New Year Update

Well, it’s been two months since my last post. Time to check in and see how things went.

I did manage to write 50,000 words in November. Unfortunately, almost none of them were on the original novel I had planned to write that month. It was on the Dramione story I’ve been working on. I’m glad that that story is going so well, but it’s frustrating that I didn’t succeed in making progress with my original novel. I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong–why I can write several hundred page fan fictions, but that I can’t seem to find the steam to move forward on my original stories.

I’m not sure if it’s a motivation issue, a world building issue, or plot.

When I post fan fictions, the characters I’m writing about already have a big following, so I get lots of feedback as I go along, and it spurs me on to keep writing. I’ve archived over a million words of fan fiction and constantly have new ideas for more.

Maybe it’s a world building or character creation problem. Writing fan fiction is easy for me because I take characters I like and know well, and put them in a situation I’ve dreamed up (no magic for Draco, a terrible law, etc.) and respond in the way that feels natural for the character. Maybe I just don’t know my own characters well enough before I try to write an original novel?

Or maybe it’s just the sort of plots I’m trying to write. Most of my fan fictions have an overarching plot, and a slow-burn friendship into romance over the course of the story. When I tried to write the original novel I came up with this fall, I tried to write something entirely without romance, and never assigned a gender to my main character. Maybe I’m just better at writing romances? Should I just admit that that’s what I’m good at? Or is there a way to improve my skills?

The stories I loved best growing up–the Prydain Chronicles, Artemis Fowl, The Lord of the Rings, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and even Harry Potter, didn’t put romances front and center in the story. The stories I liked best were about changing (or saving) the world and finding out who you were. That’s the sort of story I’d like to be able to share with the world.

Goal one: In 2016, I want to improve my writing skills and write an original novel. It doesn’t have to be finished, or perfect by the end of the year, but I want a story.

I also want to do more hands on crafts this year. 2015 was an amazing, crazy, wonderful year. Our business grew from 8 to 26 employees. This year, I stayed home all of Christmas weekend, and relaxed and had a wonderful time with my husband. Last year, we were working long days, 7 days a week. Now, I’ve got more time for hands on crafts again.

This Christmas, I made a Christmas stocking for my stepdaughter. Can you guess which one is hers?

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Goal two: In 2016, I want to keep working on hands on projects and learning new skills. I want to sew, and crochet, and learn modeling software to 3D print things.

One of the pitfalls of working long hours and having no time, is that I ate a lot of food that was terrible for me in 2015. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed most of it. But whereas in 2013 and 2014 I experimented with a lot of new recipes and had fun with them on my YouTube channel, in 2015, I ate out. Fast food, restaurants, take out, you name it, a lot of days, I was too tired to cook.

However, now that I have more time on my hands, I’m committed to cooking good food and eating healthy. In the last month, my husband and I have cooked everything that we’ve eaten. I’ve dropped 10.2 pounds as of this morning. I cut out refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, wheat, dairy, and corn. Whole grains, veggies, fruits, meat, and healthy fats are now the rule of thumb in the house. My husband has come up with some fantastic recipes. For example, look at this beauty from Christmas night:

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Quinoa, with yellow squash, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers, and a a piece of duck breast with almond flour, cooked in a little olive oil. It was amazing. Absolutely brilliant. (Seriously, how have I never discovered Quinoa until now? It beats rice hands down.)

A month into eating this way, we feel better, have more energy, and our clothes fit better. While I might relax a little–a slice of cake or glass of wine now and then won’t kill me–I feel so much better eating real food that I want to keep doing it.

Goal three: In 2016, I want to keep experimenting with new cooking recipes and fabulous new food that’s good for me. 

Well, there’s my start of the year update. What are you looking forward to in 2016? How was your 2015? What changes do you want to make in your life? What do you want to keep the same?

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