Final Check-In for 2015

Hey, Merry Christmas!

I hope you’ve been enjoying a beautiful season. <3

Christmasy Harrods
Christmasy Harrods

This post is both a #WIPMarathon Check-in — the last for 2015 — and my declaration of New Year’s resolutions.

I’ve been the set-and-and-forget-it type when it comes to New Year’s resolutions in the past, but with the best of intentions. Usually it’s a few things I already really want to be doing but just lack the willpower. But I hope that stops here (a resolution in itself!)

Things I’m Glad I Did In 2015:

I’m glad I cultivated a habit of gratitude. It doesn’t always happen when I’m traveling, but when I’m at home, the first thing I do upon waking is write down at least 3 things I’m grateful for.

I flew back home to spend time with my family in October, after having been in the U.S. for summer holidays with the Scotsman. Yes, I had just been there a month prior, but going home when I did, on my own, gave me a chance to spend quality time without the running around. It sounds like a little thing but I think it was really important.

Therapy. Is it a blogging faux pas to mention this? As some of you know, 2014 was pretty rough for me with an ongoing mysterious health problem, most likely brought on by stress. (It wasn’t anything serious but it multiplied my anxiety, so hello, catch-22). To deal with what was likely the root cause, I started to see a therapist regularly for several months. Talking through my runaway worries with a kind, objective third party who showed me a way to tackle those OTT concerns head-on was gold. Bottom line? Getting *out* of your head, and getting what’s in there out to someone who can help you look at it differently are two things I think everybody can benefit from.

Strolling through Bath
Strolling through Bath

In 2016, I’ll love to:

Here’s the resolution part:

  1. Try something new, at LEAST once a week. 

    I recently read that time seems to crawl when we’re young in part because every experience is new. As we age, we’re in routines and ruts and have seen & done so much. It all blurs together, making time whiz.
    The suggestion? Broaden your horizons. So whether it’s driving a different way home, seeing a film I haven’t seen before, reading in a genre I haven’t read before, or trying a new restaurant/meal, I want 2016 to be the year I push against my boundaries.

  2. Read 40 books. 

    That doesn’t sound like a lot, to most avid readers/writers. But I did fairly miserable this year. I figure, if I aim lower, I’ll feel great when I surpass it. I read nearly as many manuscripts in 2015 as I did published books, and while I LOVE reading CPs’ and others’ works-in-progress, I’d like to double the amount of published works read.

  3. Write three first drafts.
    That means learning to get words down quickly, rather than dragging a first draft out across several months, which is what I’ve been doing.I just finished a 4-week LitReactor course taught by Delilah Dawson (highly recommended) where she compared first drafts to hot laundry out of the dryer. Paraphrasing (badly), she said she likes to carry it all to the sofa as fast as possible, without dropping any, and then folding it right away. Likewise, with first drafts, she tries to get it all down as quickly as possible. If you take too long, it’ll “cool down,” or you might forget sparks of imagination and muses’ whisperings. That resonated with me.

    GET THE HOT LAUNDRY ON THE PAGE.

  4. Invest in experiences over material goods. 
  5. Be a better/more attentive emailer and friend.
    Most of my friends hear from me via email given our various locations around the world. And I’m tired of beginning my emails, “I’m so sorry this is late!”

Now on to our month’s #WIPMarathon check-in:

Last report wordcount + chapter count/scene count:

I didn’t post last month. I’ve been buried in 2 online writing courses and endless manuscript revisions. I’m happy to report that I finished typing up my last set of edits on Christmas Eve Eve. 🙂 

WIP Issues This Month:

This is a whole blog topic by itself, but I’ll mention it here: opening scenes/chapters are the hardest. I thought mine was done, like, 8 months ago. The amazing Susan Dennard gave me some feedback that I hadn’t thought of but was such a complete and utter DUH! that I immediately got to work and killed my darling first scene.

Most of the dialogue and action remained, but the way it all worked out … Wow. I’m just so grateful for her, and for two of my CPs, Megan & Jessica, for helping me make the decision.

What distracted me this month while writing:

Christmas, revisions, ice skating, cookies, revisions, buying everything ever on Amazon and then waiting at home for said everything to arrive, cookies, pumpkin pie, revisions, the Bath Christmas market…

Oh yes.

AND BECOMING A BRITISH CITIZEN!

Well jel of that hat.
If it looks like I just woke up, it’s because I totally did.

As of 17 December 2015, I am officially a Brit. (And still an American). After 8.5 long years, 5 separate visas and their affiliated stress-inducing applications, fees, and waits, I am now free to . . .

Apply for a British passport, which could take months 😉

But seriously, HOORAH!

Goal for next month:

Finish reading Gretchen Rubin’s BETTER THAN BEFORE.

Finish Susan Dennard’s TRUTHWITCH (which I’ll probably do tonight, to be honest 😉

Draft 50k, to make up for having pooped out of NaNo to work on revisions.


So what about you? Is there one resolution/change you’re eager to make in 2016? I love hearing other people’s resolutions and goals, so I’d love to hear yours.

See you in 2016! <3

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10 thoughts on “Final Check-In for 2015

  1. Yay! You’re one of us Brits now! 😉

    I love that quote about drafting. I feel the same way, and that’s why I draft so fast. My memory is terrible, so the details tend to slip away if I go without drafting for a few days.

    I love your first point, too — that’s why this year’s gone so fast for me, because I’ve been stuck in routines. I definitely need to take some more risks next year!

    I’m SO jealous of you for having Truthwitch already! *grabby hands*

    Here’s to a productive and successful 2016! 😀

    1. Yeah, I won’t mind taking the time I do now on revising, but drafting has got to move faster. This year was just awful for it because every time I’d start to work on my next project, I’d get sucked back into my last manuscript. (Okay, I really love it. A LOT. And it’s hard to leave that world. But I also kept thinking of ways to improve it).

      Productive and successful years for us both! 😀

  2. I love Bath! ^_^ Congrats on the dual citizenship! Go for the three first drafts! I’m shooting for that as well. I read something in a craft book the other week that said the difference between the writer who writes a novel in 10 years and the one who writes one in 10 days has a lot to do with how much time they spend “trying to write.” So, here’s to more days writing and less days stressing ourselves out! 🙂 Merry Christmas and Cheers to 2016!

  3. Hello! Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year to you! I think your resolutions sound wonderful and completely doable. In addition, congratulations on the dual citizenship!

    I want to re-spark my creativity and try one small project weekly (that is more art/craft-related) and work on revising the two first drafts I made for NaNoWriMo 2014 and 2015.

    In addition, fixing my health is important as well, as I traveled a similar path as you in that department. My sister is getting married in May, so I want to be ready! 🙂

    And I have 5 states left on my US list. I would love to find a way to see them before I turn 40! 😀

    1. Thanks for the congrats, KB, and Merry Happy New Year and Christmas to you! 🙂

      I love your plan! That’s so inspiring. One of my hopes for this year is that if I can quit working by a certain time each day (aiming for 4 p.m. but we’ll see how that goes), then I can devote the evenings, after going to the gym or for a run, to hobbies… and of those hobbies, more crafty things including paintings would be nice! Good luck on yours!

      OOh, and congrats to your sis! Events like that are great for health goals. I think I need to sign up for another race for that very reason 🙂

      And YAY to only 5 states left! That’s awesome. Then you’ll have to move on to countries I guess 😉

  4. Congrats on finishing drafts, and getting your citizenship!

    I feel you so much on the emailing/keeping in touch with people. I woke up the other morning and realized that *I* had been emailing *you* at one point, and it had gotten lost somewhere along the way, oops!

    Totally not just on your end. 😉

    1. Thanks so much!

      Ahh, I’m kinda glad I’m not alone in the emailing department. I always read them right away and I want to have the proper time and frame of mind to send a thoughtful response. I don’t like just shooting ’em out there. But I may need to get into the habit of striking a balance!

  5. Yay, congrats on the citizenship! 😀 And those are some great goals for the new year. I really like that first draft/hot laundry metaphor––I totally agree with that! In 2016 I’m hoping to finally finish the first draft of my WIP and start editing it. There are also two other first drafts I want to start working on again––but they’re both historical fiction, so I also need to do more research first.

    Btw, I also wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Liebster award: https://brigidrgh.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/liebster-award/ 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Brigid! 😀

      Historical fiction: awesome! Yes, those take a lot more time and research than others, so it’s a little harder to stick to a set schedule, but one step at a time!

      And hey! Thanks for the nomination! I’m heading over to check it out now 😀 Happy New Year!

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