The End and the Beginning

Tomorrow is the end of the financial year. For the rest of this week, I’m abandoning my writing for the chance to slave over a red hot spreadsheet, as I calculate how much money my company has earned (or not) in the past year. 

There have been more than twenty of these occasions since we first set up Heathside Information Services as an information systems consultancy vehicle for my husband. Since then, it has morphed firstly into a technical consultancy for both of us, then into an education and training organisation for him and latterly into a publishing company for me, with various changes of name and branding along the way. 

Over that period, there have been times when we’ve finished the year with big smiles on our faces; and others when we’ve swallowed hard and told ourselves we must do better! When we wrote our very first business plan back in 1992, we talked hopefully about levels of turnover and making a profit. But at the bottom of the flip chart page (which I found recently, carefully stored in an old file) we wrote: To Have Fun! And I can honestly say that’s one objective we’ve managed to achieve every year. 

But no matter what colour the number turns out to be at the bottom of the spreadsheet, it will all be as nothing on Wednesday, when the new financial year begins and we are faced with a clean sheet once more. 

And come to think of it, that’s very like writing. We finish one manuscript, whether it’s a short story, a non-fiction essay or a full-length novel, and we have to start it all again. Our previous piece of work may be a raging success or a complete failure, but either way, it’s just one step in the journey. And with a bit of luck and a fair wind, it’s a journey that enables us to keep having fun.

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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