monthly wrap up

April Wrap-Up & May Goals!!

Hey everyone!

It’s the end of another month! Is it me or is time flying by super quickly?! Does it seem like just yesterday when we celebrated the New Year?!

April was a hectic month for me, work and life-wise. Looking back, I got a lot done….. and I had no idea how I made everything happen haha. Unfortunately, this meant that reading and blogging fell onto the back burner a bit, however I am hoping to catch up in the upcoming months.

Reading

April was an okay reading month for me. I tried to squeeze as much reading as I could into the amount of time that I had. I didn’t get a chance to finish many books, but I did enjoy the books that I read/am reading for the most part, so it’s all good right?

I went into Girls of Paper and Fire with high expectations, not just because of the glowing reviews out there but because the premise and the writing were beautiful from the off-set. However, this book began to lose my interest a bit towards the last third, although it was still an enjoyable read overall. Check out my review here. (β˜…β˜…β˜…/5)

A friend had recommended Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) to me, and I was SO excited when I finally got this book from the library after a long wait. I loved the book from page 1. The story, the world, the characters, the writing- everything. Right now I am about 80% through and can’t wait to see how the book ends!

I am not a huge fan of superhero movies at all, but I decided to go on a leap of faith and read Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1), simply because it is written by Leigh Bardugo (and I absolutely loved Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.) I am about halfway through the audiobook and loving it so far!

Monstress is a gift I received from Secret Santa last year and I’ve been chewing through it very slowly. Having been raised on a steady diet of manga, I’m not quite used to the Western style of graphic novel. It is a bit text-heavy for me, although I love the illustrations so far. More updates to come πŸ™‚

Current YARC Progress: 4 books out of 10

Writing

April was a pretty important writing month for me. To be honest, with everything that was going on, I wasn’t sure how much writing I would get done in April BUT I am pretty proud of myself πŸ˜€

I participated in Camp Nanowrimo with a word count goal of 25,000. My official word count on April 30 is 30449. (Woohooo!!) Here is a graph of my progress!

As you guys can see, my progress was pretty consistent throughout the month. This is a stark contrast to my past Camp Nano experiences when I’ve had to scramble in the last week to write 50% of my words hahaha. A big THANK YOU to my cabin members for keeping me motivated! Even though I couldn’t post all the time, I always knew that I had a group to be accountable to and so I resisted the temptation to slack off hahahaha :’)

I started rewriting/editing my previous WIP Children of the Sun. This time I used the 15-Beats method, which was a bit faster and less guided than the Snowflake Method, however it worked for me this time because all the major plot elements were very similar from the previous draft. (If anyone wants to hear more about my experience with the 15-Beats method, let me know!!) Even though this was for most part a rewrite, I was able to re-use about 5% from the previous draft so far which sped things up a bit.

During this month, I got back into the Nanowrimo habit of waking up 1 hour early in the morning and going to the cafe to write. This worked really well for me. In addition to getting some writing done, it really helped to start the day right.

Blogging

Blogging-wise, it’s been a bit of an off month for me. I didn’t get as much blog-hopping done as I would’ve hoped. I even missed a blog post, which I hadn’t done in a very long time. In any case, I am hopeful that next month will be better!

Here are some blog posts that I loved this month:

I really loved this wedding guest dress that Creative Little Cwtch had sewn!

Dominique @ 3C Style has created these lovely vintage plate decals! Pssst…… Charles the greyhound makes a surprise appearance!!

M. L. Davis @ Uninspired Writers lists some reasons to go out to write. As an avid cafe-hopper, I can’t agree more!

Here are my discussion posts this month:

Current Discussion Post Challenge Progress: 6 out of 12 (Woohoo!! Progress!!)

Life

This last month was hectic though not in a bad way. Some of the things that have been going on:

  • We moved to a new place. It is more expensive, but also closer to work and overall an upgrade!
  • I started biking to work! It’s wonderful! And a great workout!
  • Work was busy! I stayed overtime a lot! But hopefully next month will be quieter!
  • More sewing and wedding-related madness! I was able to achieve my April goal of completing the inside “structural layer” of the dress. Maybe a wedding dress update coming up?

What’s Happening in May

May should be a less busy month for me work-wise, so I am hoping that there will be more time to get stuff done:

  • Write 25K more words!
  • More reading!
  • 1 discussion post!
  • My blogiversary is coming up (GASP!!! I can’t believe it will be 2 years on May 24th!??!) I’m thinking maybe another Q&A session?! Maybe a blog theme revamp?! Let me know what you guys do for blogiversaries!!!!
  • Wedding planning madness. Maybe a wedding dress update?!

How was your April? Any favourite reads? For the writers out there, what are some of your go-to writing habits for productivity? Any blogiversary ideas?!

33 thoughts on “April Wrap-Up & May Goals!!

    1. I just finished Scythe yesterday and what an ending!!!!! I loved the unique premise and the character chemistry and everything!!! Did you read Thunderhead?!
      That’s awesome that we have the same blogiversary πŸ™‚ What are your blogiversary plans?!

      Like

    1. Thank you Ivy! All right I will make a note to write about 15-beats in the future. It is essentially a list of 15 “moments” that a novel should contain (although it is flexible in that a moment can last a sentence or many chapters, and you can skip any beat that doesn’t fit into the story.)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying Wonder Woman: Warbringer!! I liked that book a lot πŸ˜„ And congrats once again on finishing Camp NaNo!!! That’s such an impressive word count accomplishment! Hope your May is fantastic 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats to you as well Margaret!!! And I am glad that you joined our cabin!
      Yes I am liking Wonder Woman so far! It is fast-paced and I am always looking forward to finding out what happens next πŸ™‚ Wishing you a wonderful May as well!

      Like

  2. Ahhh congratulations on writing so much during camp NaNo, Sophie, this is SO amazing! I would love to hear about this 15-Beats writing method if you’d like to talk about it, I love reading about writing so much and it’s always so interesting to hear about your experience πŸ™‚
    YES YES to wedding dress updates and to your blogoversary coming soon, this is so, so very exciting ahhhhhhhh πŸ˜€ I hope you will have a beautiful month! ❀ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marie!!! You’ve finished your WIP in April which is really really amazing as well!!!
      Yeah I’ll make a note to talk about 15-beats in one of my future posts πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
      Wishing you a wonderful May Marie ❀ ❀ πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Heya Sophie,

    I’ve been giving my writing goals and lifestyle some deep thought lately. So I feel that, like a lot of writers, I became too obsessed with productivity, that I’ve neglected many other things, like quality, learning, and enjoyment. Recently, I’ve begun to have a greater respect for my health and well-being, and now I want to enjoy my life more, and be happy. Why must I treat myself like a machine, where my main life purpose is to work, work, work, and get as much done as possible? It’s one thing to be so prolific if I want to become a bestselling author, but I don’t actually have that goal. It would be nice to write faster and publish (high quality) books faster, but I see now that I would have to miss out on many other things in life, and probably trash my health further.

    So I’ve decided to treat myself like a human being, where I can be nice to myself, and get off the hamster wheel of endless work. I’ll be much more focused on my emotional and physical well-being from now on. Yes, there will still be responsibilities, and no, I’m not going to neglect them (since that would be detrimental to my emotional wellbeing and happiness too). But I’ll be glad to let myself take big breaks whenever I can. I complained a lot in the past, even cried sometimes, that life is so fast, so over-stimulating, I’m so tired that I just want to stop, even for just a moment. But now I realize that the only person preventing myself from taking breaks, is myself! I’ve come to a stage of realization that I was trapped in a cycle where my self-worth mainly came from my productivity and achievements, so it’s about ticking off a list of stuff I did and accomplished, goals I’ve reached. Not that these things are bad, but it’s a problem when I’m so concentrated on these, that I’m ignoring my other needs, such as my need for rest and relaxation. I can rest and relax without feeling like I owe someone, or that I’m a terrible person for not being on-the-go all the time. I don’t need to constantly work, I don’t need to keep tallying what I did or didn’t do. I can get off this endless, tiring roller coaster if I want.

    To clarify, though, I don’t mean I’m going to lie in bed all day, everyday, and not do anything, because I would bore myself to death. A big part of my emotional needs, is my need to feel that I’m making progress on things, learning new stuff, challenging myself, and improving my abilities and wisdom. So I will still be very interested in writing, reading, counselling, etc. But I’ll also be kind to myself, not just in spending more time doing break-time stuff, but in changing my attitude too. Instead of having an instrumental attitude, where I saw breaks as mere energy recharge times that I grudgingly do before I get back to work, I can actually enjoy these downtimes, and cherish myself as a person, and treat myself well. I’m getting more used to the idea of enjoying life, and not caring what other people think I *should* do, because they don’t have my mind and body, what do they know what I need and want?

    I was partly influenced by my clients. Many of my clients have real trouble getting themselves to rest, because they feel an obligation to keep working, even when they’re exhausted and stressed as hell. And even when they get a break time, they don’t feel relaxed, because they feel they ought to be doing something “more productive”. So I woke up from this spell, and decided that I don’t want to live a life like that anymore. I want a higher quality of life. I’m getting off this treadmill of productivity obsession!

    P.S. I know my comment may sound offensive to some, so I’m sorry if it came across this way. We all make our own life choices, and this is mine. I don’t intend to impose my life philosophy on anybody else; this new lifestyle is just for myself. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sieran!
      I like that way of looking at things. It’s so easy to get caught up on all the things that we have to do in life, but busyness isn’t always a good thing. I always find that life goes faster when I focus on getting things done, and before I know it a lot of time has passed. I agree that we are our worst enemies sometimes, and it is ourselves who is driving us to get a lot of things done. It’s a good idea to slow down and smell the flowers πŸ™‚
      I think I am not very good at this at all hahaha. Being able to get things done and check off the items on my to-do list gives me a sense of accomplishment, and I always feel guilty when I’m taking time off and not being productive. At any given point in time, there is always more that I can do, which feels overwhelming! However I do try to give myself a break here and there. I am also trying to get to sleep earlier these days :’)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I was reading several articles about this phenomenon of constant busyness, an obsession with productivity and “getting more and more”, etc. I’ve come to that point in time where I’m thinking more about the quality of my life rather than about the quantities. πŸ€” Am I enjoying myself? Am I feeling good for the most part? (Since life will always have its griefs and sorrows.)

        I just want to slow down. In fact, in an article I read written by a very busy guy, who is a clinical psychologist, a professor, researcher, and also a husband and father, he talked about deliberately making time to go on walks (and let his mind drift and relax), and to have moments of idleness, e.g. sitting on the couch not doing anything at all. He found that overall, he has been feeling better and more present with others. Yeah I think that I’m feeling smarter, more confident, and happier these days too, even though I’ve only just started this new way of life!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great that you are happier since you’ve taken on this new way of looking at things. I love the idea of winding down and simplifying things. We don’t have to do everything, right? Of the things that we tell ourselves to do (or are told to do,) I think some are not important.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! You’ve been busy as a bee again. Well done on camp NaNo. Congrats for the new place too. I started to wake up 1 hour earlier as well so I could reply to my comments on the blog and IG before going to work. So I have more time in the evening to concentrate on my writing. I am more creative at night; an owl type of person. And thank you so much for mentioning the DIY plate Decals. I had fun doing this project. Big thanks for letting Lisa and I used a photo of Charles. Wishing you a wonderful month of May. Pssst… Lisa and Darren will visit me at the end of the month. So excited!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Dominique! That’s great that you’ve been waking up before work to reply to blog and instagram comments. That seems like a good way to stay on top of things! I used to have a better routine of managing blog and Twitter comments. Maybe I should start that up again πŸ™‚ I am curious what kind of writing you do?!
      Thanks again for featuring Charles ahha. It was such a wonderful surprise to see his face on a plate!
      Yes I heard that Darren will be coming to visit Montreal again! Will you guys be discussing your online store or another collaboration? Looking forward to hearing updates!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Even if I get up earlier before work I am definitely not on top of things. Lol. As you know I am a scientific journalist but I also like to write for children, adventure stories and science facts. This type of writing is done in my mother tongue, French. So far only one book has been published but I need to get back to it. Darren and Lisa and one other friend, Linda, will be here in two weeks. We will definitely talk about our shop and other projects that we have in mind but this is an opportunity for us to enjoy each other’s company. It will be the first time I meet Lisa in person and I am so looking forward seeing her.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow that’s awesome to hear that you’re a writer and that one of your books has been published. That is definitely something that I am working towards as well!
        Hope that you guys will enjoy the get-together that is coming up soon πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t consider myself a writer Sophie. Although I write every day and get pay to do it, I’m a simply a journalist. I have great admiration for novelists and to me they are the ones that deserves to be called writers. All the best to you and may your dreams come reality. Warmest wishes to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! That’s a busy month! I love cycling too! It’s so much fun and a great workout! Hope the wedding dress is coming out great! I’d love to see an update about that! I really admire you for making your dress yourself! πŸ‘πŸ’™

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m exactly the same Sophie, wondering where this year is going because it really doesn’t feel that long ago that we were celebrating the new year!
    I really hope you continue to enjoy Scythe, I read it myself last year and it’s a great read. I enjoyed Thunderhead even more so once you’ve finished I’d highly recommend starting book two ASAP. Also congratulations on doing so well in Camp NaNo! You’re a serious inspiration to me when it comes to writing, I am going to take part in July’s Camp NaNo and I am going to meet the goal I set for myself, I’m determined now. πŸ™‚
    I would love to see another wedding dress update from you, and oh congratulations (a little early but better early than late) on your two year blogiversary as well. ❀
    Great post, and I hope you have a brilliant May. πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Beth!!! I just finished Scythe last night and it is SO awesome! That ending!!! I love the character chemistry between Rowan and Citra! Glad to hear that you enjoyed Thunderhead too, which makes me even more excited to read it!
      Thank you Beth πŸ™‚ What was really helpful for me for Camp Nano was to have a set time of the day to write, which was 1 hour in the morning before work. There were days when I didn’t have any additional time to write but even then I was able to make good progress with the hour that I had πŸ™‚ It also helped that I was editing so I was able to transplant some scenes over from the previous draft.
      That’s great that you’ve doing Camp Nano in July! I will probably join in too πŸ™‚
      Yes wedding dress update coming up! Wishing you a wonderful May as well ❀ πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I’m so glad you loved it. Yeah the ending was incredible (fair warning the ending for Thunderhead is even more incredible so be prepared for that!)
        That’s all right, and I’ll definitely have to do that. I think when it comes to writing I’m bad at picking a time to write and actually sticking to it, maybe blocking out an hour of my day (at least) and saying “this is when I’m going to write” will actually help me a little.
        Thanks Sophie. πŸ™‚ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was definitely helpful for me to designate a time everyday to write. After several weeks or so, it becomes a habit and I can’t live without it πŸ™‚ Wishing you all the best in your writing and looking forward to hearing updates about your WIP!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It sounds like you had a wonderful month, Sophie! I would LOVE to see a wedding dress update! And congrats on moving to a new place and on writing so much for Camp NaNo! I also think it’s awesome how you’ve been biking on your commute to work! That sounds like a lovely way to get in a good workout!

    I hope you have a great May! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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