January Wrap-up

Hi everyone!

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!!

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.

How was your January? Are there any books that you’ve read that has been sitting on your bookshelf for a long time? What are your plans for February?

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

29 responses to “January Wrap-up”

  1. Great wrap up! I really like how you always include interesting posts you’ve read the past month, it always helps me find new blogs to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Juli 🙂 Glad that you like the interesting posts section!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy February!! I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the Lunar Chronicles so far, and I’m excited to hear your thoughts on Truthwitch, since that’s been on my TBR for a long time!

    Wow, congrats on writing so much in January! That’s amazing! 😀 Seeing your progress, both with drafting and revising, is always inspiring. I hope everything goes smoothly for you in the next month, and the ending of your manuscript treats you well 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Margaret 🙂 I am very slowly making through Truthwitch haha, so hopefully I will have something to say about this book sooner rather than later XD

      Thank you! At this point I am very excited to wrap up my novel (because I am excited for the ending but also because I am ready to move on hahaa…) Have you been working on something since you’ve finished your last manuscript? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can understand that! I’ve been slowly but surely working on revisions, which is pretty new to me but exciting 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great!! I’m looking forward to hearing how your revisions go 🙂 Happy writing!


  3. Author Mentor Match sounds awesome!
    I’m sure that you will do so well, Children of the Sun is an amazing piece of work!
    I’m glad that you’ve had a good month! Can’t wait to see where the rest of the year takes you
    – Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Emma!! I really appreciate your vote of confidence haha 🙂 Wishing you the best for February as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never heard of any of those. Thanks for sharing the workshop, etc. details. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I only recently found out about the workshop haha. It’s been great so far. I’ve been getting insightful feedback from my author mentor and the other mentees 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s awesome. At some point, you should do a review or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha yes 🙂 I will make a note to write about my workshop experience. I am really liking it so far. It’s so interesting how I don’t notice some of the flaws (as well as good points) with my writing until someone points it out!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed Cress! Truthwitch is a great book too, and another series I need to return to! I was fortunate enough to meet Susan Dennard and she is one of the sweetest, most genuine people ever ❤ Sending you good vibes for the First 5 Pages Workshop and the Author Mentor Match!! They both sound like great opportunities and I hope your February is sunny and bright, (but no worries Los Angeles certainly should be!!) Have a great February and an awesome trip Sophie 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really awesome that you’ve met Susan Dennard 🙂 It’s always surreal to meet authors in real life I think haha.
      We’ll see how it goes with the workshop and the contest haha. I can only try my best and cross my fingers lol. Thank you Jai Lynn 🙂 Wishing you a great February too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad you enjoyed the next books in the Lunar Chronicles, it can certainly be addictive!! I agree the main characters in Cress had great chemistry in this book!!
    Ohh.. I would like to read Truthwitch at one point. I hope you enjoy it.
    I agree about the screenplay format being different, I read it with the crime of grindelwald (don’t ask me why I started on the second ahah) and it is weird, it is literally like the film but I love the cover too much to throw it away too!!
    Well done on getting into the first 5 pages group, that is amazing and should be exciting to get the feedback!
    Best of luck with writing and getting your work balance better!! I hope you have a great month!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sophie!
      Yeah The Lunar Chronicles is one of the most addictive series I’ve read so far. I think Marissa Meyer does a great job of writing series haha.
      No worries I actually experienced the franchise of Fantastic Beasts in a weird order too. I watched Crime of Grindelwald movie first, had no idea what was going on, then watched the first movie, then read the first screenplay haha. Yeah the screenplay format is different from reading a novel. Essentially I was replaying the movie in my head haha. I guess it was a faster way of reliving the actual movie (though I’m not even sure if it’s faster to read it than to just watch it lol.)
      Thank you Sophie 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful February too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I think Meyer is great at series. I do want to try more of her books!! 😊
        Haha that certainly is a weird order but at least you’ve seen it all 😂 that is exactly what it felt like, replaying the movie. I not entirely confident what would be faster either!!
        Thank you 💛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha yeah. I think the movie was 2 hours (or less?) but it took me longer than that to read the screenplay haha XD

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so, so happy you’re loving the lunar chronicles, this series is indeed very addictive and wonderful, I adore it SO much ❤
    I LOVE seeing your writing progress in graphics, Sophie and I'm so proud of you for keeping up with it all despite the ups and downs. You're doing amazing!
    I wish you all the best for this month!! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much 🙂 Wishing you all the best for the rest of February as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It looks like you started off the year great! I’m happy to hear that you managed to work so much on your WIP and read a lot of amazing books 🥰 I love the Lunar Chronicles books as well and hope that you enjoy Truthwitch! I

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Caro! Thank you so much! Yeah the Lunar Chronicles series is great 🙂 Because I’ve been focusing on writing lately, I’ve been very slowly making my way through Truthwitch, but still I am looking forward to reading more of it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much for the mention! ❤ The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is such a beautiful book, I think I would back up your claim that anyone could relate to it. While my goal is to crush my TBR this year I haven’t really gotten through any of my backlist books yet – congrats on reading one of yours! I read your first 5 pages and, wow, I need more! Good luck with all your goals for February! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Abi! I’m so glad that you’ve read The Boy, The Mole, the Fox and the Horse and that you liked it as well 🙂
      Haha yeah sometimes it is a hard choice to read something from our backlist since there are always shiny jewels around us 🙂
      So glad that you liked my first 5 pages!! Thank you so much! Wishing you all the best for the rest of February!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for mentioning my post (: and sorry for taking forever to acknowledge it, I’ve been taking a break from blogging. I’m hoping to return properly by the end of the month though.
    I hope you’re okay considering how things are in the world right now ❤️
    Like you I kind of have mixed feelings about the format of Fantastic Beasts which is why I haven’t read it yet. I love Newt so much though!! And it is a stunning cover so I’d be tempted to keep it too.
    It sounds like you’re doing wonderfully with your writing still as well!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Charlotte! No worries. It’s good to take a break (and sometimes breaks sneak up on us haha.) I’m doing well — things are actually getting better where I’m living and they’re starting to reopen part of the city now. How have you been?
      Yeah the format of Fantastic Beasts is definitely different! I kind of wished that it was in novel format instead haha. However perhaps because of the format, it was actually a short and fast-paced read which I liked 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true. I didn’t mean for mine to last as long as it did but I have a few more library books that I really want to finish then I’ll hopefully be back properly.
        That’s good to hear 😊 I’m glad you’re well and that things are starting to get better where you are.
        I’m okay at the moment besides my headaches but they’re unrelated to the current situation. I do find it really scary that the death rate doesn’t seem to be dropping much though.
        Yes I’d love it to be another novel 😍 a whole novel of Newt would be amazing!! But yes it would make it more fast paced I guess. I just worry about picking it up as I never know if a play will draw me in as much.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Always good to catch up on some reading! Writing, reading and blogging are a tough balance. When I focus on one I tend to neglect the others haha. Hope you enjoy your library books 🙂
        Hope that things get better where you are, and that you will feel better as well. Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes that’s exactly what I do, focus on one and abandon the others. So I’m going to seriously try not to this time.
        Thank you ❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

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