2021 Reviews & Reflections

good morning, cyberspace!

Today, as 2021 draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the multitudes of goals I created for myself at the start of the year. January held all the potential a new year can present, and it’s pretty obvious by my intentions for the year that I had… high hopes for how 2021 would progress. XD

Unfortunately, I also have a tendency to forget about these new goals about halfway through the year, but ya know. It’ll be fun to review them and see how many I actually managed to accomplish!

For anyone wanting to read the original post to get a sense of how horribly oblivious Past Kenzie was to the challenges this year would present, here’s a handy dandy hyper link for you to follow through the wormholes of the internet. However, if you’d rather just snatch the highlights and enjoy my PRESENT reactions to such goals as these, keep reading, sailor!

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2021 REVIEWS & REFLECTIONS

WRITING

First up we have our Writing-Related Goals! Apparently I like to section things off into departments, so we’ll be starting with the most exciting one first. XD

complete the first draft of PROJECT GOBLIN

I did this!! I finished the first draft of Project Goblin back in August, and it was… kind of a mess? But it was MY mess, and it was brilliant and amazing all at once, and I’m so so excited to dive into edits next year! *bites nails nervously*

read and revise the second draft of PROJECT SUNSET … ☓?

I… don’t know if I completed this or not. I definitely read and re-outlined this entire book, as well as revised the entire first half of it for NaNoWriMo. So like…? DID I ACTUALLY WIN?

Part of me says yes, but my heart says “eh…no”. So we’re going to split it halfway down the middle and give myself half a point. XD YES, I revised and re-plotted the whole outline, but as far as the whole second draft goes… there’s still some work to be done.

And that’s okay! It gives me something to look forward to for January!

outline and draft PUMPKALAGOO ☓

Nope. This one didn’t happen even in the slightest. But, in my defense, I’ve still been brainstorming new ideas for this book throughout the entire year, and I’m fairly confident that I’ll have enough material to get started in 2022. Whether or not this comes to pass is yet to be seen, but I have high hopes for this one, guys… High hopes, indeed…

thorough readthrough and revision of EVERLOST ☓

This one absolutely did not happen. And I also decided about halfway through 2021 that I was no longer going to pursue everlost in the publishing world. But! I’m still in love with the characters. I’m still obsessed with the fairytales surrounding it. And if someday I find a way to bring new life into this story, I’m absolutely going to take it and run.

So everlost may be in the drawer for right now, but someday… someday it may return. We’ll just have to wait and see!

COMMUNITY

This was a new addition for my 2021 goals post, and while the idea was definitely there, I’m not sure I really excelled on the execution of it. XD

Of course, one might say 2021 was the test run to greater and grander things *hint hint*, so I’m not TOO upset that I basically failed each and every one of these aspirations…

It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.

post to blog 1 time a week (excepting any hiatuses I might feel convicted to take) ☓

Um… So yeah, this didn’t happen? I’ve published a grand total of 35 blog posts this year, which means that *whips out calculator* there were 17 weeks that passed without my beautiful pixie dust presence. *dramatic hair flip*

Okay, okay, so I only KINDA failed this one, I think! So much happened this year that I’m honestly not very surprised I couldn’t get out a whole 52 blog posts, but you know what? I’m pretty stinkin’ proud that I managed 35! (36 now that I’ve published this one… mwahahahaha!) I’d say that that’s a pretty good number.

we’re just going to completely ignore the fact that last year I managed to put out 41 blog posts. once again. it’s fine. I’m fine. everything is fine.

post to instagram 3x weekly ☓

Not even gonna sugarcoat it. This one was a giant, massive fail. So yeah! Nothing else to say for this except the fact that Instagram was not a high priority for me this year, and I don’t really suspect it’s going to be a high priority for me next year. But again… we shall see. XD

become more involved with the writing/blogging community as a whole ☓

Again… not really sure whether or not I completed this. XD I definitely did some community things this year, such as participating in The Silmaril Awards for the second year running, but I wouldn’t say I became more involved in the blogging and writing community. It’s still something high on my list of things I want to do, but as of right now, I haven’t made the extended effort to actually begin.

That is, as of right now, something I really, REALLY want to improve on. Because, as I’ve mentioned a million times, I want so badly to give back to this community that has given me everything. I have a true and deep passion for encouraging other writers, and while I’m still learning so much every day, I know that eventually there will come a time and a place where I will be able to share all the random bits of information I’ve learned over the years as a sort of writer coach. And I can’t wait for that day to come.

READING

And here we come at last to our final goal section! I’m not nervous at all… Aha…

read 21 books …

Every year, I try to read the same amount of books as the last two digits of the year. Last year, it was 20 books. This year, it’s 21. I’m currently at 20 books read, which means I need to read 1 more book before I can check this one off… However, even though one book is a LOT for this slow reader to read in a matter of days, I am wholly, unashamedly DETERMINED to make it happen. I have a plan, friends. It’s gonna work.

And I am nothing if not a highly competitive creature. I will be marking this one off with a check mark. I WILL, PEASANTS!!!

read mostly from the books that are currently on my shelves

I’m actually pretty certain I accomplished this one! Of the 18 books I’ve read (so far!), 5 of them were shelf rereads, 3 were books I hadn’t read yet but owned, 4 were gifts, 4 were loaned to me, and 3 were books I bought this year because I have literally no self-control.

I also just bought like 5 more books to add to my collection but SH. IT’S FINE.

The last one was a beta read, and I’m not sure which category that would fall under… But it was amazing and once it’s published, I highly recommend reading it. XD

I definitely think I need to undergo some sort of book-buying ban next year, though. My TBR is buckling underneath the weight of my incompetence.

READ. MORE. INDIE. ☓

Unfortunately, I only read one Indie book this year. And YES, I am mad about it.

But! That one book happened to be Echo of The Fae by Jenelle Schmidt, and y’ALL. YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. It’s so whimsical and soft and absolutely STUNNING, and I highly, highly recommend it…

I really want to venture into the world of Indie books more next year, though. And this time I want to, you know, actually do it.

>>> <<<

All righty! So those were my goals for 2021, and–taking a quick peek back up through the stats…–it looks as though I have a 3.5 out of 10 success rate…

Um… That’s really not very good, is it. XD BUT! This just means that there’s room for improvement, and room for improvement means there’s room to grow, and room to grow means I have not yet peaked! And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing!

No Problem Reaction GIF

So now that we’ve taken a look at the goals of 2021, I’d really like to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite things that happened this past year.

2021, while full of of all Life’s ups and downs, really held some incredible milestones for me. So much has happened, so much has changed. And while I could have gone without some of its intense stresses, I’m so unbelievably thankful for everything that has happened. Had you told me one year ago that I would be standing where I’m standing now, I never would have believed you. I would have thought you were mental. But time is an interesting entity, and God is incredibly good, and I will never forget or regret the hard lessons, invaluable truths, and incredible opportunities that He has given me.

HIGHLIGHTS & REFLECTIONS OF 2021

meeting my writing friends for the first time (again and again and again)

I was surprised in multiple ways this past year, but one of the most incredible (and shocking) of these was when Phoebe and Kate showed up out of the blue to the coffee shop where I work. What started out as just a regular day in March turned into something so much more impossible when I was working–trying my hardest to maintain a pretty decent mid-morning rush, might I add–and heard the words “We’re here for Kenzie”.

…In retrospect I realize that perhaps this may be a slightly terrifying sort of thing to say to someone you’ve never met, but I digress. XD

I remember glancing up to see two figures standing in the middle of the shop, masks on their faces and mischief in their eyes. My first thought was “I have no clue who these people are”. And then, in the span of a single second, I realized I’d known them for years.

It was Phoebe, the girl I’d trampled toddlers with at Frankenmuth. And right beside her…

Kate.

My first writer friend. One of my first true friends, really. The girl I’d been texting since I was 16, spilling my dreams about the future, turning conversations of story into a life-long friendship through mile-long emails. Kate. The girl I’d been promising to meet someday for the past four years.

And there she was. Standing right in front of me.

Yes, I cried.

That day was magical. The week after at Phoebe’s birthday party was even more so.

And then there was the 4th of July.

I met Ruby, Ally, Leona… Girls who had been nothing more than pixels on a screen for years (none of us are axe-murderers, unfortunately). We stayed up until midnight giggling over our awful first drafts and drinking sparkling grape juice. We fell asleep to the sound of fireworks cracking in the distance and woke up to sunlight, gelato, and Firefly. It was magic. It was impossible. And it was real.

I will never forget that summer. Not in a million years.

being nominated for barista of the year for northwest ohio

Some things happen, and you wonder why on earth they happened to you. Once in a lifetime opportunities. Strange happenstances. Random aligning of the stars.

I will never understand why God’s design for me was to be nominated for something such as this, nor will I ever know why He chose me to be the one to step outside my comfort zone over and over again this past year–traveling to Grand Rapids Michigan, participating in a work conference, stepping into new roles at my job, overcoming some of my deepest insecurities and biggest fears week after week after week. But there is no denying His goodness, and though I couldn’t see where He was leading me most days, I’m so thankful that I trusted. That I stepped out onto those rocky waters knowing that I could very well fall. Because I know now that I can get through anything. For once you’ve faced your deepest fears, there’s nothing left to be scared of.

finishing project goblin’s first draft

On a lighter note, I just really, really love writing, guys. And one of my overarching goals for every year is to finish a draft of something. Typically, I’d like to be able to write a first draft every year. It’s my happy space, my getaway from real life, and I just adore the creation of it all. So finally finishing this book that’s been on my mind since 2018 was simply magical. I may not have done EVERYTHING on my writing list, but writing this book was a highlight, and I’m so excited to see where it takes me from here. (also I got my first ever piece of hate mail the very day I finished this draft, and guys. I’m STILL laughing. XD [and my standards are more on the floor than ever, lol])

buying my first ever car!

I almost completely forgot that this happened this year! Back in late January early February–honestly can’t remember when exactly–I bought my first ever car! It’s a blue Chevy Spark, and, as my friend Phoebe pointed out, looks JUST like Flick from A Bug’s Life…

Which is obviously what I named him. XD He also goes by Sparky, especially when he’s acting up and I feel like I’m going to die at 5:00 in the morning.

winning NaNoWriMo while holding down a job

This might seem a leeeetle bit lame, but I legit have never won a NaNoWriMo while ALSO working. And, granted, I was a NaNo rebel this year. But you know what? I still won! I got my 15 chapters edited, and I’m so proud of that. I’m also proud of the story I’m writing with SK, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys someday. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

chopping off all my hair

Recently I asked my mom to chop my hair off. Without even batting an eye (she’s used to me at this point, guys XD), she sat me down and chopped it off, and I now have hair that doesn’t even touch my shoulders.

And I absolutely ADORE it. I’m never growing my hair long again, guys. Absolutely not. And I’m also getting to the point where I want to try a pixie cut… But we shall have to see if that actually pans out because YEET that’s a commitment… XD

getting hired as in intern for an online publishing company… and then finding out it wasn’t what I needed and switching gears

Everything happens for a reason, and I am so grateful for this opportunity I received over the summer. But I’m even more grateful for the people at the publishing company who understood my heart when I said that I couldn’t commit to what they needed during this stage in my life. They were so kind, left the doors wide open for any future arrival, and are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Someday I hope to return as an intern, but for right now, I think I need to stick with where I’m at currently… And that was a VERY hard decision to make.

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I feel like there is so much more that I’m missing or failing to remember. This year was one of exceptional chaos and growth opportunities–some of them negative, not gonna lie. But after the blessings of 2021, I can’t wait to see what 2022 holds. I have so many ideas and exciting plans for this new year, and while I know that it’s essentially impossible to plan a year out and hold true to it, I’m excited to at least try!

talk to me, peasants!

tell me about your adventures of 2021, friends! what were your favorite highlights? favorite books read? favorite stories written? did you stay true to your goals for 2021, or did you full just a wee bit shy like me?

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE EXCITING THINGS down below! And until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

12 thoughts on “2021 Reviews & Reflections

  1. “read mostly from the books that are currently on my shelves” Congratulations on reaching that goal! That’s my reading goal for this year. I already had so many unread books on my shelves, but then in 2021 I went and bought more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meep! Thank you so much!!!! I’m kinda shocked it actually happened, but I’m definitely going to try and do it again this year! (especially since I want to start parsing down my shelves… and that’s gonna be HARD. XD)

      Oh goodness, I relate! Darn these books and their collectability…

      Like

  2. Awwww, I absolutely LOVED this post and seeing all the amazing things God did in your life this year! <3 You've made so many HUGE accomplishments and life changes and I'm just so, so proud of my Kenzie!

    Not reaching all your goals is 1000% valid, especially when you've made such other HUGE life milestones! I'm definitely learning sometimes God takes our plans and is like, "Actually let's do THIS instead" and just like, it's great. XD I love it when He disrupts our carefully laid plans with something far more epic and things we couldn't even imagine. We definitely have a good God.

    And KENZIE. You did so much this year! I'm just soooo thrilled about all the epic progress you made on Project Goblin AND Sunset! You rocked it this year and ONE DAY I'm going to have those absolutely fabulous stories on my shelves and I cannot wait.

    It also just makes me immeasurably happy how much you got to see internet friends in person this year. That is the BEST thing ever and I'm thrilled you got to experience so much magic. <333

    I do so hope 2022 proves to be another year of epic adventures and blessings and pure magic. Happy New Year, my dearest Kenzie!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Creating first drafts that are messes but MY messes is one of my favorite things. It’s editing them that’s the problem. XD

    36 blog posts is nothing to sneeze at…I don’t think you need to beat yourself up about the what, 16? you missed? I mean, we did miss you those weeks, but also, sometimes things happen/life happens/whatever. :)

    Hurrah for 21 books! That’s amazing! Especially since many of them were read from your shelves!
    “My TBR is buckling underneath the weight of my incompetence”. I feel that. I really do. (Mostly, though, it’s my incompetence in that I CONSTANTLY find new books to read, lol.)

    I got to meet blog friends for the first time this year, too (one in person, and one over the phone, and does that really count? maybe not, but we’ll allow it), and I’m so glad you got to have that experience, too! I LOVE the story of Phoebe and Kate surprising you at work!

    I’m planning on chopping a bunch of my hair off in the next couple of weeks, too, and while I’ve done it before, I’m also kind of scared, so I’m encouraged that you like yours! (Funny thing, though, about my hair is that it HAS to be long enough to touch my shoulders, or else one side flips up and the other side flips under, and it looks RIDICULOUS. As me how I know. XD #thickhairproblems)

    Happy New Year, a belated Merry Christmas, and I hope that 2022 holds even more growth and amazing adventures for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You had quite the year!!! Sounds like a lot of fun and a lot of growing and a lot of epic awesomeness!

    (And your 36 blog posts have all been quite lovely to read, so I think that’s one you should be proud of. Call the other 16 weeks “hiatuses” because you already left room open for that and put a check next to it! :))

    Oooh, new haircuts are fun. I sort of chop mine off every 3 years or so (because that’s about how often I can manage to get to the hair cutting place… my hair stylist lady always forgets who I am, but that’s okay) LOL

    Congrats so much on all the job stuff and Barista of the Year and finishing Project Goblin!!!! Those are such huge awesome things.

    Always love reading your posts! Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a lovely 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Kenzie! *Flings cookies and cake crumbs in as many directions as possible* I just wanted to check this out, as I have been skulking in the shadows for too long.

    First of all: How can you be friends if you know that I’m just a user named Faramir? First of all, I was introduced to blogging, and therefore you lovely community, by Sam. (Thank you, Sam! And God bless you!) And I’ve slowly been making friends with anyone I can catch. And It’s lovely. What an experience, meeting all these lovely Catholic people. (Because of course, Sam picks her friends well.)

    I love birds, so I might be a little uncanny and vicious at squirrels, if they are on my feeders. (Anywhere else, and I’m fine.) Other interests: Writing, blogging, crocheting. You get my kind of character, I guess.

    Oh, and if you want to know anything more about me, I’m basically the twin of Charmain Baker. Which explains a lot. ;)

    Maybe a pixie cut would make you more efficient? Anyway, pixie cut –> pixie dust? That would seem to work for me. (And honestly, it’s your hair. Do what you want with it.)

    BOOKS. *Delighted and happy sigh* It’s good that you got a lot of books read! But there are still many many more. And many that you would probably love. But I don’t know you well enough, eep, sorry, no book names from me. Yet.

    (And oh, it looks like one of the cookies you flung into the air is coming down again. Oooh, lucky that I was standing here. *catches cookie, nearly falls out of my hand, but I eat it before it gets a chance to escape.* “They are my prey.” Give them to me fresh from the oven, or in any state, come to think of it. Well, except the expired state, that is. :) )

    Your blog is amazing! It’s quite a beautiful way to express oneself, once you dive deeper than just a scared little peep, which was the first way I discovered you and your lovely blog. Well, I’ve stopped skulking in the shadows and have come out into the light!

    Faramir

    P.S. The cookie was delicious. I will always accept cookies from other people, no matter how many are in my own house. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shoot, how can I edit this thing!? I meant to say that “how can you be friends with me if you know next to nothing about me”. Which is much different than what I actually said. Sorry for the inconvenience!

      Faramir

      Liked by 1 person

    • *Whacks myself* Oh my gosh!! So sorry! For some reason, I made a hasty assumption about your character, and now I am paying for it! Sam messaged me, and I realized that I’d messed up, and owe you an apology. I’m still open towards you though, no matter what. After all, I have just met you, and It’s too early to make any more assumptions. *wipes sweat off brow and grins sheepishly* so sorry for all my silly thoughts. Though much put out, I’m still hopeful that we shall have a lovely friendship. And you’ll know me as the hasty assumption-maker XD

      Hope you have a lovely new year. My best regards,

      Faramir

      (P.S. You’re one of Sam’s friends, and that’s what counts.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not to worry, at all! I don’t even know what the assumption was (unless it was assuming I was Catholic? which is not a problem at all, as I am a Christian, though not necessarily Catholic :)) ), but whatever it was, there’s definitely no reason to worry! <3

        Liked by 1 person

    • Meep! It is delightful to meet you Faramir! I apologize for the super long hiatus of me responding to your comment! I’m trying to get better at that. Truly, I am. XD

      And eep! I love making friends, so I’m very very happy you are here! Sam is a beautiful soul, and any friend of Sam’s is a friend of mine, as well!!!! <33

      ALSO OH MY WORD YOU ARE THE SWEETEST THING!!! Thank you so much for all your compliments on my little blog! He's definitely got some work to be done (some of the pages are looking a little dusty!), but I'm excited to see where he goes in the coming year!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, don’t worry on long responses! I’m quite used to them and don’t mind at all (provided that the person does respond at all ;) ).

        As for assuming you were Catholic – well, we all make mistakes sometimes.

        Faramir

        (Oh, I totally get what you mean about your blog needing more work. This technology stuff is as foreign to me as Mars, so I would be lost in no time trying to set up a WordPress blog.)

        Like

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