Nicole J. Simms

Reflection 2019 – My Writing Year

Post date: 3rd January 2020
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Reflection 2019 - My Writing Year

Happy New Year! Wow, 2019 is over—I can’t believe it. Well, with a new year, now’s the ideal time to reflect on the past year.

I had high hopes for 2019. 2017 and 2018 weren’t productive years due to dealing with grief, life stresses and a lack of motivation. But at the start of 2019, I felt ready and motivated to get back on track.

Sadly, 2019 didn’t go to plan. I shared in my ‘I’m back … sort of‘ post about what happened. But to summarise, I had a bleed on the brain, which caused multiple issues, resulting in me being unable to do anything for months and halted all my plans.

I’m not one for resting—it doesn’t feel right unless I’m working on something—so it was difficult not working towards my goal.

I’m still recovering, my brain doesn’t feel 100 per cent right (I’m easily overwhelmed and finding the right word can be challenging at times. Oh, and my memory isn’t great) and I have neuropathic pain (the left side feels like it’s burning), but I’m better than I was. And the recovery I have made has enabled me to achieve some of my goals.

So, let’s see how I did with my 2019 goal.

My Writing Goals

  • Writing Goal 1: Finish editing 1st standalone novel and start submitting.
    Result: At the start of the year, I did manage to work on the fourth draft of my novel. But then I became ill, and I wasn’t able to continue working on it. I did think I could work on it once I felt better, but the project was more than I could handle at the time.
  • Writing Goal 2: Plan and write 2nd standalone novel
    Result: I did work on some of the planning, but I struggled to finish. And there was no way I could have handled writing it.
  • Writing Goal 3: Edit and publish drabble e-book
    Result: Yes, I did it. Luckily for me, I did the bulk of the editing and file formatting before I got ill. So, once I felt able to work on the computer (it was only 1 hour a day at first), I finished formatting, did a final check and published the e-book. You can download The Book of Drabbles from Smashwords or any other e-book retailers.
  • Writing Goal 4: Edit and publish flash fiction collection
    Result: Nope, this didn’t happen. I did try editing the stories once I published my e-book. However, because it takes me longer than normal to do things, and I could only stay on the computer for a short amount of time, I struggled to find the time and energy to edit my collection.
  • Writing Goal 5: Create my fictional village for my supernatural mystery series
  • Writing Goal 6: Write the 1st novel in my supernatural mystery series
    Result: I’ve grouped these goals because they are for the same project. I planned to create my fictional village, plan my series and write the first book in the series during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). However, my illness ruined that plan, and by the time I was able to work on my series, I had just over a month to plan before NaNo started. Well, that wasn’t going to happen, so I decided to write my novella instead.
  • Writing Goal 6: Edit and submit more short stories
    Result: I edited and submitted five stories, so I’m going to mark this goal as achieved, considering I wasn’t able to do much for four to five months. And one of those stories (‘Is There a Killer in Mrs Norris’s House?’) was given an honourable mention and published on the website.
  • Writing Goal 7: Keep writing blog up-to-date
    Result: When I was well enough to, I did blog weekly or at least once every other week, so I’m going to mark this goal as achieved—hey, I have to have something. I am, however, still in the process of editing my older posts.
  • Writing Goal 8: Write novella
    Result: I managed to write over 10,000 words for my novella during NaNo, but I didn’t work on it during December, so I can’t mark this one as achieved. However, something amazing (and distracting) happened: I got an idea for a supernatural horror series. And as this series will be in a similar genre to my standalone novels, I will be working on this in 2020—sorry supernatural mystery series.
  • Writing Goal 9: Start writing for the Horror Tree again
    Result: I wrote four posts for the Horror Tree this year, so I’m going to give this goal a green tick. However, I hope to get back to my monthly posts this year, fingers crossed I can stay well.

My Reading Goals

  • Reading Goal 1: Complete my Goodreads challenge – read 16 books
    Result: This goal is my greatest achievement for 2019. I read 26 books—10 more than I needed to read. This is the only positive to getting ill because it gave me loads more time to read.
  • Reading Goal 2: Complete my cozy mystery reading list
    Result: Yep, I completed this goal, and you can read my review of the books on my ‘Review of My Cozy Mystery Reading List’ post.
  • Reading Goal 3: Complete my paranormal/supernatural cozy mystery series reading list
    Result: I completed this goal too. You can read my review of the books on my ‘Review of My Paranormal/Supernatural Cozy Mystery Reading List’ post.
  • Reading Goal 4: Read an Andrea Levy book
    Result: No, sadly I didn’t get round to reading an Andrea Levy book—I got distracted by my other reading lists. However, she’s still on my reading list, so I will get round to reading one of her books.
  • Reading Goal 5: Read more short stories
    Result: I can’t give this goal a green tick. While I did start well with this, I feel I could have read more short stories.
  • Reading Goal 6: Read more indie authors
    Result: I’m going to give this a green tick. I read two books by two indie authors (I’m Perfectly Safe, She Doesn’t Bite! by Andrew F. Lines and Seeming by Nicole Luttrell), and I enjoyed both. However, I do have an indie author reading list, so I will continue to read more books by indie authors.
  • Reading Goal 7: Read more poetry
    Result: Yes, this is another achievement. I read loads of poetry in 2019 thanks to my pal Angela borrowing me several poetry books to read.
  • Reading Goal 8: Read 5 fantasy authors I haven’t read before
    Result: I didn’t get on to this reading list mostly because I started another one instead, but I will get round to this reading list—I just don’t know when.
  • Reading Goal 9: Write more book reviews
    Result: Yes, this is another green tick. I was a good girl and reviewed most of the books I read in 2019. You can see my reviews on Goodreads.

2019 may not have been a great year for my goals or my health, but it wasn’t all bad. I went on some amazing adventures: I visited Iceland, Scotland, Cyprus, Bridgnorth and a stunning village called Much Wenlock—I’ll be sharing more information about these trips on future posts. I tried self-publishing for the first time, and I attended the first-ever book festival at the Museum of Cannock Chase. And I celebrated Christmas with my amazing pals from the Oldbury Writing Group, see ‘Oldbury Writing Group Christmas 2019’.

While having health issues isn’t ideal and can be scary, it did force me to do something I struggle to do; it forced me to rest. I also learned a lot. I learned that I need to practise more self-care. I spend so much time focusing on working that I forget to take breaks. I’m also learning to work at a slower pace and be okay with that.

Also, I need to be kinder to myself, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs to do that. I’m still working towards my goals, but at a considerably slower pace, but that’s okay. The important thing isn’t how fast I achieve my goals. What is important is that I continue to work towards my goals and that I also take care of myself along the way.

How did you do with your 2019 goals? I hope you did well. Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear how everyone else is doing.

Keep writing, folks!

Don’t forget, if you want email alerts of my latest posts, then please subscribe. And you can follow me on Twitter, Goodreads or like my Facebook page. I’ve also created a Nicole J Simms YouTube channel. On my channel, I will be sharing videos of my performances, trips, writing group adventures and my stories. You can also download my e-book The Book of Drabbles for FREE, so check it out.

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