Globally speaking, I’m certainly not the first to say that 2018 seemed like a bit of a dumpster fire. On a personal level, it was kind of a weirdly good one though. It’s a strange juxtaposition, but I guess you take what you can get when you can get it. So here’s what I got.
2018 in Review
Life got crazier this year, that’s for sure. Pippin started kindergarten. Rose started going to preschool five days a week. T started student teaching in August and immediately transitioned into a full-time position within the school district. It was that third bit of going from having a stay-at-home parent to having two working parents that made my new schedule particularly insane, but I’ve survived and sort of adjusted to the new normal (for now).
In other news, we got a new deck (on purpose), a new refrigerator (out of necessity), and I learned (sort of) to sew.
I can barely remember the beginning of 2018, but my instagram tells me that this year, we traveled to Florida twice (by car, to Disney World, and to Indian Rocks Beach) and all over Missouri:
- Hermann (where I drank a lot of wine and a fair bit of gin)
- Hamilton (where I picked up the sewing bug)
- Joplin (to see family and eat at Chicken Annie’s)
- Branson (for a family holiday get-together)
And of course I also drove down to Austin for the Austin Film Festival, where it was a good year for my writing group!
I also think I can officially be classified as a crazy plant lady at this point, given I’m overwintering something like 15 plants in my kitchen and despite my garden having, shall we say, an off year. In any case, I’m hoping to spend a lot more time enjoying this view next year.
2018 in Writing
Despite everything, 2018 turned out to be a pretty banner year for my writing career. While I would have liked to have eked out one more script before the end of the year, 2018 was also a year where my schedule got a lot more complicated. Next year I’m hoping to rely hard on a plan and a schedule, but I’m not displeased with how 2018 went.
Here’s what I accomplished output-wise for the year:
- Polish on my one-hour pilot, Hellcats of the Caribbean
- Finished a submit-able draft of my feature, The Family Jewels
- Completed NaNoWriMo
- Started a zero draft of a new script
- Wrote 14 short pieces (poems, creative nonfiction, short or flash fiction)
More than half of those pieces were written during a two week Fast Flash Workshop with Kathy Fish, which I cannot recommend highly enough.
I really made more of an effort to submit my work this year, and it paid off. I received my first two acceptances, both for pieces of creative nonfiction.
I also found out that my Memoir Mixtapes piece was used by a high school literature professor as a mentor text for his class, which is a HUGE honor.
On the screenwriting front, both The Family Jewels and Hellcats made it to the second round of the Austin Film Festival this year. Hellcats was also a quarterfinalist in Screencraft’s Pilot Launch contest.
And perhaps the most exciting news, I signed a contract to have a children’s book published by an up-and-coming indie publisher, most likely some time next year. More details to come on that!
2018 in Reading
I more or less hit my reading goals again this year. I finished re-reading the Harry Potter series for the first time as a parent, and found I still love it (but also why are they letting those kids stay up so late all the time??). I read two Outlander novels (Drums of Autumn & The Fiery Cross), which should really count for like 3 novels each.
The two books I’ve been recommending to everyone this year are The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (a retelling of the Beowulf legend, set in a modern suburbia) and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Hank Green’s debut novel.
My favorite comic series this year was Sleepless (Sarah Vaughn with gorgeous illustrations by Leila Del Duca). I also enjoyed Ladycastle (Delilah S. Dawson), and I’m interested to see where Farmhand (Rob Guillory) goes, having been a big fan of Chew.
If you’re curious, you can see my complete year in reading over on Goodreads.
2018 in Film & TV Watching
I had a goal of seeing 12 films in theatres, and I exceeded it by catching 16. It’s a long cry from the days I used to go weekly or more, but this is the life stage I’m in. I’ll probably keep the goal the same for the next few years, at least until my kids are old enough not to burn down the house if left alone for a couple of hours.
Movies Seen in Theatres
- A Wrinkle in Time
- A Quiet Place
- I Feel Pretty
- Avengers: Infinity War
- The Spy Who Dumped Me
- Mamma Mia 2!
- Crazy Rich Asians
- The Nun
- A Simple Favor
- A Star is Born
- Vox Lux
- Wreck It Ralph 2
- The Favourite
Other Movies Watched for First Time
- The Road
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Doctor Strange
- I, Tonya
- Jumanji (2017)
- Lady MacBeth
- Set It Up
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
- The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society
- Sierra Burgess is a Loser
- The Holiday Calendar
- A Holiday Engagement
- Outlaw King
- The Princess Switch
- Christmas Wedding Planner
- A Christmas Prince 2: A Royal Wedding
- The Shape of Water
TV I Watched
- Parenthood (rewatch)
- The Good Place (new season)
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (new season)
- Riverdale, Season 1
- Jane the Virgin (new season)
- Everything Sucks!
- Westworld (new season)
- The Office (rewatch)
- Sharp Objects
- The Handmaid’s Tale (new season)
- Orange is the New Black (new season)
- Gilmore Girls (Seasons 1-7, rewatch)
- Splitting Up Together
- Making It
- Outlander (new season)
Goals for 2019
My goals are more or less the same as years previous. Read a lot. Write a lot. Watch films and TV. This year I want to put a better emphasis on self care as well. 2018 was nuts, and I felt pretty beaten down most of it, despite a lot of great stuff happening too.
On a less standard note, I’ve got three initiatives.
- I’m challenging myself to stop using plastic bags. I’ve got all these totes and good intentions; time to stop making excuses.
- I’m going to sew some more things because sometimes it’s just nice to make something with your hands.
- I’m incorporating daily (or near-daily) walks into my life. I have a hard time convincing myself to do a tough workout at 4:30 a.m., but I can handle putting on a pair of shoes. (Bonus: more audiobooks and podcasts. I only commute two days a week now since I work from home the other three, so I’ve lost a lot of my audio time. I prefer music when I run, but I’ve been loving the audio prose format on my walks. Currently, I’ve been listening to On Writing by Stephen King, which I’ve never read, and he’s been a delightful walking companion.)
My One Word for 2019: BLAZE
It took me a while to hit on my word this year. I started out with Burn, but it felt too destructive and too uncontrolled. I landed on a few similar words until I finally settled on Blaze. I love the double-meaning here.
One meaning is “to lead in forming or finding a new method, course, etc.” It’s a term I learned through hiking, which I also want to do more of in 2019. But it also works metaphorically as I seek to set boundaries and carve out more time for my own priorities.
But it also speaks to burning brightly, with passion and intensity. I want to work hard this year, and I want to do everything I can to capitalize on whatever good fortune came my way in 2018 and might yet arise in 2019.
(I will for now ignore the alternate, informal definition of “hell,” though I also agree with Churchill in that, if you’re going through hell, you’d best keep going.)
Adieu and Thanks
And so with that, I’m ready to bid adieu and thanks to 2018 with big dreams for 2019.
I hope you found some treasures in the dumpster heap of 2018. It’s not too late, if you look hard enough. I hope in the new year that the baubles are easier to spot and that they’re more plentiful than ever. In 2019 and beyond, I wish you the ability to dig deep, despite it all, and to go forward with hope and stubbornness that there are still so many good things ahead.