Looking back at resolutions from 2019- success or failure?

resolutions 2019

Well here we are at the end of another year. I kind of feel like I’ve sleepwalked towards 2020, cos OOF this last month has been a toughie- sorry I’ve not been as active on here as I’d have liked! Hope to rectify that in the New Year! And speaking of changes… it’s time to reflect on my resolutions. I won’t say this has been the easiest or most exciting year for me, but it’s been better in a lot of ways than many of the years that have gone before and there’s a few things I’m really happy about – SO I’LL TAKE IT! Let’s see how I did with my resolutions…

Bookish:

number 1

10 More Books from My Challenging list

I did pretty well with this, reading 7/10, even though I just wasn’t feeling some of the tougher books on this list this year.

number 2

10 Non-Fiction Reads

15/10 – Knocked this one out of the park! Here’s some of the highlights…

number 3

5 Rereads

5/5 – There were a lot of books I hoped to reread for fun and that didn’t happen- but I still managed to complete this goal.

number 4

5 Poetry Collections

4/5 – nearly made it! Well, that’s if you’re not considering how most of these aren’t poetry collections, but I reckon it counts cos they were all in verse. Plus, I did read a lot of individual poems this year.

Non Bookish:

number 5

Compile notebooks

Soo my last goal was to type up the wolfy notebook… of course I’ve filled up another one since then… Okay I’m always managing to fill up notebooks. This is a never-ending task lol. 5/5

number 6

Complete another language on Duolingo

5/5 midway through the year

(as I mentioned in my mid year’s resolutions I pressed pause on any language learning midway through the year)

number 7

THE DREADED EDITING

monkey typewriter

I finished everything I wanted to do around August, so 30/30, but I will say my writing habits got *weird* after I finished the BIG PROJECT. I did do a bit of tinkering in October, then tried working on something else (big fail), fell into a killer writing slump, had a bizarre surge with a new(ish) project towards the end of the year… only to fall off the wagon with that too. Regardless, this was definitely a win!

Score: 66/70 94%

A

Definitely better than my C from last year!

And for extra credit…

number 8

Art- start painting again and finish sketchbook

orangutan artist0003

I’ve been working on drawings a lot more this year and I even started an Instagram for it- though I’ve been using various sketchbooks, so it’s not easy to tell if I’ve done this or not. Definitely counting this as a win too.

number 9

Yoga challenge x2

Ah this was a late addition I couldn’t complete in time. I managed to squeeze in one yoga challenge, but not two. This is something I’ll have to work on next year!

And that concludes my wrap up! Pretty happy with how that went! How have you done with your resolutions this year? Let me know in the comments! And a ***Happy New Year*** to you all!

My Reading Stats for 2019 – A Bookish Overview

Hello all! I’m doing another of my annual traditions today and sharing my stats from the year! Let’s get to it!

reading stats 2019

number of books 2019

average rating 2019

genre 2019.png

age category 2019.png

ratings 2019

Now forgive me, this is the part where I get really geeky with statistics…

My ratings are a little down (they were 3.55 in 2017 and 3.66 in 2018), but I think this kind of variation is to be expected. I’m still happy I’m not choosing too many 1-2 banana books. When it comes to the types of books I’ve been picking, it’s somewhat of a mixed bag. One of the most interesting things to note this year were the couple of cross-genre books- some worked (Evelyn Hardcastle) others didn’t (Behind Her Eyes). Other than that, however, my tastes have remained quite consistent. Classics have been static (at 13% for the last three years!); fantasy was about the same as last year (34% again). Most significantly, YA is down from 47% last year to 40% this year (which I’d say is more like my yearly average and last year was a bit of a blip). Of course, given I’ve read considerably more books this year (last year I read 165), I’ve technically read more YA books in total 😉 Still, what I’m most excited about is that I somehow managed to read 15 non-fiction books- when I usually have to challenge myself to manage ten!! And while I don’t have the stats for this (I didn’t have the forethought to take note when I only listened to a couple a year 😉), there have definitely been more audiobooks (18 this year!)

shortest book

winning against the odds

A quick read about funny football stories 😊

longest book

atlas shrugged

An absolute SLOG!

worst book

Two this year, because it seems fitting to show a little balance:

favourite book

sadie

no. dnfs

otherworld

I only DNF’d Otherworld- which is ridiculous- I need to get better at this!

no. rereads

Only 5!

most popular

the alchemist

least popular

winning against the odds

highest rated

march 3

Yeah I can understand that.

lowest rating

furies

So undeserved! My goodness- this book deserves more love!

***New category***

best audiobooks

And, to reflect my new reading habits, I had to include this new category, just so I could recommend these audiobooks…

And that’s a wrap! Do you keep track of your stats? How have your ratings been this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

Just *Some* of the Incredible Books I Read in 2019…

Before we get to my top ten, I always like to do a little teaser to share some of the other amazing books I read this year. All of these are TOP BANANA- so they deserve some love and attention! Here are just a few of my reading highlights from the year…

Aurora Rising and Cruel Prince were excellent series openers. Soul of the Sword got me excited to read more! Holy Sister and Crowfall were both excellent ways to wrap up a series. Daisy Jones has been playing on my mind ever since I listened to it on audiobook. I got tried Laini Taylor’s delectable Night of Cake and Puppets. Woman in Black was *freaky*. Evelyn Hardcastle was one of the most unique books I’ve ever read! Woke made me laugh out loud! And I fell in love with Cait @Paper Fury’s books this year as well. And, of course, Secret History has been making reminisce ever since I read it.

And that’s all for now! Feel free to get excited about the top ten, because they rock!!

Monkey at the Movies: TV Roundup! #2

monkey at the movies 2

It’s been a while since I talked about my TV habits– and to be honest that’s cos in the last 6 months, I’ve only watched 4 shows of note… which is why I’ll be recommending them all today. Seems like a good time to kick back and relax 😊 Let’s just jump into it!

Lucifer– I watched the pilot a few years ago, but I wasn’t crazy about it… until I tried it again. Two episodes in and I was hooked! It was more fun than I’ve had in a long time with a TV show- it reminded me of old seasons of Supernatural. I mean, it’s a buddy cop show… with the devil! And if that puts you off, hold on! Because who doesn’t love a good redemption story? And who is a better candidate for that than the one and only Lucifer Morningstar. I absolutely adore the concept and the execution is perfect. The chemistry between Lucifer and Chloe is amazing. The first series was entertaining as hell, the second had a beautiful ending and the third had an incredible plot (though some of the stuff with Pierce was annoying). There was a death I never thought I’d mourn as well- but it really got to me! Plus, there was so much Gaiman, which I loved! Looking forward to catching the last two seasons on Netflix when I get the chance 🙂

Poldark (season 5)– this is the kind of show where I legit cry at every episode. Now, I will admit this was an unusual season, because it wasn’t following the books anymore annnnd it wasn’t perfect. Gonna get a bit spoilery, so be warned. I for one wanted to see the finale tie into the plot that had been going on all season- perhaps have the end link up with the fact the villains had been involved in the slave trade and have their demise be tied into the abolition of slavery. Instead, that whole plotline was kind of irrelevant and it reverted back to the whole fighting France plot- which worked in some ways, it was just a shame it felt a bit old hat at this stage. The pacing wasn’t great either- since George’s madness kept hitting the on-off switch. Still, it was as emotional as ever and there were some real highlights to the season- especially with Caroline and Ennis. So, while I’d say the last season could’ve been better, I’d definitely recommend this series as a whole.

Keeping Faith– I loved this series. Focused on a mysterious disappearance that leaves a loving wife and mother in the lurch… and in increasing danger! It was emotional, moving, entertaining. The story builds and builds, until the dramatic finale. All the acting was amazing- even the children- who are often the weak link yet here shine with some of the best performances. The heroine is *the best*- a nuanced woman, which we rarely see on tv. She’s a mum, she’s accomplished and she’s unapologetically female. The landscape, scenery and atmosphere star as well- really showcasing the beauty of Wales. Many critics were surprised that this seemingly small Welsh thriller ended up being such a huge hit- especially since it was shared pretty much by word of mouth- but I think that’s why it did so well. There’s no frills, no funny business, just good old-fashioned storytelling- and there’s not much more you can ask than that.

His Dark Materials– this. is. the. perfect. adaptation. I’ve waited *forever* to see a good version of one of my all-time favourite fantasy series and THIS WAS IT!!! I am so grateful to finally get to watch this- so you’ll just have to forgive the gush!! I’m not actually someone who is hypercritical of the old adaption- though there were obvious things wrong with it if you’re a fan of the books. As Pullman said, there wasn’t enough room in that movie. Thankfully, the story is given space to breathe here and it’s glorious for it. There is so much to love about the BBC’s His Dark Materials. I adored so much of the casting- McAvoy is an *awesome* Asriel, Lin-Manuel Miranda brings swagger to the role of Lee, Ruth Wilson is chilling as Mrs Coulter and I think the new Lyra is incredible!! Just amazing!! I did like the old cast, but I am *so happy* with this one!! The graphics are beautiful as well! I also love the foreshadowing and crossover with The Subtle Knife– that’s a sharp touch I wouldn’t have thought they’d include. It seemed determined to make me cry every episode as well. I’m just completely buzzing about this!

So, have you seen any of these? Do you plan to? And have you watched any amazing TV lately? Let me know in the comments!

What to do when you’re burnt out from writing?

am writing

Sooo I did plan to do a few *very* different pieces back in November. After finishing most of my editing goals for the year in August, I hoped I would have something new to work on by now. Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), this year, seemed like a promising time to start drafting my first new project in *years*… but as you might have guessed from the title of this piece, that’s not what happened. Not only is my WIP currently off slumbering in the Chamber of Secrets, but I couldn’t seem to look any new project in the eye without getting petrified. So not much writing happened in Nanowrimo. It turns out, I’m experiencing a little thing called burn out.

candle burning down

I shouldn’t really be surprised- it’s kinda the natural ebb and flow of creativity- but at the same time I often find myself at a loss when I find a loose hour here or there that I’d normally love to fill with some writing. Which is why, I thought I’d put together a fun list of what you can do when you’re burnt out from writing (or anything else for that matter):

See friends– yes, they might have forgotten what you looked like. You might have to remind them who you are- but I’m sure they’ll be happy to see you now you’ve emerged from your writing cave and can say something more than *grunt* *edit* *grunt* *must. write. now*

friends hug

Watch *all the TV*- granted I haven’t tried this yet- but I think a good binge could solve all most of my problems.

watch tv

READ– I mean, obviously. And it’s probably nothing new, since you may have used this to procrastinate from working on your WIP. But at least now you won’t have any pesky writing-goblin perched on your shoulder making you feel guilty about it!

matilda books

Do something else that’s creative– for me that often involves drawing (mostly monkeys 😉)- but it could be anything from crocheting, knitting or building a bird house… whatever floats your boat.

painting

Blog about how you’re burnt out– (ooh meta). You could also blog in general, catch up on comments and hop around the blogosphere 😀

writing

Stare into space

stare into space

Dream of doing something with your WIP (but also not just yet cos you need to breathe and that ish is scary)

daydream.gif

Dust off an old project– *stare at it intently*, promise to plan it soon, maybe start planning it, scrap plans, *stare some more* like you’re in a Twilight movie, lather, rinse, repeat.

stare

And finally…

*Give it some time*- yes, my final piece of advice (to myself and everyone else going through this) is that it’ll come! You can try and force it, but the best thing I’ve always found is to take a breather and just let it come.

breathe

So, have you experienced burn out before? What did you do to get over the hump? Let me know in the comments!

How to Deal with DOUBT

We all know how doubt can be debilitating. Well, maybe not all- narcissists and less sophisticated primates are never plagued with doubt… so I’ll try again: we all should have some idea how deadly doubt can be… but equally how much we need it in writing. Because we need doubt to propel us to ruthlessly edit our messy manuscripts; we need to pick out our flaws and correct them. I for one like to take all my doubts out the drawer periodically and hold them in my hand until they grow so heavy that I feel like I’m sinking into a quicksand of doom and despair… or maybe that’s just me?

Okay, maybe that’s not the healthiest way to deal with doubt. There are better, tried and tested ways of dealing with doubt, like…

Crying.

crying orangutan

Singing super cheesy anthems at the top of your lungs.

Power through- just hope those little voices inside your head go. away.

writing

POWER THROUGH EVEN MORE- this means ruthlessly editing a gazillion times, writing more and more and more…

bad writing gig

Read books by professionals and feel bad about it (aka chewing yourself out by convincing yourself you will never live up to those insane standards you set yourself)

pretending to read

Well, that wasn’t so bad. But we can do better than that…

Note that *CONGRATS* feeling doubt is a totally normal part of the process for any creative person.

thumbs up

Note that books on the shelves have been edited by professionals and it’s okay if you’re not up to that standard (yet).

choose books

Note that it’s a process and you’re getting there (just think about how crap you were when you started and you’ll feel better, I promise 😉).

think happy thoughts.gif

Note that there’s always more room for more books in the world. Think of all those libraries and bookshops that need stocking with new stories!

book love belle

Note that it’s okay to take breaks- you don’t have to power through all the time- seriously, it’s okay to take breaks!

orangutan on a beach relaxing0003

And if none of this has helped, then…

Eat ice cream (and bananas) because this will always help. Always.

banana split

Actually, go do that anyway! Do you think any of these will be helpful? How do you deal with doubt? Let me know in the comments!