January Wrap-Up and February Goals!

Hello everyone!

Wow. It is the end of January 2019 already?  

January was really a whirlwind and a rollercoaster of a month for me. Seriously. At any given point in time, I was either stressed to the point of pulling my hair out, or super excited and stoked about everything that is happening.

Overall, I’ve really reached out of my comfort zone this month. I am reading adventurously, I (in a great leap of faith) sent one of my older novels out to beta-readers, and I committed to rock climbing on a regular basis. So I am proud of myself (but I am poofed haha.)

Reading

It’s been a bit of a scattered and wonky reading month for me. I started a few books but… actually didn’t finish either yet.

One of the books I am reading is Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (yup, the sequel to Strange the Dreamer.) Although I liked Strange the Dreamer, overall I wasn’t a big fan of Laini Taylor’s writing style… until I got to Muse of Nightmares!!! It took several books to convince me, but wow, I am really starting to appreciate her writing. Overall I am loving Muse of Nightmares. I’m digesting it at a slow pace but I’m loving every page of it!

I am also reading Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. A goal for me this year is to branch out and read different genres, which includes adult fiction. I feel that this is important for me to develop as a writer. I am enjoying Alias Grace although it is taking me a while to get through compared to my usual YA read!

Other than these two books, I also signed up to beta-read four unpublished novels which I am super excited about. I am fairly new to beta-reading but it has been an awesome experience so far!

Writing

January has been a HUGE writing month for me! First of all, drumroll please-

I FINISHED MY WIP!!!

Never Forget was an accomplishment for me, though also a challenge in many ways. I am proud of the amount of world building that I’ve done in this novel, and that it follows a coherent structure (at least according to my own opinion which may be biased 🙂 )

My next writing goal is to edit my previous manuscript, Children of the Sun. The first step was to reach out to beta-readers, which I did last week. It was nerve-wracking to actually show people what I’ve written and also exciting and empowering and confidence-building and just awesome to discover that………. they kind of actually liked it!?

Of course there are pointers for improvement and some constructive feedback as well but it is so good to know that I am on the right track and that my story is interesting and funny and suspenseful at just the right moments.

(Beta-readers who are reading right now- THANK YOU.)

After hearing from my beta-readers, my next step is to compile their feedback and re-structure my novel. It will likely involve a lot of rewriting haha. More details on this later 🙂

Blogging

Blogging kind of took a backseat for me this month (sorry guys.) I was able to keep up with the twice weekly blog posts and reply to comments… but just barely. I wasn’t able to blog-hop as much as I would’ve liked to. Let’s hope that next month will be better!

Here are some posts that I really enjoyed this month 🙂

CW, Lily, Shelea, and Vicky hosts the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge! I love reading books featuring Asian characters and/or by Asian authors, so I am seriously considering this reading challenge. I haven’t participated in reading challenges before (because I tend to be a mood reader haha, and you know how it can be!) but maybe now is the time to give it a try 🙂

JW Martin shares his 5 picks for books that will have to be movies, and I can’t help but agree with his choices!

Beth @ Reading Every Night chats about what to do when your favourite genre gets tiring.

Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books talks about whether book bloggers need a reading schedule!

Life

It’s been pretty hectic. Lol.

  • I’ve been rock climbing! It’s great! I’m loving it! I love that I was able to conquer my fear of heights and to rely on my (awesome) friend and belay partner. I also love the tiredness and exhilaration and the “I did it!!” feeling when I finally reach the top of a tough climb.
  • Wedding planning is underway! Woohoo!
  • Work has been pretty busy. This month (and for a good chunk of February) I’ve been working 10-11 hours a day rather than my usual 8. And there is the commute time (about 40 minutes each way.) So… yeah. I love what I do for my career but unfortunately it does suck the time out of the rest of my day!

February Goals

I’ll keep the February goals simple, since one of my goals this year is to take it easy and find time to relax.

  1. Finish the novels I am currently reading, including the beta-reads.
  2. Organize the feedback for Children of the Sun and begin planning the third draft.
  3. Maybe a bit more blog-hopping!
  4. Work will be intense, but I hope to survive 🙂
  5. Continue rock climbing.
  6. Epic wedding planning madness!

How was your January? What books are you reading right now? Are you doing any reading challenges this year?

42 thoughts on “January Wrap-Up and February Goals!

  1. J.W. Martin says:

    Hey Sophie! Thanks for the shout out. Glad you enjoyed that post.

    Good luck editing Children of the Sun. I hope it goes really smoothly. I can be depressing at times when you read a page or paragraph that seems like some amateur wrote it, but at the same time, there’s nothing better than reading a part—one that you don’t remember—that sounds like PURE BRILLIANCE!! My last edit had no shortage or disappointed and impressing myself. lol

    I actually wanted to throw my hat in for a beta read, but at this point in my schedule I just couldn’t see having the time to get feedback to you in a timely fashion. I’m hoping to get in on your next call for betas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi JW 🙂 Lol thank you! I definitely know what you mean. When I reread the novels that I’ve written, there were always scenes that weren’t as awesome as I remembered them to be, and on the other hand, there would also be scenes that surprise me in a good way 🙂
      No worries! I’m happy that you want to be a beta reader in the future! I would love to beta read your next novel as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Zoie @ Whisked Away By Words says:

    I would love to branch into adult fiction as well, because I know one of the best ways to improve writing is by reading books from all different genres. I’m currently reading Beloved by Toni Morrison, and if you’re looking for beautiful writing with a hint of magical realism, I would definitely recommend it! It’s a beautiful book, both in it’s writing and themes.

    I can’t wait to hear more updates about your WIP — actually, WIPs, plural, because you have so many exciting ones! — and I hope you have a wonderful (and less stressful) February! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Zoie! Beloved sounds like such a beautiful and haunting book. I will keep an eye out for it 🙂 Hope that you will enjoy the rest of this book.
      Thank you Zoie!!! How was January for you? Wishing you a wonderful February as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    Wow, looks like a month full of really exciting things! 😀 congrats once again on finishing your WIP, that’s SO exciting!! ❤ And beta reading for others sounds really cool as well! I haven't read anything by Margaret Atwood, but I hope you enjoy her book! And good luck with all your February goals 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. meandinkblog says:

    January sounded super busy for you– working 10-11 hours a day is impressive and along with everything else- wow!! I’m glad wedding planning is going well!!
    I have been meaning to pick up strange the dreamer after hearing so many people say how good it is.
    Lovely to hear how your writing is processing– sending it to a beta reader is exciting!! And it is nice that you are being a beta reader as well– I hope you enjoy it!!
    Good luck with all your February goals– I hope you have a fabulous month!! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thank you for the sweet comment 😀 January was a super busy month so I am hoping to take it slow this February haha. I loved Strange the Dreamer although it was a bit slow to get into. However the writing and worldbuilding in that book is amazing 🙂 Hope that you’ll enjoy this one when you have a chance to read it!
      How was January for you? Wishing you a wonderful February as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • meandinkblog says:

        You’re welcome!! 😊
        Yes being busy can be exciting but it’s nice to have a rest afterwards to calm down a little!! Yeah I am really interested to experience the writing in strange the dreamer!! Thank you I hope to get to it soon (but I say that about every book it seems 😂)
        January was good thanks– it went really fast but still the new year seems ages ago. But I got some good reading done and got the work done on my blog I wanted. Thank you!! 💛

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Yes time is flying by! Sounds like you’ve had a productive January which is good 🙂
        And I do know what you mean about books. It seems like there are so many that I want to read but not nearly enough time to read them all!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Marie says:

    I’m so happy and proud of you for reaching out to beta readers and sending them your work, that’s amazing! I would also love to do that once I finally finish this draft of my WIP, but I am so, so nervous ahah. I’m happy -but not surprised!! – that you got great feedback, your stories are amazing. I can’t wait to read them all someday ❤ ❤
    I hope that you will have a lovely February, Sophie, take care of yourself ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet message Marie!! Yes it was soooo nerve-wracking to send this draft out to beta-readers, however once I sent out the first few and got some good feedback, it became easier haha. It’s like ripping off a bandaid 🙂 overall I feel that showing my work to others has improved my confidence in my writing skills! Also my beta-readers gave me some great feedback that I wouldn’t have realized if I were to edit on my own. So bottom line is that it’s been a great experience so far!
      How is writing going for you? Good luck with your WIP! ❤ wishing you a wonderful February!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marie says:

        I’m so, so, so happy to hear that, this makes me a little less nervous to get to that part haha 🙂
        I finally got back to writing a little bit, it’s slow but I’m writing so it’s okay I guess, thank you for asking ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        It turned out that I was way too critical about my own writing, and my beta-readers helped me to see the positive parts of my book haha 🙂
        That’s great that you’re getting back to writing, even if it is just a bit at a time. Keep going at it and you will make it to the end of the book 🙂 Looking forward to hearing more about your WIP ❤

        Like

  6. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I feel like I said this every month last year but I’ll probably say it every month this year too; where has January gone?! Seriously I feel like before I know it 2019 will be over and I’ll still be wondering where it all went. 🙂
    It seems like you had a good month though Sophie. Maybe you didn’t get much blogging done but you smashed it when it came to your WIP and that’s amazing. Also I’m glad to see your enjoying Muse of Nightmares and that it’s the book that caused you to fall in love with Laini Taylor’s writing too. I hope the wedding planning is going well (and continues to go well too) and good luck with editing your next WIP, I’m sure based on all the writing-related goals you crossed off last month you’ll do amazing as usual.
    Great post, and I hope you have an incredible February. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Beth! Thank you for your sweet comment ❤ Yes I am about 2/3 through Muse of Nightmares, digesting it slowly but loving it so much!! I really am starting to appreciate Laini Taylor’s style. The worldbuilding always amazes me so much. I am glad to read that the world in this series is connect to that of Daughter of Smoke and Bone!
      Thanks for the encouragement! It has been an overwhelming month but I am trying to take it easy haha. Wishing you a wonderful February as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        That’s all right, and I guess you’re making that story last then. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed you enjoy the rest as much as you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far but I’m sure you will. The world building is incredible, and yes I loved that connection too.
        You need to take it easy every now and again, and thanks Sophie. 🙂 ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Stefanie! Yes time flies doesn’t it? Sounds like you have a few challenges on your plate this year. I am doing the Goodreads challenge although I haven’t heard about the audiobook and the library love challenges- are these similar to the Goodreads challenge?

      Like

  7. Vicky Who Reads says:

    YOU SHOULD TOTALLY PARTICIPATE IN YARC AHHHH. there are so many Asian YA novels available so like [insert eye emojis]

    and also, I love that you’ve fallen in love with Laini Taylor! I loved strange and have muse but am more than a little scared to start muse because AHHHH but I’m still very very excited.

    Liked by 1 person

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