It’s the last day of the year, and much like yesterday’s list of favourites, I wanted a chance to reflect on my accomplishments and where I’ve spent my time in the last 365 days.
First stop on the recap tour are my goals!
I hesitate to call these goals, because I did make a list of things I hoped to do this year, but I really didn’t get that far. That being said, I was Maid of Honor at my friend’s wedding this summer and I’ve had to deal with a lot of change after a promotion at work. It’s been a more chaotic year than I anticipated it being, and I knew that going in it was going to be a challenge.
Alas, here were my ‘goals’ for 2019:
- Editing The Wolves of the Far North to the point where it is ready to query
- Posting here at least twice a week
- Writing at least 4 short stories (and submitting at least one to various short story markets)
- Writing the rough draft of Peculiar Casebook Episode 1
- Writing a rough draft of a new wip
- Start streaming on Twitch
- Open an Etsy store
- Start a monthly newsletter
- Start a podcast
- Get back into Yoga
- Find a new job
- Eat healthier and more affordably
- Pitch at least 5 articles to various websites
I don’t think I achieved a single thing on this list. I’ve started editing the Far North but I’ve not got very far in that. I post on this blog often, but it definitely wasn’t twice a week. I didn’t finish Casebook, though that series had a total reimagining and re-outline, so I think I get a pass for that. I didn’t stream on Twitch or open an Etsy store after Etsy introduced a controversial shipping change that forced me to rethink how I wanted to sell on that platform. I didn’t find a new job, but I am in a new position at my current workplace, so I guess that counts. I did make an effort to eat healthier, though I do occasionally have bad moods which lead to binge-fests. Still haven’t pitched anything, either.
So, as you can see, I didn’t really accomplish anything I set out to do, but I still think I had a great year in spite of that. I learned a lot, I kept up with this blog for an entire year, and I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go, which is more than I could say for previous years. It finally feels like I’m on the right path, and that is such a good feeling.
This was hard to calculate, I’m not going to lie, and it took a lot of document analyzing and calculating to figure out just what I wrote and when.
The WIPs I worked on in 2019 are as follows:
- The Wolves of the Far North – draft completed on January 28 at 92,600 words (16,225 written in January)
- Casebook Novella – first draft started twice; currently sitting at 8807 words (old version at 12,422 words)
- “Crystallia” project for NaNoWriMo 2019 – first draft on hiatus, currently sitting at 10,355 words
- Fantasy Detective short story – started, at 603 words
Total number of words written in 2019: 48,412 words
That’s really not a lot. If you take a look at my goals, I knew that it was going to be a busier year and a harder year for writing, but I didn’t realize how much busier it would be. It’s not even a full NaNoWriMo’s worth.
But, I did manage to finish the first draft of a novel I’ve been mulling over since 2014, and I have full outlines for both Casebook and Crystallia. It’s just a matter of getting my butt in the chair to write them.
Do I wish I wrote more? Of course I do, but I don’t want to beat myself up over what I didn’t get done. I just want to let it encourage me to do better next time.
I read 23 books this year. Definitely not a record, but a healthier number than previous years, and I’m quite pleased with how much reading I did in 2019. Here are the books I read this year:
- An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Rogue Protocol (Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells*
- Crimson Shore by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
- Saga Volume 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
- Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake
- Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal
- The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark*
- The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell
- The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
- Exit Strategy (Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells
- Inland by Kat Rosenfield
- Down Among the Sticks & Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire*
- Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island #1) by Martina Boone
- A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi
- Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women by Otegha Uwagba*
- The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
- The Dark Between Stars by Atticus
- So You Want to Start a Podcast by Kristen Meinzer*
- Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
- The 10x Author: Level Up or Be Left Behind by Sean M. Platt and Johnny Truant
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling)
- Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Books marked with * are listed as a favourite of the year.
Looking back, I’m sad I didn’t read more but I also think I read a really good mix of things. There are obviously quite a few novels, but I also read some non-fiction, some poetry collections and some graphic novels. I also read a lot of different genres this year instead of my go-to science fiction and fantasy. Of course, SFF is still heavily present, just not as much as in previous years.
I do hope to read a little less ya and more adult in the coming years, but I think a big part of that is my trying to catch up on my tbr. I own a lot more ya than I do adult.
- Most popular genre: YA Fantasy (7 books, 30%)
- Total pages read: 6083
- Average book length: 264 pages
- Largest book: Two Dark Reigns @ 464 pages
- Smallest book: The 10x Author @ 70 pages
This was where my year suffered. It wasn’t until the end of the year that I really made the effort to start clearing games off the backlog, so I’d say a majority of these were played in the last 5-6 months of the year.
- Fire Emblem Awakening (April 2012, Nintendo 3DS) – 41:20; Complete
- Fire Emblem Three Houses (July 2019, Nintendo Switch) – 101:42; 2/4 Endings
- 999 (December 2009, Nintendo DS) – Complete
- Divinity: Original Sin (June 2014, Steam) – 31 hours; Incomplete
- Pokemon Shield (November 2019, Nintendo Switch) – 102:15; Complete
- Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu (November 2018, Nintendo Switch) – 32:09; Complete
- Pokemon Y (October 2013, Nintendo 3DS) – 37:47; Complete
- Overcooked 2 (August 2018, Nintendo Switch) – Complete
- The Sims 4 (September 2014, Origin) – 42 hours
- The Room (September 2012, Steam) – 2 hours; Incomplete
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (June 2004, Steam) – 14 hours; Incomplete
- Kingdom Hearts III (January 2019, Playstation 4) – Complete
- Most popular system: Nintendo Switch (4 games, 33%)
- Total Number of Hours: 404 (for some games, completion time was unavailable)
- Average hours per game: 34 hours
- Number of Games completed: 7/12
Starting in 2020, I’m really going to track my playing (and completing) of games a little more closely. I’ve learned a lot about my reading habits from keeping up with my Goodreads account, and I think I could do the same with my gaming habits.
I’d also like to make more of an effort to complete the games I start before I begin new ones. That was a big motivator in the last half of the year – I couldn’t get Pokemon Shield until I finished Let’s Go Pikachu, and I couldn’t get that game until I finished Pokemon Y. It really pushed me to dedicate some time to those games I’d started instead of faffing around in Stardew Valley or something.
January 2, 2019, was when the first post went up on this blog. I made Alyssa Lost in Space at the end of 2018, but I didn’t really start it until the following year. That means all the progress I’ve made is an accumulation of 12 months of hard work, which provides an interesting look at my blog’s growth.
We end 2019 with the following stats:
- Number of followers: 81
- Total number of posts: 96 (97 once this goes up!)
- Total number of words: 104,075 (!!!)
- Average words per post: 1084
- Number of views: 926
- Month with the most posts: November (21 posts)
- Month with the most views: November (242 views)
Top 5 Most Viewed Posts
- Creating a Framework for Stronger Worldbuilding (& Free Worksheet!)
- Why Do You Blog?
- Five Easy and Inexpensive Tricks for Better Flat Lay Photography
- The Digital Notebook Experiment
- Preptober 2019 & October Goals
I definitely feel like I found my blogging stride in October of this year. Maybe that’s why I saw the most growth towards the end. I realized what I wanted to post, and what sort of content I enjoyed writing. I’ve tried many different kinds of posts and schedules, trying to find something that worked for me, and I think I’ve come pretty close to something I’ll be sticking with.
Of course, I still expect it to fluctuate in the future. While I’ve started blogs in the past, this is the first one I’ve been truly dedicated to and posted frequently enough to learn what I like, and how I want to do it. I’m still learning, and I’m still going to learn, but it has been such a blast! This blog is definitely one of the highlights of my year, and many thanks to everyone who’s followed me!
My Favourite Posts
If you took a look at those stats, you’ll see that I’ve written almost a hundred posts this year and over 100 thousand words on this blog. That’s a crazy number of words. In fact, that’s more than double what I’ve written for my fiction!
And while I put a lot of effort into everything I post here, there are some that were particularly daunting, or rewarding, or inspiring. Posts that moved me more than others. And I wanted to take a moment to share some of my favourite posts and compare them to the top posts of the year.
- One Million Words to Mastery
- Archiving an Old Bullet Journal Using Evernote
- Why I’m Choosing the Hybrid Publishing Model (& Super Exciting Announcement!)
- Transparency, Platform and the Ethics of Online Business
- you’re never going to be ready, but do it anyway
- NaNoWriMo and How to Survive It: 25 Ways to Get you Prepared for this November
- Why Do You Blog?
- Why Notebooks Make Great Gifts (& 52 Ways to Fill Them)
Not too much overlap there, though I’m still learning about the marketing side of things, so maybe as I tweak things and share my work, the most viewed posts will shift around a little. But I think it’s interesting to see, no?
3 Things I’ve Learned
Now, we get to the proactive portion of my reflection. Surely you didn’t think this would just be a glorious pile of statistics? I love stats as much as the next person, but I also like to use them to better educate myself.
I knew it was going to be a rough middle of the year. That was when all the wedding stuff was going down – bachelorette parties, showers, prep for the event itself. April to August was just not a good time to get anything done.
At the same time, I was getting used to new responsibilities at work. I was in the middle of a massive overhaul for my Casebook draft and trying to blog at least twice a week. I was overwhelmed and struggled to keep everything going.
I ended up putting aside all of my personal projects to focus on my other obligations. I went on a month-long hiatus, and while it took some time to readjust when I got back, I felt more inspired and the step back gave me a better view of the whole picture. Not only did my blogging game take a step up – I finally knew what and how I wanted to blog, but the problems with Casebook were finally clear, and I could see the story I wanted to write.
I like to mire myself in work because I enjoy what I do and it makes me feel like I’m closer to achieving my goals. I don’t like taking breaks for that same reason. But I’m starting to think that might not be an option.
I’m terrible for blocking my time. I tend to start things and struggle to finish them. I take on too much and then collapse under the weight of it all. And that leads me to my first lesson:
1. My mental health is important – breaks are mandatory, and similar tasks need to be grouped together.
Whether I take a month off at some point in the year or a week off every quarter I haven’t decided yet. But I do need to spend time away, if not just for my own sake than for the sake of my content. Writing a lot of blog posts at the same time is significantly easier than writing them one at a time, the night before they’re supposed to go out. My time management needs work if I’m going to continue writing and blogging long-term.
2. Mornings are for creative output
It is so much easier for me to blog or write first thing. I’m a morning person anyway, so I’m usually pretty energized, and the words just flow better. I can concentrate more on getting them out and later when I edit, I can worry about whether they’re good.
When my work shifts switched from morning to night I really felt like my content improved. My posts were longer and my ideas were more in line with the sort of content I wanted to make in the first place. I remembered that writing was fun and not a chore. Something that can be hard to remember when you’re tired and you forgot you have a post to go out and you’re pulling teeth trying to write at 11pm.
And then we have the most important lesson:
3. I’m far more capable than I think I am
I doubt myself too much. It’s probably my biggest weakness. I think too little of my work and my skill level and I end up scrapping things without truly putting in the effort. I work too hard and too long on some things. I’m afraid to put my work out there until I know its perfect.
I’ve reread quite a bit of my own work since then. I’ve seen my skills grow and I think I’m a pretty decent writer when I pull my head out of those dark clouds. My work is better than I think it is, and I’m better at this than I think I am and I’m only going to improve. My work is worth posting if for no other reason than because I wrote it. Because I enjoyed it and I made the effort.
I can’t let self-doubt cripple me. I can’t let a lack of confidence ruin my hard work. I can do this. I know I can. I’ve already come so much farther than I ever expected.
I can’t wait to see how much further I’ll go next year.
This has been a strange year for me. There have been a slew of ups and downs. It really has been something of a roller coaster, and I tend to get motion sickness.
But I don’t like to dwell on the bad stuff. I want to close out the year remembering all the positive moments – those that inspired me, that brought me joy, or showed me how brave I can be.
So, I made a list. Cause that’s what you do with a blog, am I right?
- I finished the first draft of a novel – the longest I’ve ever written
- I started this blog and kept up with it
- I wrote a speech and more importantly gave that speech in front of over 100 people at my friend’s wedding
- I got a promotion
- I visited new places and explored on my own even though I was nervous
- I decided to self-publish my first book in 2020 and I began putting things in motion for that
- I got really, really close to opening my Etsy store – it’ll happen in 2020 for sure!
I’m really proud of everything I’ve managed to do this year. And I’m so excited to enter 2020 with all the knowledge and experience I gained through 2019!
Happy New Year!
What happened in your 2019? Let me know in the comments!