Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Goal Progress

Time to see how I did on my 2018 goals! I love doing this, but I've got to find a better way to keep up with my goals. I mean ... there's a reason my header image has a snail on it.

I made goals for 2017 and goals for 2018 on my blog. This year I even did a progress check in the summer which is the only reason I currently remember what any of my goals were for the year. I find this to be my favorite way to reflect on the year.

Yet if you look back at those posts (please don't), I'm obviously really horrible at sticking to what I plan. I'm trying to get better at being okay with that!

Memorize 10 items // meh

I memorized a lot of music for choir, a Scripture chorus, Luke 2, and a handful of other verses because I was teaching them ... Not quite what I was aiming for in increasing my poetry and Scripture arsenal this year.

Publish something // complete

The closest I came for this was publishing Snip, the flash fiction prequel to my novel Martin Hospitality. It's available for newsletter members only.

Read 40 books // complete

Yes!! My Goodreads shows that I read 41 books this year. While some were short stories, I didn't include any of the children's books I read, nor did I binge-read things in order to finish my challenge. So an honest finish! :)

I think it's interesting that 14 of these books were ones that I edited. There were also 3 I DNF'd ... but I don't know that all of them counted in my total. I also think I did a better job reading books I already owned and hitting some categories which I often lack (like classics and biographies). Overall, a successful reading year!

Review everything // complete

I wanted to review everything I read on Goodreads this year. This has by far been my favorite goal of the year! It's built a "review immediately" habit into me. While I'm currently a few books behind, I intend to be caught up by the end of the year. And I'll also get on top of copying a bunch of reviews to Amazon.

5 book buy limit // lol

HA! I mean, really, who was I kidding? What bookworm only buys 5 books a year?! I probably bought like ... 30. However. I think easily less than 5 of the books I bought this year were full price. (In fact, I can only think of one full price buy right now.) So that's encouraging to me, and still a good sign for my finances!

Travel // complete

I didn't even remember this being a goal, but it's one of my neatest. God has completely blown my mind with some amazing opportunities this year. When I originally made this goal, I was hoping for another writing conference. But no. I fit in one writer's retreat--a fun time getting to meet some Texas authors.

And then I went to NYC with my sister, aunt, and cousin in September as sort of a joint birthday trip. By far one of the best mental breaks and touristy trips I've ever had. We did allll the things and I would do all of it again!

In early December my two siblings closest in age and I made a somewhat last-minute trip to reunite with friends in Iowa. It was the best vacation. We did a gazillion little Christmassy things that got me in the Advent spirit.

So thank you, Jesus, for all the great people, sights, and experiences that came out of these unforeseen trips!

Writing experiments // complete

Mainly thanks to trying flash fiction, I did experiment with some different openings, POVs, and development styles than I normally go for in longer stuff. Flash fiction in itself was a new thing for me! I also wrote at different locations more than usual. My conclusion is that I have go-tos (writing  in third person, past tense in my bedroom) for a reason.

Finish writing lectures // oops

Weeeeell ... no. I finished the one Great Courses series I was in the middle of. But I still have two untouched ones that I need to complete. Unfortunately, I don't see myself making a bunch of extra time for these in the near future, but I'm glad to have them in my arsenal.

All in all ... I think the only goals I didn't complete were the somewhat unreasonable ones to begin with. And things like memorization and furthering my education with lectures ... it's all a matter of time management. Let's be honest--that's a continual balance for everyone!
I have previously combined my goal progress for the year with my goals for next year. But you'll have to wait till next week for my 2019 goals!! I kind of can't believe that this is my last 2018 post for the year. It's been quite the whirlwind. But I'm so grateful to have had you all tag along on the crazy journey.

What goal for 2018 did you complete? Do always have that one goal you never seem to finish?

If you have any ideas for tracking goal progress throughout the year, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Read of the Year

Last year I did a book of the year post and wanted to keep up the tradition this year! Let me tell ya, it's not easy to pick my favorite read of the entire year. And I'm pretty sure it'd be impossible without Goodreads.

This year I read 41 books, and I rated 22 of those 5 stars (?!). Of those 22, 4 books pretty readily stood out as my favorite reads of the year:

    • Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
    • The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron
    • Christy by Catherine Marshall
    • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Anne Shaffer
    After much consideration ... I think the list above is the order in which I would rank them. 

    My read of the year is Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. Unlike last year, that makes my favorite read of the year a book published in 2018!

    To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how anyone could read Fawkes and NOT make it their favorite read of the year. 

    The Ringmaster's Wife was beautiful, romantic, and exhilarating. Christy was heartwarming/breaking, raw, and thought-provoking. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was historical, mysterious, and clever. They're going to remain some of my favorites.

    But Fawkes was all of those things and more. Its magic system was awesome and yet simple to understand, the story was complex and breathtaking, and the spiritual themes among the colorful characters completely blew me away ... in usual Nadine fashion. Every single element was masterful, and I'm still recommending this book right and left.

    If you're interested, you can read my 5-star review here.
    What amazing books did you read this year? Have you read any of these beauties?

    I hope you have a blessed Christmas with your family!

    Saturday, December 15, 2018

    What to Look Forward to in 2019

    'Tis the season for all the holiday madness and new year's resolutions. Among all of that, I'm been prayerfully considering what all of this--our community--should look like next year. Just like last year, that means there are a few changes headed our way!


    For the rest of 2018, I charge $2/1,000 words for new editing customers and $1.50/1,000 words for returning editing customers. I'm completely reworking what I offer and how much I charge. SO ... Been thinking about using me in 2019? Get on the calendar this month and you won't have to pay the new prices! Yep. Book in 2018, pay 2018's rate.

    I'm already surprisingly full for 2019, so no worries if you aren't sure when you'll want me, etc. Shoot me an email if you plan to use me next year and I'll pencil you in. And when I say surprisingly full, I mean for manuscript edits. Especially if you're new to using me, I recommend trying my cheaper, briefer services!

    You can find all of my 2019 editing services and pricing HERE.

    While I quit beta reading a while ago to make more time for my editing business, I'm afraid that in 2019 I'll no longer be reading ARCs or participating in blog tours either. As fun as both things can be, I simply can't afford the time constraints and responsibilities. It's so nice to help out other bloggers, but I think I'd like to get away from featuring blog tours on my blog, and I would feel awful if I didn't follow through. So better I just say no in advance. Blessings on all of you who these things work! You're awesome.

    Still on the editing note, I've joined Reveries Co. This means that you can get a whole host of services for indie authors by going through them, some of which I offer. So no guarantee you'll get me, but I'm excited for all the awesome things offered here by some wonderful ladies.


    In the writing world, my main goal for 2019 is to publish Martin Crossroads. I am still on track to finish the first draft this year! So many of you keep telling me you'll happily beta for me when the time comes. I wish I could keep track of that, but ... I can't :P

    So! I think it's time I go all-out and make a street team! I've already begun a street-team-ish Facebook group HERE. I know not everyone has FB, but it's the best I can do for now. And you should know, if you join my street team, you will be known as a Resonator. *wiggles eyebrows* I plan to have a Resonators-only monthly newsletter up ASAP!

    This means that I will be scaling back my regular newsletter to quarterly instead of bi-monthly and possibly add another incentive. The last one of these for this year will go out at the end of the month, so remember that you can sign up for it in the sidebar!

    Instead of trying to publish anything else or start new projects, as I have no idea how the MC timeline will go, I'll be focusing on two other things:

    • flash fiction submissions (getting published elsewhere looks nice and these are fun!!)
    • querying Behind the Act (I still love this manuscript and want to find an agent for traditional publication)
    And as for blogging itself ... I intend to keep that up once a week. ;)
    That seems like a lot, but I think it will all be for the better! Any suggestions or tips? How are you changing things in the new year?

    Saturday, December 8, 2018

    Take a Hiatus

    Hiatuses are important. They help you refresh and reset. I highly recommend them every once in a while when you're in a slump.

    I can't say I'm necessarily in a slump at the moment, but I just finished NaNoWriMo. So I'm giving myself a bit of a break by visiting awesome friends in Iowa and not writing while I'm there.

    Instead I'm enjoying beautiful sunsets and idyllic country snowscapes.

    Hiatuses are always worth a shot. Don't guilt-trip yourself. Every now and then, they're exactly what you need.
    When do you take a hiatus? I'll be back in the swing of things next weekend!

    Saturday, December 1, 2018

    NaNoWriMo + What's Next

    It's December! Which means National Novel Writing Month is over. While many of my friends clocked insane word counts (either in total or just yesterday in an effort to reach their goals), I haven't written in several days. Because I hit my goal early! (Stay tuned for snippets.)

    For those of you who are new or can't keep your 100 friends' NaNo goals straight, my goal was to write a 30k novella based off my trip to New York. I named it Simply Jane Smith.

    The 50,000 words that NaNo wants me to write is a little much for my sanity (and wrists). I've only written 30k in a month once before and that was when I wrote the first draft to my published novella Andora's Folly. I figured it was time to do it again since I needed a break from my main writing project anyway.

    I'm happy to announce that I finished the first draft of Simply Jane Smith on November 28th at 28,449 words. A little short of my targeted word count, granted, but it feels so good to have finished something!! I think it's been ages since I did that.

    I can already hear you asking the question but was it garbage? The exciting answer is no. While it's definitely a first draft, it's got a bit of a plot and some characters I'd be happy to revisit someday. 

    "Someday" is the key word. I have no timeline to return to the story in the near future. So while I'm content with a finished draft, I know it stinks for you guys not getting anything published for another bit.

    To tide you over, here are a few little snippets that stood out to me as worth sharing while I was writing:

    Next, I'll be returning to Martin Crossroads. Right, the sequel. The sequel you all want. That refuses to be written. I've been reading about Tolkien some lately, and it was an encouragement to me that writing The Lord of the Rings took him literal eons and about did him in. But I will conquer just like he did!!! Or else.

    While I'm sure I'll have plenty of life, editing projects, and whatever else distract me from my good intentions, my tentative writing plan going forward looks like this:
    • finish the first draft of Martin Crossroads in 2018
    • publish MC in 2019 at all costs!!
    • squeeze in revising Behind the Act so I can query hopefully over the summer
    • submit flash fiction for my "fun writing"
    • possible chisel away at the other gazillion ideas I have ...
    That sounds like a ton to me, but I'm also super tired at the moment, so who knows? Maybe it'll be totally feasible. My priority will be Martin Crossroads if it kills me. Don't get me wrong, I really do love where I hope the story will end up. It's getting it there that's slowly killing me. But it will come together and I will get it to you guys! 2019 is going to be the year. ;) Which means by this time next year it should be in your hands. Won't that be a wonderful day for all of us. 
    Now tell me all about what you did this November! NaNo or not, what has your latest project been? What do you hope to accomplish in 2019? By all means, give me details as I certainly can't keep everyone's doings straight. ;)