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A Look Back at 2018 – What I Accomplished, Set Aside, or Changed

It's the end of the year! I simply have no idea how 2018 is over or where the year went. I know I say that a lot. It's true that time feels more elastic and seems to go by quicker the older you get.

By all accounts, I had a pretty good 2018.

The fox family came to live in our backyard! It was only for about two weeks, but it was great to see the Mama Fox and her babies playing in our backyard every day. It really lifted my spirits and made me super happy.

I went to Japan in May. That was huge for me. I had the chance to be among and within my favorite culture on the planet. I soaked up tons of food, traveling, and other experiences. I took close to a thousand photos. I got lots of ideas for moving forward with my writing. Plus, I enjoyed the trip.

I traveled to South Carolina twice, once in April and again in July. I had the chance to relax and spend time with my family, plus see one of my good author friends to chat about life, writing, and books.

I went to the Sell More Books Show Summit in early May. I met a lot of authors and learned a whole ton. Chicago was wonderful, even though I hurt myself the very first day I was there.

I traveled to Florida to go to Universal Studios with my husband and two kids, then I got to see my brother, his wife, and two kids. That was a lovely trip full of fun and sun, much needed in November!

I learned pottery! And I had so much fun with my first class, I'm going to continue.

Some other crappy things happened too. I got the flu and sinus infections, and I was so sick we had to cancel a February trip to Saint Kitts. I had a few car problems. A chipmunk ate through wires in my car, I needed all new wheels and a few other things fixed on my car, THEN I had to get a new tire replaced because I drove over a screw. It rained A LOT this year, especially in the summer, and we had an epic flood here that destroyed some things in our basement. All the rain prevented us from going to the pool as much as I wanted to.

But in the end, my kids and family are healthy, we still have jobs and our home, and life is looking pretty good going into 2019. I can't complain about that!

As for business, income was way down this year. Things were rough in the middle when I was feeling down about the business side of writing, but taking some time off from ads and really focusing on my blog and a few other things brought the magic back. It was a much better year than 2017, that's for sure. I'm quite happy with my progress and my attitude going forward at the end of 2018 than I was at the end of 2017. It's all a process, right?

During the mid-year, I took a look at the goals I had set and reflected on what I wanted to work on going through to the end of 2018, so let's recap those.

The Year I Don't Compete

I declared 2018 the Year I Don't Compete and I did well! I kept my head down and I stopped comparing myself to others. I focused on me, my writing, and my career trajectory. I kept the end-goal in sight, and now I know how I want to move forward.

Writing Goals

I will publish three books this year. Done! I published THE DAYDREAMER DETECTIVE RETURNS A FAVOR, FUKUSHA MODEL EIGHT, and MATSURI AND MURDER. Not a bad showing, if I do say so myself.

I will write in a new series. Done and dusted two whole books in the Flyght Series AND I put up the pre-order for the first book! So productive of me! Lol.

I will participate in NaNoWriMo in November again, and Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Nope. I didn't do either of these. Oops.

Advertising, Marketing, Blog, and Social Media Goals

I will start a niche website Love Japanese Fiction. I have decided to scrap the niche website. I plan to redirect that URL to Pinterest. I still haven't redirected the URL. I need to look into that.

I will continue to advertise and spend money on both promotions and ads. I let my Amazon ads totally burn out and closed them all at the beginning of November. My income dropped precipitously after that, so now I know that the ads actually do sell books, even if I wasn't making much from them.

I will be raising my prices on some books. Done.

I will be using Kindle Unlimited strategically and only when it’s truly working for me. I am now completely anti-Kindle Unlimited and don't foresee myself ever using it again.

I will spend less time on social media. Done. I only check Facebook a few times per day and I'm barely posting to my regular profile. I'm concentrating on Instagram and Pinterest.

I will blog more. I will do at least one discussion post per month. I blogged more and I did some discussion posts, but not as many as I hoped I would.

I will develop a new method of income. Done. I now sell books direct through my website.

Personal Goals

My personal goals all fell off a cliff this year except for a few things.

I did walk. Not nearly as much as I wanted to, so I'm setting a more achievable goal for 2019.

I did knit. Also not nearly as much as I wanted to. I went whole months without picking up the needles.

I read and I listened to audiobooks. And again, not as much as I wanted to. I read 16 ebooks (I'm reading number 17 now) NOT INCLUDING my own books I had to read multiple times. I listened to 14 audiobooks. It's about 30 books altogether. Not bad for someone who also has to write, edit, and proofread hundreds of thousands of words per year.

And Then I Added Goals At Mid-Year…

I will be taking a break this year from the Hikoboshi Series. Yep. I am definitely taking a break from this series, but funnily enough, it's always at the back of my head. A part of my brain is always dedicated to Yumi and Rin and where I'll take them next.

I will be focusing more on Pinterest. Huzzah! This one is doing really well. I have grown my Pinterest account from 33k monthly views to around 80k, and my monthly engaged from 1k to 3k. People are seeing my pins more, and they're pinning more from my website and Instagram. They're also visiting my website more, which is awesome.

I will be writing the first 3 books of my new series because I can and want to. Instead of this, I wrote the first 2 books and am currently writing the next Daydreamer book.

To have fun blogging and have fun writing what I want. And that's exactly what I've done.

Some Unplanned Goals

I cut way back on alcohol. This was not planned. During January, I decided to cut back on drinking to only the weekends. I felt the calories weren't worth it, and I knew the drinking would eventually be bad for my health. I do love a nice cocktail, though, so I didn't want to go full-force sober. The first two weeks were tough. After that, it was no big deal. I didn't drink during the weeks MOST weeks. There were rare occasions when a bottle of wine was open and I had a glass, but that was it. Also, if we were on vacation, I let the rule go. No big deal. All in all, it went well.

Intermittent fasting became a routine. I normally do not eat breakfast before 10am, and I try to finish eating in the evening by 7:30pm. I do my best with the evening because of my husband's erratic and annoying schedule. He is rarely home before 7. And then, during the holidays, I've let it be relaxed in the evening too. Still, breakfast is a late thing for me unless it's absolutely necessary that I eat early.

I finally stopped using Benadryl to sleep. This was one I have never really talked about openly, but for two or three years (can't remember how long) I have been using Benadryl to sleep every night. I wanted to end this habit, and I'm glad I finally did. I managed to stop using the Benadryl by switching to DOUBLE STRONG chamomile tea every night at bedtime. I'm talking STRONG tea. It really works, and I've been able to get some good sleep since switching.

Let's Look Back At The Video!

Another thing I did was take video every day and then I used the 1 Second Everyday app to document my year. Here's the whole year, all in one video!

And That's It For The Year!

Tomorrow, I'll be back with my goals post for 2019! I hope you all have a safe and happy new year!

S. J. Pajonas