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Kissing 2018 Goodbye / Bring It On, 2019!

Listen. New Years always freaks me out. Any occasion that encourages me to look back at the past while simultaneously looking toward the future is just... super stressful. I've said it before (I say it at the end of every year!) that December is crazy between work and the holidays and social engagements.

My natural tendency is to think about all the things I didn't do and chalk it up as failing to accomplish my goals. As I reflected on my 2018, I went back to read last year's blog post about my 2018 resolutions, and I kept it simple last year: rein in my spending. And, in some aspects, I accomplished that. I cut down on ordering pizza when I felt too lazy to cook, I didn't add (very much) to my TBR pile by buying books I knew I wouldn't immediately start reading, and I only saw a handful of movies in the theatre (of course I made exceptions for Marvel movies, and my mom and I went to see Book Club because it looked too good).

But I totally fell flat on the writing front. While I didn't publish my goals, because I didn't want to embarrass myself if I didn't accomplish them, I definitely planned to release at least one full-length novel in 2018. I've been working on Dump and Chase for over a year now, and it's nowhere near finished. My current goal is to get it released in early 2019, but the goalposts change every day, when I fail to hit my daily word count.

That's not say I didn't do some awesome author things this year. I attended three signing events all across my home state of Pennsylvania, during which I got to meet my writer friends and new readers. I was in two successful anthologies which raised a ton of money for charities. And of course the biggie was becoming a USA TODAY best-selling author.

And—personally—I got to do some fun new things. I visited two new-to-me cities (Dallas and DC), saw two NWHL games, and went to Pens games with Jennifer Lazaris, one of my fave writing buddies and all-around awesome person. We've had some writing sessions while she's been visiting Pittsburgh, and she helps me focus!

Plus, I finally found out one of triggers that caused my stomach issues. To me, that was just as big as hitting the USA TODAY list! Getting my gallbladder out wasn't enough; turns out, I have dietary fructose intolerance. And as long as I don't ingest fructose, I feel great! It's a pain in the butt sometimes—do you know how many things have high fructose corn syrup in them?!—but it's no different than a person with Celiac Disease saying no to gluten. I just have to say no to highly processed foods (I'm going to miss my Sour Patch Kids!) and certain fruits and veggies. And honey. And molasses.

Flynn got the rest of his teeth removed, and he's been happy and healthy ever since. No issues with him not eating! He plays more, chases his sister and annoys her, and cuddles with his momma.

So, was 2018 epic like I had predicted? ...Kinda? I don't know, to be honest. It had its ups and downs. But I'm accepting it and rolling forward.

Okay, so I looked back. Now it's time to predict the future! Just kidding. I'm not predicting anything, or making promises. In fact, I'd argue that I'm not even making resolutions. I am, however, stating my intentions for 2019.

I seem to do things in threes, and my intentions are no different. For the first one, I had played around with a couple different ideas. Now that I'm fructose free, I have to pay attention to ingredients—which means it's a lot easier to prepare my own food with natural, whole ingredients than it is to examine food lists for pre-made foods or restaurant fare. Of course, I have a list of some go-to's when I need a quick bite: Panera, Chipotle, Five Guys, and my favorite local pizza place. But everything else can be iffy.

Plus, eating out is my biggest budget buster. Whether it's getting out of the office on my lunch break or grabbing something quick on my way home from work or errands, to optimize my precious personal time, I eat way too much pre-made food.

And the thing is, I love to cook. I just don't have the time for it.

Well, not anymore. Because in 2019, I'm gonna cook more! It'll save me money, make me feel better because I'll be sure to avoid that pesky fructose, and I'll enjoy finding new recipes and tweaking them to make my own master cookbook. Oh yeah, and bragging rights every time I get a compliment!

Number two was easy. Be nicer to myself. I have a tendency to be hard on myself when I miss my deadlines. But you know what? It's hard to work full time, run a household, write stories, and maintain a social life while not getting burnt out. Because once I burn out, I have a harder time getting back into my groove after I recuperate.

If I'm being honest with myself, I think I spent a lot of 2018 feeling burnt out, but trying to push forward anyway. Which really felt more like dragging a screaming toddler through a toy store than anything actually productive. So maybe I should not do that anymore, right?

So if I don't hit my word count, it's not the end of the world. I'll just try again the next day. And note I didn't say "try harder the next day," because that's how you get burnt out!

I really, really wish I could be the type of writer who could write thousands of words a day after spending eight hours at work, and write out chapters as fast as I can read them. But... that's just not who I am. I have tried to be that kind of author, but I couldn't make it happen—and when I try too hard, I burn out and lose my flow.

So if I don't finish my chapter on time? I'm not gonna kick myself. If I cave and grab a burrito bowl from Chipotle instead of making a dinner from scratch, I'm not going to get angry at myself for not sticking to my resolution. Because it's not about making sure every day is a success; it's about keeping the focus on the overarching goal. When I lose sight of that... well, then I struggle and don't release full-length novels. I want that to change in 2019.

Lastly, it's always a goal of mine every year to travel somewhere new. As I mentioned before, I went to Dallas for five-ish days last January and then DC with my cousins in August. The year before was Nashville. The year before that was Myrtle Beach. Where will 2019 lead me? Not sure; I haven't decided yet. I have plenty of time to decide. But no matter where it is, it'll be somewhere I haven't been before!

Okay, so, that's it I think. I reflected a lot, and I projected even more. Tonight, I'm going to celebrate making it through one more calendar year and kiss 2018 goodbye. Feel free to share your plans and your intentions for 2019!

Ya girl,



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