2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year’s! I’m writing this post from the last day of 2014, but scheduling it to go live the first day of 2015. Whoohoo.

2014 was an amazing year. A lot of bad stuff happened, but also a lot of good. And I’m both parts excited and terrified to see what happens in 2015.

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How I Did with My 2014 Resolutions

1. Finish writing a novel. 2014 was an interesting year for writing. I didn’t finish a novel, but I did complete a really intense revision on one and won NaNoWriMo with another, and wrote a billion short stories and songs and poems. So technically, despite not finishing a novel, I did a lot of writing this year. Still, nothing stands out as, like, a Great Piece of Writing, which is disappointing, but happens sometimes. I’ve always had off years. Here’s to hoping the writing starts working again in 2015.

2. Be able to run a mile. I’ve had to face the realization the past couple months that I likely will never be able to run a mile without murdering myself. I’ve been working on getting into better shape (thirty situps every morning and night; forty five minutes or so on the treadmill every other day; hiking when I have time)–but as my legs have been getting stronger, my lungs seem to just get weaker and weaker. I can’t go up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath. I almost died from pneumonia when I was little and I have both allergy and exercise-induced asthma, so it looks like my lungs are telling me no and I should listen.

3. Read fifty books. Accomplished! I read fifty one books this year and am partway through like five more. Having a reading goal was a really big help in getting me to focus, since it’s so easy to get distracted by Netflix and stuff.

4. Stop watching as many television shows. Accomplished. I was down to actively watching only two shows this semester (Once Upon a Time and The Flash) and that really helped give me more time to do more important things. (Although I did spend a lot of time watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix too.)

5. Learn how to play the ukelele. Accomplished! I bought myself a uke over winter semester and although I’m really terrible, I can indeed play it.

6. If I don’t study abroad this summer, GET MY FREAKING DRIVER’S LICENSE. This is probably the resolution I’m most proud of because I DID BOTH THESE THINGS. I studied abroad at Oxford, one of my biggest dreams, aaand I got my driver’s license on Tuesday. (I’d been putting off taking the driving test for four years because I’ve always been too busy to take it–I still needed to get parking down–but my mom and I spent approximately a thousand hours this break teaching me how to park, and I passed on my first try! Watch out, world.)

7. Do something selfless each week. This is probably the resolution I’m most disappointed in myself over because I absolutely sucked at being selfless this year. I’ve spent a lot time this year thinking solely about myself and my wants, and that needs to change.

8. Make new friends. Accomplished! I’ve met so many amazing people this year, it’s incredible. And I’m so grateful for every one.

9. Sell stuff on ebay. Lol nope. Those boxes of old clothes are still sitting in my bedroom.

10. Do more outdoorsy activities. Accomplished. I was actually outdoors so much this summer I got a tan.

11. Clean my room. See #9.

12. Pass all my classes with at least a 3.0. Accomplished. I got lots of B-range grades this year, thanks to my inability to science, but thank God, the gen eds are finally done.

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2015 Resolutions

1. Have at least one adventure a week. Whether it’s just going for an impromptu walk downtown or going on a road trip or trying something new, I want to get out and do stuff more. I have too much Netflix in my life.

2. Intern somewhere this summer (or get a regular summer job). My goal is to do a publishing internship this summer, but if that doesn’t work out for whatever reason, just working in general this summer is something I need to do.

3. Volunteer. Not sure what this will look like yet, but I haven’t done volunteer work, like working at a soup kitchen or going on a mission trip or something, since high school. And I’m starting to miss it.

4. Pass all my classes with at least a 3.5. My GPA isn’t in a terrible place right now, but it is lower than I want. I also really want to four-point a semester this year, since I haven’t done that since I was a freshman and OHMYGOSH I am going to be a senior next fall semester.

5. Work out at least three times a week and keep doing my daily situps. My goal is a flat stomach. It turns out your metabolism slows down in college and THAT STOPS BEING A GIVEN.

6. Take better care of myself in general. I’m not very good at taking care of myself. I like challenges, so I subconsciously sabotage myself a lot by, like, putting myself directly in the line of fire for getting the flu or not sleeping enough before a test and stuff, and yeah, that needs to stop.

7. Make new friends. Really, this is a goal we all should have always.

8. Get better at running Chapter One Events, LLC. It turns out businesses are really hard, dude.

9. Clean my room. It finally sunk in this break that I’m (hopefully) going to be moving out of my parents’ house in a year and a half and ain’t nobody wanna deal with the amount of junk I’ve got strewn about when it comes time to do that.

10. Read fifty two books. One a week sounds perfect.

11. Travel a lot. At least for now, I’m done with sitting still for long periods of time. I want to go everywhere.

12. Let what happens happen. I’ve been increasingly stressed over some stuff the past couple years and, honestly, that’s not helping me in any way. 2015’s going to be the year of learning when to hold on and when to let go.

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What are some of your resolutions for 2015?

~Julia

2014 New Year’s Resolutions

I’m a couple weeks late doing this post, but I know, you’re just dying to find out how I did with my 2013 resolutions and what I hope to accomplish this year, right? (Don’t answer that.)

2013 was a really big year for me, especially from a writing perspective (I attended two conferences, met several of my writing idols, finished and revised Cadence, started creative writing classes at college, was published in a couple lit mags, won NaNoWriMo for the sixth time in a row, won the children’s/YA category of the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, and more). I also got to travel a lot and meet some of my non-writing idols and make some amazing new friends.

I don’t know how 2014 could ever live up to 2013, but it’s doing a pretty good job of it so far. So here’s to the New Year.

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How I Did with My 2013 Resolutions

1. Do something selfless at least once a week. While it wasn’t always a big act, I did try to always at least do something small for other people in my week, without expecting anything in return, so I’d call this one accomplished.

2. Pass all of my classes (especialmente Españolo), and with a 3.0 or higher. Accomplished with flying colors! Between the last two semesters, I’ve only gotten a grade below some sort of A once, in genetics, which was a B. Kind of ridiculously proud of myself for this, since I’ve been taking so many gen ed classes. And, I mean, I PASSED SPANISH WHOA. I got an A- this last semester of it, and I could happy dance over that sort of grade. 

3. Make new friends (but keep the old—one is silver and the other gold). Accomplished! I’m glad to say I managed to both meet new friends and keep up with the ones I already had going into 2013, although I still didn’t get to see most of them as much as I’d have liked. (Love you guys!)

4. Write a novel. Kind of, sort of halfway accomplished. While I did A TON of writing in 2013, I didn’t manage to complete an entire novel at any point during the year (unless you count This is a Book). I’ve never in my life written an entire novel in one year–even with the novel I only spent four months on the first draft of, the New Year fell in the middle of it–so this remains a goal to accomplish someday. 

5. Participate in FAWM (February Album Writing Month). Yeah no. This didn’t happen. Turns out February I was busy revising instead. 

6. Blog at least twice a week. Not quite, although I think blogging every day in November made up for some of the weeks I missed doing two posts during. (I did, however, post at least ONCE a week the entire year, so yay for that?)

7. Start querying Dreamcatcher. While I didn’t end up querying Dreamcatcher, I did query another novel, so I’m still going to call this one accomplished.

8. Save $365 to give to charity. All I’m going to say here is that I’m a terrible human being.

9. Go to church at least once a month. Same goes for this one. It’s not even that I haven’t WANTED to go to church, it’s that it keeps slipping my mind. (Which really isn’t a proper excuse, but it’s true.)

10. Get a heck of a lot of planning done for Ch1Con 2014. Didn’t get nearly as much done in 2013 as I had hoped, but this is all such a learning experience–primarily, learning how to do Big Life Decision stuff as a team with other people, rather than having control over it on my own–that I’m still proud of myself for how much we did get done. And now it’s a race through the next couple months as my business partner and I try to get everything ready in time for the conference.

11. Learn how to do a Proper British Dialect (#11 is subject to change). #11 didn’t change, although I also didn’t accomplish it. If anything, my abilities to do accents slipped even further. 

12. Get my driver’s license (<–Don’t laugh at me. I’ve never had need for it before, but now I do.) Oh, oops. Forgot to do that one again.

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2014 Resolutions

1. Finish writing a novel. Going into 2013, I was already nearly done with the first draft of Cadence, so it didn’t really make sense to do this resolution. However, this year I’m in the middle of The End Where I Begin, along with having a couple side projects started, so I’m hoping to really focus and get at least one of those done this year.

2. Be able to run a mile. This is one of those don’t-laugh-at-me ones, but I haven’t been able to run a mile probably since middle school. This past summer I got to the point where I could do half a mile at a jog without entirely murdering myself, but I feel like being about to run a mile’s probably a good ability to have. (Plus, I might just reward myself with some cuter running shoes than the ones I’ve been toting around since the eighth grade, if I manage to do this.)

3. Read fifty books. I’m going to count full manuscripts I’m critiquing with this one, because I spend a lot of time reading those, along with school books, but I was really inspired by my friend Hero’s 40 Books Challenge. I didn’t read nearly as many books as I should have last semester (only about seven non-school ones for the entire thing), and it kind of sucked. So my goal is to read fifty books throughout the course of this year. I’m five books in so far, but that number’s going to drop off real quick once school gets into full-swing, so let’s see how this goes.

4. Stop watching as many television shows. When we first got Netflix at the end of the summer, I kind of thought it was just a joke, how addicted everyone said you could get to it. Then I began watching How I Met Your Mother, and Once Upon A Time, and Doctor Who for ten hours a day, and I realized that the Netflix addiction is a very real, and very baaad thing. So I’m now trying to break that, because no matter how intense a cliffhanger is or how much I want to figure out a plot twist, real life is more important. Unfortunately.

5. Learn how to play the ukelele. I’ve been wanting to get a uke for years now, but I hope this is the year I finally just splurge and buy one and learn how to play it.

6. If I don’t study abroad this summer, GET MY FREAKING DRIVER’S LICENSE. My reasoning here is that if I’m not in Europe for the majority of the summer, I really have no excuse not to get my butt behind the wheel and finally just get the parallel parking and highway driving down so I can take the stupid test without failing right off the bat. Driving makes me really nervous–I’m terrified of hurting someone–but it’s also a necessary part of living in the suburbs, which at least for now is where I live. (But if I do study abroad, then I’ll be out of the country for most of the time I’d be using the license anyway, so while it would be nice to get it still, it wouldn’t be as necessary.) (Oh goodness. I’m basically punishing myself extra for if I don’t get accepted to a study abroad program. Whyyy.)

7. Do something selfless each week. I think this was a really good goal to have last year.

8. Make new friends. How ever cliche it is, this one too.

9. Sell stuff on ebay. You more than likely don’t know this, but I have boxes of old clothes I’ve been meaning to sell on ebay for the better part of a year now, just stacked up all sad-like in the corner of my room. When I’m home after this semester’s over, one of my top priorities is going to need to be finally putting it all up for sale so it’ll finally stop staring at me with those sad, sad metaphorical eyes.

10. Do more outdoorsy activities. Even if they’re actually indoors, I’m thinking things like ice skating and going on walks and swimming and visiting parks and all that need to happen more often in my life.

11. Clean my room. This is a monumental task we’re talking here, people.

12. Pass all my classes with at least a 3.0. This is such a given, but it’s also important. While I’d prefer doing better than a 3.0, it’s definitely the minimum I require of myself. This next year is likely going to be my most difficult academically, so fingers crossed I survive it all.

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And there you have it, the 2014 New Year’s Resolutions post that you know you were absolutely dying to read.

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? What are some of yours?

Happy 2014!

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday (“Cadence, Super Special Excerpt of Specialness”)

We’ve got a three-way tie for this week’s Wordy Wednesday, so between that and the fact that this is the first Wednesday of 2013, I figured I’d give you a special treat instead of the usual poem or something. BEHOLD: A Cadence excerpt.

Back Story: [Redacted]

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[Sorry this is no longer available–I’m editing Cadence now with the hopes of maybe, possibly publishing it someday. Thanks for the interest, though!]

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Before I go, I figured I’d take a second to talk about New Year’s Resolutions, since I’m one of those sentimental weirdos who makes resolutions every year (12, actually–one to represent each month). So, an update on my progress from last year’s Resolutions:

  1. Blog twice a week: I almost succeeded on this one. Almost. But then Spanish class had to come and mess it all up this past semester. I’m still pretty proud of myself for sticking with blogging throughout the entire year, though, since I’ve never been the type of person patient or responsible enough to keep a diary or anything like that. So this is like halfway accomplished.
  2. Write a novel: This is another halfway one. While I didn’t write a complete novel in 2012, despite my best efforts to, I did finish one novel and get nearly 90,000 words into another, so I’d say this one was nearly accomplished as well.
  3. Do my best to get a literary agent: Check plus on this one, although I didn’t succeed in actually procuring a lit agent. I feel like I made some pretty big strides, though, towards snagging an agent someday, this year.
  4. Do my best to get a talent agent: Yeah, this would be a failure. Namely because I realized partway through the year that I really ought not pursue the acting industry–as much as I love it, I don’t love it enough. Which kind of sucks, but oh well.
  5. Make new friends: Check plus, although really: I’m a freshman in college. It would be sort of difficult NOT to make new friends.
  6. Enjoy college, no matter where I end up: When I wrote this resolution, it was because I had just been deferred from the University of Michigan and thought that I was probably going to end up at every Wolverine’s worst nightmare, Michigan State. Not that I personally have anything against Michigan State, really, because a ton of my family went there, but at the same time: A ton of my family went there. And I didn’t want to just be following in the footsteps of everyone else (hence how a born-and-raised Spartan became a Wolverine). Luckily, U of M ended up accepting me a month or two later, and I got to go to my dream school after all. And I have most definitely been enjoying college so far. So check plus.
  7. Get all As for my last two semesters of high school: I was so close. SO CLOSE! And then my senioritis caught up with me at the end of second semester… and in the middle of it… and at the beginning… and yeah. I got a B. Ugh. This is another halfway accomplishment.
  8. Start posting covers of songs on Youtube: Total and complete failure, although I did end up putting up a couple of original songs this year. This is going to be an unofficial Resolution in 2013, because I still think Youtube is the coolest thing ever and I kind of desperately want to find a way to be more involved in it. But anyway, for 2012, this was a failure.
  9. ENJOY LIFE, even if it’s not going my way: Check plus. 🙂
  10. Help someone who I don’t have to – be selfless: Check plus.
  11. Change the world: Check plus, I guess, since I did “change the world” this year, technically, although not in as major of a way as I would have liked.
  12. Find happiness. Check plus. 

And now, drum roll please…

My New Year’s Resolutions for 2013:

1. Do something selfless at least once a week

2. Pass all of my classes (especialmente Españolo), and with a 3.0 or higher

3. Make new friends (but keep the old—one is silver and the other gold)

4. Write a novel

5. Participate in FAWM (February Album Writing Month)

6. Blog at least twice a week

7. Start querying Dreamcatcher

8. Save $365 to give to charity

9. Go to church at least once a month

10. Get a heck of a lot of planning done for Ch1Con 2014

11. Learn how to do a Proper British Dialect (#11 is subject to change)

12. Get my driver’s license (<–Don’t laugh at me. I’ve never had need for it before, but now I do.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Do you have any Resolutions for 2013?

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~Julia

Oh, and PS: I totally 4-pointed my first semester of college. I AM SO HAPPY YOU HAVE NO IDEA AHHH. 🙂

New Year’s Resolutions

So this has basically been my inner monologue for the past twenty four hours:

I can’t believe it’s already the end of 2011. Can you believe it? I can’t believe it. It’s impossible. No way it’s already the end of the year. I can’t believe it’s already the end of the year. The end of 2011? No way. 2011 just began! It’s impossible. Can you believe it? I can’t believe it. It is NOT the end of 2011!

… And around and around in circles I’ve gone.

Well, this seemed like as good a time as any to talk about the Oh-So-Important ritual of creating New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not gonna lie: I get totally hyped over making my resolutions each year. But what gets me even more hyped is looking back  at my completely forgotten about and abandoned resolutions from last year, realizing how much I suck at life, and deciding to do better this next year.

Which, you know, usually lasts about a week and then my short term memory cuts out and I forget again. (Although, seeing as “get in shape” has been on my resolutions list for the past four years running, that selective memory brownout might be on purpose.)

Nonetheless, though, I’ve already sat down this week and written out a list of resolutions for 2012 that are hopefully easier done than said, rather than the other way around like they usually are (I repeat: getting in shape). And now, without further ado, my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions list:

  1. Blog twice a week
  2. Write a novel
  3. Do my best to get a literary agent
  4. Do my best to get a talent agent
  5. Make new friends
  6. Enjoy college, no matter where I end up
  7. Get all As for my last two semesters of high school
  8. Start posting covers of songs on Youtube
  9. ENJOY LIFE, even if it’s not going my way
  10. Help someone who I don’t have to – be selfless
  11. Change the world
  12. Find happiness.

I’m also halfway tempted to add “don’t die” onto there, in reference to the apparent apocalypse, but then I feel like that’s just testing fate.

What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions? Doing anything fun to ring in the New Year? Are there any books or movies you’re particularly excited about in 2012? (HUNGER GAMES MOVIE AND NEW GALLAGHER GIRLS BOOK OH MY GOSH!!!!!)

Although I’m sad to see 2011 go, I’m even gladder to see where 2012 will go. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally start exercising! (Wouldn’t that be a miracle?)

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S GUYS!! Next time I talk to you, it’s going to be 2012! The year I turn 18, graduate, go to college, and hopefully don’t die in the apocalypse. 🙂

~Julia