A man is riding a bike on a hill.
Search
Close this search box.
A watercolor illustration of a typewriter with a note on it.

Welcome to 2024 (and how 2023 went)

by Kellyn Roth |
January 3, 2024

Welcome to 2024, a year that I like the sound of much more than 2023 (I hate odd numbers)! As 2023 came to a close, I realized that it had only been a month long, and that disturbed me. I should have had more than a month to do all the things I had to do in a year, though! 😉

In truth, this year felt simultaneously so long and so short, and I’m glad to be moving on from it. Honestly, my feeling upon the end of the year is just “bleh.”

As you read in my 2022 recap/2023 goals post, I had as many high hopes for 2023 as always, and though things didn’t go as planned in some ways, I’m so grateful for the ways that God blessed us and the adventures I was able to face in 2023.

In August, for my birthday, I wrote this post, which discussed most of 2023, but I’ll go ahead and still wrap it up in case you didn’t read that post … and because September, October, November, and December were a thing!

A Wrap-Up of 2023

2023 Goal Wrap-Ups

  • Write at least three books. I ended up finishing Like a Ship on the Sea, writing Like the Air After Rain (yes, I finally finished a draft!), two novellas (Courage to Stay for Springtime in Surrey – published in July – & The Artist of Hearthstone Cottage for A Very Bookish Romance – coming out in two weeks!), and a short story (If Ye’d Only Say for the Author Conservatory’s second anthology). I did a lot of other writing, but none of it was terribly productive – bits and pieces of Time of Grief (The Chronicles of Alice & Ivy, Book 7) and a LOT of rewriting for books in my Regency romance series. Not to mention outlines a-plenty.
  • Publish one book. Done! Like a Ship on the Sea launched in September … and so did the Springtime in Surrey anthology.
  • Complete the launch of Wild Blue Wonder Press. Yay! Done!
  • Publish two anthologies with Wild Blue Wonder Press. Just one, though Novelists in November is open for submissions now!
  • Have a successful NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMos (April/July). Sort of? I got 50k+ written in November, but I did very little for both camp seasons.
  • Successfully host a writing conference (YWW 2023!). DONE!
  • Pitch my Regency romance novel. Not really done? I’ve made progress in this direction, though.
  • Progress in the Author Conservatory. Yup! Set to graduate with the first round of students in June, too!
  • Exercise regularly. Meh. No.
  • Learn to cook. Though I cooked more, I wouldn’t say I’m good at it.

Responses to my 2023 Hopes & Expectations

[Original “Hopes & Expectations” quotes are in italics.]

In 2023, I hope to write more and stress less.

Meh. I feel like neither happened.

That is an oversimplification. However, I still have hopes that the contents of 2023 will resemble that simple sentence. After all, I definitely do need to write more, and I definitely do need to stress less.

True, and it would’ve been great … uh, if it’d happened.

I am also undertaking a crusade of personal health. More and more, I believe it is vital to prioritize physical, mental, and emotional health, with the fourth and most vital part of this equation being spiritual health. Of course, this is not an easy assignment. There’s a lot that goes into every one of these factors.

I talked a lot about this in my August post, but this hasn’t happened … and yet should. I’m … I’m working on it.

2023 Word of the Year

Determined

“Man who is born of woman

Is of few days and full of trouble.

He comes forth like a flower and fades away;

He flees like a shadow and does not continue.

And do You open Your eyes on such a one,

And bring me to judgment with Yourself?

Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?

No one!

Since his days are determined,

The number of his months is with You;

You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.”

~      ~      ~

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Oddly enough, both of those “meanings” based on the verses showed up a lot in 2023.

I had to trust that God has made plans concerning me—even when everything felt random and disconnected.

I dealt with multiple job changes for me (some of which I was not happy with at the time!), multiple job opportunities for my husband that fell through at the last moment, potential moves that got abruptly canceled, disappointments on professional and personal levels, deadends aplenty in my health and in my husband’s health … gah, it was frustrating.

It felt like I kept getting my hand slapped for reaching for simple things. Always, the cup dashed from my hand by my favorite falcon, if you will. (Does anyone even know that story? Is that too obscure a reference?)

But I have been coming to peace with some things … and accepting that God’s plan really is better. In the long run, the things He has allowed to work have been fantastic.

The timing for the Author Conservatory job and how seamlessly that has worked into my life. Even some of the less-than-pleasant comings and goings of other jobs have worked out—even if it’s not always what I wanted.

My husband is finally starting a job that will provide us a living wage—and that may allow for some other opportunities to just have a better life overall. And you know what? It was just dropped in our laps. We didn’t have to fight for it. We didn’t even have to spend weeks begging God to work it out. He just … did it for us. Isn’t that great?

It gives me confidence that other things may work out. There are so many things that are unsure. We don’t have great housing, we’ve had lots of unexpected financial worries, and of course there are the ongoing “baby troubles,” if you will, that are never not on my mind.

But I’m growing and learning, and I felt so blessed to read over posts from last year and realize all the ways God has blessed me. I don’t deserve this—especially after all the desperate “why are You doing this?” kind of prayers I’ve thrown out there.

But I’ve been blessed anyway. And I must believe, even though life is not going the way I want it to go, that He has determined my paths, and He is trustworthy (especially given the whole “willingly sacrificed His life for me” thing, you’d think I’d have this a little more ingrained, but I am definitely a questioner by nature, lol).

Other 2023 Updates

Actually, in terms of updates for 2023, this post still has the most compact series of updates, so I won’t attempt to talk too much about how things were through August. In September, October, November, and December, we had:

  • Somehow, two trips to the beach (one with Matthew’s family, one unexpected one with just Matthew due to the sickness of a friend),
  • Fertility testing for me (unfortunately or fortunately, haven’t found anything during the tests we’ve done so far),
  • Publishing Like a Ship on the Sea,
  • Getting my wisdom teeth out,
  • Miscellaneous trips with friends to the beach and the mountains and the desert,
  • Lots of random stuff with friends,
  • & Matthew getting a new job!

That one’s the biggest update, of course!

Matthew will be starting a new job in January, and it’s going to be a huge blessing for us. God truly worked things out in a way that is truly amazing. I’ve been forcing myself to use it as a reminder of His care for us whenever some of the darker thoughts invade.

Of course, we’d appreciate prayers that this goes well, if you think of it!

Miscellaneous 2023 Pictures

(entirely out of order, but perhaps that’s more fun)

 

Looking into the Future: 2024

Goals for 2024

In truth, I, the Queen of the Dares and the Lady of Determination, am a little tired of goals. 😛

It’s not that I don’t think they’re great, and that they haven’t served me well in the past. I’m sure they’ll serve me well again in the future! But I’m disillusioned with goals of late.

I feel like a lot of my dreams have been dashed, and though my dreams were not goals, they were close enough to my heart that something seemed to break inside me. Something that made me feel like productivity was no longer purposeful. It’s as if I broke whatever psychological trick I was using into smithereens.

It’s as if I broke my belief in the mind tricks I’ve been using to accomplish what I needed to accomplish because I (subconsciously) applied them to areas where I had no control.

And that’s silly. My professional/writing life is going well, after all, in its own way. Any failures there are due to my lack of progress which are again due to my lack of motivation.

So what then?

Well, I keep making goals and keep moving forward. Because again, I’m kind of obsessed with them. (Did you think being disillusioned would mean I wouldn’t do it? Hahahahahahaha … you underestimate my stubbornness.)

I’m just going to try to do it in a more sustainable (um, shorter) way??? Maybe?

The List of Goals (Finally)

~ Writing ~

  • Edit Like the Air After Rain (The Hilton Legacy, #2) with the help of my talented alpha reader team and editors.
  • Write a first draft of Like Lightning in a Bottle (The Hilton Legacy, #3).
  • Write (or rather, finish) a first draft of another writing project of some sort. If I get more writing done, good. However, two books is enough!
  • Graduate from the Author Conservatory.

~ Marketing ~

  • Publish at least twice monthly on Reveries & Lilacs (& ideally, every week, but I’ll probably take at least a few breaks!).
  • Put monthly effort into growing my email list as well as maintaining semi-consistent emails (occasional breaks being a good thing).

~ Publishing ~

  • Publish If Ye’d Only Say, my short story in the second Author Conservatory anthology (spring or summer 2024).
  • Publish The Artist of Hearthstone Cottage (January 2024), my novella, with the A Very Bookish Romance collection.
  • Publish Novelists in November (November 2024), Wild Blue Wonder Press’s second anthology.
  • Open submissions for Fingerprints in Frost, Wild Blue Wonder Press’s third anthology.

~ Personal ~

  • Improve my intake of certain nutrients (e.g. eat well).
  • Find a way to be in bed for a reasonable amount of time (e.g. sleep well).
  • Learn more about God every day.

2024 Hopes & Expectations

I’m trying to put less pressure on 2024 to be a certain way.

You know I’ll always be hoping for a baby … but I can’t make that happen. Similarly, I hope Matthew’s job will go well, and it will allow us to save up money and move forward in our life (eventually renting a house on our own separate from family or even buying a house, though that feels pretty impossible with prices right now). 2024 is more likely to be a growth area than anything.

I hope I’ll be in a better place in 2025 (or rather, the end of 2024) than I am now. But I just don’t know exactly what will happen.

There are some fun things that are happening in 2024, though! I have a friend getting married in June, and I’ll be traveling a couple times for various events, so that’s exciting. I’m sure many other lovely things will happen in 2024 … it just remains to be seen what they are!

2024 Word of the Year

I wasn’t going to do this because I only want to use “words of the year” in the most biblical, godly way possible, and I sometimes worry that they come close to the unbiblical ideas of “manifesting” or something like that.

For that reason, my “Words of the Years”

My Word of the Year 2024 is a simple one:

Trust

Basically, you know, what I need to learn.

Of course, I am greatly inspired by this snippet of Psalms, which was a memory verse my mom had us learn at some point:

Also, desktop background for now. Even though I usually like something either more complicated or more simple. Also worth noting that it had me removing my humpback whale, so you know I love it.

TTFN!

~Kell~

Are you interested in getting to know me & my books better? Join my email list!

What do you think of my thoughts?

4 Responses

  1. Happy 2024, Kell! And you literally stole my word of the year. (I’m kinda kidding because I’m too daunted by the idea of choosing a word of the year. But that’s definitely my word of the month haha! And it also happens to be the theme of the WIP I’m knee-deep in. So that’s been interesting. XD)

    1. Oh, my, don’t you love those real life/fiction-you’re-writing crossovers? They’re always wildly annoying, in some ways … though really cool in others.

  2. I think those are some good, manageable goals for the year. I’ve never been one to set rigid goals, but I like having a few designated things to “work towards,” for the sake of direction and focus. This year I’m going to be drafting Book 3 of my fantasy series, and hopefully beginning edits on Book 2 (but that one depends on my publisher’s schedule).

    Excited to see what 2024 holds for you! Happy New Year!

    1. That’s great! I hope that goes well for you! I usually like setting goals, but NOT liking them as much has me being more intentional about them, haha. Thanks! Same to you!

What do you think of my thoughts?

Follow my blog

Want to receive notifications of new posts? Let's make this happen!

Join 1,617 other subscribers