So apparently 2017 is almost done with us and I’d like to know who gave it permission to be nearly finished?????? WHERE DO I FILE A COMPLAINT? Because wow yeah. This year zoomed by at record breaking speeds and has left me sitting here in a daze wondering what just happened like the Hare in the Tortoise and the Hare story. (I don’t know either. Just go with it.)
Last year wasn’t my favorite. I wasn’t in the best place mentally, there were a lot of lows, and some tragic things happened. But 2017, 2017 was much, much better. I liked this year quite a lot.
THUS. I thought it’d be fun to do a little yearly wrap-up post to look back at the highlights of 2017. (Except “little” is so inaccurate because when do I ever do small posts???) I’m going to categorize this in sections because I love categorizing things almost as much as I love making lists.
SO LET’S DO IT.
. . .
A LOOK BACK AT 2017
. . .
This year was a whirlwind of changes.
A few things that went down includes:
My little sister graduated high school. BRB SOBBING. She’s the youngest in the family, so for the first time in 24 years none of us are homeschooling AND IT’S WEIRD. But I’m so proud of my sis!
One of my best friends graduated from college. SO PROUD OF HER TOO.
I got to stay with that same friend for a few days three different times this year and it was fabulous.
My other bestie and her family moved…11 hours away. Definitely not a highlight, but at the same time I’m excited for them and all the new and exciting turns their life has taken.
Turned 25 years old and just WUT??? When did I become an adult? Because, in my head, 24 is still “young adult”. But 25 is just…adult. Is that just me? I DON’T EVEN KNOW. I know I act like suuuuch and adult though, amiright? (You guys probably thought I was 14, didn’t you? #ForeverPeterPan)
Got to go see a live ballet showing of The Nutcracker for the first time in yeeeeears and absolutely loved it!
There are many, many, many more things that happened this year. Changes and joys and hardships and growth. But all-in-all it was a fantastic, if not crazy, year.
This was my quietest year of writing since…2009. Not even kidding. Usually I do at least two major writing projects a year, with maybe some smaller things in between. This year I didn’t really do anything until NaNoWriMo.
If you’ll remember, in January I had BIG WRITING PLANS for this year. So many goals of editing Burning Thorns and researching literary agents and working on query letters and all that fun stuff? Did I do any of that?
But you know what? I’M OKAY WITH THAT. This wasn’t the year for those things, I know that now. There were too many things going on in life. But not just that, I think I needed to reevaluate myself. I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed and questioning everything, especially my writing, at the beginning of this year. But after taking almost a whole year off from doing any major writing and really focusing on learning to balance my time and taking a breath, I’m at a much better place. And I know, without a doubt, that writing is absolutely what I want to do with my life. So though not much actual writing happened this year, there was a lot of necessary growth and revelations within my own self. And it was good. Very good. I don’t regret one bit taking a writing hiatus.
BUT. I can’t entirely take off from writing. There were still writerly 2017 happenings.
I wrote a 4,500-word, fairytale-esque short story When Spring Blooms, which was a ton of fun! It’s very rare I write short stories (because apparently “short” things aren’t part of my vocabulary?), but I always enjoy it when I do.
I purchased Scrivener and fell. in. love. The levels of organization it allows makes my perfectionist self ridiculously happy. WHY DID I NOT TRY THIS PROGRAM BEFORE??? It is the bessst.
Made an entire file of Scrivener for Burning Thorns with all sorts of sections and folders and goodness. So it is ready to be edited on, even if I haven’t done the actual editing yet…
Made a map for the Burning Thorns world. Because I literally didn’t even have a name for the continent the world was set in. So that was fun!
Fully plotted out The Nether Isle. Which felt great. It was the first time I really got back into writing related things in moooonths. I felt like myself again!
WROTE The Nether Isle! (Which you all know about since I haven’t stopped talking about it for like 3 months now… *cough*)
So it wasn’t an extremely productive year, but it wasn’t a fully idle one either. And I did some things to set me all up for my 2018 writing plans. Overall, I’m feeling good about everything. I wrote a short story, set up everything for Burning Thorns edits, wrote an 117k-word book, and got past some mental blocks. Even if it was my slowest year of writing in a long time, I’m happy with what I accomplished and look forward to diving into more writing ventures come the new year!
I think I made strides with blogging this year. Though I did take a few hiatuses, breaking my 4-year streak of posting every single week. But, well, it was probably time to allow myself a few little blogging breaks after consistently posting for 4 years, right???
Other than those hiatuses, I really poured myself into the blog. This year I wrote some deeper posts than I usually do, tried to give you guys the best quality content I could, and got better at having nice graphics at the top of each post. I gained quite a lot of new followers this year (hi, guys! I love you all!), so I think it all paid off.
Some favorite posts of mine I did this year are:
You guys should know I’m a total movie and TV show nerd, and this year introduced me to quite a few fabulous ones!
Movies saw in theaters:
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Which I…wasn’t wild about and it makes me weep. I HAD SUCH HIGH EXPECTATIONS. B&B is my favorite fairytale! The Disney classic animated movie is my childhood! All the previous live action remakes (Cinderella, Maleficent, etc.) were beyond perfect! I was just positive this one would be spectacular. But…no. It wasn’t a bad movie. It just didn’t capture that B&B magic for me. Emma Watson just wasn’t working as my dear Belle. *ducks from rotten tomatoes* I DON’T KNOW. I didn’t hate it, but it was just kinda…meh. *sobs forever*
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
OKAY BUT DIS MOVIE. I loved it nearly just as much as the 1st one, which is saying something because the 1st one is one of my favorite Marvel movies. BUT THIS WAS SO FUNNY AND EPIC AND EMOTIONAL AND SJDFJKHSKDJHFKLDSF. Probably my favorite movie of 2017!
This movie rekindled my love for my Spidey baby! See, when I was young, Spider-Man was my FAVORITE superhero. As the years rolled on Iron Man and Captain America took my heart. But seeing this one reminded me of how much I adore Spider-Man. He’s literally a kid trying to protect a whole city and just HE IS PRECIOUS. And Tom Holland is absolutely my favorite Spider-Man thus far. I do feel like the pacing of this movie was a tinge slow sometimes? Maybe too much setup? I don’t know. But I still loved it!
I think I’ve already flailed about this movie 2 or 3 times now but…I LOVED IT. I wish there could have been more emotion and not just comedy, but it was still fantastic!
I…think that’s all I saw in theaters? And all of those are Disney and 3 out of 4 are Marvel. I seem to have a problem??? But come on, MARVEL!
There were others I wanted to see but didn’t get a chance. And still haven’t! Like The LEGO Batman Movie and Wonder Woman. But hopefully I can get to those sometime soon.
I also discovered some TV shows this year. Of which I now wonder whyyyy I had never watched before.
Why why why WHY have I gone this long without watching the magic that is Gravity Falls? WHY??? This show looks like some goofy kiddy cartoon but DON’T BE DECEIVED. I mean, yes, it’s a goofy kiddie cartoon but it’s also DEEP and HILARIOUS and has an epic PLOT and the CHARACTERSSSS. I will now have Gravity Falls feels for the rest of my life. *collapses* JUST WATCH THIS SHOW. Basically every. single. line. in it is quotable and hilarious and the characters are golden and just GO WATCH IT. (Except you probably have because I feel like I’m the only person in the world who has never watched it until now???)
Mabel is a gift to this world.
STAR VS. THE FORCES OF EVIL
Another totally hilarious cartoon! This one does start out as a pretty goofy, random cartoon but it gets much deeper as it goes on. And THE CHARACTERS. Star is from another dimension and has a magical wand that she uses to, well, defeat the forces of evil. But she makes spells like a narwhal blast. So yeah. She’s totally bubbly and reckless and fun. (She kind of reminds me of me, TBH.) Then there’s Marco. Sweet, precious, cinnamon roll Marco. The show is worth watching just for those two.
And let’s not even talk about how shippable they are.
(The first non-Disney thing in this whole section!)
Erm. Yeah. I’m reeeeally late on this bandwagon. My brother (and basically everyone else in the universe) has been badgering me to watch it since it came out in the Fall of LAST YEAR. Annnnd I didn’t start watching it until this August or September. I FAIL AT LIFE. But obviously I loved it. It’s not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach but…it’s pretty epic! (Except I still haven’t found time to watch the 2nd season and IT’S KILLING MEEE.)
There were probably many more things I can’t remember (I’m proud I even remembered all of this!), but these were definitely my screen watching highlights of the year.
Obviously I saved the most important one for last. BOOKS!!!
I read a total of…30 books for 2017. Ummm, yeah. Sad, I know. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that 30 is my average for a year these days. It’s not a bad amount, just not neeeearly as much as I want to read. I’d much rather devour 100 books in a year but I can’t seem to be one of those magical peoples.
It was a bit of a mixed year of reading. The majority of the books I read were a little meh. Buuuut I did find some gems that absolutely made my year.
by Jaye L. Knight
Book #3 of the Ilyon Chronicles and possibly the best one yet! This was my first book to read this year and WAS IT A GOOD ONE. ALL THE FEELS. ALL THE THIIIINGS. Just go read this series! (I deeesperately need to get my hands on Exiles.)
by Gail Carson Levine
Okay but hoooooowwwww have I not read this book until this year??? I should have grown up with this book! I AM ALL THE SHAME. No earthly clue why it took me half an age to read it, but IT WAS SO GOOD.
THE SENTINEL TRILOGY
by Jamie Foley
(Except the 3rd book isn’t out yet BUT I NEED IT PRECIOUSSS.) This is suuuch a fun and different style of novels. People with special abilities in a world much like our own and it’s basically the apocalypse with epic characters and the best bromance and YES. Kudos to my bookfairy Deborah for getting me to read these books. I LOVE THEM.
THE RELUCTANT GODFATHER
by Allison Tebo
One of my faaavorite reads of the year! This Cinderella retelling novella was the cutest EVER. I actually reviewed it should you want my full thoughts on it. But basically…GO READ IT! This book was a delight. And it kindled a friendship between my girl Allison and me, which made it doubly awesome! Seriously, go give her a follow and read her story. SHE’S THE BEST.
So I discovered something super weird this year. I kinda like graphic novels??? I’ve never actually read any before. I had no idea if I’d like them or not. But this past August I was staying with my bestie and she talked me into trying a few and I officially got hooked. Unfortunately, it’s reeeally hard to find clean ones. *pouts* But they’re great for some quick reads. My favorite one I’ve read so far is Nimona by Noelle Stevenson.
THE BEAUMONT AND BEASLEY SERIES
by Kyle Robert Shultz
Okay. This may win for top favorite of my 2017 bookish discoveries. THESE BOOKS GUYS. 1920s detective style story but in a world where fairytales are real? GIMME GIMME GIMME. These books are hilarious. But don’t let that fool you! They get deep and twisty as they go on. In fact, the 3rd book, The Stroke of Eleven, was my last read for the year and I’m still reeling. I MAY NEVER RECOVER. (I reviewed the 1st book if you’re interested.) These books are golden! Kyle is hilarious and you should absolutely go check out his website and READ HIS BOOKS!
So even though I read a bunch of meh books this year, these totally made up for them! And if you’re still a nosy bookdragon, you can check out my 2017-reads GoodReads shelf for everything I read this year.
As I said at the beginning, this was quite the year of change and growth. And there was one particular lesson that stood out to me this year.
At this time last year, I was drained. I was tired, stressed, overwhelmed. I had Big Plans, but actually tackling them just made me want to curl under the covers and watch Netflix forever.
And it hit me: I was doing too much. I had no balance. I ignored friends and family and even God in favor of trifle things like staying on top of emails. I didn’t really take any breaks in 2016. I was constantly doing something.
I’m obsessive and a bit OCD. When I have goals in mind or things to do, I can’t not do them. I can’t rest until everything is DONE. Except…everything is never done. There will always be things to do. Always emails to answer. Always blog posts to write. Always books to write and edit and research for. But that doesn’t mean we should always be doing those things. They’re good things, but there has to be balance.
So this year, I took a break. I wasn’t as rigid about publishing a blog post every single week, I didn’t force myself to have a major writing project going, I put off things in favor of hanging out with friends and family.
I learned to soak up the moments.
This life is fleeting. Friends and family aren’t always forever. And growing our relationship with God is the very reason we have breath in our lungs.
Yes, I still want to pursue a career in writing. Yes, I want to do more in 2018. Yes, my writing is important to me. But there are also other important things in life. And I don’t want to miss out on them.
This year, for the first time in a long, long time, I took a breath. I let myself relax and live. And it was like a soothing balm. I no longer feel overwhelmed and tired. I’m excited about things, I’m ready to tackle 2018.
I still fail. I still find myself saying no to spending time with family in favor of getting things done. But I’m working toward doing better.
So as we say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018, I want to remember. I want to remember that it’s OKAY to take breaks. It’s necessary.
But most importantly, I want to remember to soak up every single moment I’m given on this earth. To stop wasting away the days. To be grateful for every breath I take and use this little life I have as a blessing to others.
. . .
2017 was a pretty crazy year. But it was a good one. Possibly even a great one.
I look forward to seeing what 2018 has in store!
This is my last post for 2017, guys! So let’s chat about ALL the things. Did we watch any of the same movies or read any of the same books? What exciting things happened to you this year? And what are you excited about for the new year? Tell me all about it!
NOTE: Since this post came later in the week, I won’t have a post up Monday. It will be New Year’s after all! I’m going to soak up these last few days of the holidays. But I will be back on January 8th for my first 2018 post!
HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!