Happy last day of 2014, dear blog readers! For this New Year special, I’m going to look back at some highlights of 2014 in the areas of reading and writing, and then I’ll gaze forward at what I hope to accomplish in 2015.
Reading Review ~ 2014:
1) I read fifty books this summer. Veritas Press, a Christian homeschool curriculum company, challenged kids and teens to read twenty-five books from May 1st to September 1st. I’d completed that by the end of June, so I decided to push my self further and read twenty-five more by September 1st. Technically, I didn’t complete it—I finished the fiftieth book on September 1st, not before it. Still, I’m amazed that I was able to do it, and man, did I encounter some cool books along the way!
2) Speaking of which: Sanderson. He deserves a mention of his own. Due to the raving of my awesome classmates, the legendary TPSers, I decided to give this fantasy author a try. That was May-ish, I believe. I started with his Mistborn series, and needless to say, I was hooked. I read his Alloy of Law, the companion book to Mistborn. Then I tackled the first two massive books in his work in progress, The Stormlight Archive. Before that, Mistborn had been my new favorite series, and I was sure nothing could compare to it. TSA changed that idea quickly and has blasted to one of the top five Aberdeen favorites (quite an accomplishment, let me tell you). I also read Sanderson’s Elantris and Steelheart, far above most books, though not quite as good as his others.
3) Here are other great books I discovered. In non-fiction: Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, Emily P. Freeman’s Graceful, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Outliers, and The Tipping Point. In fiction: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, and most recently, Fyodor Dostoyvesky’s Crime and Punishment. And lastly, in fantasy/sci-fi: Orson Scott Card’s Ender series, Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga, and Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Golden Daughter.
Writing Wind-up ~ 2014:
1) I finished my first book. I used 2013’s NaNo to add greatly to my first book, a fantasy. I told myself that I had till the end of winter to finish it. I stuck to my challenge, writing the last words to the epilogue on February 28th, 2014 exactly. The experience was surreal—I had done what few will ever do. I had written a book. Who cared that it would most likely never get published. I could finally say it—I wrote a book! Throughout the spring and summer, I revised the book and started its sequel.
2) I participated in—and won!—NaNoWriMo. This was technically my first time, since the year before, I’d only added 30K words to a pre-existing story. This year, I started a novel from scratch and wrote the prescribed 50K words. God truly helped me through it, even enabling me to finish early. It was a crazy experience—some days were easy and awesome, others were pure torture. With word wars and pep talks and great supporters, I pushed through it. The book wasn’t finished, though, something I planned to do over Christmas break.
3) But—I lost all my stuff. As you already heard here. Sometimes, numbers one and two seem like a waste now. What good is it having written a book and won NaNo if I don’t have anything to show for it? I’ve already rambled on at length about the lessons I’ve learned from the loss, though, so let me just say that, yeah, losing my stuff was a milestone. It’s something I’ll remember forever. Plus, that first book I talked about in number one, I had already lost once. And rewritten. And now it’s gone again. I clearly don’t know how to save things on computers (though now I am well-tutored in Google Drive, which should hopefully prevent any further heartbreak). Anyway, it’s a highlight, one that seems awful, but one that I hope will end in unexpected good.
4) I started blogging! Was it really only four months ago? Or even a bit less than that? I’m lovin’ it (and no, I’m not at McDonald’s), and I plan to continue it for a long while. Thanks so much for journeying with me—every follow, every like, every comment warms my heart and blesses me more than you know. Check out “The Best Scribblings” on the sidebar for posts you and other readers have loved.
The Best is Yet to Come ~ 2015:
1) I’m going to read more poetry. Hopefully write more, too, but I’ve realized that my own poetry will never improve until I dive into those who have gone before and immerse myself in their masterpieces. I’m going to start with my Christmas present—a gorgeous collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems and short stories. After that, well, who knows. Suggestions are welcome. I’ll keep you updated.
2) I’m eagerly anticipating these books. Goodies coming out in 2015 that I can’t wait for: Sanderson’s Firefight (the sequel to Steelheart, January); Sanderson’s Shadows of Self (the sequel to Alloy of Law, October); Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Poison Crown (book eight in her Tales of Goldstone Wood series); Bryan Davis’ Omega Dragon (book four in his Children of the Bard series, March).
3) I’m doing NaNo and NaPo. Of course, things change and the unexpected occurs, but as of now, I’m determined to complete these challenges. For the uninformed, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), happens in November, when writers around the world attempt to write a 50K novel in one month. NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) occurs in April, when poets write a poem a day for the month. I’ll be updating you on my participation in those when the time comes.
4) I’m going to continue blogging. Maybe it goes without saying, but anyhow. I’m also adding a new feature: Fireside Fridays, which will be dedicated exclusively to books. If you’re wondering what fire and books have to do with each other (besides the fact that the one can destroy the other), it’s that I often imagine reading books by a fire. You know, in an armchair, with that cozy crackling sound filling your ears as you thumb through a beloved tome? I just love books so much, and I wanted to discuss them weekly. Plus, that’ll free up Miscellaneous Mondays for other ramblings and writings. Throughout the week, I’ll post stories, poetry, and other creative writing.
Do you have similar plans? What were some literary highlights for you? Thank you so much for journeying with me, and I look forward to a new year with you!