2015 Wrap-Up


I wrote this post last week and I had intended to add in some pictures that are on a memory card and here we are a week later and 3 days after I wanted to post this and I haven’t gotten them yet. Scheduling blog posts should definitely be a new year’s resolution of mine. 😉 Here’s my wrap up sans pictures. If I have a chance tonight, I’ll add those pictures in! Happy New Year’s Eve, ya’ll! This is a magical time of year to me, full of hope for happiness and new experiences.

Some things I learned in 2015… I can’t be afraid to be myself. I’ve lived much of my life worrying about pleasing other people and it simply cannot be done. Too bad it took me 27 years to figure out! Also, some people will never change. No matter what we try to do, we cannot change people. Perhaps if they want to, but that is their prerogative. We will be forever disappointed if we keep trying to do it ourselves.

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.”

I haven’t fully embraced this yet, but how perfect are those words? This year I have truly realized that happiness is something you create. If you aren’t happy, do something about it. Perhaps that contradicts the aforementioned quote, but what I mean to say is….if you aren’t happy with something in your life, change it. If you aren’t happy with yourself, change. If you can’t see a reason to be happy with your life, look around. There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy. Another true quote.

It’s just really been a rollercoaster, 2015. I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone in a lot of ways. I fought with my family. I warred within myself. I stood my ground. I changed jobs in a big way. I took two steps forward towards my dream of writing a book and I wrote the first draft.


There was a lot of forward movement and a lot of doubting. I am still not where I want to be at this point in my life, will I ever be? The best thing I can do is keep moving forward.


Some of the highlights of my year…


I went floating/canoeing for the first time.


I changed career fields completely.


I went on my first cruise.


I got a kitty. 😉


I won NaNoWriMo.


I finished the first draft of my book!! (Mostly anyway. I’ve now decided to add in an alternating POV, but I digress.)



I can’t wait to see what 2016 will hold. I have a lot of goals and a lot of hope. That’s why I love the new year so much. 🙂 More on all that later. For now, be safe and be happy!





What Kept Me Motivated During NaNoWriMo

Keeping up with my review of NaNoWriMo this month, I got to thinking about what kept me going day after day. These tips can help many of us any month of the year, so I felt it relevant to post.

Throughout the month of November, many of us buckled down and attempted to hit that 50,000 word goal. Some of us succeeded, others didn’t, but the biggest thing was that we tried, right? I feel like everyone’s a winner if they just show up. Today’s post is about the things that kept me going throughout the month. I know I’m not the only one who jumped in on November 1st feeling hopeful and supremely motivated, and nearly fell out by November 7th (or 2nd) feeling deflated and hopeless. I had a lot of ups and downs throughout the month. A lot of things got in my way despite my best attempts to keep a schedule and push everyone out of my way, I am still a step-mother and actually basically a single parent Monday-Friday. I still have a full-time job that I work 40+ hours a week at. I commute almost an hour each way. I didn’t have a gang of people behind me in my “real life”. I’m actually not sure how many of my friends and family (that knew what I was doing) really thought I would stick with it. I depended a bit on the forums and a small group of ladies that I met on facebook to keep me going. There are a lot of obstacles. I have a lot of excuses that I could pull out, but I also have a lot of willpower that pushed me to just keep writing and I chose day after day to believe in myself. Here are some quotes I came across throughout the month that helped keep me going.


Maybe the hardest part of life is just having the courage to try.” – Rachel Hollis. Rachel gave these quote cards out at the Austin Book Fest this year and I have it displayed on my desk. From time to time throughout this year, especially during November, I would look at it and think, “Yes! I just have to have the courage to try.”


If you want to be a writer, the sole requirement is that you write.”


“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” How much truth is there here? We can dream of doing a lot of things, but until we do the work, our dreams are not going to come true.


For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of and if you find that you are not, I hope you find the strength to start over.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald


What keeps you motivated? I am a huge fan of quotes and “words of affirmation” is my love language. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Life Post-NaNoWriMo

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my last post, as usual. Almost a month. I’m terrible at keeping up scheduled posts but I will forever work on it. In my last post, I was freaked out in anticipation of NaNoWriMo. I feel like this is a common feeling. Throughout Nano, I wanted to post but I just kept writing. I guess that was ok, because I won! I buckled down and wrote everyday in November and I hit the goal of 50,000 and then a little bit by November 29th. I was unbelievably proud of myself! Since then, however, I have only written about 3000 words. I feel slightly ashamed of this. I did 30 days worth of writing every day. I did need the break come December 1st but I only intended to take a week off. But that lead to another week and here we are. Two weeks later and I’m not much closer to finishing my book. The 50,000 word mark is just past halfway in my story but i have so much more to tell. I took the first week off and I was going to catch up on some of my ARCs for my other blog, That Book Life, and then I was going to come back to writing my book. The first book I picked up was terrible. I just couldn’t connect with the story. I hate to put a book down without finishing it, so I tried to push through but I just couldn’t do it. I found myself rolling my eyes at the dialogue and the characters were just unrealistic to me. Maybe they were too cliche. There were too many scenes that didn’t flow well. Either way, I put that book down at 30%. Maybe I will pick it back up, maybe not. I wrote all that to say that it freaked me out all over again. What if MY book is that terrible? What if I’ve messed up my dialogue where people can’t tell who’s talking or whose POV it is? I know I can’t let fear get to me, but I am just being honest in saying that I’ve let it hold me back thus far and that is my own fault. So starting today, after I finish this blog post, I’m going to pull up my WIP (work in progress), and I’m going to write. I’m going to set a timer for thirty minutes and just write. I’ve also dubbed Friday to be a writing day. I’m off work and my step son will be at school and my husband at work. My personal goal for December, coming off the high of winning NaNoWriMo and getting further in one story than I ever have before, was to finish my first draft and name my novel (I never knew how hard that would be!!) At this point, I just really want to finish the first draft if it is the last thing I do! So now I’m off to attempt to do just that.

Until next time,

xoxo – Ashley