2018: My Year in Review

It’s the end of the year! And that means it’s time for me to look back at what I accomplished, and lament review how it went!

(Also, I full acknowledge that this is going to be ridiculously boring to anyone who isn’t me. Sorry. It’s tradition.)

Reading: The trend continues!

If there’s one thing I’m pretty consistent about, it’s reading. I actually read more this year than I have in any year since I started using Goodreads (which is 2013, apparently). This is good, kind of, because I’m pretty sure that’s the only thing I did well at this year. Er. We’ll get to that in a second.

According to Goodreads, I read 44 books this year. And, like always, they were all over the board–I read an awful lot of fantasy, yes, but that definitely wasn’t all I read. I read everything from non-fiction to history to science fiction.

And, for something like the third year in a row, my favorite book of the year wasn’t a YA fantasy! I fell absolutely head over heels for the Ancillary Justice series–an award-winning adult SF that absolutely sucked me in. All three of them were amazing. I think I read the whole trilogy in a couple weeks, followed by the author’s other book, Provenance. And I just preordered her upcoming fantasy. They were good, okay!?

Honorable mention goes to Record of a Spaceborn Few, the third Becky Chambers novel, which didn’t make me cry as much as A Close and Common Orbit, but was still a mindblowingly pretty bit of worldbuilding. Overall, Ms. Chambers’s series (which Goodreads calls the Wayfarer series, I guess?) is also now one of my new favorite trilogies ever. It’s also an adult SF, which is kind of bewildering–I’ve honestly never read that much SF. This year, I was all over it.

Writing: This year was a garbage fire

No more warm fuzzies. Let’s talk about writing.

For the last few years, I’ve averaged about 200,000 words a year. That doesn’t mean those words used very well–in 2017, I reached 251,000 words by rewriting a single story over and over, then writing a 70K NaNoWriMo draft that I later threw out. I ended up with one reasonably polished final draft, yes, but it was hard.

So while writing more words doesn’t mean I was more productive, this year was still total garbage at 90,163 words. Argh!

This doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything, of course. Let’s try to be positive!

  • I finished my last edit of my current YA fantasy.
  • I pulled together all my query materials and queried a bunch of agents.
  • I stopped querying at 40 agents, with a 12% request rate, because I got the first R&R of my life! So now it’s time to do some major overhauls, cross my fingers, and see if mayyyybe, just maybe, this manuscript might get me an agent.
  • And hey, I’ve got 2 full requests and a partial still out, anyway–so who knows? Maybe they’ll be interested in it, too.

I didn’t get a ton of new writing done, and that’s… well, because I’m learning a lot about how I work, I guess. I didn’t get much done during the year I queried Justice Unending, either. That’s enough to write a blog post over–and I probably already have!–but it’s interesting to see that my work habits change whenever I’ve got a query out.

But the last couple of months have been pretty productive–and now I’ve got an R&R to worry about!

Out with the old, in with the new!

Honestly, despite not writing nearly as much as I wanted to, I accomplished most of the things I wanted to do last year. I finished my draft! I queried! Querying went better than last time!

I didn’t finish the sequel to Justice Unending, although I do have some early drafts and a fairly complete outline. It needs a lot of reworking, but it’s in decent enough condition that I can hop back into it soon enough.

So what are my goals this year?

  • Finish my revise and resubmit early in the year. Then submit it, cross all my fingers and toes, and hope for the best!
  • Write the sequel to Justice Unending. It’s outlined! I keep getting Amazon reviews complaining that I haven’t finished it yet! Whoops. Yeah, let’s try to get to that this year.
  • Get back into short stories. I haven’t written one in a loooong time.
  • Sketch out lose outline ideas for sequels to my current project. This shouldn’t be crazy difficult, but I need to remember to do it. So, yes: it’s on the to-do list!

All very straightforward and obvious. Isn’t that nice?

And that’s it!

OK, so 2018 wasn’t my most productive year. But I also had the most successful query of my life, and that counts for something, right? And now I’m all ready for 2019, with a fancy productivity planner, some clear goals, and a shiny R&R to guide me. So here’s to a brand new year!

3 thoughts on “2018: My Year in Review

  1. Wow, forty-two books are a lot! Congrats. :) I didn’t record how many books I read (since most of them were borrowed from the library) but I made resolutions to read one book per week in 2019. Good luck with your writing & querying in the new year!

    1. I just really went at it this year! I was having such a hard time writing this year that I decided to read until I actually started feeling inspired. I don’t know if it worked, necessarily, but I read a lot of really good books, at least!

      And thank you! Good luck with your writing in the new year, too!

      1. Yes, that’s the spirit! I’m a firm believer of books bring inspirations. They might not come up until later, but they’re stored in the back of your mind somewhere.
        Thank you!

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