Out With the Old, In With the New {2015}

I feel like it was just a few months ago that I wrote my first “Out With the Old, In With the New” post to wrap up 2014. Has a whole year really gone by since I laid out my ambitious plans for 2015?

2015 was, in all, a good year. A stretching year, but that’s not a bad thing. Far from it. So many terrifying exciting things happened—my second mission trip, my first job, learning to drive, traveling out west, deepening friendships … oh, yeah, and that crazy awesome thing called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A dream come true, right there (more on that another time, perhaps).

And then I look ahead at 2016, with its leap year, US presidential election (I can actually vote in this one 0.o), summer Olympics, family move, SATs, and college applications. Mostly, I’m excited for it. Part of me’s a little terrified.

For now, though, I want to look back at 2015 and remember all the beautiful things it held for me, specifically in the reading & writing areas.

bokeh-stack-of-books

Reading Review: 2015

  1. I failed my goal of reading 150 new books. If you check out my “2015 Book List” page, you’ll see that I wanted to read 150 books this year. You’ll also see that I failed to do so, reaching only 106 (which doesn’t include rereads; all in all, I probably read closer to 120). However, that’s okay. I still read a lot of books, and I hope that I also learned from and absorbed them, too. I tried to pay more attention to the writers’ styles this year, and I copied down quotes more regularly. Speaking of changes in how I read…
  2. I tried to consciously read a wide variety of genres. Early on in the year, I read somewhere that being well-read doesn’t mean you’ve read tons of books in one genre; it means you’ve read a few in every. Since then, I tried to pay more attention to what kinds of books I read, and I tried to venture into new territories. Although I’m pretty sure the majority of my books were still fiction/fantasy, I did discover some incredible non-fiction books, as well as delving into some mysteries.
  3. I updated my bookshelf (and learned to spend money on books). This time last year, my bookshelf was full of childhood favorites—great literature for older elementary kids. However, it didn’t really reflect my current reading tastes, and I wanted to build up my library. This year, I learned to take the plunge and spend my hard-earned money on books I love, and I’ve never regretted it. Now my bookshelf is full of my current favorite authors, as well as classics I’ll never outgrow. At first, it was hard for me to part with my money for books that I (usually) had already read, but I’m thankful that I’ve learned that books are worth the money.
  4. This is the list you’ve been waiting for: Okay. Here it is. My six favorite reads from 2015 in three different categories, in no particular order.

Non-fiction: 

  • The Greatest Gift ~ Ann Voskamp
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves ~ Lynne Truss
  • Making of the Atomic Bomb ~ Richard Rhodes
  • Gifts Differing ~ Isabel Briggs Myers
  • The Smartest Kids in the World ~ Amanda Ripley
  • Stuff Christians Like ~ Jon Acuff

Fiction:

  • The Bronze Bow ~ Elizabeth George Speare
  • Murder Must Advertise ~ Dorothy Sayers
  • All the Light We Cannot See ~ Anthony Doerr
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray ~ Oscar Wilde
  • The Other Side of the Sun ~ Madeleine L’Engle
  • Green Dolphin Street ~ Elizabeth Goudge

Speculative:

  • Shadows of Self ~ Brandon Sanderson
  • The Revenge of the Sith ~ Matthew Stover
  • Son ~ Lois Lowry
  • Pendragon’s Heir ~ Suzannah Rowntree
  • Once Beyond a Time ~ Ann Tatlock
  • The Shiloh Series ~ Helena Sorensen

One-more-book-that-doesn’t-seem-to-fit-in-any-of-these-categories:

The Iliad ~ Homer

hobbitwriting

Writing Wind-up: 2015

  1.  I finished my second book. Last year, #1 on this list was that I finished my first book. Now I’ve finished a second. I hope this bodes well for 2016. I can certainly see myself finishing Of Socrates and Strawberries, considering that I’m already over halfway through. We’ll see. Anyway, despite losing Paperless, God gave me the strength to rewrite it. It’s so full of holes and cliches, I despair any time I think of it, but hey, not many people can say they’ve written a book. Besides, that’s what editing’s for.
  2. I was unable to write for several weeks. Over the summer, I got tendonitis in both arms, which made it excruciating to type or hold a pencil. To heal, I had to stop both of those activities for about a month, and although it was one of the hardest, scariest things that ever happened to me, in the end it proved God’s strength and goodness and reminded me of many important truths I’d forgotten—truths like, your identity does not come from what you write or the fact that you write at all.
  3. This blog reached its first birthday! Yay! Not much else to say! For info on its future, look down the page! (Forced rhyme there, I know. I also messed up the rhythm. Oh well.)
  4. I participated in two Camp NaNos, NaPoWriMo, and NaNo itself. I won the first three and lost the latter (since I started halfway through the month). I got so much done during those months, and the lessons learned and community created were well worth the panic of how-on-earth-am-I-going-to-write-that-much-and-keep-my-sanity?? (Answer: You don’t. Sanity is boring. It’s certainly not for writers. Forget about it.)

And now, friends, let’s look ahead. If you’ve made it this far, here are some cookies. I’m impressed. But don’t stop now. There’s good stuff comin’.

owl-inthe-city-looking-ahead

The Best is Yet to Come ~ 2016

  1. NaPo and NaNo, here I come! I am now a firm believer in the power of NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo and wouldn’t miss them for the world. I promoted them last year, of course, but after realizing how much I was missing by not doing NaNo this year, I’m even more committed to at least attempting these challenges. I hope many of you will participate in them as well. Let’s do this thing together!
  2. I want to read 110 books. Now that I know generally what I can read in a year, I’m aiming for a reasonable yet round number. I don’t want to stretch too far so that I read too quickly and don’t appreciate the book. On the other hand, I don’t want to be lazy and stop striving for something. Hopefully, 110 is the happy medium. I’ll keep you updated on my progress through a new page (coming tomorrow).
  3. I want to edit one of my books. *gulps* This is the scariest goal. Editing daunts me. If you have any editing advice (like where on earth to start) or know of any posts/books that offer it, I’d love to hear it. Now that I’ve completed two (hopefully almost three) books, I need to learn how to edit them.
  4. I’ll continue this blog. Miscellaneous Mondays and Fireside Fridays will be going strong, starting next Monday (tomorrow ‘s post will be a little different), along with the semi-usual Wednesday post of some of my fiction or poetry. I’d like to start blogging the occasional amazing quote I find—something short and sweet to inspire you. We’ll see what else this year holds, but I know it’s going to be awesome.
And that’s all! Thank you all for journeying with me, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of us. Happy, happy New Year to each one of you!

Do make sure to tell me how your year went reading- and writing-wise and what your plans for 2016 are. 

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5 thoughts on “Out With the Old, In With the New {2015}

  1. “Answer: You don’t. Sanity is boring. It’s certainly not for writers. Forget about it.” XD Haha so true Abby! 😉 Love that XD I’d love to read some of your “Of Socrates and Strawberries” book (btw I love that title so much)

    Liked by 1 person

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