Writing update #14 | my writing in 2019 + 2020 plans

We’re into the final week of the year, which means it’s the time for looking back and reflecting on what I’ve accomplished in the past twelve months. And when it comes to writing…well, I’m happy to say that there’s a lot to talk about.

2019 has been my best writing year since…pretty much ever. (I probably wrote more when I was, like, eight and had no responsibilities, but I don’t think that counts.) There was a lot that combined to let this happen: finishing college and not having that stress hanging over me at all times, not working full time. I didn’t have a ton going on in my life this year, which meant I could throw myself into my writing more than I ever have before.

Let’s look at my writing accomplishments from this year, shall we?

  1. I finished the first drafts of three different novels.
  2. In total, I wrote approximately 180k words. (And that’s not even including all the words I wrote for this blog, which is over 100k for this year.)
  3. I wrote two entire first drafts, start to finish. (The other was already about 2/3 of the way done by the start of this year.)
  4. I participated in two Camp NaNoWriMos, winning the one in April with the goal of writing 30k words.
  5. I participated in NaNoWriMo in November, writing 60k words and completing a novel.

That seems like a lot. And it is a lot – I’m not going to downplay my accomplishments. But when I look back, it doesn’t exactly feel like I spent every second of this year writing. There were days and even weeks when I didn’t put down a single word. (I haven’t written at all since November.) I rarely wrote more than 2k in one day, and I constantly felt like I still wasn’t writing enough.

But I guess this is what happens when you make writing a priority and try to add just a little bit at a time. It adds up. Looking back, it doesn’t feel like I wrote three novels this year. But I did. And that’s pretty cool.

Related image


What was I working on all year?

Like I said, I finished three novels. Let’s take a look at them.

1. The NaNoWriMo 2018 project

This was the draft I started last year and finished in January. In total, it comes to 85k words. This is a portal fantasy that’s been living in my head for literally years, and even though I’m happy that I finally got it out…it’s not great. This is probably the messiest first draft I’ve ever written, and that’s saying something. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll return to this one and make it into something actually readable, but for now, it’s gonna be gathering dust on the shelf.

My writing update from this project: here.

2. The dragon book

This was the draft that I spent the majority of the year working on and talking about. It took me about eight months to write and ended up at about 84k words. I’m definitely not satisfied with where this draft is at the moment, but I’m a lot more excited to return to it and make it into something that I can actually be proud of. This story feels very close to my heart: it involves dragons and strong friendships and complex characters whom I love, and I already miss working on it.

My writing updates from this project: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

3. The Persuasion retelling

And finally, the draft I wrote during NaNoWriMo of this year was a retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I ended up with about 60k words, which is the most I’ve written in the span of a month. Even though this draft is also kind of a mess (seeing a trend here), I’m really proud of what I was able to accomplish! I hope Jane Austen would be happy with it.

My writing updates from this project: 10, 11, 12, 13

Image result for can i get a wahoo gif


What’s next?

2020 is a new year, so that means I should probably make some new goals, right?

Right. Well…I haven’t done that. With my entire future kind of up in the air at the moment and some big changes probably coming my way next year, I don’t really know what I’ll be able to accomplish. Basically, my goal is just to fit writing in wherever I can. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at making it a priority over the last year.

But I do want to wade into the murky waters of revision for the first time and start to make my dragon story better. I have a new story idea that’s been percolating in the back of my head for the past few weeks. And I also have a short story idea that I’m excited to work on as well.

In short, I have a lot of writing ahead of me! Who knows when I’m going to find time for it or how it’s going to go, but that’s for future me to find out, right?


Writing music

All year, I’ve been giving you music that reflects the WIP I’m working on, and now I’m going to give you one song that I think sums up the feel of each project. No pressure on these songs, though.

  • NaNo 2018 project: Ends of the Earth by Lord Huron
    • To the ends of the earth would you follow me? / There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see
  • Dragon story: Caves by Gregory Alan Isakov (not gonna lie, the first time I heard this song, I felt like it was written precisely for this story)
    • Did I hear something break? / Was that your heart or my heart? / Like when the earth shakes / Then the silence that follows
  • Persuasion retelling: When We Were Younger by The Careful Ones
    • Did we ever love, were we just kids who knew nothing of it?

And finally, allow me to sum up the three main characters from these projects using dumb bird memes:

Sophie from NaNo 2018 project:

Image result for mincing mockingbird

Nat from dragon story:

Image result for my high lonesome place

Anne from Persuasion retelling:

Image result for mincing mockingbird


How was your writing year? Did you finish any major projects? What are your plans and goals for writing in 2020?

x MargaretΒ 

goodreads | twitterΒ | indiebound

14 thoughts on “Writing update #14 | my writing in 2019 + 2020 plans

    1. Oh how I love those dumb bird memes! 🐦 You’ve done sooo well this year, 3 whole drafts??? Look at you go! I’m sure pretty soon I’ll be holding one of your published books in my hands and screaming at everyone to go read this thing my Internet friend wrote πŸ˜‚

      Towards the end of 2019 I’ve been thinking about writing more and more – maybe even considering dusting off that childhood dream of being an author. I am way way out of practice and seriously lacking ideas, but maybe 2020 will be the year for me. Who knows? I have started working on my webcomic draft again, even if only in messy sketches, so that seems like a great start!

      Good luck with everything in 2020! πŸ˜„β€οΈ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The dumb bird memes are the best! πŸ˜‚ And ahhh thank you! Having people hold my book in their hands someday would truly be a dream come true 😊

        I hope you get to make that dream come true too!! 2020 could be your year πŸ˜„ Oooh a webcomic sounds so cool!! Good luck to you as well ❀️

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Ahh.. big congrats on all your writing again!! I’m in awe!! You did so well but I totally get what you mean about feeling like you are not writing but the little things add up because that has been me this month! I felt like I wasn’t making much progress as some days I only write a couple of hundred but all of a sudden I am near my goal so it makes a difference!!
    Haha I love that you said your first drafts are mess because I’m nearing the end of mine and all I keep thinking is how much of a mess it is and wanting to cry πŸ˜‚ so it nice to know I’m not alone!!
    I can’t wait to read about how your writing will go in 2020 and I wish you the best of luck!! 😊
    I absolutely loved the use of the dumb bird memes, they have made me fall in love and relate to your character already πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Sophie! πŸ’• That’s amazing that you’re near your goal – good luck with finishing it off!! I love it when you look back and realize that you’ve written a lot more than you thought you had πŸ˜„
      And yes, my first drafts are pretty much always disastrous…but that’s what revision is for, right? Ahaha, those dumb bird memes are the best πŸ˜‚
      Best of luck to you as well!! πŸ’•


  2. Congrats on having such a fantastic writing year, I’m honestly so happy that you were writing so much and finished a lot of projects! πŸ’• I definitely wish you all the best luck with your writing in 2020! I’m hoping to work on my revision again, once my thesis is done at the end of March πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Margaret! I just discovered your blog and immediately so many of your posts resonated with me, especially the one about being a creative writing major (#BAinReading). Congrats on having such a prolific year in writing; wish I could say the same about mine. But you’ve inspired me to get back into it, with perhaps the help of the infamous On Writing book by Stephen King. Forgive me if you’ve already covered this in your blog, but do you read any similar books like On Writing to help you along with the process?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, that’s great to hear! πŸ˜€ I’m SO happy that I could inspire you to get back into writing.

      Honestly, I haven’t read many craft books – I’ve only read little bits of On Writing. One that I read for school was You’ve Got a Book in You by Elizabeth Sims, which I still refer back to sometimes. And a couple that I know are highly regarded are Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. Hope that helps!

      Liked by 1 person

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