Sunday, December 31, 2017

What Happened: 2017

The year ends tomorrow (for me, anyhow). Usually this doesn't mean much for me. New year, whee. I watch the ball drop, I go to bed, and wake up to the first day of the new year.

Is 2018 gonna be like that?

Haha of course not

This girl's goin' to Peru.

For two months. My first time traveling by plane (the time when I was a baby doesn't really count?) and internationally.

Basically there are no baby steps here. This is really new to me and right now I'm trying to figure out what the cookie tin I was thinking. XD But also I'm kind of excited. I'll be volunteering at an orphanage, so I'll be hanging out with kids of all ages. No idea what all I'll encounter, but it'll be an adventure nevertheless.

Similarly, 2017 has been a bit of an adventure? Outside my own circles of life, a lot of political and other stuff happened that I'd rather not go into. BUT, I want to summarize things that happened to me personally. :3 Might be boring for some, but it's a thing people do, yeah?

Things happened, guys. I FINALLY finished the draft of my fantasy novel, Empire of Blood and Shadow. I got it revised/edited enough to send it to alpha readers for real. That was really fun, actually. I sent it to a handful of fellow writers, including two guys who write, since I have a guy POV and needed to make sure he was, well, being a guy. XD

I've gotten really great feedback. Besides myself, nobody else has read EOBAS, and it was exciting to see what others thought. They've loved it, and they've offered awesome critiques too. I found the majority of my alphas in the Twitter community*, and they've all been so awesome and I'm so appreciative of them for reading, especially when I gave them a 5-million-word** mammoth to read during the school months. XD I'm so grateful they agreed to read and didn't run in terror. Cookies for them all!

*And also the writing community on Twitter is just really great, guys. There're so many friendly people, and I'm grateful for the ones I've met. Even though I may not know them well and may seem like I'm lurking to them XD

**Okay I exaggerate, but it's a TON of words, guys. I have a problem

I also finished another story on Wattpad. :D The sequel to The Empire Thief was finished this year. Both stories were super fun to write. Sometimes they were a mess because I failed to make sure I addressed major things, BUT I made it and it's lovely and I like it. :3

But then after that I've been in a funky writing slump, and I swear it's driving me insane. I hit walls in brainstorming, or I lose the drive to write a story. I did my third NaNo this year too, and even that story was flopping like a beached fish. It was pretty bad.

I'm still kind of in that fog, but I'm organized the feedback from EOBAS that I have thus far, and I'm hoping editing will bring back that spark. Here's hoping.

I've also been exploring the reasons behind why I write. I wrote another post about that. I want to glorify God with my stories, and bring His truths to readers. Even if my stories don't have directly religious elements (themes, characters, etc.). God-willing, the truths they do communicate will spark curiosity and lead them to God. It's been really good to further develop this mindset, and I hope to understand it better in the year to come.

I read a total of 47 books this year, according to Goodreads. I'm quite proud of myself, even though I didn't hit the 50 goal XD But that doesn't matter. I read a lot of really awesome stories. I listened to a bunch of audiobooks (binged The Lunar Chronicles), read a couple mangas and a graphic novel, and a really cool book that was made to look like an old library book, in which fictional character have written in its margins that tell another story. So it's like two stories in one book. It's a thick read, but it's really fun. :D

I started the reading year by basically binging the Throne of Glass series. Which, in hindsight, may have been a poor choice, but I really enjoyed them regardless of how exhausted my brain was. XD I'm fairly pleased with the majority of the books I read. I tried a few contemporary novels, which left me with mixed feelings, but meh. I have plenty of other fun stories to continue reading.

I've also been reading a few fun Wattpad stories from Twitter friends. :D Here's a few I would HIGHLY recommend:
The Pursuit of Merriment (technically written before 2017, but you'll need this for the following short stories)
Where the Ghosts Lie
The Broken City of Crows (ongoing)

All of those are really fun. So if you don't yet know what to start reading in the coming year, I would recommend these. :3

And a random mishmash of things :3

I got my first job of ever.
I worked about ten months at a Walmart, in the Lawn & Garden section. Overall, I'm incredibly grateful for the experience. There were days when I never wanted to come back. Other days were actually a little fun. But it was a good experience. I survived the heat of summer, even! XD I quit just before the holiday madness in November, partly because trying to juggle holidays, work, and Peru prep was something this introvert didn't want to deal with, no sir.

I have a nephew!
And he is the cutest little man of ever and I love him. And also my niece, who had her first birthday this year and that was precious.

Volunteered to work at an orphanage in Peru.
I'm beginning to feel a little nervous, a few days before I leave. XD But it'll be a good experience. I've been learning Spanish, and I have the important words down. It's been kind of fun. The translations get a little weird and amusing. Luis wants a pink spider, and he eats soap. I am concerned for Luis.

Started learning a new language!
Just don't ask me to identify whether I'm talking about myself or you or Bob. Because I still don't know.

What were you all up to this year? :D

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