Happy Friday, everyone! It’s hard to believe that this is my last blog post of the year. 2019 was a rollercoaster ride filled with ups, downs, and lots of bumps along the way. Today, I’ll be talking about writing during the hectic holiday season, reflecting back on the past year, and my goals for 2020. So for one last time this year, grab your beverage of choice and let’s get started.

The Hectic Holidays
I love the holiday season. I love family gatherings, parties, and catching up with old friends. I love cooking, baking, decorating, and wrapping gifts. I love looking at Christmas lights and decor, especially in the snow. I’m not usually fond of the white stuff, but when Christmas comes around, it just seems to add to the magic of the season. What doesn’t add to the magic of the season is the stress that comes along with it.

Each year after Thanksgiving, it’s like someone hits the fast forward button on the remote control of life, and chaos just seems to ensue. As much as I love this time of year, I hate the hustle and bustle that comes along with it. Because I’m so busy, it’s hard to find time to sit down and write. In fact, it’s hard to find time just to sit down, kick back, and relax. You’d think my cast of characters would cut me some slack, but they’re a demanding bunch and hate being ignored. I have no control over when they’re going to show up or what they’re going to show me.

This is why I’m grateful for writing apps. They’re handy, especially when I’m away from home or can’t get to my computer. I just pull out my phone, pull up my app, and type any scenes or snippets that play out in my mind. Once I get home, I go ahead and transfer everything over to a Word document. This ensures that I don’t miss out on anything important.

If I’m home and in the middle of doing something, I hit pause then grab a notebook, my phone, or run to my computer to write. If my husband’s around and I’m in the middle of cooking or baking, he’ll take over so I can work on my books. He’s a lifesaver and not just during the holiday season. He knows how unpredictable my cast can be and helps me whenever he can.

That being said, finding a happy balance between writing and the hectic holidays is a serious struggle. If I’ve learned anything from the past, it’s to take it easy on myself and remove any pressure. I don’t worry about word counts or deadlines. It’s all about going with the flow and doing what I can, when I can. This prevents me from burning out, which is what’s happened the last few years. I pile too much on my plate in a short time span and end up getting sick. I’ve already been sick once since Thanksgiving and don’t plan on a repeat performance.

A Look Back and Lessons Learned
This past year has been a strange one, especially near the end. It started out strong and then went downhill, back up, and down again. It’s been a bumpy ride and I’ll be glad to put 2019 behind me. I look at each new year as a new chapter in my book of life. I reflect on the past, take what I’ve learned, and try to apply those lessons to the new year and years ahead. So what did 2019 teach me?

Self-care. Self-care was one of the most valuable lessons I learned this past year. If I don’t make time to care for myself, everything else eventually goes down the proverbial shitter. I hate being sick and I hate being stressed. It’s important to take some “me time” and enjoy doing the things I love. Whether it’s cooking, reading, exercising, napping, bingeing my favorite TV shows, or just spending some time with my family, hitting pause is a necessity. It keeps the burnout away and gives me the mini-vacation I need and deserve.

Unplugging. This goes hand-in-hand with self-care. Taking a break from social media allows me to focus on my family, friends, and my fictional world. By logging off and putting my phone on “do not disturb” for a few hours each day, I get to work on my series without any distractions. Other times, I just enjoy some much needed downtime. Not to mention, unplugging allows me to turn my full attention on the people that matter most to me. It’s a great way to reconnect with my real life family and friends.

Setting Boundaries. Setting boundaries is just another part of self-care. I’ve learned that it’s okay to make myself a priority and put my needs first. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say not now. It’s not only okay, but it’s also important, especially when it comes to my overall health and sanity. Always putting myself second or third doesn’t benefit me. In fact, it usually pisses me off and eventually leads to some form of resentment towards others. My writing suffers as does my personal life. Setting boundaries and sticking with them has been a game-changer and has not only improved my writing life, but my personal one as well.

Support System. Writing can be lonely. A lot of people don’t understand what it takes to write a book – or in my case a series of books. I’ve been lucky to find some amazing writers on social media who get me and understand the writing life. That’s not to mention all you awesome real-lifers who have my back, listen to me bitch, and continue to support and encourage me, regardless. I wouldn’t be where I am without you all and I’ll always be grateful. You know who you are.

2020 Goals
I’m excited and hopeful for the upcoming new year. As each year comes to a close, I set goals that I want to achieve by the next year’s end. Here’s what they are for the year ahead:

– Work on edits, revisions, and rewrites of Book One in The Witches of Luna Cove series. I would love to have it query-ready by the end of next year. Book One is going to be my primary focus in 2020.

– Continue working on and planning out the rest of The Witches of Luna Cove series. I have seven books planned out so far. I plan to continue working on them throughout the next year.

– Practice self-care and unplugging. I plan on unplugging for a few hours each day and completely at least once a week.

– Update my website, add new content, and continue blogging. As the new year rolls around, I want to continue blogging about my writing life and sharing the behind the scenes details with you all.

In Closing
Because the holidays are a busy time for me and my family, the first blog post of the new year won’t be until January 10th. At that time, you’ll get your first peek at the players in The Witches of Luna Cove series, as well as what’s new on the website and what you can expect. I will be updating the site over the holiday break, so keep an eye out for that.

I’d like to take this moment and wish those who celebrate a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season and new year. Thank you for joining me on this journey and I’ll see you all on January 10th. Until next time.