JJ Reads, JJ Writes

Looking Back, Looking Forward: 2019 Edition

Another year is gone. This one to end a decade. Apparently I’m ten years older than I was last time this happened. I’m not sure about that last fact but whatever.

This year has been a very WILD ride. It has some massive ups and some crash and burn lows but I’m still here. In a bitesized chunk: 

  • I revised my YA scifi based on feedback and made my book better.
  • I started querying which I’m very proud of myself for.
  • I wrote my first ever short story and submitted it to a small press.
  • It got accepted and I signed my first ever contract. Then the small press closed down so it never got published.
  • We sold our home and moved abroad which has been the plan for ten years.

So much has changed. My brain is tired from all the growing I’ve done. But then my brain has just finished ten years worth of work, right?

Let’s start by doing a quick look back at the goals I made on this blog last year. (The post is here if you want to check if I’m cheating or see what I did in 2018)

Looking Back


To keep going. To keep growing. To not give up.

This is possibly the most important goal I made. Doubts are real, anxiety is hard, the dips are a big part of the writing game but I’m still here and I’ve come so far. And while I still have meltdowns and sleepless nights, I’m learning to deal with them, to know I’ll overcome them, and to know I wouldn’t give this up for anything.

To edit, revise and get feedback on #ExcitingSpaceWIP with the hope to get it to a place where I’m happy to start querying it.

I’m extremely proud of myself for achieving this one. I held on tightly as the roller coaster tried to throw me off and refused to get off. I’m so very happy with my book. It’s not perfect. It can still be improved. But I love it. And I’m in the query trenches right now trying to find an agent who will love it just as much. My fingers are crossed and my tummy is in a permanent knot of hope!

To draft zero #ChronicallyWitchyWIP

I hit this goal in late November and I loved diving back in to writing something after a year of revising. I love how this story is going and feeling the excitement and possibilities of creating something new.


Try again to learn Spanish

I may not have done Spanish every day but it was a good two thirds of the days this year. I’m progressing. It’s going to be an extremely long road but I’m happy with how I’m sticking with it this time (which is good because I actually live here now!)

Read 52 (later bumped up to 100) books

I hit my 52 book target halfway through the year which was surprising and I have no idea why. Then decided to bump it up to 100 because why not? The answer is stress. I regret aiming for one hundred. I have so many books that have fallen to the wayside in my attempt but I managed it with 3 days to spare. I’ve read so many amazing books and I get to say I DID IT but I’m never doing it again!

Sell our house & Move home

WE DID IT!!! I’m writing this from sunny Lanzarote. In my home that is almost all one level which means I can actually reach the kitchen and outside and the living room and the dining table. Rather than be stuck upstairs in my bedroom too sick to use the stairs. It was so stressful, there were two months there where everything that could go wrong with signing the contract pretty much did. I’m hopeful and also exhausted thinking about the future!

I’m going to call that a big win. I also think I’m getting really good at setting realistic goals that I want to achieve rather than far off stress inducing ones. I said last year that my favourite type of goals are more continuations of things you are doing rather than starting from scratch expecting everything to change and so far these types of goals are working for me. So on that thought, let’s attempt some 2020 goals.

Looking Forward


  • Revise #ExcitingSpaceWIP based on feedback and then keep querying it.
  • Turn my draft zero of my #ChronicallyWitchyWIP into a first draft. Get feedback and revise it.
  • Keep going – at this point I can’t imagine not writing but I don’t want to let the dips and doubts of the journey stop me from trying to get published and agented. I am resilient enough to roll with it. So I need to remember that.
  • Keep growing – craft wise because there is always more to learn, more ideas to try, and more to improve but also community wise. I’ve met and interacted with some amazing writer friends this year and I hope this continues.


  • This year I am setting my reading goal back to my normal 52 books, and putting an upper limit of maximum 75 books. I want to read more fantasy that I’ve been neglecting this year and feel less pressure!
  • Keep learning Spanish.
  • Health depending,  start to learn to drive, as in a few lessons with my parents in empty parking lots, nothing drastic! Although I should probably learn my left and right first.
  • Health depending maybe try to meet some new people in real life but also keep developing friendships online.
  • Health depending, get back into doing some drawing and painting again! Eek.

So I’ll see how I go this time next year. I’m excited thinking about it. I’ve come so far (in growth and in miles!) this year that I can’t wait to see where I end up in a new years and a new decades time.

What about you? Did you set goals for the year, and how did they go? If not what was your favourite thing you did or that made you most proud of yourself for this year? And what are you looking forward to next year? New goals? New hobbies?

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