Hello, dear readers!
I know it’s cheesy, but I am such a sucker for the new year. I love the “chance” for a new beginning, the time spent reflecting on how the past year went. Of course, I realize that every day is a chance to improve and do something different, but something about the turning of a new year just excites me to no end whatsoever.
So, at the beginning of this year, I wrote about my overarching goals that I tracked each week with you all, calling it my Quest for Discovery. I’d like to take some time reflecting back on those goals and looking at how well I did at achieving them (or, completely falling flat on my face, which is the case on a couple of these).
Writing: Write two new books and edit two books. Enter the query trenches.
- Fam, I fucking killed this goal and honestly, that alone makes this entire year such a major win for me. In 2017, I started a plethora of different projects and didn’t finish a single one and had one of the worst writing years since I started writing seriously. Demoralizing doesn’t even begin to cover it. I was really determined to change that in 2018, so a lot of my focus went to writing and how to achieve exactly that.
- As you can see, I made some pretty lofty goals: writing two brand new books and then editing two books. But I broke it down into three month segments, working on a different projects during each segment. I spent the first half the year writing, where I wrote two complete first drafts: ARTEMIS SMITH AND THE STEAM-POWERED FALLACY, the second in my ARTEMIS quintet; and BLOOD PRICE, my standalone (arguably epic?) fantasy that I honestly think I could turn into a trilogy…maybe. Then, the second half of the year, I edited the first book in Artemis’s series so I could query it (and I did enter the trenches!) and then finished out the year editing BLOOD PRICE, because I really wanted to get it into beta’s hands before the year ended. I used WriteTrack while I was writing new material and Melissa Caruso’s Editing Method when editing, both of which gave me a lot of guidance. I also posted updates on Twitter a little more regularly, so there was some accountability there, too.
- It felt incredible to be productive, on the writing side; to be this creative again and put a lot of focus and priority on my writing. I do think I could formulate a little bit better of a routine, but I’m seriously proud of my output and don’t plan to stop in 2019.
Reading: Ready every day, finishing up some old series and keeping up with new ones.
- I think I’m going to count this as a win, too. Even though I didn’t read as many books off my personal TBR as I expected, thanks to some commitments to ARCs through publishers and SPFBO, I still did crush my Goodreads goal of reading 40 books, ending the year with 56! So I definitely read more than I did the previous year and I’m pretty dang stoked about that.
Fitness: Continue living a healthy lifestyle and shaping a body I love and am proud of.
- This is the goal I have mixed feelings about. I did really, really well starting off the year. Hell, prolly until about October, I was doing great. I learned a lot about eating and fitness, developed a good routine and ended up getting down to my lowest weight since before high school (170 lbs). Seeing gains and the progress I was making was addictive and I hadn’t been that in love with my own body…ever.
- Reading that, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what happened to cause me to slip up and fall out of the routine, gaining almost all that weight back in such a short amount of time and falling out of those habits that I built and learned. I’m not really proud how I ended this year, fitness wise, back up almost to 190 lbs, not caring about what I eat at all and not making it a priority. My self-confidence is shot once more, I’m not nearly as in love with the way I look as I was and I’m starting to struggle more with depression, anxiety and stress. I am very ready to get back on the grind, continue learning about how to live a healthy lifestyle through flexible eating and exercising, creating a lifestyle I enjoy and can maintain. I need it for all avenues of my health, not least of all emotional.
Financial: Learn how to have a healthy relationship with money and build my savings.
- This was a pretty big goal for me this year, actually. I successfully built up my savings account, became completely independent from my parents (including going onto my own health insurance plan, starting January 1st), got my first credit card, continued paying on my student loans and navigated not only living on my own for the second year in a row, but also moving in with my boyfriend and the financial complications of living with someone else. I’m pretty proud of where I’m at, but I’m also eager to cut back my spending a bit, now that the holidays are over, and continue putting my focus on the savings. Especially since we are moving in the summer and a puppy is in our future–plus wanting to continue to save to go to New Zealand in 2020–I think this is a goal I can always work on and improve, but it’s also a major strength, too.
Spiritual: Reconnect with God and grow personally to live more like Jesus.
- The goal I think I failed the hardest. But also one I think needs to be more personal. It’s one I’d like to work more purposefully towards, next year, but I also think I’m going to not write about it here, unless I need to. I’d rather it keep it personal, as that relationship with God is really personal to me and my beliefs don’t really fit into a lot of structured religion, these days.
Carpe Diem: Find a reason to smile every day and something to get excited about weekly.
- I think I did fairly well with this goal. However, I also think I could definitely do better. I’m a pretty positive person by nature, but I’ve felt myself lose a bit of that positivity and I want it back. I’ve found myself getting more emotional and worked up more easily in the past year and I’m not sure if it is due to my switch to hormonal birth control or something deeper. But I definitely need to focus on being happier, more consistently.
Those were my goals for 2018! Honestly, I think 2018 wasn’t too bad of a year, for me. I achieved a lot of my personal goals, learned a lot and definitely see some areas for growth and focus.
As a whole, the year was a pretty good one. Yes, politically, the world is a fucking dumpster fire that puts me into a depressive slump that I don’t think I’ll ever get out of if I focus on it for too long (so I’m just going to glaze over all that, because otherwise, we’ll be here all day). There were definitely some hard moments this year, too; tears shed, some growing up to do, some tough decisions to make.
But there was a lot of good in it, too. From the little things, like finishing my nerdy Lord of the Rings and Dragon Age sleeve, playing a bunch of great video games, going on two mile runs during the perfect fall day, learning to cook more; to some of the bigger things, like the two wonderful weddings I got to go to, planning a vacation to see family I hadn’t seen in years, awesome concerts, including A Day to Remember and Twenty One Pilots, moving in with my boyfriend and the various adventures we’ve had, to all the moments spent with family and friends.
2018, you weren’t a bad year, truly. But I am definitely ready for 2019 and all the promise it brings. Check out my post tomorrow to see exactly what plans I have in store and perhaps you’ll join me on my next quest!