Happy New Year! It’s officially 2019 and I have officially failed my 2018 reading challenge. 2018 was quite the year but it passed so quickly. To be completely honest, I’m not sure about how happy I am with what I accomplished in 2018 but I’m trying to be. I accomplished enough to be happy with, I think, but not as much as I would’ve liked.
As I said, I failed my reading challenge. My goal was to read 75 books and I only read 62. In 2017, I read 67 books and thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to add another 8 on top of that even though 2018 was going to be a much busier year for me. I was wrong. For a thousand reasons, reading just wasn’t as quick this year but I’m actually okay with the number I reached. It required a lot of last minute add ons but I feel it was a respectable effort during a busy year. I also like to track the number of pages I read. I know it’s a bit weird but it’s a different way of tracking the amount I read that accounts for varying book length. My goal for 2018 was 30k pages. I’m slightly embarrassed to say I just got over 20k with a grand (shameful) total of 20,721 pages. I think it really comes down to the fact that I was just working a lot more this year and didn’t really consider how much it would change my reading habits. Also, as I’ve said before, the reading of ebooks on my phone was…damaging to say the least. But I’m not going to beat myself up over this. I tried to get the numbers up but in the end, reading isn’t about the numbers. I had a great year of reading, whether the numbers reflect it or not.
Ah, writing. The bane of existence. Why do I love something that’s so soul draining and difficult? Perhaps I’ll never know. I went into this year incredibly excited and optimistic on every possible level. Reading, writing, this website. In my mind, everything was going to be a breeze. A slightly formidable breeze, but still a breeze. I’d work hard but I’d be happy with myself in the end. Well, my dreams and optimism have been trampled and spit upon. I’m not happy with the progress of my writing this year. Well, maybe I am a little. I’m undecided. The first half of the year was pretty good—I wrote a lot and was happy with it. I finished my first draft at the end of June, which was amazing and made me feel excited and proud. I wrote a book. Whether it sells or not, I finished a book. A long book, over 700 pages. But I both underestimated the revision process and overestimated myself. I just didn’t think it’d be as difficult and slow a process and I’ve been having a hard time with it. I put a lot of pressure on myself and sometimes that pressure is what makes me want to freak out, not even the progress of the book. I never feel like I’m doing enough for it. I’ve made some great changes and had some brilliant revelations but it’s hard to appreciate those when I’m knee deep in a swampy mess of a story. I wanted to be one or two revision drafts in by the end of 2018 but I feel as though I’ve barely made a dent in the first revision. It’s hard to even think about.
The Year Ahead
Since I’ve been gloriously defeated by 2018 in every way, I’m keeping my goals for 2019 simple. I want to read more than I did this year and better balance reading review requests and my own books. I learned this lesson last year, but now it’s time to put it into effect. I love getting review requests but I need to be more selective and limit how many I read a month. Otherwise, I’ll end up with a pile 30 books high that I feel like I need to plow through as fast as possible and will end up reading nothing but those for months. So just reading more in 2019 is enough for me—I’ll set a hesitant goal at 65 books and 25k pages and hope the reading gods don’t smite me down the way they did in 2018. Apparently, I needed to be humbled.
As for writing, the goals need to be a little more concrete but I also need to lighten up on myself. How do I balance that? I’ll let you know if I figure it out but right now, I’m grimacing at the thought. I need to finish the first revision draft in the first half of the year and really should be into the second by then. The problem with my revision process is that it’s unpredictable. I can’t set concrete goals like “write 2k words a day” because it’s not just about writing anymore. It’s taking large chunks out and rewriting them to fit back in and moving pieces around and making sure everything lines up perfectly and so much more. My plan is to just be more strict with myself. If I know what needs to be done that day, I need to get it done and not procrastinate or fiddle around with other smaller things. I find myself getting distracted by my own story ideas while I’m trying to work, which is a bit frustrating and ridiculous. I want my book to be done in 2019. Done and ready to be sent around to agents so I can actually begin the process of getting it published. As always, I’ll keep you all updated on my writing woes, since I seem to have so many.
Overall, 2018 was a decent year. I read some fantastic books and did some things I’m proud of so I can’t be too upset. Let me know how your 2018 was and what your 2019 goals are in the comments! I wish you all luck in whatever they are and hope you’ll wish me the same. I really need it.
Thanks for reading,