Another year has come and gone, and it’s time to look back and reflect on the year past while we plan for the year to come. (Don’t ask why I’m being weirdly poetic. It’s probably because I’m starting this post at 1:30am and I already know it’s going to be lengthy.) Let’s start with that reflection part.
2018: An overview
2018 has had its ups and downs, and it feels like it’s mostly had downs. I’m easily stressed anyway, but I feel like this year I was more stressed that usual. This is partially due to the friendship that fell apart over the course of the year. Long story. It was sad. I got over it. Mostly.
The two words I’d most use to describe what I’ve been like this year are rather depressing: cynical and isolated. The latter is not by conscious choice, but it’s starting to feel unavoidable. (I promise this post isn’t going to be entirely depressing.)
On the bright side, though, I published my first short story collection this year! (It already feels like ages ago.) I also got my first reviews, and all of them have been primarily positive so far. I even found out someone listed me as their favorite author! Which almost makes up for the fact that the publication of Slander & Steel has been postponed again due to lack of funds. I’m not giving up yet, though! I will publish this book eventually, and hopefully within the next year!
2018: Goals in review
1. Prepare The Dark War Trilogy for publication
*laughs hysterically* Not. even. close. The Last Assassin is at a word count of 74.5k and it’s just starting to get into open war. The Shadow Raven is at 95k (O-O) and still a month of story time away from open war. The King’s Paladin is only 15k-ish total. So… there’s still a looooooooong way to go before these books will be ready to publish. Particularly due to how slowly I’m able to write TSR and TKP.
2. Publish House of Mages
Another thing that feels like ages ago. The original plan as of the beginning of 2018 was to publish House of Mages on May 10th (the 2-year anniversary of the idea that started it). I think it was in February, after hiring an editor and going through much deliberation, that I decided not to publish it after all. The story was very much not ready to be published, with holes everywhere, a meandering plot, flat characters, incredibly little description… It was a mess, and I’m very thankful for the friend who helped me go through with the decision to stop my plans with it.
I wrote a post in April about the lessons I learned from this process.
3. Read a novel per week
Whether or not I achieved this goal is dependent on how you’re defining it. On the one hand, I didn’t read close to a novel a week for most of the year. On the other hand, I read close to 52 books total throughout the year. So I’m calling this one a win.
4. Study the Bible/pray for half an hour each day
I didn’t come close to achieving this goal, unfortunately. However, in the second half of the year I got better at reading my Bible consistently (a good section of it per day), and last month or the month before I started a prayer journal, which helped me keep consistent with prayer for a while. (Unfortunately, I haven’t prayed as much over the past few weeks.) I’m still not where I’d like to be, obviously, but I’m making progress.
5. Publish The Heart of the Baenor
Now known as Slander & Steel! No, it’s not published yet. But it’s provided some helpful practice in marketing, and I’m still working toward publishing it in 2019. I’m in the midst of the fourth draft, and after that we’ll see what I can do to move forward.
6. Get started on The Historian
Oh yeah. I actually forgot about this entirely. The Historian is a novella I was going to write as a prequel to the Dark War Trilogy, except I was going to write it in November after finishing all three full novels. *crickets* Yeah, that didn’t go so well.
7. Win all three NaNoWriMo events
April Camp NaNo: Win (72/72 “pages”)
July Camp NaNo: Win (32k/30k)
NaNoWriMo: Loss (20k/50k)
8. Write 2k every day
9. Do some Kersir worldbuilding every day
Also nope, but I have done some significant worldbuilding over the course of the year, and I even wrote a short story set in the Kersir world this month for a Secret Santa short story swap! (If you’d like to read it, you should sign up to my new reader newsletter. The story is in this Saturday’s newsletter. ;) )
10. Focus on one drawing technique each month
Most of my drawing this year has been in my fashion design sketchbook. I’m really happy with some of it, but drawing isn’t something I focused on this year (and I’m mostly okay with that).
11. Start making an income
Unless two instances of babysitting and $0.30 royalties count (which they don’t), this hasn’t happened either. I tried getting an editing business up and running, but that didn’t work very well on a marketing front or a workload front. :P
2019: Concrete goals
1. Prayer journal daily
2. Do a devotion/read the Bible daily
3. Go to church regularly (after I get my driver’s license)
1. Read daily
2. Get out of the house once a week (once I get my driver’s license)
3. Take a day away from electronics once a week
1. Dance every morning
2. Drink 3 glasses of water daily
3. Take vitamins daily
4. Get to bed at 10 and get up at 6 daily
1. Participate in conversation at every social event (choir, youth group, etc.)
1. Publish Slander & Steel
2. Edit and publish The Mirror-Hunter Chronicles
3. Write one “easy” novel (so I have something to work on that’s not as time-consuming or emotionally draining as The Dark War Trilogy)
4. Win all three NaNoWriMo events
5. Write 2k every day
6. Find an accountability partner (anyone want to exchange word counts and writing with me?)
7. Outline Unstoppable with Allie (assuming that she has the time/interest)
8. Post once a month on Our Mind Palace
9. Write a short story each month
10. Finish and publish Short Story Collection Vol. 2
11. Finish and publish Memories & Photographs
12. Read the 23 books by the Phoenix Fiction Writers that I haven’t read and can get in paperback
2019: General hopes
2018 has been very stress-filled and tense for me. I’ve grown cynical of some big things. I’ve experienced heartbreak and I’ve felt really isolated. This year I want to change that. I want to find joy in Christ again and be more invested in my relationship with Him. I want to get out of my comfort zone and work at talking to people. I want to be a light to people and an encouragement and a good example to my siblings and the kids in the younger choir. When I was younger, I looked up to the girls in the older choir and I thought they were the coolest people ever; recently I’ve realized now I’m one of those girls in the older choir, and I want to be an encouragement to the choristers younger than me.
Since I’ll be getting my driver’s license in March (hopefully. if I can get in the hours) I want to get out more. I want to spend less time cooped up in the house scrolling aimlessly through Facebook and spend more time out in the sunshine, getting exercise, being social. I want to foster the relationships I have with in-person communication, and make new relationships. I want to find a way to get out of my shell and be a light to people, and instead of feeling hampered by the fact that everyone thinks I’m an introvert (I’ve realized over the past two years that I get energy from people, not solitude) I want to prove that I’m not.
Overall, I want to live more in 2019.
How has 2018 been for you? What are your goals for 2019? Are there any big changes you want to make?