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Well, 2020 Was a Year That Happened

by Kellyn Roth |
December 23, 2020

Well, 2020 was a year that happened. Technically is still happening. And I think, at least according to my 2019 wrapup, I might have cursed it a little?

I mean …

[W]hen I think about it, at least I know now what I can’t do – and I know that I can weather a storm. Or 50 storms. In fact, y’all are welcome to throw storms at me (please don’t), because I can take ’em as long as God exists! (Which He always will.)

This is what comes of ASKING people to THROW STORMS AT ME. Like, I’m sorry, y’all. I really am. I didn’t mean to curse us.

All joking aside, 2020 has at least been an interesting year (for most) if not a tragic one (for some).

Almost everyone has been laid-off and labelled “non-essential.” Depression and anxiety are sky-rocketing. Suicide rates are rising. Our economy is crashing, our education system has been upturned, and our churches have been closed.

The government has taken unprecedented control of our daily lives, going so far as to restrict constitutionally-secure activities taking place in our own homes. And it’s scary. And all Americans need* to stand up against it.

*It’s no longer an option if you want to continue experiencing any type of personal freedom.

Better yet?

If you protest, you’re selfish because, guess what? These huge things are just “an inconvenience.” And if you say, “It’s more than an inconvenience; it’s literally my entire life being ripped away!” … you’re a conspiracy theorist.

If that’s not gaslighting, I don’t know what is!

But all politics aside, let’s talk about 2021. Let’s talk about the future. And hope. And all that good stuff that no one can take away from us – even if it just means the knowledge that there still is a battle to fight!

My 2020 Goal Wrapup

  • Set up a great welcome sequence for my main email list.
    • Okay, so this didn’t happen. I did get a bit closer to getting organized, but I’m not quite there.
  • Organize my email list as is so that everyone is categorized properly, and growth will be more controllable.
    • I’m … in the process!
  • Organize my street team and make it private (e.g. no more people getting in).
    • I did, but now I’m starting to regret that decision. So it might just go back to the way it was before!
  • Publish Ivy Introspective.
    • YUS! I did!!! And that was a hard goal for me to make, so I’m super glad.
  • Prepare to publish At Her Fingertips and Beyond Her Calling.
    • Okay, well, if you count writing up the outlines and starting At Her Fingertips, yes.
  • Write at least one original work from start to finish.
    • I did! The one that comes to mind is The Duke’s Twin. From concept to first draft, I did it!
  • Keep learning Spanish.
    • HAHAHAHA. Okay, so I actually gave this up. *facepalm* I swear, all y’all picked up a new hobby in 2020, and I dropped like 50.
  • Have a certain amount of money in my bank account.
    • I DID IT! Though I also spent an outrageous amount of money.
  • Host at least three big writer events online over the year to focus on my backlist.
    • I didn’t …
  • Get to 900 followers on Instagram.
    • Check! And a few more than that, too.
  • Attend an organized writing event in person.
    • I tried, but um … *cough Covid cough*
  • Read the Bible twice a day.
    • I mean, I did occasionally, but most of the time, no. For the first five months or so, I did read the Bible at least once a day! And nowadays I’m doing it a couple times a week.
    • But I’ve discovered I really struggle with my relationship with God in the sense of the consistent action of spending time with Him. I’m learning, bit by bit!
  • Pray … a lot.
    • I tried! I think I’ve gotten a lot better, too. I certainly think to pray a lot more often throughout the day than I used to. But I’m looking for ways to improve! And Bailey and I are hopefully making plans to meet up every week and just pray.
  • Take Paisley on a walk with the girls.
    • Nahhhh … I mean, it’s just been … crazy.
  • Eat healthily with some regularity.
    • This is an unreasonable expectation of moi.
  • Exercise sometimes.
    • I mean, yeah. I exercised once a week or so for the first bit of 2020, and then it slowly faded, and then I picked it up again, and then it faded, and then … you know how it goes.
  • Live a little.
    • I mean, yes, but no? I did some fun things, more than I would’ve done if it weren’t for Covid-19 (because if y’all gonna tell me it’s illegal to go outside, guess where I’m going every weekend?). But other than that, not really.
  • Read more.
    • I mean, no. But on the other hand, I have read more in this last week or so! So that’s something.
    • I mean, again, yes but no …
  • And don’t force this blog to be something it’s not again.
    • Yes.

Writing Updates

Honestly, I could not remember what I was working on all through 2020 … but after scouring my blog, my documents, various update threads, and so on, I think I’ve got a pretty good wrapup going!

Published Books

I put out the latest drafts of The Dressmaker’s Secret and Ivy Introspective, as well as audiobook versions. (The IvIn audiobook will be coming in the next couple months!) You can check out everything about those here. (Suffice to say, these are my proudest accomplishments!)

Because I rewrote and rewrote IvIn during 2020, I’m counting about 60k as part of 2020’s word count despite the fact that it was a rewrite. (It was just a really big rewrite.) (Even so, I can’t 100% give myself that, so I’m calling it 60k not 72k.)

At Her Fingertips is … Complicated

After I finished Ivy Introspective (published in July), I turned my sights to book 3, which I’d originally intended to publish this last autumn.

That plainly didn’t come to be as my first rewrites were less than spectacular. About 35k in, I stopped and reevaluated. It just didn’t feel right. I had some unrelated readers (e.g. readers with no previous series experience) read the first couple chapters, and I hit on some issues.

April 2020 (Camp NaNo 1)

33,533 on Ivy Introspective, Thou, My Soul’s Glory, and The Midwife’s Daughter. I never broke down how much was on what, but one way or another, in 2020 I wrote 7,410 on TMSG and 9,831 on TMD, so the rest was probably on Ivy Introspective.

Give or take a few thousand – I think I started TMD earlier, but I’m not sure how much I kept.

July 2020 (Camp NaNo 2)

25,141 on At Her Fingertips, primarily. Suffice to say I was dealing with a lot this month.

Pre-NaNoWriMo 2020

So I wanted to start early and maintain a longer thread of consistent writing time, so I did.

Starting on October 15th and going through October 31st, I wrote 38,035 on The Duke’s Twin. The novel was finished mid-November at 59,093 words. (That means in those 46 days, I wrote 102,624 words! #proud)

My plan is to keep experimenting with longer periods of consistent, tracked writing. I’ve done a month and a half … how about two months now? And then three?

Can I eventually spend half the year doing NaNoWriMo and half not? Who knows! It’s certainly worth trying.

NaNoWriMo 2020

In November 2020, I wrote 64,589 words. My breakdown of on what?

The Duke’s Twin 21,085
Becoming Miss Knight 11,400
At Her Fingertips 32,104

Look how pretty that is! So basically, I finished The Duke’s Twin, wrote Becoming Miss Knight, and started At Her Fingertips.

I mostly wrote a lot of random stuff?

By that I mean snippets, self-fanfiction, mini short stories. I probably hit 30,000 words on so on all these mini projects, but they were useless, and I shall not count them as part of my word wrapup for this year.

Her Lord’s Book Club is a new thing

In April or May, I had an idea for a series that a friend and I spent a long time plotting out. Basically, they’re Regency-era comedy romances that involve lots of bookishness and misunderstandings and just … goofy stuff. It’ll be great.

I ended up using the idea for book 1 as my Author program project #1 – The Duke’s Twin. (I also wrote a prequel, Firstborn, at 22,983 words.)


I wrote a lot, but not nearly as much as I’d have liked to! At the beginning of this year, I think I wanted to write up the McAllen Brothers series as well as At Her Fingertips and Beyond Her Calling, and that just didn’t happen.

Still, it could’ve been worse, especially since I stopped mid-year and started working on other random projects. *sighs at self*

My word count total is, give or take, 254,281 words!

(Note: I’ll hopefully write a bit more before the year’s out, but I’m not counting those. Because that’d be hard.)

Just some random 2020 thoughts now, mates:

As you can see, I had a lackluster year in many ways. It wasn’t ever quite what I wanted. A lot of things changed that meant my life didn’t have as much growth as I wanted.

I talked a lot in my 2019 wrapup (which is still a post I really enjoyed rereading, by the way) about how my 2019 was just a very rough year for me to live through, and with 2020 having echoed said pattern, I admit to a lot of discouragement.

I feel like I’ve lost my ability to barrel through. In 2018, I was so numb I couldn’t think straight, and in 2019, I was emotionally volatile and just wrecked.

Actually, though, in some ways this set me up well for 2020 because I had gone through enough in my own mind that I was just like, “Eh. Who cares?” (Personal opinion: half of the world hasn’t suffered enough, so they can therefore not take anything. We have a very weak generation here in America, and probably in some other countries that aren’t facing actual issues, and it’s quite sad.) (Like, y’all, kids in the 1940s didn’t have time to be anxious about their test scores because they were literally dying.)

Anyways, all that aside, to quote said wrapup post:

I’m still trying to figure out my 2020, and even then I can’t guarantee it will go that way. If I’ve learned anything from 2019, it’s that NOTHING WILL HAPPEN THE WAY YOU PLAN most of time, so be ready to make the most out of what God gives you instead of whining that, somehow, your plan was better than His.

I admit that I am a bit scared of having another 2019 – an ongoing lifetime of 2019’s. I feel too weak, too tired, too emotionally bankrupt to take another 2019.

But God knows where my limits are, and I trust Him to take me there and no further. If I feel like I’m being taken further than I can go, well, I’m wrong.

Oddly perfect, isn’t it? Honestly, I never referred to it until this month, but it definitely fits! I wish I’d reread it a bit earlier.

Another 2019 … and another … and another …

I started 2020 not trusting that I would ever be better – emotionally, spiritually.

I didn’t trust the state of the world (and my trust is even more lost now) – I didn’t trust that anything would go well at all, really.

Yet even at the end of 2019, I had hope points. Little sparkles and shines. At the time, I was dating a guy who I thought was pretty great (turns out, he was like 110% not right for me, which was unexpected, but you have to try certain things to know you don’t like them), so that was encouraging. I also had a plan for my life, which I no longer possess – and I had friends.

I lost a lot of friends in 2020. I lost a lot of my faith for my future – and certainly a lot of my plans. But I also came to gain friends (or, more often, find out who my true friends were!), and I’m learning to be okay with not having set plans because, let’s be honest, when have my plans ever worked? 😉

Mostly, 2020 has been one long stretch of staying strong and following my first instincts. Sometimes I did (I always, always stuck to my guns about the Giant Debacle of 2020, and I’m so glad I took that stand early on) and sometimes I didn’t (it took me a long time to break up with my boyfriend because I didn’t want to give up if I was just having normal “this is a big deal” doubts) (but hindsight thankfully wasn’t 2020 in this case – see what I did there? – seriously, what I mean is that my hindsight was GOOD and made me realize that I dodged a bullet even though I broke up more on instinct than fact).

However, regardless of when I followed my impulses (which perhaps are God-nudges? I’m not sure – it’s so hard to tell!) and when I didn’t, things have worked out.

I’m not really expecting a good year in 2021. I’m not. But I’m not expecting a bad year, either! I’m expecting another year which will have good and bad – and I sure as sun (I mean, people say “hell” but isn’t sun just as sure? Or surer? At least for now? We’re not all surely going to hell, after all …) am not going to label it “good” or “bad” regardless.

So if 2021 is going to be another 2019, I’m not going to flinch. All types of things could happen. What I can control is my reaction and how much I lean on God during these “things,” whatever they are.

So I’m going to stop now and let my 2021 post wait until after the New Year. In the meantime, I wish you all the best, and Merry Christmas! Celebrate however y’all want – I hear jail ain’t so bad. 😉




OKAY NOW I ain’t askin’ how your 2020 went because I’m not a sucker for punishment … instead, let’s talk about God. Isn’t He great? How do you see Him working in your life? (If you don’t, let’s brainstorm, because I bet we can find Him.) How’s the old writing going, assuming you write? Or the reading? Or … whatever?

Also, I’ve noticed I never do reading wrapups anymore, but to be fair, I don’t read a lot. I only read 35 books this year, and though I expect to read a couple more before the year’s up (#Christmasbreak), I still am sad. More reading in 2021, mayhap?

What do you think of my thoughts?

12 Responses

  1. Writing goals: welllllll i made it about halfway through my goal? i had 19 short stories for a series i’m writing… i’ve completed 10. i wanted to complete them all and like at the beginning that seemed possible then the stories all decided they wanted to not work and characters ignored me U_U lol but God showed up though it. any time i considered stopping or dropping a story, weird doors would open up. like i have a character who goes through a miscarriage. i was gona drop the story then it was suddenly miscarriage awareness week… so i kept trying but i kept getting stuck so i considered just putting it aside till another time, then everyone i knew started sharing their experiences and talking about it and i was just like o_o okay okay i get the picture im gona keep writing…

    Reading: i read… like 4 books this year? *cries* *has so many books waiting to be read* i did alpha and beta read a lot of stuff tho…

    Other ways God worked. So my boyfriend as of 21 months now. we’ve been long distance since before even dating. and its always been up in the air when we will see eachother. so when covid happened it once again threw a wrench in plans… and his college closed so he had nowhere to go (since he couldnt exactly go back to indonesia or australia where his family lives) he was looking for options amongst friends, until my dad went “just catch the next flight here” it ended up being the last flight and he ended up staying with us 6 months and working for my dad. it was… very interesting… considering before that? we’d had an accumulated one month of being around eachother in person ahaha there were some rough patches but we learned a lot and are still dating. he’s staying with us again for christmas and all of my grandparents, my aunt and her fiance will be here lol. All of our relationship any time we thought it would end, God opened doors usually in unexpected ways.

    1. That’s awesome! I always want to write more short stories – they’re super cool! Sounds like the timing went just about right for some of them. Are they all related or are they standalones?

      And that’s awesome about your boyfriend! That sounds great. I’m glad it just worked out! I think a lot of things happen like that, and when you start looking for those “coincidences” (e.g. times when God worked things out!), you start seeing more and more of them.

      1. The first half is stand alones where each character and their particular situation is introduced, they’re written to appear hopeless and as if it’s the end for each. then a story in the middle asks the overarching question “why do all these terrible things keep happening and how can there be hope when it always seems that evil wins?” then we have the second half, which is the follow ups to each of the first stories and the characters connect a little more (since the stories span about 30 years they interact and change in different ways and we get to see even more of whats been going on after each character’s story) each set could probably stand on its own, but reading it as a whole theres little connections and cameos. the first series also has a reoccurring background character (the character in the middle of the series who is seeing all this happen) that maybe people will notice. so sorta related? but can stand on own. it’s been a lot of detail work XD


          1. lol yeah i dont usually plot but this series really pushed me to go about things different because of the details and time frames XD its funny cause the time gaps confuse me at times and i’ll be like “yeah so Zariyah and Leira are the same age so maybe she could…. wait… no… o_O I forgot they’re on different ends of the time line. how old are they then??? *checks timeline* twenty years?!?! *my concept of reality crumbles* uh okay what character is actually close to the same age at this time…” lol *discovered timelines are a life saver* however a pain to set up <-< I had to choose one character to start with and based on his birthdate figure out every single date and character to exist and if ever something needed to change i had to check EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER and make sure everything still worked. and i hate math…. so i'd just write out every number one at a time and then line up the shifted numbers… over and over… and my boyfriend was just like "bri, you could just–" me: *glares* No. XD

            1. I really do like timelines! I have like the hugest big old series one that is just … long. And it took me forever to put together and I still have tons of work and updating to do as the series has grown, but it’s still fun, and it definitely helps me to always be able to go, “Oh, she was born here and did this here and here’s when her children were born …” And so on!

  2. <333 great wrap-up, Kell. You've been amazing & a big help + inspiration this year to me! So grateful to count you as one of my friends. <3 My wrap-up will be up on the last day of 2020 ;P

    1. Thank you, Kats! <3 That's so sweet! I honestly don't know how as I feel like most of the time, I probably just drop my caustic, careless observations on everyone and bug them *coughs* but ummm ... I still appreciate it. 😉

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