End of Year Review

photo of fireworks
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It is the last day of 2018. I think it’s time for some reflection and self-evaluation.

Is this what bloggers do? It seems like something they would do. I should probably research it, but I’m not going to. It wouldn’t matter anyway, because I wouldn’t listen.

“The most important thing is that you put out consistent content for your readers,” all the bloggers say.

And we’ve seen how well I do that.

Reflection

It’s been a good year. I started a blog. I started reading classic literature. I haven’t done much else, but that’s okay.

I’ve grown a lot, I think. I’ve become a better writer and a better reader. I’ve done more and been more productive this year than I think I ever have.

And it’s all documented right here, on January Fern.

Blog

After I post this, I will have written (ooh, future perfect tense) thirty blog posts this year. Which is not even three posts a month. Considering, however, that, in 2017, I wrote zero blog posts, I think I’m doing pretty good.

This blog has been a lot of fun. You guys are great, and I love posting things for you.

It’s also helped me as a writer. I now have a more definite writing voice, and that has helped me in other areas–especially in writing essays.

I guess that’s all I’ve really been doing on here–writing essays. This is like my collection of essays.

And you guys are reading them. So now, whenever someone says something rude to you, you can come back with, “Oh yeah? Well, do you read not even three essays a month?”

You’re welcome.

Books

I’ve read eight books. (I’ve read more than that, I think, but these were the serious ones, e.g. the ones I wrote down.)

Here they all are, in the order that I read them:

  1. Emma, by Jane Austen
  2. Far from the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy
  3. Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
  4. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
  5. At Betram’s Hotel, by Agatha Christie
  6. North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell
  7. The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  8. Silas Marner, by George Eliot

There’s no Dickens on that list. I meant for Dickens to be on there.

It seems like a very small list when you write it all out like that and consider that I had twelve whole months. A full year. Eight books.

Weak stuff.

But I spent about four of those months on Anna, so there was a lot of lost time there.

I’ve written reviews on all of them except for The Fellowship of the Ring and Silas Marner. I think I might wait on The Fellowship and post a review of that along with a review of the other Lord of the Rings books.

Silas Marner should be coming out soon, though. (Spoiler Alert: George Eliot is a woman.)

Now I should choose my favorite and least favorite, right?

Favorite is a close race between Emma and North and South. I really enjoyed both of them, but I think I’m going to have to go with Emma. The characters are just so good. And I have a lot of fluffy feelings connected to that book. I had a bad sore throat when I was reading it, so I spent a lot of time curled up on the couch drinking medicinal tea.

It was strangely pleasant. To this day, I can’t smell that tea (it was called Throat Coat) without thinking of Emma and Mr. Knightley and the days I spent on the couch reading.

My don’t think I have to tell you what my least favorite is. Anna Karenina has scarred me forever.

I have a Russian-speaking friend who told me that, in the original language, it’s a beautifully written book. Maybe I would appreciate it more if I hadn’t read it in stiffly-translated English.

But I did, and you, my dear readers, had to suffer for it, because I haven’t yet shut up about how much I didn’t like that book.

Other Writing

I don’t talk about this much on here. I like to talk about other people’s writing and rake it over the coals. It’s more fun.

But you know I can and do write, because I’ve posted some short stories.

However, I don’t think I actually wrote any of those stories this year. Maybe Greenhaven. But that one hardly counts as an actual story.

In all honesty, I did very little writing this year (aside from this blog and school essays and such), until about September. In September, I started writing a book. I’m going to try to finish it today.

It’s terrible, in case you were wondering.

It’s actually just a first draft, and it’s a very rough first draft. It hardly counts as a first draft. I wrote about four characters into the beginning that I completely scrapped by the end. It has no cohesion, and it needs to be completely re-written.

But it’s writing, and it can be hammered and pounded (hopefully) into something decent.

I’m not going to tell you anything else. I’ve learned that whenever I talk about books I’m trying to write, it comes across sounding much sillier than I want it to.

Does that stop me from talking about it? No, it does not.

Why am I the way I am?

I’m going to stop myself now. I’m not going to tell you anything about the actual story–I will only tell you that I’m almost done writing a horrible, sloppy, completely incoherent first draft.

And I am darn proud of it.

The New Year

2019. In roughly fourteen hours, it begins.

I have no resolutions this year. New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t even be a thing anymore. At one time, in the distant past, they must have been taken seriously. Maybe someone even kept one.

But they’re a joke now, especially to people who are incapable of posting three thousand measly words online every month.

No, my friends and readers, I don’t have resolutions.

I have goals.

I think those two words are basically the same thing, but goal feels much softer. Resolution sounds like someone’s going to beat you with a club if you don’t keep it.

In the words of Zig Ziglar (who I think is famous–I don’t actually know who he is), “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

See? Goals are nice. You don’t even have to reach them. If you don’t reach them, you’ve still improved. And then you can set another one and try again.

I have one goal that I’ll share with you guys: I want to read twelve books next year. I read eight this year. Four more shouldn’t be too hard, especially since Anna Karenina won’t be one of them.

That’s four extra months for book-reading.

I’ll come back to you on December 31, 2019 to talk about how it went.

Happy New Year, everyone! May your year be filled with laughter and peace and nice, forgiving goals.

And books and writing, as always.

And chocolate.

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