What I Accomplished in 2019

2019 was a big year for me! I had a lot going on both personally and professionally in my writing life and science career. So today, I’d like to look back at what I hoped to accomplish this year as well as what I actually did accomplish.

Personal Stuff in 2019

So this year I did a bunch of pretty awesome things and/or had some awesome things happen:

  • Had my 1 year anniversary ❤
  • Visited Peru
  • Visited Minnesota
  • Met Nichelle Nichols
  • Earned a promotion to Senior Scientist at my day job
  • Gained a nephew!

Writing Accomplishments in 2019

Guess what? This was also a HUGE year for my writing career. All of these were resolutions last year, and guess what? I did them! Check it out!

  • Published my first novel ever!
  • Published another 2 novellas
  • Queried Sea of Broken Glass…and got a revise & resubmit!
  • Learned So. Much. Marketing.

Looking back on a decade

Yeah, so turns out we’re closing out the 2010s, and a lot of people are talking about what they did over the last 10 years. So let me outline my decade for you:

  • Graduated with my BA in Biology in 2011
  • Attended grad school and obtained my MS in Neuroscience in 2015
  • Learned how much I love to write…and that I wanted to publish
  • Began a job in biology where I get to work on the cutting edge of drug development
  • Earned an award at the day job for key work on a big project
  • Advanced from Scientist to Senior Scientist
  • Made huge strides in learning the industry of publishing and books
  • Became an indie author
  • Had my heart broken, then found the love of my life
  • Lost two grandparents and several pets
  • Fell in love with new pets
  • Married the love of my life
  • Started my own business
  • Visited Iceland and Peru
  • Went to my first conventions: Katsucon, Wizard World, Galaxy Con, and Book Con
  • Got a Revise & Resubmit on a book close to my heart
  • Learned who I want to be 🙂

I have come a long way over the last ten years, including a lot of heartache and struggle that helped me become a better, more compassionate person. I learned who I really am and who I want to be. I found the place in life that makes me happy, and I’m looking forward more than ever to what the next decade will bring us.

Final Thoughts on 2019

I don’t have as many things to list as last year, but I love my accomplishments all the same! I made some huge strides in my career, both writing and science, and I took some big steps in creating the writing life I want, including publishing and writing the stories I love and readers are loving, as well. I also had a great time with my husband on several trips, big and small, learned more about our big, wide world, and saw my extended family grow in exciting ways.

Though some sad and stressful things also happened this year, I choose to focus on these good things. And I love that I’m in a place where I can say the good outweighs the bad. I sincerely hope you can, too!

Be sure to come back next week to hear what my resolutions will be for next year (I’ve got some big things planned!), but until then, tell me all about your year! What did you do? What did you love? Let’s chat and celebrate the end of 2019 together!

2018 Writing Goals

Hey there, friends! It’s the end of the year, so that means it’s a good time to reflect on the last year, both good and bad, and look forward to the year ahead. Today I’m going to share some of my personal and writing-focused experiences and goals for 2017 and 2018.

First, a look back on 2017. 2017 was a rough year, but it also had a lot of good in it. Here are the things I’m more than happy to say goodbye to:

  • I lost two of my grandparents.
  • I lost my cat, who I had for not long enough, due to genetic kidney disease.
  • There was way more than normal stress with different people in my life for different reasons.

And the good of 2017:

  • I got engaged!
  • I moved past my depression enough to say goodbye to medication (at least for now and hopefully forever).
  • My brother got married right before Christmas.

And the 2017 writing goals:

  • Regain my writing schedule. Status: IN PROGRESS. I don’t have a regular schedule, but I did get back enough to complete a draft of a novel and start a new one. I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in July (and completed it) and NaNoWriMo in November (I did not finish, but did surpass 30k words on a new fantasy novel).
  • Publish or get an agent for This Cursed Flame. Status: ALTERED. I made a lot of changes to the book over the summer, and, after a number of things not working out and re-evaluating my own goals for the book, I decided to publish it on Wattpad. You can read it here as I release chapters.
  • Finish Foxfire. Status: COMPLETE! I did manage to finish the draft of Foxfire, the first of hopefully many in an adult contemporary/urban fantasy series. I’m currently going through edits and revisions.

So what’s coming up in 2018? My wedding, in just under four months! I’m very excited to move on to this part of my life, and I’ve been very blessed to find a great guy who loves me, supports me, and pushes me to reach all my dreams and goals.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for. My 2018 writing goals:

  • Write a little every day, no matter how much.
  • Complete Foxfire and get it to the query stage!
  • Complete my high fantasy in progress and begin edits.
  • Pick up an old story I had started, a YA fantasy thriller I’m currently calling Canary in the Coal Mine. (Yes, I mentioned this one before… so excited to get this one back out of the pile of dead ideas!)
  • And, finally, complete posting This Cursed Flame.

So what about you? What are your writing goals for this year? Share in the comments, and feel free to give some advice or ideas for how you plan to accomplish those goals!

Have a great new year, guys, and I hope it’s filled with success, love, and every good thing.

❤ Selina

When You Don’t Meet Your Goals

So NaNoWriMo was in the month of November. Show of hands, who participated? Who is close to completing the goal? For me, yes on the first and no on the second.

Unfortunately, while I participated in NaNo this month, I was not able to complete my goal. I am not going to be able to reach 50k unless something really drastic happens. I was on track for much of the month, though, and I did write over 30k, which is still the most I’ve ever done.

And I have to admit I’m disappointed in myself. I feel like I let myself down. I feel like I let my fiance down, since he was rooting for me so much to reach my goal. And worst of all, I feel like I let my dream down.

So what happened?

Very simply: life.

Long version: I was on track, then I had a friend visit for a few days, so I was entertaining instead of completing my writing. Then I went home for Thanksgiving. Then I was in South Carolina for the weekend. And by that point, I was hopelessly behind, even though I did try to catch up when I could.

Now, this is the second time I have attempted NaNo. Last time I made it to 14k before I called it quits. That time, it was an intensely stressful month and the onset of a depressive episode that blocked by path. This time, it was poor planning. But I still got closer than last time.

So how do we handle it when we don’t meet our goals? Here are some tips that I’m trying to keep in mind and might help you also.

1.  Acknowledge how you feel. Don’t try to bury your anger or guilt or sadness or whatever other emotion developed from you failing to reach your goal. It’s okay to feel. Let yourself feel it. Just don’t let yourself stay there and sit in the mud.

2. Evaluate what happened. Take stock of the situation. What prevented you from reaching your goal? Where did it come from? Be realistic: was it preventable?

3. Cut yourself some slack. Don’t beat yourself up for failing. If you really tried, then you still accomplished something that hadn’t been done before. In the case of NaNo, if you wrote at all, you still added words that didn’t exist before November. Just because you didn’t finish the entire goal doesn’t mean you deserve to feel like crap about it. Life happens. Things happen. We mess up or get lazy or have too much to do. It’s okay. Accept it for what it is and strive to do better as best you can.

4. Create an action plan. After you figure out what prevented you from reaching your goal, set up a way to reach your next goal. For example, since I didn’t complete NaNo this year but still want to, I will alter my approach next year. I will weight the writing at the beginning of the month so that I have the room to spare at the end, when holidays and life really get in the way. If illness got in the way for you, like it did for me last time, make a plan to address it. If it can’t be resolved or won’t be resolved for a time, create a plan to cope and fit your writing in around it. Remember: your health always, always comes first.

5. And most of all, don’t give up. Yes, failure can feel very personal and devastating. Don’t use it as an excuse to throw in the towel. Pick up your manuscript and keep working on it. Just keep putting those words one after another, and you’ll get through it. Don’t stop writing, and don’t give in to whatever negative emotions come up.

There you have it: advice for the writing failures in your life. I hope this list of tips is helpful to you. For now, I’m going to shift back to my own writing now. I might not be able to complete the 50k this month, but I can do my best to get close.

Happy writing!

Autumn Goals

The air is crisper, the leaves are starting to change, and pumpkins are invading every corner of society. Yes, it’s true…

Fall has arrived.

Fall wasn’t always my favorite season. During my grade school years, it was probably summer (for pretty obvious reasons… no school and more time for books! Yeah, I’m a nerd.). But as I’ve gotten older, fall has become my favorite for a number of reasons. The weather is more comfortable, the smells are amazing (wood smoke, pumpkin, and apple anyone?), the memories are good, and fall is a time of renewal. Students go back to school, evoking feelings of a fresh start and opportunity, even now that I’m out of school.

And since this season has finally arrived (!), I decided I wanted to take a few minutes to share my seasonal goals with all of you. Now, these goals are personal, including things I love and things I want to accomplish, so they may not apply to you, but you may find yourself nodding right along with my list. So, without further ado, here they are:

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.

By writing your goals down (and especially when you share them), you are more likely to accomplish them. So I encourage you: take a few minutes to make some goals for yourself, whether they are just for the fall, for the rest of the year, or beyond. Then, feel free to share them in the comments below!

Personal Legends and the Writer’s Journey

I recently (finally) got around to reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. And let me tell you. Wow. I really truly believe that this is the book to read for anyone with a dream. And don’t worry, this post will be spoiler-free!

Coelho spends  a lot of time in this story discussing the idea of the Personal Legend. This is a person’s one true purpose in life, that one task or livelihood or ultimate goal that drives a person. In the story, the universe will work together to help a person achieve their personal legend… but only if they are actively working toward it and don’t push it off until you miss your opportunity. We also meet and hear about various people who had a Personal Legend and put it off until they simply fell into a pattern of complacency, forgetting their one true dream.

How true is this for us? When we are young, we dream big and imagine meeting our goals and dreams, never questioning that we will reach them. As we get older, reality hits us, and we often let our dreams falter under the pressure of demands like work, family, school, and everything else that can so easily take up all our time, energy, and money. We become those complacent people who give up or forget what our dreams are, what our true purpose is. We so often let ourselves be defeated by life.

I think anyone who had a childhood dream (which is everyone) should take a few hours and read this book. It’s short, but its ideas are eternal. Take a few minutes and remember what your dreams are. Rediscover your Personal Legend. Figure out how you can make real strides toward it, whether it’s taking a class, dedicating ten minutes a day to pursuing it, doing some internet searches, or making some big changes in your life.

Keep yourself moving forward, whether you are succeeding or failing (because really, those terms just describe how you look at it… even failures can be successes and steps in the right direction. Watch Disney’s Meet the Robinsons for some good inspiration there). Just keep taking steps in that direction. The speed doesn’t matter as long as you are moving.

Whatever you do, fight complacency. Fight the drudgery of reality. Follow your Personal Legend.

So, it’s your turn. What are your Personal Legends? What has kept you from pursuing them? How can you change that? Tell me in the comments below!