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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017 // Wrap-Up + Goals

Okay so apparently 2016 is almost over?? EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO FLAIL FOREVER BECAUSE I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S ALREADY GONE. Nonetheless it was still a fabulous year!!

But since I'm a good blogger (ahem, don't question), I am here to discuss some things about 2016 and some things about 2017, all wrapped up into one post. You're welcome.

Obviously this is not going to QUITE like a monthly wrap-up. Because I mean how am I supposed to pick favorite blog posts for the whole year? And do I look like I kept track of my writing/reading stats ALL YEAR LONG? (LOL NO)

So basically instead this post is going to be something ENTIRELY IT'S OWN. I'm just letting it become what it wants. So be warned, because at some point it might decide it wants to become a dragon. WILL I QUESTION? NOPE.

(Thanks to SavannahMaryChloe, and Sarah for helping me take a decent picture. YES I NEED THE HELP. I HAVE ACCEPTED THIS FACT.) 

This was kind of a big year for me writing-wise. Which honestly isn't saying all that much since I've only been writing since I was 16, hehe. But so many things happened this year nonetheless. 

1. I started a blog. HELLO YES THIS WAS A HUGE DEAL. I mean would you be reading this if I hadn't of started a blog? NOPE. 

2. I finished my first novel. MY PRECIOUS BRAINCHILD IS COMPLETE. Of course it needs lots and lots of editing and I haven't exactly started that yet, but this was still a big step for me! It's (tentatively) called The Raven Project and you can read some more about it here

3. I started beta reading. I actually didn't even know what beta reading was until I did start a blog. But this year I had the opportunity to beta read for at least a few awesome bloggers out there, and I think it really helped me to grow as a writer. Because when you give feedback on someone else's work, that naturally makes your own work improve. 

4. I participated in NaNo. THIS WAS HUGE. I'm assuming most of you know what NaNo is, but if not, it's basically just a writing event that happens in April, July, and November, and participants have to try and write a certain amount of words during the month. I met so many great writers through NaNo, and I got done so much writing. It was tiring, but also so much fun. If you're a writer and you haven't participated before, I highly recommend it. 

5. I wrote most of my second novel. I haven't finished it yet, but the reason this was so big is because I can look back at my first novel, and I can see how much I've grown as a writer. I can see how much I've improved, how much deeper my characters are, and how much more developed my themes are. It's super inspiring. I had a page for this one at one point- but I accidentally murdered it. Ahem. 

(in no particular order) 

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton- OH WELL HELLO YES OF COURSE THIS ONE IS AT THE TOP. Technically it was a reread, but this is still going on here. Because this book is incredible and beautiful and plus I got the 50th anniversary exclusive collector's edition for Christmas. If you haven't already read it then IDK WHAT YOU'RE DOING SITTING AROUND HERE. (Oh wait fine you can finish my blog post first. But then you must go read it.) 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys- Anyone up for some WW2 feels? WELL OF COURSE YOU ARE. This one actually won the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Young Adult Book. It's written in split pov with four first person povs, which is great. (and which also inspired me to try something similar in Library of Lies so #bonus points) 

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool- This was just so well-written and very, very character driven. Plus it had a super unique plot with tons of creative elements and an ally with autism. IT'S SUPER GREAT.

The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken- It's a missionary biography about the persecuted church, mostly. (at least that's what I remember, haven't read it in a while.) THEY ACTUALLY MADE A MOVIE OF THIS. I didn't see it but maybe you did. 

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges- I loved how this was both convicting and inspiring at the same time. The author was able to take an issue like 'respectable' sins and address it in the light of the fact that all of our sins are forgiven if we've put our faith in Jesus Christ.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee- IT'S AN AMERICAN CLASSIC FOR A REASON, FOLKS. It's got fabulous, original characters and a quirky plot line that subtly throws in some fantastic themes.

Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt- This was just so, so creative and original and thoughtful. It's about a boy who's older brother gets hit by a Vietnamese (?) driver in a time period where racial tensions abounded. It reminds me a lot of Navigating Early in the sense that it's a coming of age novel, but it's still a book all its own.

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer- Super fun, light-hearted, and bouncy with some extra small-town charm thrown in. 

A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes- The conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies ever, this definitely didn't disappoint. I loved the development of the plot and characters, and YOU SHOULD PROBABLY GO READ THIS SERIES.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stuart- Honestly I think part of the reason I liked this so much is that there were some parts that were just so FUNNY. It was overall tons and tons of fun, but the author still took the opportunity to make a point with his book.

Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire- I had the opportunity to beta read this for the author. AND WHOA. GUYS. This book is 100% fantastic and I can't wait until it's published so you all can get a chance to read it!! THERE WILL DEFINITELY BE MUCH FLAILING. 

It's not about following the rules, it's about a personal relationship with Jesus. Don't be afraid to fail. There's always grace. Comparing yourself or your work to others brings nothing but discouragement. Don't let other people or your writing or anything define you except for Jesus. Don't be afraid to say sorry. 

Perfectionism is more draining than it is anything else. You can make a difference even when you don't feel like it. Keep smiling, you never know who might need one. Focus on what you have instead of what you don't have. Always think the best of the people you love. 

Do things that scare you. Get out of your comfort zone. Gratitude is a choice, not an emotion. Focusing on externals doesn't do any good for anyone. Stay gold.

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1. Finish Library of Lies. This is the novel I mentioned earlier- the one I was trying to finish before 2017 but didn't quite get there. So this goal shouldn't be all that hard, seeing as I probably have less than 5k left. (I might do a post when I finish, but I will for sure get a new page back up at some point. XD)

2. Start edits for The Raven Project. I AM IN MORTAL FEAR AND WILL MOST LIKELY SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST WHEN I READ OVER THIS MESSY FIRST DRAFT. But I've already procrastinated for too long, heh. 

3. Write We Are the Guilty. Oh, yeah. Sort of forgot that I kind of need to have this thing done by June for a writing conference. Psshtt no don't look at me like that of course I've started it. not WHOOPS. So that's probably what I'm going to move onto as soon as I finish Library of Lies

4. Journal at least three times a week. Because I think I did fairly well at journaling most of last year? BUT THEN I SORT OF FAILED IN DECEMBER. So I think a concrete goal should help me journal more often. 

5. Reach 250 followers. Okay so this probably sounds super ambitious- but I'm counting email suscribers in this number, hehe. So I already have about 150 followers of the 250 I'm going for. And since I've only been blogging for ten months, I should be able to get at least a hundred from another year. :D

6. Read 100 books. THIS DEFINITELY IS AMBITIOUS. Because while I used to be a super fast reader, that's not the case anymore. But I did manage to crank out 36 books from September to now? Which was about a third of a year. SO MAYBE I CAN PULL THIS OFF. XD 

7. Comment more often. I will be the first to admit that I am a TERRIBLE commenter. I MUST COMMENT MORE ON ALL OF YOUR FABULOUS BLOGS. 

Okay well that ended up being gargantuan. O.O IT DIDN'T MORPH INTO A DRAGON THOUGH SO THAT'S GOOD NEWS. (actually wait is that good news or no) Tell me about your year!! What were your favorite books? Anything in particular that you learned? Are you setting any goals for 2017? 

~ Jonathan 


  1. Wow, I can't even describe this year...but here goes. XD

    1. I got published and i still have not gotten over this fact. Seriously though, this solidified my love of writing, so this is huge for me. XD
    2. I found OYAN and it's fantastic and I love it and it's opened up a whole new world for me.
    3. BLANK MASTERMIND (bc it's a reason all it's own. XD)
    4. Grew more in my walk with God. This year has been the best for that, actually. :)
    5. Started writing a whole actual novel. *flail*
    6. Found so many new books and fandoms. XD

    So yeah. 2016...what a ride it's been. XD

    For 2017...hmm. I want to grow more in my spiritual life and just as a person and to be a better friend. I would love to be able to make it to SW, but we'll see if things actually work out around then. Finish my novel, because that would be amazing. :p Maybe, and emphasis on maybe, start a blog? Idk, I'd have to think and pray on this one. Hmm...there's probably more, but it's not coming to mind right now. XP

    But anyways, great post and great job on making it not turn into a dragon. XD XD

    1. 1. OMW YES THAT'S FABULOUS. :D And super exciting!! Personal milestones like that are great.
      2. YES. SAME.
      3. TRUUUUUUE I approve of this reason 100%
      4. Same for me! This year was the year when I really learned the importance of prayer, not just reading the Bible.
      5. *flails also* Woot woot you got this!
      6. Hehe, well that's always fun. :D

      Ikr, so true. It's been such an adventure. :D

      I LIKE THESE GOALS. But yes praying about them is definitely important. *nods* (especially the blog)

      Hehe, well thanks. :)

  2. Oh my wow, I am so glad you have started your blogging journey this year!! It's been fun to read your posts! And congratulations on finishing your first novel. WOOT WOOT! I am excited to see where you take this blog next year!

    1. Haha well thanks, I am also! ;) Super glad you've enjoyed reading though. :D THANKS I WAS MORE THAN A LITTLE EXCITED. :P

  3. Today is the last day of 2016?! Jeepers! O.o
    Well! 2016 was a good year of writing for me, I think. A few reasons:
    1. I finished my very first novel! *confetti* (now for editing...)
    2. I also did NANO, and got my 50,000 words! :D
    3. I'm guessing I wrote around 65,000ish maybe 70k words in my three different stories. *scratches head* how did I manage that? I didn't know I knew that many words... XD

    Congrats on finishing your novel! :D

    Anyway, great post! Oh, and your new header is cool. :)
    Happy New Year!

    1. IKR I had a similar response. XD Plus everyone's been like 'see you next year' and I'm like 'wait... oh yeah.'
      1. YAY GOOD JOB. I did the same, and I'm at the same spot hehe.
      2. SO DID I WOOT WOOT. Great work!
      3. Woooow that's a lot. O.O Good for you for getting all that done!

      Thanks! :D

      Haha, well thanks. I thought it fit a bit better. ;)
      You too!

  4. DUDE YOU FINISHED YOUR FIRST NOVEL THIS YEAR??? O.O Somehow I missed that?? DUDE. That is SO AMAZING. But now I really want to know ... what made you start writing??? IF THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR A COMMENT YOU SHOULD PLEASE DO A POST ON IT AHDFJKSDHLFKJASDF.

    1. YES I DID. XD Tsk Hannah your stalking skills are not on point right now. *shakes head* :P THANKS THOUGH. :D AND I WOULD DO A POST ON IT BUT THERE'S REALLY NOT MUCH TO TELL?? LOL. XP I started writing when I was sixteen, mostly on a whim. I remember I just wanted to try to write a novel to see if I could finish it, but somewhere along the way I realized it was my passion and that I was learning so much. :)

  5. *high-fives fellow writer who started a blog this year*

    *high-fives fellow writer who braved nano*

    Sounds like you had an awesome awesome year! I can't wait to get caught up on posts because your blog is really cool (and thanks for following and commenting on my blog earlier) :D

    1. Hehehe yesss *high fives you back* Huzzah for new bloggers and NaNoers :D

      Yup, I definitely did! :) Why thank you, glad you like it (haha no problem- it sure didn't take you long to find my blog though O.O nice job :P)

  6. Sounds like you had a great year! Congrats on fishing your novel! I bet it was amazing to finish it! Totally looking forward to the New Year. Have a Happy New Year!

    1. Haha I did! Well thanks, it was definitely amazing and super exciting and sort of a milestone for me. :D SAME. Happy New Year's to you also!

  7. This is awesome! plus, SALT TO THE SEA AND TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD ARE JUST ...... AMAZING! Also, your other books on here look great! I'll have to check them out! Happy New Year! I hope you have a great 2017!

    1. Thanks! YESSSS OH MY GOODNESS THEY ARE. Haha well they are great. ;) Happy New Year to you also! :D

  8. LET ME BETA YOUR BOOK PLEEEEEEEEASE!!!! Really. It looks SO GOOD. I. Must. Read. It. Now.
    Ahem. Lovely wrap up post. I'm a little freaked out to post this year's goals. *whispers* I haven't even looked at the ones I made LAST YEAR so I can't remember what I wrote. I have no idea what I actually was able to accomplish.
    But. All that said...fabulous post. Looking forward to seeing what you post next year! ;) Happy ALMOST 2017! :D

    1. WELL I WIIIILLLLL. XD Although not sure which book you're talking about exactly??? :P The Raven Project still has so. much. edits. omw. xD
      Thanks! SAME. Because like once you post them it's final. THERE IS NO GOING BACK. EEK. Haha I didn't set any goals last year so I'm safe there. :P
      Happy New Years! :D

    2. Can I beta all of them? Is that an option? ;)

    3. Haha well sure. :P After... editing... and such... XP

  9. YES I LOVED THIS. I never know what to say on wrap-up posts because there are seriously a bajillion things I could go on and on about. Like. Yeah. But yet I don't want to give the generic, "Looks like you had a bunch of cool stuff going on this year!" :P

    (so instead I'm rambling about giving generic comments while secretly giving a lame and uncreative one because I have the memory of a turtle. If turtles have memories. They probably do. Who knows?)


    katie grace
    a writer's faith

    1. WELL THANKS. Omw the struggle is real, I feel the same way. And honestly I dished out my fair share of generic comments myself- but shhhh don't tell. XP

      (okay but look. now you mentioned turtles which then relates to ninjas which then makes this comment FABULOUS. don't question this logic, it's 100% sound. *sage nod* XD)

  10. apparently 2016 is over and I missed the memo . . . but anyway. Awesome post, and I loved your bookish happenings this year. The Outsiders! and the Mysterious Benedict Society! and To Kill A Mockingbird! *approves mightily*

    1. ikr I think I missed it also... xD Thanks! haha you have good taste in books then ;)

    Good lessons learned.... Yahweh is Mighty, and though Satan might test us with fear... We belong to Yeshua! The battles can be super hard, but Yahweh uses it all for His glory. What seems like a mess, can be something beautiful in the bigger picture. :)
    OK firstly, if you need beta readers for any of your books, I'm very interested because holy cheezits your books are awesome. CONGRATS on writing your novel! And doing your other projects. :) This year, I wrote my first novel (Seek)! :D Praise Yahweh.
    Well, happy new year! =D May God be with you.
    -Angela | thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com

    1. HAPPY [late bc I take forever to reply comments :P] NEW YEAR TO YOU ALSO. :D
      Haha yes for sure! :D I had a lot of spiritual growth this year, so I'm super thankful God guided me there.
      Aw well thanks! If I do I might just let you know. :D Glad they sound interesting though, hehe. OOH YOU WROTE YOUR FIRST NOVEL TOO NIIICE. *high fives*

  12. Congratulations on finishing your 1st novel!

    The only book on your list that I've read is To Kill a Mockingbird because I had to study it while I was in secondary school. It is awesome! I have Go Set a Watchman but unfortunately it wasn't as good. I don't regret buying it, though!

    1. Thanks, Grace! :D

      Ah well that was a good one! Go Set A Watchman looks interesting...

  13. Wow, you've had quite the year.

    I loved Hope Was Here. I did cry at one point, so clearly if a book can force tears from my cold heart it is a miracle worker. XD

    Happy New year!! And may it be your best one yet. :)

    1. Haha indeed I have :D

      Yes! I thought it was super well written and thought provoking... although I didn't cry. :P

      You too, Laura!

  14. *sputters and coughs cuz this is like the 155682943724th end of the month and year post i've commented on*

    so how many books did you actually read this year? I didn't set myself a goal last year, but almost reached 80 anyways. I think I can do 100 in 2017.

    *still wants that copy of the outsiders*

    1. *splutters and coughs cuz my reply is like super late* XD

      I'm not sure actually? I keep track of the books I read, but not by year hehe. And since I didn't have goodreads for most of last year I can't just check that. :P I'M GOING FOR 100 ALSO THO

      yeesss it's so amazing

  15. So much cool! 2016 seemed to go insanely fast. And so much has changed for me over that one year. My writing for one. I wrote three books somehow, which was insane, but epic and I'm definitely hoping to do that again. We'll see how that turns out.

    In a conversation with my sisters about new years goals and stuff, the topic of exercise came up. And they dared me to be able to do 100 push ups in a row within six months...AND MY BRAIN BEING THE IDIOT BRAIN THAT IT IS SAID YES. So we'll also see how that goes.

    Great post, anyways. Even if it didn't turn into a dragon (which I was mildly disappointed about) :D

    1. YES IKR. It's like I blinked and then poof! 2017 entered the scene, heh. XD Good for you for writing three books though, that's... crazy. xP Good luck doing it again :D

      WHOA OKAY. Good luck with that also, I honestly can't do that many pushups so #fail xD

      Haha, thanks! (SAMMEE I THINK but it's probably for the best since I've heard dragons are feisty things)

  16. Congratulations on your accomplishments in the past year! I am curious about these forthcoming books and I commend you on your very lofty goal of reaching 100 books this year! If I was less of a realist I would try to join you in that but I predict that my June, July, August, September will not have any reading/writing time whatsoever...sooo yeah. Maybe I can make 50? We'll see what the year holds. :D

    1. Well thanks. :D I'm doing well so far but occasionally I get stuck on a longer book and yeeaaah then I get behind. :P 50 is a good goal, you've got this!


    I'm literally going to go on Goodreads and add like, half of those books that you mentioned to my TBR. They look really good!!


    And 150 followers in ten months??? THAT IS AMAZING OH MY GOODNESS.

    I hope that you have an amazing 2017!!!

    1. *drops in two weeks late* WELL THANKS SO MUCH I'M GLAD YOU LIKED IT. XD

      Haha yes good idea, they are super good! :D

      OH HAHA THANK YOU I LIKE TO TELL MYSELF THAT (*whispers* Even though I haven't written in like a week but shh don't tell :P)

      IKR I'M NOT SURE HOW THAT HAPPENED? It definitely wasn't anything I did because even like right now I haven't posted in 2+ weeks #oops :P

      You too! :)

  18. WOW SO MUCH SUCCESS IN LIFE *FRANTIC APPLAUSE* WOW. congratulations on your blog and novels and slfkjds!!!! the only books on that list that I've read are To Kill a Mockingbird (MAYBE MY ACTUAL FAVORITE BOOK EVER) and Salt to the Sea (WHICH OBVIOUSLY WAS INCREDIBLE BC WW2 FEELS ARE LIFE). also I've heard Respectable Sins is really good. I need to get on that.. ANYWAY, I LOVED THIS POST AND ASPIRE TO BE AS PRODUCTIVE AS YOU NEXT YEAR ;) also journaling. yesss.

    1. OH HAHA WHY THANK YOU THEN. *BOWS* I try xP thanks hehe I was pretty excited myself. :D Yesss To Kill a Mockingbird is sooo gooood and Salt to the Sea is great also. (OMW TRUTH.) Yes that one is super good. *nodnod* WELL GLAD YOU ENJOYED IT. XD yess journaling must happen this year

  19. Oh my goodness you wrote so much! That's my goal for this year, is to write a novel, or part of it, and focus on poetry. Ahem, totally not spend all my free time watching Netflix of course...
    I LOVE Salt to the Sea and To Kill a Mockingbird. Those are legit some of my all time favorite books. I'm so glad you liked them!! I'm also really hoping to read The Outsiders soon and a friend of mine just lent me The Mysterious Benedict Society and I can't wait to read it, it sounds so good!!
    I love how you added what you learned, especially about our relationship with Christ being more then rules we have to follow. It's so true, or else we'd all be completely helpless and never able to have a proper relationship with Him, for we all sin and mess up, a lot. I am SO thankful for his grace and mercy.
    I can't believe you read 36 books in just a couple months!! That's more than half of what I read all year. Good luck on your goal! I set mine to 70 but maybe someday I'll reach for 100 xD
    I've really enjoyed following your blog this year and I can't wait to see what 2017 brings. Praying you have a wonderful new year and that you have the kindness to send us all your book because it sounds awesome ;P


    1. Haha well thanks, I was trying to! :D I'm pretty happy that I finished my first book though. OOH YEAH GO FOR IT, YOU GOT THIS. Oh hehe yes definitely not. xD
      YESS same, they're super good! Yes yes read The Outsiders you will love it. :D And They Mysterious Benedict Society is super bouncy and fun too!!
      Well thanks! Oh my goodness yes, exactly. I'M JUST SO THANKFUL ALSO ASDLFKDSJA.
      Haha well neither can I, to be honest. :P Yes 70 is a great goal! Good luck to you also :)
      Same to you, Elizabeth. And haha... yes... maybe... after... a few... years... of editing... :P

  20. Well, this didn't turn into a dragon. *nods*

    OKAY WAIT WHY DID YOU MURDER YOUR GREAT LIBRARY OF LIES PAGE?! *shakes head* And you just started writing this last year?! Wow, that's really cool. Because from what I've read on your writing pages you're really good. CONGRATS ON FINISHING YOUR FIRST BOOK. THAT IS FANTASTIC.

    Oooh, you're gonna finish OYAN and go to the convention? NICE. And I haven't read any of the books you mentioned... yeaaaaah. Um. XD My favorite book from this year? Off the top of my head, Blink of an Eye by Ted Dekker was really good (but, ahem, of course, there are others...)

    Nice wrap-up, Jonathan! :D Oh, and a belated Happy New Year! XD

    1. Yes true. I think the consensus was that this is a GOOD THING. xD

      WELL IT'S COMPLICATED BUT I DIDN'T MEAN TO. It sort of just... died. #oops Aw well thanks! Glad you like it! :D YES THANKS AGAIN I'M SUPER EXCITED

      Well. Um. That's the plan. *hesitant glance at the curriculum* HOPEFULLY I finish it but if not I'll just have to bring a different novel, hehe. YOU SHOULD COME ALSO IT'S IN JUNE. xD Ooh yes that one is on my tbr, I need to get to it soon. (but first I need to read The Circle Series... :D)

      Thanks! Haha you too... two weeks late. :P

  21. I must read The Outsiders. And Salt to the Sea. And Navigating Early. :P Happy New Years, Jonathan!! :D

    1. Yes yes yes you muuuust. XD Happy New Years to you also!

  22. Wow, I hope you achieve all your goals for this year! :) They're pretty ambitious, at least, they would be if they were mine. :P Good luck!

    1. SAME OMW. Some of them are fairly easy and then some of the others are like 'oh my goodness whyyyyy did I think I could do that.' XD

  23. Wow. I didn't realize you started your blog only a year ago. O.O
    And you have some awesome goals. I look forward to hearing more about your books (and want to read them)
    I do have a question for you, how did you do the drop down menu? Have been looking it up and wished I was a computer wiz so I won't destroy my blog XP

    1. Ikr it seems like longer to me... xD
      Thanks! Haha well I might do a post about one of them in the future. :P Stay tuned for that, haha.
      Hehehe I get asked this fairly often and it's sort of embarrassing because... I actually don't know... :P They came with the template. XD

  24. Congratulations on finishing your first novel!
    I tagged you for the 2016 Bookish Recap Tag.

    1. Well thanks! :D
      Ooh cool, I"ll have to check that out XD

  25. Awesome post!! What a great recap. Haha, we're definitely in the same boat when it comes to reading . . . ;) I read a sad amount of books this year. ;)
    Loved the "things I learned" section. So inspiring and well written.

    lavender and blue
    the inkpot girl

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed it! :D Saaame I need to read MORE THIS YEAR. xD *glances at tbr shelf*
      Well thanks again! :D



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