by - December 31, 2018

Can y'all believe that 2018 is already over? Goodness knows I can't. It's been a wild ride of a year, and while it's been fast, I'm still ready for another year. A LOOOOOT happened this year, and so in this post I'll be wrapping all that up. Next week, once I've got my list of resolutions and goals for 2019 written down, I'll be sharing them, so stay tuned for that post!

For right now, though, let's do

2018: A Wrapup


Here are my top Spotify stats of 2018, according to their Wrapped feature:

According to them, I listened to 109 hours' worth of Fall Out Boy, which both astonishes me and doesn't surprise me in the least. I mean...quality music, y'all. I regret nothing.

In case you're even more curious (because this is the sort of thing I really love to see), here's my Top 100 Songs of 2018 playlist, generously made for me by Spotify: 

My favorite NEW artists from this year, some that I'd never really listened to before the grandeur that was 2018, are (in no particular order):
-Zayde Wolf
-Sam Tinnesz
-Owl City (shoutout to Lila Kims for screaming about him until I finally listened XD) 
-Scott Mulvahill

In short, it was an amazing music year and here's to even more music and new artists in 2019!


Here's some stats from Goodreads regarding my reading habits: 

-I have read 121 books this year.
-Some of those books were textbooks or from English class.
-A lot of them were ebooks and ARCs!
-My average rating was 3.9 stars.
-I have read 43,757 pages (What the heck)
-My most common rating was four stars (What can I say, I'm good at deciding whether or not I'm going to like a book) 

And I actually made a brief little vlog to talk about my favorite books of the year! It's pretty short (around five or six minutes, I think?) and I'm linking to it below ;) 

Here's the links to those reviews, too, like I promised:
Book #5
Book #4
Book #3
Book #2
Book #1


Here it is: my most favorite thing about this year, the thing I can't wait to talk about.

I've always been a writer, always working on stories and weaving little worlds with characters I hope seem real. But I think that 2018 is the year I became an author. 

The story of my heart, that I've been working on in one form or another, the one I'm constantly screaming about, the one that I love more than any other, finally fell into place this year. I wrote a story that I'm in love with. I don't mean the storybook kind of love, either-- this is a real marriage, guys. There's good days and bad days. There's days when I want to quit, when I want to throw in the towel, where I get sick of this story. And yet I will not give up on it. I love it. 

The Pentegreen series is the saga I have fallen in love with, and it finally exists on my computer, the first two books in fully drafted and partially edited glory, the third book in progress. The fourth one still only exists in my mind, but it's getting closer. And oh, I am in love with it. 

That's not the only story that claims my heart, however. I've been assaulted with plot bunnies on all sides for stories this year, and that's made me a very happy little writer indeed. There have been days when I've worried that once the Pentegreens are over, so will be my writing career. But there are other storie now, too. Stories about the Mafia meeting dragons. Alternate histories about World War II and what might have happened had Germany won the war. Dystopian stories set here in America. And one about which I will not be sharing details, as it's still very new, but it's huge and epic and I already love it.

But enough of all that. Let's not get ahead  of ourselves and talk about stories to come, but stick with stories that have been written. 

This year I wrote: 
-First draft of The King's Daughter which came to 120,433 words
-Second draft of The King's Daughter which came to 123, 741 words
-Got said second draft alpha read (!!) by some absolutely AMAZING frens who gave me the best advice and are helping make the in-progress third draft fantastic
-Third draft of The King's Daughter is currently sitting at 46,196 words (I'm hoping to hit 50k by the end of December) 
-First draft of The General's Children (Pentegreens book 2) which came to 130,481 words
-Second draft of The General's Children is currently sitting at 17,630 words (I need to write more but I'm too much of a wimp to write the next few scene because it involves badly hurting one of my sweet babies and I hate doing that to him) 
-First draft of The Winter's Chill (Pentegreens book 3) is currently sitting at 73,946 words (again, I need to work more on this one, but it's just such a tough story for some reason)
-My NaNoWriMo project this year was Watched, the first in a different trilogy, and it's currently sitting at 50,015 words (eventually I'm going back to it, but for right now it'll probably be a while before that happens)
-I started another story that I will definitely be going back to once I have a bit more of a plan for what I'm doing, a Robin Hood/the Six Swans retellling called Hood's Arrow, currently sitting at 15,169 words
-I edited another draft of my Rooglewood contest submission from last year, Ink Storm (now entitled Sweat and Gold), at 14,249 words. (I'll have some news regarding this little story in next week's post! Stay tuned. ;))

Because I want to have it on record, I added this all up to see how many words I wrote in all this year (this doesn't count all the random little scenes I wrote in seperate documents, the scribbles on sheets of paper, or any of my blog posts or magazine articles for my school, which probably add up to another 20-30k easily).

I wrote 591, 860 words of fiction this year. 

This has got to be a personal record for me. I've never accomplished ANYTHING like this, and just looking at these numbers makes me giddy. 

And I want you all to remember: WRITING A FEW WORDS IS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT. Every word you write is a word the world has not seen before. Last year I poured all my energy into a little novella, which I had hopes would be my first forray into the publishing world, and yet I didn't win the contest. I've been writing and writing at this series of mine for YEARS now with no progress. Sometimes it all seems pointless. 

But then it breaks through like this and you discover that you have characters you absolutely love, stories you can't imagine life without, and a world that makes you wonder how other people survive without their own little fantasy lands in their heads. 

Also, I had a looooooot of free time the first half of this year. Most of these words came from the period between January and June. Having a job + junior year of high school didn't leave much time for wordsmithing. 

Since y'all are my friends, I thought maybe I'd give you all a chance to read some snippets from this year's work. *hides under a blanket*


Opening the door to her bedroom, Esma slipped in and darted into the adjoining dressing room. Shadows danced in the corners of the room, and she shivered and struck a match, lighting the candle that stood atop her immaculate dressing table. An orange glow danced around her. She’d never been afraid of the dark in the past; she supposed that she still wasn’t. 
It was only that now she had an idea of what evil might lurk in the shadows, and she had no desire to be caught off guard by it ever again. 
~The General's Children

The door to the kitchen flew open. The waitress, her bun flapping behind her head like it needed a few more pins, strode towards him. Will slid backward on the stool. Her hand went up and she pointed to him.
He cringed, preparing for her to yell at him to get out. The roaring in his ears was too loud. Time to get out of here.
He was just preparing to jump up off the bench when what she was actually saying filtered into his ears. 
“Good morning, sir! And what can I get you today?”
~Hood's Arrow

“Why did you tie me to a tree?” Derek asked, in as calm a voice as he could manage. A girl this beautiful, this distinctive, this powerful, should not be fighting for Dauthang. He tried not to think of all the good that she could do for their side. He’d have to convince her as she was. She wasn’t going to listen to him if all she saw was someone determined to sway her to their side. No, what she needed was kindness and love and determination. 
As long as she didn’t murder him before he could pull it off, he’d be fine.
“You tried to kill me!” she screamed. Now the tears glistened in the corners of her eyes, and she spun away from him quickly. Not quickly enough to hide the shaking in her shoulders or the slump to her stature, usually so straight. 
“And then I saved you,” he said, still trying to keep up that calm voice. “I saved your life. I wouldn’t actually have killed you.”
“Really?” She whirled back to him, raised her right palm, and brandished the bandage that she’d tied across it. It was a messy job, and the healer within him cringed at the sight. “Are you sure, Captain?”
“Whatever. You tried to kill me.” 
~The Winter's Chill

As soon as we hear the door upstairs close, Jeannie shoots out of the kitchen, a cookie in either hand. “There’s more where these came from,” she says, holding them high above her head, “and also you know now why I’m fat. Anyways. Let’s talk politics.”
“Must we?” grumbles Bryce.
“Yes,” Jeannie says, shooting him an irritated look. “We need to make sure Lucas understands what’s going on in this new city of his. You came from the Northwest, correct?” He nods and she goes on, “He just needs to understand. The situation out there is just slightly different from here.”
I snort. “You’re telling me.”
“Sit down, Mel. Stop standing there awkwardly and embrace the fact that you and Lucas are friends now. There’s lots of space on the couch.” Jeannie points me to a spot on the couch. I ease myself down on the very corner of it, as far from Lucas as I can sit without making it look like I’m avoiding him. “And I will sit…” She looks around, sees that our mediocre seating options are all taken, and plops herself down on the floor. “I will sit right here! Now then.” 

Revitalized by this moment of silence and the chance to breathe, Briallen brought her pen down on the page.
She was never sure how it happened. Was a part of her ripped off from herself and sucked into the journal, or was the story somehow lifted out of the journal into her bedroom? Either way, she went spinning into the void, clouds and trees whirling past like she rode one of the rarest breeds of Spinning Dragons, with no indication as to whether she or they were stationary. 
Her feet hit the ground.
~Sweat and Gold

Esma turned away and put her hand on her knife to steady herself. Even that simple action recalled the truth of what she was witnessing, and she struggled for breath. They were at war. This city— it was at war. The war had not left a single citizen of her city untouched, and the heat that warmed her core blazed furious to see it.
In that moment, Esma Pentegreen swore an oath:
She would not rest until she saw Dauthang’s attempts to bring her city down destroyed, and peace restored to her people.
~The King's Daughter


Best new movie of the year award goes to: 
Christopher Robin
via Rotten Tomatoes

Best movie theater experience:
Avengers: Infinity War
via Rotten Tomatoes
Most tear-jerking movie of the year:
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
via Rotten Tomatoes
Movie I'm most eager to see make the Oscars:
Black Panther
via Rotten Tomatoes
Best historical/drama/movie I will watch on repeat for the rest of my life:
Life Is Beautiful (La Vita è bella)
via Rotten Tomatoes
Still my favorite movie of all time: 
Amazing Grace
via Rotten Tomatoes


One thing that seems to happen a lot right now is that people are starting to look for that one word that summed up their year, a word to say everything that happened briefly. With a little reflection, I've found mine. 

The word to sum up my 2018 is: 


This year I did things I never thought possible, like raising money to go to Washington, D.C., and attend the March for Life, which is still one of my favorite memories of the year. I got my first-ever job, and was able to be a light in my workplace. I pushed through the struggles of, more than ever before, leaving my childhood behind for the sake of becoming an adult. 

It's been a tough year in that regard. I haven't enjoyed giving up my Saturday mornings to go to work. I haven't liked the lack of sleep, the huge plate of things to do, or the fact that I get less and less time to myself. But I think it's been worth it.

My piano abilities have grown. My life is fuller, richer, and more full of meaning. I think I've been growing closer to God, and I definitely know what my priorities are now. This has been a year of experimenting, of trying different things and shifting my schedule and having a non-existent schedule. But that's okay. I've been learning. I've been growing. I've been preparing. 

And I am ready for what 2019 has for me, and what God will teach me within that year. 

(also I discovered I like coffee this year. Apologies to Catherine, Ivie, and the rest of the #CoffeeFree squad. XD) 

In Conclusion

It's been quite a year. Not the hardest, not the easiest. Just another year. 

But I'm so grateful that God allowed us to have it. 

To 2019, friends. *raises glass of ginger ale* 

How was your 2018, friends? I know you're all putting up your own posts, and I'll be doing my best to comment on as many of them as I can. But I'd love it if you'd talk to me about your year! 

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  1. Sometimes I think we are twins because I've been suffering from allergies/slight cold, too!

    Love the video and all the stats you listed! Have a wonderful 2019! See you in the New Year!! <3

    1. Is it even a question? We are OBVIOUSLY twins, you and I both. XD

      Thank you! And I'll talk to you in 2019! (That's so crazy)

  2. Growth is such an awesome word!! 2018 was really an incredible year. I hope 2019 is just as awesome!

    Man, that's a lot of words!! I'm blown away reading that. And I really love your titles. They're just so eyecatching. I definitely want to read them all!!

    Welcome to the #weliveoncoffee squad! We're glad you could make it.

    1. Yes! Thank you so much for the encouragement, Sarah. It's been amazing.

      And I appreciate your sweet words so much. I tend to hate my titles, so hearing that you like them is AWESOME. <3


    It sounds like you've had a very full year. <3 Happy New year!!!

  4. A VLOG! YES! Sorry if I seem excited, I just really like seeing some of my favorite bloggers talk through a video. XD

    *stares open-mouthed at stats* MY WORD, FAITH, HOW DO YOU DO IT???? 500,000 is an amazing amount of words to write in a year! Congratulations!

    See you next year! ;) Have a great last day of 2018, and a fabulous 2019! <3

    1. I love vlogs too, don't worry! XD

      *joins you in staring* I'm not sure how I did it myself! My mind is blown at the number of words I wrote. Thank you!

      And thank you so much! Have a fabulous 2019 your own self!

  5. SO MUCH WRITING like, how?????

    Recently saw Black Panther - man, that was REALLY good!! Should have seen it sooner, methinks. It was worth the wait, though.

    Coffee, though...ick...

    1. I DON'T KNOW

      It was so good! I saw it right after it came out and it was definitely worth the theater trip.

      I mean, I still think it's gross...but I also drink it? I'm not sure why.


  7. Awesome, wrap-up, Faith! So much has happened in 2018. I don't know if we met this year or if we'd run into each other a few times in the end of 2017, but this is the year you became my friend <3

    I can't even sum up the music that I've listened to or the movies I've watched (though my top favorite movie of the year was Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom probably followed by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and there is probably another movie that I'm forgotten but those two were epic). I've read 104 books... maybe I should try to make it 105 by the end of the year. *cough* if I can. The total pages that I read was 32,780. I've not read any of the books that were your top five favorites, but I did just get All The Crooked Saints and I'm super excited to read it! :D This year was such a good reading year that I would be hard pressed to choose just five favorites.

    I feel very much the same way that you do as far as my writing went this year. For years I've been writing, but I think this is the year that I finally learned how to! I ended up having to go count up all of the words that I wrote this year because you made me curious XD This was made difficult because my word count was spread out through twelve projects, seven I finished (at least the first draft of), three I set aside until later, and two I'm still working on writing. My word count ended up being.... annnnddd.... drum roll please.... 592,919 words!!!!! Our yearly word counts are only a little more than a thousand words apart, can you believe that???

    This word count does not however include all of the work that I did into A Time of Trepidation since I'm rewriting/editing that.

    Anyway, have a happy New Year and may 2019 be just as productive as 2018, if not more so ;P

    1. Yes! I know around May is when we started exchanging emails and really talking because I remember emailing you during all my breaks in Drivers' Ed xD

      I haven't seen either of those xD I don't know, Jurassic World is NOT my kind of movie at all. I can't stand creeping dinosaurs, they terrify me. And I love that you read so many pages on top of everything else! I hope you do read All the Crooked Saints and enjoy it <3 It's SO GOOD.

      Writing has been such a difficult endeavor for so long, and now...my fingers fly. It's amazing. You and I wrote SO MANY WORDS this year and I'm so proud of both of us! Your word count is BRILLIANT <3


      Happy New Year! Here's to MUCH productivity. <3

    2. Haha, it's seems like so long now, but it hasn't even been a year XD

      Jumanji is hilarious and kinda up my aisle with, you know four teens going to *cough* another world. I think I actually like it better than the original... oh, who am I kidding? I do like it better than the original! I 100% recommend, it has some language, but other than that it's pretty clean (and super funny, that deserves to be said twice, I laughed so hard the first time I watched it that I couldn't even breathe XD). Yeah, then you definitely wouldn't like the latest Jurassic movie. Part of the reason I liked it so much is because it was a lot like the original in the creeping dinosaur department. I do too, because honestly I don't know where I found the time. Honestly, I have All the Crooked Saints, the first Raven Boys book, and an audio book of the Scorpio Races, I should probably finally read a Streifvator book...

      Um... writing was still super difficult for me this year, but when I didn't overthink what should come next, my fingers flew XD Obviously I got a lot done even though I felt brain dead through half of it. I can't believe that we did either! Or that our word counts were so close XD Thank you, so was yours!

      Um... okay *coughs* I'M WORKING ON IT! Not really, like, right at the moment. Currently I'm editing Of Gold and Iron in the midst of my Winter Cursed books. But I'm hoping to republish it this summer *crosses fingers*

      Same, friend, SAME! <3

  8. fun stats! And I love the movie, Life Is Beautiful, but it's so sad ;/. Wow, you wrote a ton!!!! Amazing ;)


    1. Thanks! It's such a beautiful but sad movie, but I love it SO MUCH. <3

  9. 109 hours of Fall Out Boy, I approve.

    When you said that you were going to try to make a positive and upbeat video and that your not good at that, I died laughing. Basically me, XD

    Seeing the collection in your video was so surreal and amazing!!! Thanks for including it, reading it, and AHH just everything! I may have gotten teary eyed... okay I did! But you said my story was your favorite, and I get all emotional anytime someone says something nice about. Having it come from you, made it even more special and amazing! I don't even have words.*HUGS* You're an amazing friend to have! Thanks for making my day! <333

    Your word count for the year! WOW! I'm blown away that is amazing! It's inspiring me, that is a lot. Just wow!

    Your snippets were all amazing too! The Winter's Chill one and the one from Sweat and Gold were my favorite. I'm intrigued by all of them!

    Happy New Year! Hope you have a fantastic one!

    1. I also agree. <3 Amazing.

      Oh my goodness, I'm so glad that I made you so happy. I loved your story so much, and it was beautiful. *hugs back* You're amazing and I love you so much. <3

      I'm frankly blown away myself, so thank you! <3

      Awww, thanks. I worked my tail off trying to find something that wasn't utter trash xD

      Happy New Year! You too.

  10. OWL CITY MY GREATEST LOVE. <3333333 I literally have to FORCE myself to listen to other music, because I just want to listen to him 24/7...forever. XD

    Ahem, just had to flail.

    ANYWAYS. I loved this post and seeing a summary of your year! The vlog was fantastic. It was great seeing my sweet Faith. <3 And wow, you have read so many books this year. That is epic!

    I cannot even express how happy it makes me that you truly discovered your love for writing this year. It just fills my soul! I LOVE how you compared it to a marriage--with good days and hard days, but forever your love. That sums writing up so perfectly! That is exciting you have so many ideas (like the Mafia meeting dragons wuuuut??? :O BRILLIANCE). And OH. MY. WORD. You wrote 600k words in a year???????? HOW. WUT. I CAN'T. *collapses in amazement* Faith. FAAAAITH! That is just...I have no words. YOU ARE A MAGICAL WRITING NINJA FAIRY. I loooved the snippets, and am MUCHLY intrigued by this Robin Hood/Six Swans crossover because THOSE ARE TWO OF MY MOST FAVORITEST STORIES. I love your brain!

    Oh my gosh, Christopher Robin was the most precious thing and made me cry like a bazillion times because it brought my childhood to life and ALL THE FEELS. And of course Infinity War broke me but I loved it anyway, and Black Panther was awesome! And LotR is my one true love but you probably already know that. XD Just ALL THE MOVIES. <3

    Growth is such a beautiful word for the year. I experienced so much of that myself. I'm so proud of you for all you've accomplished. I do hope 2019 will be your best year yet! <3 HAPPY NEW YEAR, MY DEAR!!!

    (Also welcome to the coffee club! Once you're in, you can never get out. Mwahahahaha.)

    1. Ahahahahaha that's me with Bastille and Lorde right now xD

      Ahahahaha I felt like my face was such a mess because I'd just taken a shower, but I enjoy making videos of my face and I'm glad to hear that y'all like it too. And yes, I'm amazed by the number of books I read too. xD

      Writing is so hard but such a love and I don't know how I could live without it at this point. And my goodness, I don't even know how it's possible for me to have written 600k in a year. It was such a busy year and it didn't seem possible, but IT HAPPENED. <3 THANK YOU SO MUCH. The Robin Hood story is going to be so cool once I someday get it written, but at the moment I've hit a roadblock and it ain't happening, unfortunately. Oh well. xD

      It is such a great word. I hadn't realized it until the day I wrote this post, but I think it's perfect. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU TOO! To 2019. *raises glass of ginger ale*



    Happy 2019! <3


      You too! <3

  12. I am in awe of your writing word count.

    *sits and contemplates life, the universe, and everything for a few minutes*

    Ahem. Congrats!! That's amazing!!

    Your snippets are lovely and intriguing!!

    Growth is a great thing to be able to look back and see throughout the year behind us. Hadn't really thought about it that way, but that's a word I can definitely use to describe my 2018, as well.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Awwww, thanks, Jenelle. <3

      Growth is such a helpful word for describing this year, and it's so cool that you feel that same way! :D

      You too! <3

  13. YOU DISCOVERED OWL CITY??? :D Do you have a favorite song of his?

    Congratulations on your progress with the Pentegreens! That's super impressive, and I'm glad you were able to discover such a great love for the project. ^-^

    Happy new year!

    1. At the moment I think it's probably "If My Heart was a House" but they're genuinely all so good I couldn't choose xD

      Thank you! I'm pretty excited about that myself!

      You too! :D

  14. *grabs up snippets and gobbles them up* Very, very delicious. But also painful, because I'm scared for the beloved Pentegreen darlings...

    Haha, YESSSSSS, Owl City!! Have you heard "Wolf Bite" yet?? "Cave In"?? "You're Not Alone"?? Ahem, sorry. B-) Thanks for the shout-out; I screamed my best.

    I love this post. <3

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

    1. Oh, and awesome video!! I LOVED All the Crooked Saints too! And now I reallllllly want to read the Inkheart trilogy. Because TOP READ OF THE YEAR??? Wow.

    2. *cackles* Oh, yes. You should be scared and very scared.

      Agh, I haven't listened to half his stuff and none of those sound familiar xD My favorite album by him so far is Cinematic, just because I play it the most for some reason? It tends to come up on my playlists when I shuffle XD You're welcome ;)

      YES YOU MUST READ INKHEART. It's so beyond good, and while I did have a couple of caveats in the first and second book of the series, I HAD NO COMPLAINTS IN THE THIRD. Read it. <3


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