write on it regularly. Because I write on it on a regular basis the blog’s reach is pretty big and its SEO credentials strong. It’s those two factors which, when the man from Amberley did a Google search on Swindon, put this blog in front of him. He then saw the variety of the content and that I can construct a decent enough sentence. Thus the approach  came.

I had no plans to write a book – it hadn’t entered my head. It all came as a big surprise to me I can tell you. There’s more of all that below. And it all goes to show that you really never know. I sure as heck didn’t foresee becoming a first-time-published-author in 2018.

 Secret Swindon has done well and my winter project is writing ‘Swindon in 50  Buildings’ – a further commission from Amberley. So 2019 will see me published for the second time! Yay!

On that note – the best of wishes for 2019 from Born again Swindonian.

Secret Swindon Book

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