Darlene Foster's Blog

Looking Back

Posted on: January 2, 2022

2021 is over! Many of us will breathe a sigh of relief. For me, it was a year of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, additions and losses. In the end, it balanced out. As I always do, I’ll look at the goals I set at the beginning of 2021 and see how I did. I never met all my goals and to be honest I doubted I would meet many in 2021. I was pleasantly surprised. You can read my post from last year here.

2021 Goals with results

  1. Come up with innovative ideas to market Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

I worked hard on this. I put more effort into using social media to promote the book as I was unable to do in-person presentations and signings. I created a blog launch for the first time with the help of many of my blogging friends. It was quite successful and fun.

2. Plan a trip to Canada to launch Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

Once it was safe to do so, I travelled to Canada in September, four months after the launch. Due to COVID restrictions, I was not able to visit schools, libraries and bookstores as I usually do to promote my book. I did have one book signing at a Medicine Hat bookstore which was well attended. Other events I had set up ahead of time were cancelled. It was a tough year to plan anything.

3. Visit family and friends in Canada as soon as it is safe to do so

I feared this might not happen, but in September restrictions were lifted and I was able to return to Canada to see my family and friends. My daughter from BC flew to Alberta so we could all be together. It had been two very long years. Meeting this goal was the best!

4. Finish writing Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral

The book is completed and ready to be sent to the editor. We have scheduled the publication date for September 2022, all being well.

5. Read and review at least 40 good books

As the last post indicated, I exceeded my goal by reading 46 books. All very good books too!

6. Visit new places in Spain

Years ago I vowed I would visit at least one new place a year. With COVID, I thought it would be more realistic to plan to visit a new place within Spain. Well, that didn’t happen, but I went to beautiful Arran Island in Scotland for a writers retreat! Sometimes when you don’t meet a goal, a new one shows up.

7. Continue to help other writers

I did a lot of this and will continue to do more. I really feel it is time to give back and pass on what I have learned over the years. I am no expert and am still learning, but if I can help a new writer to move forward, it is a good day.

8. Organize computer files

I did some organizing but not as much as I should have. Only half marks here.

9. Attend conferences and workshops on-line

I didn’t attend any conferences online but did do some workshops online which were valuable. Half marks here too.

10. Do podcast and video interviews and presentations

I participated in some podcasts and video interviews which were a lot of fun to do.

11. Visit schools digitally and in-person if possible

I did online school visits in Ireland, England, New Mexico and New Jersey and loved it!

12. Find markets for my short stories

Didn’t do this.

13. Adopt a buddy for Dot

We adopted little Lia! (and I will never get to sleep in again). But she keeps us on our toes and we love her to bits.

14. Stay safe and stay positive

So far we have not been sick. We have had both vaccination shots and I get my booster on January 4th. I have managed to stay positive.

These were my words for 2021.

Strength

Love

Hope

Watch this space for new words and goals for 2022

“A good goal is like a strenuous exercise — it makes you stretch.”– Mary Kay Ash

I wish you all a wonderful 2022 full of surprises!

88 Responses to "Looking Back"

A very apt post Darlene. Last year was a strangely “intense” year, I don’t know how else to describe it. The years features included elements which impacted everyone across the planet; lockdowns, vaccinations, mask wearing, travel bans, etc etc. Everyone spent more time indoors than ever before. I’m finding it more and more difficult to find any positives at all now, this approach can’t go on for ever. As for goal setting, coincidentally I have a post about it tomorrow!

I was lucky as I was able to get outdoors a lot. Having two dogs helps of course and we live in a very outdoorsy area. The most upsetting thing for me was not being able to get back to Canada to say goodbye to my mom. I look forward to reading your post tomorrow.

“Intense” is the word I would use to describe the past year as well.

Thank you Liz, it popped into my head instantly. I hadn’t really thought about it much but Darlenes post triggered it. 🙃

That writer’s retreat sounds lovely…

It was just what I needed at the time. One of the highlights of 2021 for me.

Congratulations on doing so well with meeting your goals.

I did better than I thought I would. Having goals helped me to not dwell on the situation and keep working toward them.

You are the best goal-keeper I know.

A grand way to reflect on 2021! Here’s to 2022! Congratulations on all your success.

Thank you so much, Jay.

You did remarkably well in achieving those goals. Better than most do. So many things are beyond our control these days. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for this year. A writers retreat with Barb sounds like it would be a hoot and put you in a good frame of mind. I just need to get settled and get started. So glad you were able to see family again. That’s big on the list. Keep staying safe and happy.

Thank you. Goals help me stay grounded and not dwell on things I can’t do anything about. I think the last two years have taught us to be flexible.

Considering the state of the world, you were very accomplished in 2021. Congratulations.

I felt good after writing this post. I honestly thought I had not done as well as I did.

It’s funny how our mind deceives us.

You did very well with your goals last year, Darlene, a real testament to you!!

Thanks, Liz. Having goals kept me from getting depressed about it all.

You’re welcome, Darlene. Setting goals is a good strategy to stave off depression.

You did well on your 2021 goals. Really! I love your words for 2022, especially hope. That’s my word for the year! Here’s to a new year ahead, Darlene!

Thanks, Jennie. Hope is a good word for any year.

Good for you to have accomplished so much this year, Darlene!

Thanks, Nancy. Having friends online and in person supporting me helps. xo

It’s been a challenging year in so many ways but as always you focused on the positive. It makes a difference! Here’s to 2022!

Thanks so much, Beth Ann. Focusing on the positive does make a huge difference. Thanks for your support. xo

This was such a marvelous post! Thank you for sharing your list with us….I love the final quote you shared also. I am glad you got to see your family in Canada! Happy New Year…wishing you many blessings in the year to come. 🙂

Thank you so much, Linda. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Great job on your goals, Darlene! Your words on positive thought are quote worthy! Looking forward to hearing this year’s goals, and the best to you and you family in 2022!

Thank you, Irene. Wishing you a safe and happy new year as well.

What a great post, Darlene! You accomplished a lot more than many…You have the enthusiasm and push all writers need and use it to best effect. The very best of good luck and good health in 2022 to you both, Cheers! Joy and Eric,.

Thanks for those kind words, Joy. May 2022 be kind to you and Eric. xo

That was interesting, to see your progress on your goals. I used to do that, found I missed most, got depressed… Kudos to you, Darlene!

Somehow it works for me. If I don´t write it down and share it, it doesn´t get done. I almost didn´t set any last year but I´m glad I did as they kept me going.

Outstanding Darlene! It is so wonderful to review goals and even better to exceed sometimes! And Arran Island in Scotland!! Did you do a post on this? I would love to see what it was like and what you did and how many people were there!! Even your half marks were wonderful. I wasn’t familiar with that saying about thoughts and steering wheels. Brilliant. Thank you for making my days brighter! Chris

I´m so pleased you enjoyed this, Chris. It was a small group of us who met on Arran Island to write, chat, eat and see some of the sights. It was amazing. Here is my post about it. https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/the-incredible-isle-of-arran/

I hope you hear my applause!. Brava for a job well done. . . and “beyond,” my word for the year 2021. Looking back that word choice is ironic in some ways.

Thanks for your always-bright outlook, Darlene!

I do hear your applause! Thank you so much.

Hi, Darlene – This is a great reflection. I agree that being able to get outdoors regularly, and having (or being around) dogs is very helpful – especially in times of restrictions and lockdowns.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2022 ahead!

Thanks, Donna. Having the dogs really helped keep me sane. I’m a people person and not being able to meet up with people was hard. Although talking to the dogs is a bit of a one-sided conversation, it is better than not talking to anyone! Wishing you all the best for the coming year as well.

I’m impressed with your marketing prowess, Darlene. You know your market and do a wonderful job targeting readers. I imagine there was a lot of laughter and tears when you were reunited with your family. Hopefully, 2022 brings an end to this darn virus!
Happy New Year!

Thanks, Jacquie! Yes, there was plenty of laughter, a few tears and some very huge hugs when we finally met. Wishing you and your family a kind 2022!

FIRST OF ALL, WHAT A YEAR! Bravo on the publicity tour, even delayed – and bravo on the new book being ready to publish this year! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2022 for all of us!

Thanks, John. Years later we will all pat ourselves on the back and say, We made it through a couple of tough years. All the best for 2022!

Congratulations on all you accomplished. That’s quite a lot, Darlene, and likely under challenging circumstances!

In some cases, but when you can´t go anywhere, you have more time to do things on the computer. So it balances out. Thanks.

A year well-lived, Darlene. Thank you for joining me on TTT – your generosity and enthusiasm are a powerful combination!! Happy New Year! The adventures continue…

Being on TTT was one of the highlights of my year. So much fun. Thanks. Here´s to 2022!!

I love following the irrepressible and enthusiastic Amanda around the world!

Well done, Darlene, you did very well especially considering the difficulties posed by covid last year.

Thanks, Robbie. I did better than I thought I would, but I did have extra time on my hands.

Kudos to you, Darlene my year has been the exact opposite of yours..Well Done …Happy New Year to you both and the dogs 🙂 x

Thanks, Carol. You have had some serious family issues to deal with. I hope 2022 is kinder to you and your family. ❤

Thank you, Darlene I hope so too x

Congratulations on doing so well with your goals, and I’m really pleased to hear the year balanced out for you. Looking forward to seeing what you have planned for 2022.

Thanks, Tori! It is hard to plan these days but without plans of some kind, I would be adrift. I have learned to be flexible.

The girl done good I’d say. Better than me if I’d written down some plans which I don’t… does it help to write them down and/or publish them? Did you regularly review the list and/or adjust any?

Thanks, Geoff. It helps me to write them down and share them, but everyone is different. I seldom look at them again until the end of the year and am often surprised. Of course, I forget some things these days. Oh well. They can go on the next year’s list.

I think I’d probably just change the year on the top of the list…

Positive thoughts are key. Thoughts are like spells. If they are negative, they can physically bring us down. When they are positive, they can help us sail through the roughest of waters.

All the best for 2022. Here’s hoping it will be a great one.

I completely agree. You can poison your own mind with negative thoughts. 2022 will be what we make it. So, of course, it will be great! Sending love and hugs.

Always enjoy reading your goals. You’ve done well this last year. I am especially looking forward to reading Amanda in Spain. Wondered when you’d write a book about Spain. You know it so well! I also choose words I like to focus on during the New Year. This year my main focus will be on beauty in the world, Happy New Years, good friend!

Thanks so much, Patricia. I see you caught my error. Book number 9 will be Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral. Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting was the second book I wrote. It was before we moved here but had visited a few times. I’m glad I wrote it then as it comes across as Amanda seeing everything for the first time. Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year as well.

Well done on accomplishing so much!

When you say “visit schools,” do you mean be a guest speaker? It’s not something I’ve done before, but I have recently wondered about changing my life a little bit (well, a lot) and going in that direction.

Happy New Year!

Thanks, Goldie. I have been visiting schools as a guest author for the past 11 years. It is one of the things I love most about being a children’s author. Of course, it was impossible to do that these past two years so doing virtual visits has had to do. The great thing is, I could travel all over and not leave my house! In-person is still better but this will do for now. Good luck with your changes. Always exciting.

Great post Darlene. I’d say you did really well in 2021 with all of those goals!! I love 14…..stay safe and stay positive. A positive attitude clears the path each of us walks and keeps us going!! Here’s to a great 2022!!

Thanks, Kirt! A positive attitude works for me. All the best to you and your family in 2022!

It’s amazing how much you were able to accomplish within the past year! Half marks still count. Wishing you all the best in 2022.

Thank you. If I have a goal to work towards, I usually manage to get it done.

Darlene, given all the constraints of the past year I would say you did great! Exceptional. I’m so glad that you got to finally visit your family, and from a professional standpoint, I’d say that you and Amanda totally rock! Here’s to a fabulous 2022. ~Terri

Thank you so much, Terri. That is so kind of you. 2022 will be fabulous if we make it so. Hugs to both of you.

Hi Darlene, what a great review of the year and you have achieved so much! Toni XX

Thanks so much, Toni!

Thanks for sharing and being part of #SeniorSalonPitStop. Shared on SM. Happy 2022 to you and yours and all the best

Thank you, Esme. Wishing a wonderful 2022 to you as well.

It sounds as if you managed to make the best of a complicated year. Congratulations, Darlene, and I hope 2022 proves even better for you and yours!

We do what we can and make the most of it. Hopefully, 2022 will be a bit kinder to all of us.

It’s always so nice to look back on a year’s goals and see how we did. Sounds like you achieved many of them!

Question: Where do you find your online workshops?

Thanks, Ari. The online workshops were from a variety of places. But I did take some via the Vancouver Writers Festival and The Creative Academy, also from Vancouver. I plan to take some through a post-secondary institution this year if possible. need to do some research first.

Thanks, Darlene 🙂

Darlene, you should be proud of yourself for all the goals you did achieve, especially in this Covid environment. Wishing you all the best in your 2022 goals. ❤

Thank you, Carol. All the best to you in 2022 as well. xo

Great accomplishments in a tough year Darlene. Good for you reading 46 books! Hugs xx

Thanks, Debby. Disappearing into another world, in a book, was the best way for me to deal with everything.

You had a very busy year! Congratulations on another book in September! Always exciting, isn’t it? Wishing all good things in 2022. Hopefully, it will end up being a better year for promoting our books, Fingers crossed.

Thanks, Laura. Keeping busy is my way of dealing with tough times. Your book should be there soon.

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