beautiful carolina dog with pink happy new year headband

2023: Phew, I Made It!

After the rush of the holiday season, I find myself wondering how it is already eight days into January. The past few weeks have gone by in the blink of an eye. Normally, at the end of the year, I’m able to spend a few days reflecting on the past year and getting prepped for the upcoming one.

In 2023, I’m not quite so prepared. At least not yet, anyway.

December really was a whirlwind. I had a series of medical issues that included having a (thankfully benign) breast tumor removed and then healing from that process over the course of a few weeks. Scary, expensive, and time consuming due to all the appointments, but ultimately harmless.

Just as I was healing from the surgery, I had an allergic reaction to raw cashew oils after eating a large amount of DELICIOUS vegan cashew cheese. (FYI: I feel like it is my duty in life to spread the word that poison ivy, cashews, and mangos are all in the same plant family and produce the same irritating oil. If you’re allergic to poison ivy, there’s a chance you’re allergic to raw cashews and the skin of mangoes. I’ve eaten roasted cashews and prepared mangoes and always been fine, but the fresh ones are menaces.) Yikes! This reaction lasted a week and was so itchy and painful. Not pretty…

In the midst of my December health issues, Alex and I went on weekend mountain trips with my family to Tennessee and then with his family in a town near Boone. We then proceeded to celebrate Christmas four times between our families, over the course of two weeks. (Yes, FOUR!)

At some point during all this, I caught a bug (not Covid) that manifested this past week, I’ve had a sore throat, headache, and chills as I’ve tried to catch up on my mountain of writing and editing.

Phew.

And to think, Alex and I have been wondering why we’re so tired lately!

2022 was a wild ride during its last month, but, to be annoyingly cheery about it, that means I’m starting 2023 with a grateful attitude. I’m incredibly thankful for my overall good health. Yes, we had a million bills (from mammograms, breast ultrasounds, anesthesia, copays, and so on), but it’s a gentle reminder that my life could be much more hectic than it has turned out.

My cashew reaction was funny in the end since I had to confess to my dear husband that I’d eaten a wheel and a half of cashew cheese in just a few days. And the bug? It’s almost passed, and I’m feeling more energetic by the moment.

Even though hopping from one holiday meal to another took some time and energy, it was wonderful seeing everyone over the holidays. How lucky we are to have so many people we care about and who care about us, too!

Reading & Writing Reflections for 2022

December aside, 2022 really was a wonderful year in many ways! I finished the first draft of my cozy mystery (finally, right???), and it’s come in at 75,000-ish words. While there are still some “trouble” spots I need to work out, I’m so happy to be able to have reached this point. I’m not sure I ever actually believed I could write a 75,000-word draft of a story that’s all my own. Pretty cool.

I also read lots of good books over the year that have stayed with me. Here are some of my favorite 2022 reads (including the one word I’d used to describe each of them), in no particular order:

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak (Heartbreaking)

“Death in Castle Dark” by Veronica Bond (Cozy)

“Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Eerie)

“The Ghost Bride” by Yangsze Choo (Spectral)

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Absorbing)

Writing Excitement for 2023

This year, I have several exciting (and nerve-wracking) steps to take in my own writing:

  • I will be doing a full edit of my cozy mystery manuscript.
  • I will be searching for a literary agent. (!)
  • Outline my second cozy mystery.

My hope is to have my book traditionally published, but I know the journey to get there is almost always a (very) long one. I’ll keep my fingers crossed this year and, of course, keep you all updated along the way!

I’m actually looking forward to doing my big edit. Weird, I know. Most recently, I went through and added/removed scenes from my manuscript so I could come out with a more cohesive draft. This was a tremendous task, mostly because I initially wrote scenes out of order, writing them as “inspiration” struck. I did have an outline before I began, but I strayed from it the more I wrote.

When I finally finished my super-skinny skeleton draft, some names, places, and plot details had evolved since I’d first started writing. So that meant I had to go back and rework everything to at least get everyone and everything in the same story!

This was a very tedious task, and I kept thinking how much more fun it would be if I could just actually get to improving the story I wanted to write. Finally, I’m at that stage. It’s like chiseling away at a misshapen rock to reveal the vague shape you want. Now, I’m finetuning it.

I hope you all have exciting projects ahead of you this year. Keep in mind that I’m always happy to be a free beta reader when my schedule permits! Just message me at papercrowblog@gmail.com.

What are you planning to work on this year? Did you have any takeaways from 2022? Share them with the community in the comments section!

4 thoughts on “2023: Phew, I Made It!”

  1. My key takeaway for 2022 was that activity doesn’t always mean progress. And I can trick myself into thinking I’m busy when I actually don’t get anything out of it at the end of the year. Wishing you all the best for 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the truth right there! I’m “guilty” of doing that as well. Thanks for sharing! It’s a good reminder to focus on quality more than quantity. I hope you have a great year, as well!

      Like

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