Monday, December 17, 2018

2018 Recap - A Look Back at My Highlights and Goals


Am I the only one who’s in shock that Christmas is NEXT WEEK? And thennn we’ll be zooming straight to the end of 2018. THE END OF 2018??? HOW.

Since the year has apparently decided to just go and be nearly over without our permission, that means it’s time for a big ol’ 2018 recap! I’m doing this a little early because I’ve decided after today I’m going on a little hiatus until after New Year’s so I can properly enjoy Christmas and New Year’s. After writing a 129k book in 36 days and keeping up with the blog while I was at it I’m, well, tired. Just a smidge. XD But I’m also excited about CHRISTMAS. So yeah, I think it’ll be nice to have a break for just a few weeks. Thus this’ll be my last post for 2018. *LE GASP* I seriously can’t believe this year is almost over.

2018 RECAP

I have to say, 2018 was a wonderful year. So many blessings came my way in both 2017 and 2018, and I’m utterly grateful to God because the previous years were pretty hard ones. Obviously, this was not a perfect year by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, DUH. There is no such thing as a “perfect” year. Two really hard things that happened was my beloved dog, Navi, had to be put down and one of my dearest friends moved many states away (making that the 3rd friend I’ve had that had to move *sniff, sniff*). But this is also the year I broke fully out of a writer’s rut I had fallen into and got to go to REALM MAKERS, which was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced.

Realm Makers was definitely The Big Highlight of 2018. But there were a million other little blessings and joys to be found each day that added up to a beautiful year. I really felt myself changing and growing for the better this year. I am most certainly not who I wish to be (I don’t think we ever reach that point though), but I’m really thanking God for all He brought me through and taught me this year. What exactly all these things are…it’s hard to put into words. I’d really like to sit down and try sometime though. Between Realm Makers and a few other circumstances and just spending a lot of time pondering life in general this year, there’s so much running through my head and shaping me. Perhaps next year I’ll have it all untangled enough to share in some blog posts with you. But for now I’ll say, 2018 was a year of growth in the best way possible, and I’m excited to dive into 2019 and see what’s in store.

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s look back at 2018! At the beginning of the year I posted my goals for 2018. I thought it’d be fun to revisit them now and see how far I got.




Achieved: YES!

This one was a big SUCCESS!!! One of the things I’m most pleased with for the year. I did a big ol’ revision of BT and am so very happy with how the story is shaping up.
It’s gone through so many edits, and will have another one soon (thanks to all the FANTASTIC suggestions I’m getting from my beta-readers. Love you guuuys! <3). But I really feel like this last revision got it so much closer to what it needs to be.

This was my main focus for the whole first half of 2018 and, though many headaches came with it, the overall process was actually a joy. I’m learning I actually like editing, and seeing this story shape up is delightful. It’s my most edited story I’ve EVER had, and it’s proving to me that editing does not have to be this big, scary thing to avoid (like I used to *cough, cough*). There’s such a satisfaction with it!

Doing this set of revisions for BT was my #1 goal for 2018, and I’m beyond happy I managed it.



Achieved: Yesss!

And just… *clutches heart* I’m still reeling from the utter amazingness of it all. Meeting some of you in person, talking with real life actual authors and having them sign my copies of their books, getting so much knowledge on the writing life from the professionals, pitching my book to literary agents for the first time EVER (o___o), and just being completely and totally encouraged in this crazy life of writing I’ve chosen was invaluable. Though it happened way back in July, I’m still filled up with all I gained there. It was an experience like no other and I can’t thank God enough for making a way for me to go. I felt His hand in all of it, and whenever I think of it, it just makes me want to cry happy tears over how much He cares about my writing journey. He really does care about every single aspect of our lives, guys. We have a good God!

This was definitely, definitely the highlight of 2018!


With so many of my amazing peeps at RM. <3

It also took up an exuberant amount of my time as I prepped for it, did immense amounts of research, made business cards and one-sheets and learned everything I could about writers conferences and the people I’d be pitching my book to and just yeah wow. I spent a good two months alone just prepping for the conference. But it was all worth it!

Okay, I need to stop blabbering since I already did a big Realm Makers recap post after the event! You guys don’t need to hear about it all again. XD



Achieved: Yes? No? Sorta?

Erm…eheh. I didn’t do this one as much as I should have. Though, like I said, I researched the two agents I pitched to at Realm Makers, and learned a lot more about agents and what I’m looking for via that. I also purchased a publishing market guide and though I haven’t looked through it much, just having it is definitely a start to finding agents to query to! So I guess you can say I kind of half did this one but…need to get more serious about it.



Achieved: Ish? But not really…

This is kind of another one I sooort of did but not really? I put together a proposal for someone I was pitching to at RM, which required a one page query-type letter. So I did a boat-load of researching on query letters, and threw one together buuut I don’t think it’s very good. I need to work on that more. But, again, I did some research and feel a bit more prepared anyway. It’s just a matter of sitting down and doing it.



Achieved: For the most part?

I actually almost sort of kept up with this one!
*LE GASP* Not perfectly, but I stuck with a routine waaaay more than I have in a long, long while, so I’ll take it. I could always do more though…



Achieved: Not…much

Mmmm… I didn’t read as much as I would have liked. Life kept getting in the way. Blah. Though I do feel like I made more of an effort to use free time to read this year than I have in a while. I tried!

Alsoooo, I’ve (almost) achieved something that I should have done yeeeears ago: I’VE READ THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS. Yeah, for the first time. o.o (Technically I’m still reading the finale, so no spoilers!) This has been a huge highlight of the year. Why have I never read these fantastic books before??? I’m in love.

If anyone’s wondering, Hermione, Fred and George, Luna, and Neville are my favorites (I also really like Remus and…well okay all of them!), I’m absolutely a Hufflepuff (yes, I took the official test on Pottermore, but I already knew I was before taking the test XD), and I thiiiink my favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban but UGH. I don’t know! They’re all so good! Also I haven’t watched the movies yet. I want to read the books first, and then do a big movie marathon and I’M EXCITED.

(Yeah, I’ve become a total Potterhead and I don’t foresee myself every clawing out. So hello! Looks like I’ve joined the rest of society. XD)



Achieved: OH YEAH!

Bwahahaha! I think we all know the answer to this since I haven’t stopped talking about it for like two months! But yes, my 9th NaNo was a success!



Achieved: *hides in shame*

*cricket, cricket* Errrr… Between editing BT, prepping for Realm Makers, and NaNoWriMo, I had a lot of stuff to do on the computer this year. Sooo yeah, I don’t think I unplugged all that much.

ALTHOUGH. I do feel like I did a little better forcing myself to turn the computer off at night and go read or something. Not always (and certainly not during NaNo lolz), but I did try. I feel like I’m on the edge of creating good habits, even if I haven’t quite reached them yet. XD



Achieved: A little!

I feel like I did do better this year keeping up with things and staying organized.
Not perfect in any form or fashion, but I got into the habit of making to-do lists every single day which helped me stay on track, and I set out certain tasks for each day (such as Thursdays I write my blog posts for next Monday, Tuesdays I stock up on book pictures for Instagram for the week, etc., etc.). These things helped a lot.

My organization skills could still use a mountain-sized load of work buuuut I did try! That counts for something, right?



Achieved: Yes, actually!

That was my word for 2018: Intentional. Because, no matter how good my intentions may be, I’m the wooorst about never following through. This year I wanted to change that. I wanted to work on being more organized, work on reaching my goals of being published, work on doing hard things instead of taking the comfortable route. Did I do that this year? I think I did.

I really put effort into editing Burning Thorns, I saved up to go to Realm Makers, I got up the nerve to pitch my novel, I tried my best to stick to my 2018 goals. And, honestly, this is the first time I can remember where I kept to my goals. Because usually they all fizzle out by March. Eheh.

There was so, so much more I could have done. I failed many, many, maaany times. But I did try to stay intentional, to keep stretching out of my comfort zone, and I feel all the better for it.

There’s still so much I want to do and accomplish and keep reaching for, but I feel like I’m getting closer to my dreams. That I’m actually doing something about them instead of just talking about them. My greatest hope for next year is that I’ll keep stretching and stretching. This year good habits were made, and I learned a lot. Hopefully I can apply it all and go even further in 2019.

And that was 2018. I feel like there’s so, so much more I could say about it, but to sum it up, it was a full year and a good year. Habits were formed, new experiences were had, things were accomplished, and blessings abounded even in the hard times. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for 2019.

Until then, I hope you all have the most amazing Christmas and a very, very happy new year! See you all in 2019! Aaahhhhh!!!!!



I want to know ALL THE THINGS. How was your 2018? What were some highlights? Did you discover any good books? What was your favorite thing about this year? And what are you most excited about come the new year? Tell me everything!

Thank you all so, so, sooo much for constantly being an encouragement to me. YOU GUYS are one of my greatest blessings and made this year an utter delight. I’m so grateful for all of you, and do hope the coming year will be a beautiful one for you each. <3

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



    1. THANK YOU!!! It is definitely a wonderful place! Even if this last book is destroying all my feels. *whimpers*

      YESH. Hermione and Luna are my faaaaave! I love those girls so much! <333

      I think I AM coming to RM next year!!! There's no guarantee, but I'm working toward it and Dad is totally willing to take me again so! *fingers crossed* I'M SO HOPING IT WORKS OUT. I MISS YOU!!!

  2. YOU READ HARRY POTTTTTTTTTTER!!!!!!! I haven't read those books since 2016, my goodness. xD I'm definitely due for a reread but I just don't have time anymore *cries*

    Congrats on all of your goals and accomplishments! That's awesome and you definitely deserve it after all the hard work I know you poured into this year. I need to make myself a blog post with my 2019 goals for the end of this year so I can keep up with them and report how I did at the end of the year (I had no goals for this year, really, lol xD)

    I've read SO MANY BOOKS this year and I'm thrilled about that--there were some crummy ones in there but overall it was a really excellent year for books and I love that so much.

    My writing, too, was INSANE. I've done so much of it, and I think I can honestly say that this is the year when I really allowed the insanity and passion I have for my words to take over and push me to the stars like a rocket. I love writing, and 2018 is the year where I FINALLY realized that for real. <3

    I CAN'T WAIT FOR REALM MAKERS! I'm going to be travelling all over the country in 2019 and I can't wait for that ;)

    lovely post! I can't BELIEVE 2018 is almost over!

    1. I HAAAAVE! Nearing the end of the finale and just skljdflsjf;ljsdjf THEY'RE SO GOOD!!! I totally understand the reread dilemma. I have SO many books I want to reread, but there's just too many I HAVEN'T read and not enough time for them all and and and *collapses* Bookworm probs, right? XD

      THANK YOU!!! And GIRL, to not have any goals, you sure did a lot. o.o That's fantastic you were able to read lots of books! And do alllll the writing. EEP. I can't tell you how happy I am that you've truly discovered your love of writing this year. That is the BEST feeling and a true blessing.

      Wait wait wait. So you're definitely going to Realm Makers next year? Because AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS THE BEST NEWS EVER. I'm not 100% sure I'm going, but I probably will and just WE'LL GET TO MEET AND SLKDJFLJSDLJF.

      I think 2019 is going to be an amazing year! :D (But yes, howwww is this year almost over???)

    2. Faith being too lazy to log in via cell phoneDecember 29, 2018 at 9:52 PM

      YES! I know this is super late but YES I am going to Realm Makers. *shrieks forever* SO EXCITED!!!!

    3. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (<--I'm so excited that's the only coherent response I can form right now!)

  3. WELCOME TO THE LIVES OF THE REST OF US POTTERHEADS!!!!!!! *showers you with Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans* I’m so glad you like the books!

    And GAH now I want to go to next year's Realm Makers EVEN MORE!! (Crossing my fingers!) Just a quick question: do you need business cards for writing conference's? I’ve heard both yes and no..... 🤷‍♀️

    I hope you have a FANTASTIC Christmas and 2019, Christine! See you next year! ;)

    1. Why thank you! :D I'm so thrilled to fiiinally be part of the community! They're just such good books!!!

      Oh my goodness, I so, so, sooo hope it'll work out for you to go! As far as business cards, that's COMPLETELY up to you. They're absolutely not required in any form or fashion, BUT there's a whole lot of meeting new people and it's really helpful to have a card with your blog and social media accounts to hand to new friends. Because once you get home, you're not going to immediately remember everyone you met, trust me. XD So they're handy, especially when you want people to stay in touch with you and be able to find you online. But yeah, you definitely don't have to have any. But if you want them, I personally made mine through Vista Print which is really cheap and easy to do. :)

      Thank you, Nicole! I hope your Christmas is an absolutely blessed one! <333

  4. Wow, you've had a full year!!!! Congrats on meeting most of your goals!! That's so awesome!!

    And man, I've got to find a way to get to Realm Makers at some point! Like AHHHHHH!!

    But I've had a good year. Full. Filled with both ups and downs. A huge breath of fresh air after 2016 and 2017. So I'm really looking forward to 2019. I can't wait to see where God will take me!

    I hope your Christmas and New Years is a blessed time!! Enjoy your break. Can't wait to see you back!!

    1. This year definitely kept me occupied! Lol. And thank you so much! ^_^

      YESSSSSS. It's so amazing! I hope it'll work out for you one year!

      I'm so happy to hear you've had a good year. And I know what you mean. Last year was like that for me, and this one too. (I don't know what it was about 2016, but is seems like everyone had a bad year with that one. o.O) But YES! I do hope 2019 is an absolutely amazing one for you! <3

      Thank you, sweet Sarah! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's! <333

  5. You did so much! It's really inspiring, you definitely deserve a break after doing all that. I didn't unplug as much as I wanted to either. Hopefully next year I will get better at that.

    Hope your holidays are amazing! <333

    1. Awww, thank you! And goodness, isn't it so hard to unplug? You'd think we'd be relieved to step away from our screens every now and again, but they just keep sucking us in... Maybe one day I'll learn to not be enslaved by my laptop. XD

      Yours as well! *HUGS*

  6. Congrats on completing your goals! Editing BT is an especially huge accomplishment. I finished a novel as well this year, and I'm super proud of that!

    AND NO I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS EITHER. Dude. I have a Secret Santa exchange on Friday, and I still haven't gotten my person a gift yet!!

    I hope your break is relaxing and fun! Merry Christmas <3

    Eleanor | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. Thank you so much!!! And AAAHHHH! That is so fantastic you finished a novel! It is SUCH an amazing accomplishment!

      RIGHT??? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? And I feel you on that! I only JUST finished getting gifts for everyone. I'm so last minute. Every year... *shakes head* But I do hope you have the BEST Christmas!

      Thanks again! <3

  7. Wow, looks like you've done a lot! I didn't realize you were a Realmie (maybe I did, I just forget things easily). 2018 has been great for me, too! I've been querying agents, too. Such a scary process haha

    1. It was definitely a full year! And I wassss! Were we both in the same place and didn't realize it??? Oh my goodness! I guess we didn't know each other well then. We need to meet at one sometime!

      I'm so very happy to hear 2018 was a good year for you! That's wonderful. ^_^ And huzzah for you querying!!! I...haven't really STARTED querying yet, per se. But hopefully soon! I hope it all goes well for you!

  8. Oy, this year was busy!!!! But I'm really REALLY hoping to go to RM 2019 and I can't wait to see all my writing and blogging peoples and AHHHHH

    Here's to an epic 2019! *raises tea mug with a flourish*

    1. For you too??? 2018 was quite a whirlwind! But AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I SO HOPE IT WORKS OUT!

      *raises tea as well* YES! Hope your year is the best! <3

  9. 2018 has been pretty great! I may have broken my computer a little, but I got my books back! I've been writing like crazy!
    Life's been pretty busy, though! Between co-op, school, youth group activities, and babysitting, my calendar has been FILLED. UP. hehe. Time has literally FLIED! It's crazy. I can't believe Christmas is just a WEEK away.
    On a more dismal note, the mum of the kids I babysat didn't tell me that they were both SICK, and now I feel like crap. lol.
    I'll be ok, tho.
    Love ya! Hope you have an awesome Christmas.

    1. I'm so glad to hear 2018 was good for you! ^_^ And thank the good Lord you got your stories back! I think it's so wonderful you've written so much this year. You're on fire! :D But yeah, wow. Sounds like you HAVE been busy. I'm so sorry you're sick now though. AGH. I do hope you get better by Christmas! <333 *sends all the prayers* But yes, how IS Christmas in LESS than a week now? It's insane!

      I do hope yours is awesome as well! Love you too! <3 <3 <3

    2. Thank, my bean!!! <3 I should PROBABLY be better by then. *receives prayers with open arms*
      SOOOOO INSANE. lol

  10. Ahhh, the 2018 recap I've been looking forward to! I was wondering how your goals went :). I'm so glad you finally finished Burning Thorns - I look forward to reading it!!!

    2018 was tumultuous for me for a variety of reasons. But highlights would include my best friends graduation, and NaNo events. I did find some really good books this year - which include the Emily books by LM Montgomery!

    And next year? Maybe a completed draft! *hoping against hope...*


    1. Awwwww! YOU ARE THE SWEETEST! Thank you so very much, dear Catherine! <3 You're always such an encouragement!

      I'm so, so sorry to hear it was a tumultuous year. If you need any specific prayers, never hesitate to ask! <3 But that's so exciting about your friends graduating! And oh my goodness, I loooove the Emily books! I haven't read them in AGES, but they were so good!

      YOU GOT THIS, GIRL!!!! I do hope 2019 will be a joyous year for you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! <333

  11. EEEEPP I loved reading this post!!! 2018 has been quite a year for me, and one of the highlights was definitely Realm Makers. SEEING ALL MY WONDERFUL BLOGGER FRIENDS. *whispers* That's you. ^_^

    Agh, I need to unplug more myself, so don't feel too bad about not achieving that goal... :P It's so amazing how much the internet and phones have become such a huge HUGE part of life now...I'd say it's very near impossible to really escape the screens...they're everywhere...*creepy alien noises* XD

    It sounds like you've had an epic year, Christine, and I wish you only the best in 2019!! <333

    1. *BEAMS* I'm so glad! And oh my goodness, REALM MAKERS. Meeting you and hanging out was THE. BEST. EVER. I remember strolling through the lobby and glancing to my right, and then doing a double take because OH MY WORD, THAT'S MADELINE. It was surreal! You're such a precious person! <3

      Goodness me, it's soooo hard unplugging. You said it, when there's a screen EVERYWHERE it's next to impossible to stay away. Maybe one day I learn to escape the looming screens. XD

      It really was a good one! Thank you, sweet Madeline. I hope your 2019 is a beautiful one! <333

  12. I'm not going to reply to all the things because then I'd be here all day but I just wanted to say that I'M SO PROUD OF YOU for all the amazing goals you did this year! YOU DID SO AMAZING. I love love LOVED this post and I'm so happy for all the fun times you and I've had this year, and cheering you on through all the goals (not to mention RM!!) has been incredible. I'm so in awe of all you get done! <3 Here's wishing you the absolute most AMAZING 2019! Happy New Year, dear friend! ^_^

    1. AAAHHHHH, CELTI. YOU ARE A GEM! Honestly, having you to keep me accountable and cheer me on and provide soooo much encouragement kept me going. I don't think I could do this writing thing without my Celti. It's been the best tackling this crazy year together! *HUGGLES*

      I hope YOU have an amazing 2019 as well! HAPPY NEW YEAR! <3 <3 <3

  13. Oh man, I'm so sorry about your dog. I actually went through the exact same thing in 2018 and it's so hard. Hugs <3

    2018 had its ups and downs for me. Even with that, though, I'm glad I can say that it wasn't a bad year or anything. And now that it's 2019 I am SO ready to recharge and do all the things I want and need to do and do them better.

    I like how you chose the word "intentional". That's a word I'm always trying to remember and live by, particularly being intentional with my time. Because I always complain to myself how I have no time to do anything that I want to do and then I waste an hour doing useless things on the Internet. It makes me feel ashamed of myself sometimes. But that's one thing that I want to work on more in 2019.

    That partially includes another of my goals: writing more!! I spend so little time writing sometimes and then I get frustrated that I'm not any closer to my goals of finishing my books... (jeez, I self-sabotage a lot, don't I? xD) I could go on for so long about all the things that I want to spend more time doing.

    My routine got so messed up at the end of 2018 because of work and the holidays and everything and I'm just really wanting to get it back together, lol. I've definitely discovered that I NEED routine and some degree of organization in my life because it's so busy and there are so many things I want to do. (I know it sounds cliché, but bullet journaling, man. It's helped me so much.)

    ANYWAY. I'm just rambling now. I'm glad you had a good year and I hope this year's even better!! Good luck with your writing, reading, anything you're doing!

    (Also, there's still a possibility I might get to go to Realm Makers this year and UGH I'm so excited and I'm praying it works out because it sounds so amazing.)

    1. Awww, thank you! That's awful you had to go through the same thing! D: It seriously feels like losing a member of the family. But it's worth the heartache for the time we had with them. *hugs back*

      I'm glad it wasn't a bad year for you! And oh my goodness, we sound so much alike! I'm definitely getting geared up to dive into things and hopefully do them better this year too. And the time thing! It's like you took my brain and put it into words. I complain so, sooo much about having no time, and yet I seem to find an awful lot of time to scroll pointlessly on Pinterest. >.> I DEFINITELY need to re-prioritize how I use each hour of the day. And I, too, want to spend more time on my writing. I use up so much time building my platform, that I feel like the actual whole point of it--writing and getting published--is put on the back-burner which is ridiculous. *shakes head* So yes, I'm with you on wanting to put more focus on my books this year!

      Routine and organization is a beautiful thing! It was nice having a holiday break, but it is exciting to start settling back into something more normal. Seriously, we think so much alike!

      I do hope all your goals and dreams come true this year, and that it will be one of your best years yet! <333 And thank you for your kind words!

      (*LE GASP* REALLY??? Because it's looking like I'll probably be going again this year. Oh my goodness, I soooo hope it works out for you! EEP. *crosses fingers*)

  14. You accomplished so many wonderful things this year! I wish you all the best in 2019! :D

  15. WHAT A GREAT YEAR! I'm so. stinkin'. proud of you. Editing Burning Thorns (eep!), going to Realm Makers (double eep!), slaying NaNo, all of it's amazing! And there's no going back after reading Harry Potter. XD Even the goals that didn't fully go as planned still resulted in PROGRESS. *hugs* Here's to an even more fantastic 2019!

    1. It really was! And d'awwww, THANK YOU!!! Having your encouragement through it all helped SO MUCH. I feel so blessed to have you as a friend!

      There is definitely no going back with the HP love. I'm a potterhead from here on out. XD

      Thank you, m'dear! I do hope this year will be great for the both of us. ^_^


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