Wow, January was a whirlwind of a month. It was a pretty busy time for me, but looking back, I am glad to see how much I have accomplished.
My goal for 2020 is to read 40 books, which means an average of 3-4 books each month. I’m proud to say that in January I was able to finish 4 books (even though there are two short books in there haha) and started a 5th! In general I enjoyed the quality of the books that I’ve read so far, which always made me excited to continue reading.
I really enjoyed Scarlet, the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series. After I finished this book, I couldn’t wait to start the third! Check out my review here.
Cress was a fast and addictive read as well. I really loved the two MCs in this book who had impeccable chemistry. Also the plot began to thicken in this third book, building up to the finale. All in all, I admire that the author is able to craft such drama and suspense in to these two “middle books” in the series! Review coming up soon!
I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them a while back, however it is my first time reading the screenplay (a gift from a friend.) I did enjoy the story overall (and NEWWWWTT) although I am not a fan of Tina, and I still don’t know how I feel about the screenplay format.
My coworker lent me a graphic novel titled The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse which is such a sweet and inspiring book about life. Despite its simplicity, this book made me smile and cry. It is a story that I think everyone can relate to (I know this is a very broad claim to make, but I mean it- give it a try!)
I also started reading a little bit of Truthwitch which I’ve heard so many good things about. I am only a few chapters in so I can’t comment much about this book yet, but so far so good!
This year I signed up for two reading challenges (in addition to the Goodreads one):
YARC 2020 Reading Challenge (0/5 books)
I haven’t read any YARC books this month, mainly because I’ve been so addicted to the Lunar Chronicles series! However, I am hoping to make up for it in February or March.
Clearing the Hoard Challenge (1/12 books)
I was able to read one book on my existing bookshelf, which is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! Part of this challenge is to also evaluate whether or not I would like to hold on to the book or give it another home… To be honest, although I enjoyed it I don’t know if I would read it again, however I also don’t want to let it go because… come on isn’t the cover so pretty!??!
In January I continued to grind away at my novel, Fog. I’ve written a total of 30033 words which surpassed my goal of 25000 for this month! (Below is a graph of words that I’ve written cumulatively since I started the novel in November:)
I had a bit of a writing slump through December as I was trying to wade through the murky, uninspired middle section. However I’ve (finally) gotten through that part and now I’m getting close to the climax and the finale, so yes, writing has gotten exciting again! (Below is a graph of words I’ve written per day. As you guys can see there are definitely ups and downs!)
In total, I am at about 112K words which means this novel is the longest that I’ve ever written so far (and I’m not even done yet!!) Despite the length of the novel, I feel that the worldbuilding and characters could be more developed, so I might be dividing this book into a duology or trilogy! I am actually very excited because this would be my first time writing a series haha.
What coming up next in February?
- I have signed up for the February First 5 Pages workshop at Adventures in YA Publishing (check out this awesome blog by the way!!) which is a monthly online workshop hosted by three publishing professionals (authors and agents) who help unpublished writers polish the first 5 pages of their manuscript. I sent the beginning of Children of the Sun and I was so happy to have been accepted! It is exciting (but also nerve-wracking) to think that my work will be dissected by professionals haha… If you guys want to take a look at the 1250 words of this novel, it’s actually on their blog here hahaha (ahhh eeeek!!) Also they do workshops every month so if you are interested but missed this round, you can keep this page in mind for the future!
- Author Mentor Match opens for submission on February 13, so I am hoping to send in Children of the Sun (since I have already edited this for Pitch Wars last year, and I will have polished the beginning in the workshop by this time)! For those who are curious about Author Mentor Match, click here for more info!
- I am also hoping to finish Fog this month. My initial time line was to finish this by February 15, but with the AMM deadline being mid-month too, I am not sure if I could do this then. However I would be happy if I can finish this epic story by the end of the month!
So yeah, February is going to be exciting!
Now that the excitement of New Years is over, I have settled into my previous routine of 2 blog posts a week (except for last week when I did a bonus 3rd post.) My goals this year are to reply to comments more regularly and to do more blog-hopping, which I think I am doing well on so far?! My oldest comments are from 3 days ago (not bad!!) and I am going to reply now 🙂
I read these awesome posts this month which I want to share with you guys!!
- Caitlin shares some great WordPress tips and tricks!!! I never really took advantage of the “Code Editor” function in WordPress so this post really opened my eyes.
- Abi @ Scribbles and Stories tells us about what she did in 2020… including starting an Etsy store! How awesome is that!
- I related so much to this post by Marie about the books that she should have read a long time ago. A lot of the time I feel a bit embarrassed to reveal that I haven’t read certain super popular books :’)
- Charlotte @ Bewitching Books Ravenous Reads shares her favourite upcoming releases!
Discussion Post Challenge (1/12 posts)
I wrote a post about giving up audiobooks this month. It was so fun to hear everyone’s thoughts about the different book formats!
January was very busy, and dark, and rainy, and there was even some snow here on the West Coast. So, uh, yeah. I can’t wait for spring is all I can say.
One of my goals for January is to finish making thank you cards for all the guests on my wedding list. I am not quite done yet, however I have made progress! I am deferring this goal to the end of February, when I will hopefully have some pictures to show you guys 🙂
My other artsy goal this year is to make all the cards that I’ve sent out, and I’ve promptly failed at that! I went to a Chinese Arts Market during Chinese New Year and saw these realllllly adorable “Happy Year of the Mouse” cards which are by a local artist. I really can’t resist cards and artwork by local artists haha, so I bought a bunch to send to my family in China.
I don’t have particularly big plans for February, however, I am flying to Los Angeles for a week on March 1st (a trip that I am SO excited about!!!) I will need to get my passport renewed before then haha which is on the top of my priorities list this month :’)
I also hope to have better work-life balance this month (and this year!) Last year I had pulled long hours at work, however I am learning to prioritize my work-related tasks and become better at leaving non-urgent things for next day. My unofficial goal for February is to work my allotted time, and to avoid doing unpaid overtime work unless it’s really necessary.