Mid-Year Checkpoint

We are half-way through 2015 already – can you believe it?! It’s been a big year so far, and last week I was evaluating the goals and resolutions I made at the beginning of this year.  I thought I’d share how things are going.

Reading

It is my goal to read 52 books this year. I also plan to review or analyze everything I read in some shape, form, or fashion. In order to do more book-reading, I will be reading fewer blogs and internet articles.

In February, I picked up a job as a book marketing manager for Booktrope Publishing. As a result, I’ve done a lot of reading for work in addition to my personal reading, but I haven’t been able to review or analyze everything I’ve read for obvious reasons.  However, I do include the books I’ve read for work in my count towards 52 books by the end of the year.

Personal Reading (11): The Elijah Task by John and Paula Sandford, Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates, The Cleft by Doris Lessing, Sovereign Ground and The Heart of Petra by Hilarey Johnson, Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina, the book that shall not be mentioned, Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler, Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows by Ashley Townsend, and Entertaining Angels by Emerald Barnes.

Professional Reading (most found in my book management portfolio – 12): Behind the Shades by Sheila Raye Charles, A Shadow in the Flames and A Memory in the Black by Michael G. Munz, Intentional Fitness by Mary Graziano Scro, Fearless in Euroclydon by Jacqueline McDougall, Awake by Melanie Surani, Our Orbit by Anesa Miller, Disenchanted by Janet Ursel, The Blackfish Prophecy by Rachel Clark, The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose by Matthew Catania, Freedom’s Secret by Amy McCoy Dees, and The Undays of Aralias Lyons by K. L. Horvath.

We’re in week 24 of 2015, so at 23 books, I’m right on track.

Currently reading: The Last Child by Terry Tyler and Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.

What’s up next? Adversaries Together and Winterfinding by Daniel Casey, Mardan’s Mark and Healer’s Curse by Kathrese McKee, The 12th Girl in Heaven by R. J. Conte, Out of Darkness Rising by Gillian Bronte Adams, Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter by Sarahbeth Caplin, and All for Anna by Nicole Deese.

Anticipated 2015 releases: A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis, A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes, The Tethered World by Heather L. L. Fitzgerald, the third installment of Ashley Townsend’s Shadow Trilogy, A Reluctant Assassin by J. C. Morrows, A Stunning Accusation by Sarahbeth Caplin, and (fingers crossed) Twelve by Sarah Elizabeth Boucher.

To re-read: We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates and Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

I don’t think I’m going to have a problem meeting this goal, do you?

 

Writing

It is my goal to finish, edit, and publish A Year with the Baptists this year.  I also want to post here on the blog three times a week on reading, writing, and (you guessed it) matters of faith. I’m also going to be writing more letters this year.

Right now, I’m really glad to be up to speed on my reading goal, because I am definitely failing the writing portion of this evaluation.

As most of you know, I had a laptop tragedy at the beginning of April. It took a few days for everything to sink in, but once it did, I realized I lost a lot. Like the rough 90,000 word draft of A Year with the Baptists, most what I had written of the second draft (about 6,000 of 8,000 words), and all of the little snippets of scenes I had written for major plot points. Gone. Just like that. I also lost about 3,000 words of a science fiction project I’d been working on at the beginning of last year called Update, and several thousand words on an essay project I was working on.

Since then, I’ve cycled through the five stages of grief.  You might think I’m being dramatic, but losing all of those stories that I’d been pouring myself into – that was hard.  I haven’t even been able to wrap my mind around starting all over again, especially on A Year with the Baptists. Last week, I finally unplugged and sat down to write out some plot points for a fantasy that’s been coming to life in my imagination over the past year, but I still haven’t mustered up the wherewithal to begin work on A Year with the Baptists again.

Then there’s the fact that I’m still laptopless and chained to a desktop computer. When I’m doing creative writing, I need ambient noise, so I like to be out and about. I can write in solitude, but I’m more productive when there is stuff going on around me. A laptop (even a used one) is not possible right now, so I will probably write my next novel by hand and type it up afterwards (which requires less creativity), whether it’s A Year with the Baptists or this fantasy I’m whipping up. (Because not writing is not an option). I think it will be good, or at least, I’m hoping it will be.

I haven’t posted three times a week, though that’s still an aim, and I don’t think I’ve written any letters.

That’s the bad news, here’s the good: I’ve found a publishing home with Booktrope imprint Vox Dei Publishing! I have really loved being a part of the Vox Dei community, first as a book manager, and now as an author. It’s a really supportive, encouraging, and prayerful environment, and it just rocks my world. Even though I’ve had a rough time with writing, it’s being part of such a great community that makes me realize I need to get back to it, no matter how challenging it may be.

Tonight, I upload The Field to our system to begin editing. Exciting times, but not anywhere near the end of what God is doing with me as a writer. So, as a mid-year resolve, I plan to do a better job keeping up with my writing.

Matters of Faith

It is my goal to study the book of Proverbs this year, and develop a kids’ curriculum from that study at some point (may or may not start on that this year). I’m also reading the Old Testament history books, starting in 2 Samuel and going forward. I want to grow in and exercise my spiritual gifts: especially prophecy, but also exhortation and mercy-showing.  And, most of all,  I want to stop trying to be worthy of God’s love and just accept His love for me.

I just finished my fourth cycle through Proverbs.  This month, I’m taking a break to do a character study on Solomon, as he’s the author of the Proverbs, and I think it’s important to have that context.  I think by the beginning of next year I’ll be in a position to begin developing lesson plans, and hopefully, the curriculum will be available online (on a blog like this) at the beginning of 2017.  (All things being equal, and often, they are not).

I’m in Job, the last Old Testament history book. I skipped first and second Chronicles because I had just finished Samuel and Kings and it’s basically the same stories, and too much repetition makes me apathetic. I’ll go back and hit up Chronicles before the end of the year.  Once I finish Job, though, I’m going to park myself in the New Testament for a few months. Thus far, my favorite book has been Nehemiah and my least favorite was Esther. (I have some off-putting memories associated with Esther, and God made me dig into them. Not fun.) Job has been a challenge, because you really have to exercise discernment reading it: because much of it is humans doing most of the talking, you have to really consider what is from God’s heart, and what is not.

For the most part, the past year-and-a-half, I have been in a season of inactivity within the church; that is, most of my service and community has taken place with my co-workers in a part-time job.  It has had its benefits, and it has had its drawbacks, but in November, God called me to be an intercessor in a ministry plant.  I think I got to February, and I just got weary, but I’ve been feeling more and more convicted I need to keep praying this about. In the past month, God has moved me to be more involved in a church in my city, so I’m readjusting to being in a church community, serving, and giving.  Speaking the truth in love and with grace is ever a balancing act, and this blog is often where I get to exercise that the most.

On Doing Life Big

This year, I am determined to do life BIG; to take every moment, every opportunity and push it to the max.

And that’s what it’s really been about: from searching for my dream job to working for a publishing company and the projects I take on there, from not being sure what I was going to read this year to having a bursting reading list and really thinking about everything I’m reading, from losing everything to getting back up and going at it again, from a solitary Christian walk to being active in community .

Are there things that need to improve? Absolutely. But as I look back on the past six months, I can see … this is a BIG, blessed life.

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2 thoughts on “Mid-Year Checkpoint

  1. Wow! What an ambitious year for you! I’m totally eating your dust 😉

    Super excited and surprised to see my novel on your anticipated list! Thank you! I have recently changed publishers (long story) and actually have a release date in the contract (other pub did not do this and kept dragging feet). So looks like I’ll have to be on your 2016 list as the book will come out in January!

    Oh I’m in sympathetic pain to hear about your lap top. That’s some real, gut wrenching grief! Praying God will redeem the ideas and make them better than before. I just remembered to back up my work on a thumb drive yesterday…this makes me glad I took the time. Yikes!

    The year is zooming along isn’t it? Great job on keeping up with so much so well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m definitely excited to read your book whenever it comes out! 🙂

      Thanks for your prayers about my stories – I think God will do a lot with the whole situation, I just need to be writing. 🙂

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