When I lived in LA I had this theory. I never seemed to remember exactly when things happened – if it was this year or last or three years ago. I decided it was because there are no seasons in LA and so nothing to mark time.
Now I’m back in a world with seasons (odd ones granted but seasons nonetheless) I find that these annual posts are one way that I mark time. Not necessarily because you want to read it (I imagine they’re boring for anyone else) but because I want to remember.
Make every decision count as you flow in grace-filled wisdom. God’s provision and protection in health, finances, family life. God is both grace and wisdom and Solomon tells us that wisdom brings long life, peace and restoration of lost years. It’s a year to prioritize wisdom.
I started off the year with a trip to New Orleans for work. I hadn’t been since high school. Loved it then but, honestly, it wasn’t at all like I remembered. Possibly because it was a work trip so I didn’t get around town much. Possibly because it was January and everything was dreary and grey as opposed to bright and fun in the summer.
Amie Kaufman came up from Australia so she and Meagan Spooner could regale us with the Unearthed tour. I have so much fun with them! But have yet to read Unearthed… see below.
Then off to Dallas for a few days for work and then as soon as I got back I was off to Colorado the next day for fun and family.
Back to Colorado suddenly for just a few days. We drove which was different (not all the way to Colorado but almost all the way across the state) and we laughed a lot. Then cried some. And listened to really good music.
I went to NoVa Teen again and got to hang out with AC Gaughen (promoting Reign the Earth which I have read and recommend). I did a plotting workshop with Martina Boone then there was this rousing game of… well it was all about YA books and I guess it was like the $25,000 pyramid or Catch Phrase or something where you give clues to get someone to guess something. Only the panelists were trying to guess the book from the clues. I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed that I guessed Twilight from the first clue (I mean, it was an apple, come on!).
I left my job because the commute was kiillling me and they wanted me to shift my hours which would result in sitting in even more traffic. Life is too short and time is too precious for that sort of thing. This turned out to be a bit of grace-filled wisdom in choosing not to torment myself for other people’s endeavors.
With a bit of time on my hands I sought a new job… while I redesigned my website slightly and started my 5 Essential Lessons blog series.
I also had a good run of working out with my new leisurely schedule. And possibly (probably) this is when I got into Chicago P.D. (reruns, man, they’re the best). It just worked out too perfectly that if I woke up and worked out then USA had a Chicago P.D. rerun at 8am as a reward for my hard work. And being able to sleep in until 7am was a luxury after that commute (which had me up at like 5:30am or something. I can’t remember now. I don’t want to remember (it was too early.) And, yes, a 5 Essential Lessons from Chicago P.D. is forthcoming…
Since I had time I thought it was a good opportunity to see the family so I went back to Colorado (again).
And I saw Avengers Infinity War 3 times in May. Not necessarily because I loved it THAT MUCH but because my nephews couldn’t all go with me at once so… multiple viewings. And, you know, it was still fun the third time.
Then I flew to Toronto to start my new job. I am not actually working in Toronto – the company has offices across North America but the people I needed to talk to were in the Toronto office. yay awesome new job with the time freedom I’d been working toward for years!
I set a goal for the summer to finish all the series that I’d started before all the books were published, which are now finished. Ok, maybe not all but at least the ones I marginally liked. I started with rereading The Darkest Minds in preparation for the movie (which I actually watched on a plane in like Dec).
I may have also started (and finished) a couple of new series along the way. I meant to bookstagram more as I went because it sounds like fun but it takes so much effort and time and energy to do it properly. I still want to but… don’t very often.
In the midst of all this new reading… I may have also reread the Shadow and Bone trilogy and The Burning Sky trilogy.
This whole finish-the-series thing has turned me into even more of a binge reader. Like, I don’t even want to start a series until all the books are out and I can read them all together. I’ll buy books from authors I know I like, but I’ll wait to read them until I have the full series (like Unearthed).
Work trip to New Jersey. One of those work things like you see in the movies where we were working all day in a hotel conference room and it ran late and we had to order dinner (and convince the restaurant to deliver food to us in the conference room) and we worked until almost midnight and then got up bright and early the next day for the actual meeting.
Back to Colorado with a jaunt into New Mexico.
Then back to Toronto. Possibly with only 4 hours between landing and taking off again.
And back to Toronto again the following week. I ordered a Bento Bag in like, I don’t know, April or something. It wasn’t scheduled to arrive until November but would have definitely come in handy.
Also, I had a bit of a revelation. Probably some hesed wisdom for my writing journey. It’s going to make this a ridiculously long blog post and I only half apologize. I thought about making it its own post ages ago and just never did. What I figured out is that I’m not really a writer. And by that I mean, it’s not my career. It’s not my job or how I support myself.
Writing is a hobby.
I love writing. I seriously enjoy taking characters from my imagination and giving them voices and stories and then sharing those with other people.
But I don’t write every day and, truth be told, I don’t even try to make myself. My job gets a lot of my time and energy. It’s how I support myself and I enjoy the work I do. My family gets A LOT of my time and attention because they’re so important to me. And after all that, I write when I can because I enjoy it.
When I realized that writing is a hobby for me, it was incredibly freeing. A breath of grace in what had previously been full of obligation. Not to have to write every day or publish a book every year. Not to have feel bad that it’s taken me over a year and a half to write The Helion Chronicles. To do all of it because I love it and not because of any pressure I put on myself or create from skimming authors social media or feel when readers ask when I’m coming out with something new (and I am blessed to have readers excited for what I do next which is just fantastic).
I have a few series I want to write and it may take me the next 10 years to write them. If I keep moving forward however I can and I write well then that will be enough (at least for now).
Jodi Meadows launched As She Ascends. Which is the second book in a trilogy. I like Jodi so I go to her events and I buy books and yet… no, I haven’t started this series because I’m waiting for the third book.
Surprise event with Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs. If you follow me on instagram then you may have read the progression of my day. It started with an unexpected Chicago P.D. day (reruns all day). Then I discovered Tahereh’s touring schedule for A Very Large Expanse of Sea. Saw that she was coming to my neck of the woods. Thought it had already happened. Then realized no, I hadn’t missed it, it was TODAY! It was a roller coaster of knowledge and emotions within like less than two minutes. I’d never been to one of her events and really wanted signed copies of the Shatter Me trilogy (which I now have and, yes, I interrupted my finish-the-series plan to reread all three books. And possibly These Broken Stars. Ok, definitely These Broken Stars – I don’t remember why but I did).
Then I flew to Montreal for work and realized I don’t know nearly enough French.
Thanksgiving and work and whatnot. I had a few people tell me this year that they enjoy my instagram because it’s always so interesting with my different trips and things. I told them that I totally cheat and only post the stuff that’s interesting. In between it’s all rather quiet – working and reading books (which I don’t instagram) and watching movies and hanging out with my family. Not much worth talking about but I enjoy it.
I started taking Barre classes. And I kind of love it. I’ve done pilates for years and yoga a little, Tracy Anderson’s Method and PiYo though my consistency fluctuates. But I was incredibly consistent with barre all month and had fun kind of kicking my own ass. I think my ideal workout would be a blend of Tracy Anderson’s small muscle work mixed in with barre cardio and larger muscle toning.
My workouts were interrupted briefly by a trip to Fort Worth and a lot of family time in just a few days.
The Friday playlist this year is more groovy than I normally listen to but it’s also just fun. Since I saw Avengers so many times I had to include a song, turns out it fit in with the others quite well. And Break up in the End… he let’s her ruin his favorite song!