It’s been a while! Let’s not waste time over that fact. I have a toddler and a four-year-old. Enough said.
Where did my year go? Well. A good 40% was caring for children. At least 50% of it went down a terrifying dark spiral into a new hellscape bizarro America where Donald Trump is president and we all have to find our own ways of mentally dealing with that fact. On top of that, I have been postpartum and I recently weaned my second son which is, for some reason, even harder on my hormones than postpartum–luckily, I have been in therapy so I have been using all my mental tools and working through my anxiety.
But what about that last 10%? There had to be more than just political unrest and hormonal imbalances along the way.
I knew going in that I wouldn’t be able to read a ton this year, but I finished 31 books (32 if I finish my current read by Sunday, which I have to or else the library will yank the copy off my ereader). I’ve actually read several more if you include the wonderful works by my super-talented CPs, but they’re not on Goodreads so I haven’t been tracking them.
One thing that helped is joining a book club! I’m the most awkward person in the world, but I’ve really enjoyed meeting up regularly to discuss a book we all read (or most of us read) (or a few of us read, anyway). It’s also opened me up to trying books I would not have picked, like A Man Called Ove. I didn’t love that book as a whole, but it had some beautiful writing and it was interesting to stray so far from my comfort zone.
Favorite of 2017: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. Hands down. There’s a little bit of Howling Books stuck in my head forever now, and I don’t ever want to be rid of it. This book is so beautifully written and atmospheric. I’m a sucker for the BFFs in love trope, and this one totally did me in.
Where I Went
This year was not big for travel, mostly because of having a baby in tow, but we did manage a trip down to Nags Head, NC. I’d never been to the Outer Banks, despite being surrounded in OBX bumper stickers all over Virginia for nearly my entire life. We rented a house near the beach and it was a very calm vacation, even with the kids in tow! I may have broken a record for most chocolate malts consumed within a single week, but I’m not willing to admit to the number so I can’t call Guinness to make it official.
EDIT: I forgot about perhaps the most AWESOME place I went this past year since it was way, way, way back in February: HAMILTON! My husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary by flying to Chicago, eating dinner at the Saved by the Bell pop-up restaurant, and seeing the greatest American history musical of all time. It was every bit as fantastic as I could have hoped.
What I Wrote
For such an emotionally overwhelming year, I managed to write quite a bit! I got my most recent WIP finished, polished, sent to my agent, and I am now working on edits. I also started a new WIP in the meantime, which is about halfway drafted. It’s a total departure from anything I’ve written before–alternate history, third person, multi-POV. Tons of research so far. Not sure what I’m thinking or if I can pull it off, but I’m gonna give it my best shot!
One of my most exciting accomplishments this year has been my Etsy shop! I opened an Etsy shop (bookwormmamaco.etsy.com) in February with the goal of making 100 sales by the end of the year, and I am currently at 249! The 2016 election results wrecked me, as I am sure they wrecked most people I know, and for a while I couldn’t even bear to look at the news. Getting on Twitter and Facebook was stressing me out. So I used all that time to teach myself graphic design! It’s been so fun to learn, and I am still learning quite a bit, but I had all these fun projects I’d created and nothing to do with them–so I put them up for sale. AND PEOPLE BOUGHT THEM. This is still the most amazing thing to me. It doesn’t get old. I’m being carried in three indie bookshops, I got my bookmarks into a subscription box–it’s all been a lot of fun and a lot of work, but I’m really proud of how far my little shop has come in less than a year!
Also! Late in the year I accepted a position as an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing, so I’ve been working with them and writing reader reports and generally seeing the other side of the publishing coin which has been really enlightening.
What’s On for 2018?
I’ve decided that this year will be very intentional. My word of the year is not even a word:
There are so many things that I have felt held back from doing, or worried about, or been too exhausted to contemplate. But this year? Execute. All. The. Programs.
Both sons are currently sleeping through the night, so if it’s on my To Do list? I want to do it. Not in a week. Not in a month. Not five years from now. I want to do it now. I want to open that file and start that program running–OK. It’s clear I am married to a software engineer, but my point is, I want to stop procrastinating and holding myself back and making excuses for why I am not doing exactly what I want to be doing.
There’s not a lot I can control in this current hellscape, but I can try to control that.
How was your 2017? Do you have any goals or words you plan to focus on in the new year?