2013 was an incredibly challenging year for me.  Leggedon was like a grenade being thrown into my life
So, after  a year where just getting to the Doctor’s was a challenge, I wanted 2014 to be my year of adventure.  It was a theme that stayed with me the entire year, and what an adventure it was.

I started the year by taking up sword fighting.  I’ve not really blogged about it much but it’s something that I’ve enjoyed more and more as the year has gone on.  Considering that good swordplay needs speed, agility and balance and I had none of those, I think I’ve done very well.  I see it becoming an even bigger part of my year in 2015.  I just hope I see the same levels of improvement.
Then, of course, there was my secret trip.  It was around this time last year that I considered it a possibility.  Being able to cope on the road drove my fitness for the first quarter of 2014.  I was pleased I was able to keep the whole thing secret until I’d been in the US for a week or so.  It proved a massive adventure.  28th April 2014 proved to be the craziest day of my life.  We drove 700 miles (incl 1 road traffic accident), saw my first tornado, got hit by my second, turned up at a gas station to find people cowering in the chiller, and then had to change hotels after our hotel got hit by another tornado.  And that was just the first day.
Being that close to danger, being inside an actual mile-wide freaking tornado, does something to you.  I’m not an adrenaline junkie by any means, but it took literal days to come down from the buzz.  I’d touched my own mortality and was still here.  I felt invincible for a good couple of days afterwards.
The long term effect it had was on my anxiety.  So often, worry has stopped me doing things.  What if I choose wrong?  I won’t say the anxiety has totally disappeared, but I can recognise it now, couch any anxiety-riddled decision in terms of an adventure to move myself forward.
It’s probably what lead me to buying the house and moving to Wiltshire, something I don’t think I would have even considered before that trip.
There’s other adventures I would have liked but just as I ended 2013 a different person to the one who ended 2012, so I am different again.  I’m more confident, more willing to take risk, with a better sense of self and future.  If nothing else, that makes this year a success.
Geocaching
Geocaching was a tale of two halves this year.  I’d spent the tail end of 2013 building back up from Leggedon.  We hit the beginning of 2014 hard, with a 20 mile, 100+ cache hike on one of those days when weather men tell you to stay indoors and not make any unnecessary journeys.
I’d managed to take the UK geocaching record with 160 caches found on foot back in September 2013.  That had been beaten 2 weeks later.  I wanted to reclaim the top spot in 2014 and not by a small margin.  And so my caching colleague and I went and were the first to break 200+ finds by foot over 39 miles of Cambridgeshire countryside back in February.  If 100 caches is consider the equivalent of running a marathon, breaking 150 in 2013 was seen as running two back to back.  Breaking 200 and walking 39 miles still draws admiration from even the very best cachers.
I’d also set a three day record a few weeks earlier where we walked 70 miles and found over 400.  Seems almost inconsequential by comparison but I think I proved the level of fitness I’d managed to get myself to since Leggedon.
My trip to the US saw me do my first caches in the US.  We covered 10 states in 10 days and I managed to get a cache in most of them.  I also did just under 400 caches in the week before my storm chasing.
And so, the end of the year has proved almost anti-climatic.  The house move and settling in has meant I’ve done very little caching in the last couple of months.  I’ve not been too worried by it.  Sometimes a break is good, and it’s just been a case of having been too busy than not being bothered.  I end the year with my record from February unbeaten and so go into 2015 with a bit more steady progression.
Writing
My plan for the year was to draft 4 books over the course of the year.  I knew at the time that this was incredibly ambitious and prone to failure but I really wanted to push myself and my processes.  I wanted to always be hungry, never content.
What I ended up was near enough 2 books, but two big books.  I’ve become a little better about recording my writing but there were whole months (totalling nearly half the year) where I forgot to log my writing data.  Given how much I logged, I estimate it to come in at just under half a million words.  Not bad, so I can’t be too disappointed.
I also managed to put one of those books before one of the best agents in the world and the feedback was more positive than I was expecting.   This, along with my new found confidence, has really motivated me and convinced me that all those silly dreams of doing this full-time are a possibility.  I just need to knuckle down and work hard and stop worrying what everyone else is doing.
It was a year with a lot of distractions.   Both the trip to the US and the house move have meant finding time to write has often been a challenge, but I’m particularly proud of the fact that despite a brand new Warcraft expansion, a lot on at work and unpacking following the house move, I still managed to complete NaNoWriMo
At the time of writing Thieving King is *almost* done.  It will still need editing,  I need to work on getting a smoother process for editing, which is one of 2015’s aims.
As 2015 looms I find I don’t have such a clear idea of what projects I want to write.  I have LOTS of ideas and no shortage of stuff to write.  I plan to remain flexible but try and make sure that the projects I elect to write fit in with my long term plans.  My golden rule is that if I can’t at least get a 7 book series from an idea then it still needs work.  I think if I could write four books a year, I’m going to be hard pressed to get all these books done before I die.
Hence the plan is to knuckle down and just write.  I know my second book next year will be Thieving King’s sequel so hopefully there won’t be such a big a gap between books going forward.  The only plan that exists is that I will do one Four Realms book and then one other.
The other bit of good news is that I’m fairly hopeful that Thieving King will see publication in 2015.  I know it’s been a long wait but trust me when I say it’s worth it.
On the non-fiction front, I made a lot of headway on projects but not as much as I would like.  Part of it is process related and I hope that further refinement will allow these projects to progress before the end of the year.
In many ways it feels like a lot of work with very little to show for it but hopefully in the next year or so,  you’ll be wondering how I manage to get so many books done.
Health
Well, the leg is still bandaged up some 18 months on with no clear view as to how much long it will be.  The skin underneath is still an absolute mess and it’s made things like Geocaching and swordfighting a challenge at times but the best bit of health news was when I had a health assessment for the work gym and I had a 25 year old personal trainer bemoaning the fact that I had a better resting heart rate than him.  In fact, I have one of an Olympic athlete.  I did say how big a deal smashing that 200 caches in a day record was, right?
Weight loss hasn’t been as drastic as 2013 but  I reckon I still want to lose another couple of stone.  No abs just yet, but I can do the plank for 90 seconds which would have been unthinkable a year ago.
2015
If 2014 was my year of adventure then 2015 is my year of hard work.  It’s about knuckling down and getting things done.  There’ll certainly be adventure in 2014 – I’m going Storm Chasing again –but the focus will be on working away at various projects and getting them done.
I want to write more than 500k words next year and I honestly believe it possible.  I just need to be more consistent on writing and recording it.