Wow, so much has happened this year! 2017 – the year of the Salt Bae, announcing we’re finally getting a female Doctor on Doctor Who, and the constant threat of an impending world war. Ahh, what a time to be alive.
2017 has been a big year for me, as I’m sure it also has for all of you, so today I’d like to share some of the stuff that’s been going on in my life! I’ve got some of my favourite movie, TV, and music recommendations, my writing progress, and ten things that made me happy in 2017. Enjoy!
So umm… I don’t even KNOW how many books I read this year. I’m guessing it’s around 100, but seriously, I have no clue because I DON’T KEEP TRACK! I’M A TERRIBLE BOOK PERSON! But also, I don’t want the stress of Goodreads challenges and feeling guilty if I feel that I don’t read “enough”. I tried using Goodreads a few times and I just can’t really be bothered. Bleh. I mean, you can add me if you want! But just know that I only update what I’m reading like once every four months and I never post reviews on there. #sorrynotsorry
But I DID compile a handy list of my favourite books of 2017 for you to feast your eyes upon. Just click here to see what my top 17 books of 2017 were! I was surprised to love some of them as much as I did, and others were expected favourites, but overall, I think I read a lot of amazing books this year and it was so difficult trying to narrow it down. Also, the overwhelming majority of them are contemporary because I’m lazy when it comes to learning the rules of a new world. I’m ACTUALLY the worst.
But anyway, I think I had a great reading year! I’m sure I read more books than I have the past few years because the first year of my university degree was pretty chill, so it was great to get more time to read and post on my blog. Even though this year has been pretty terrible in a lot of other ways, I think it’s been pretty epic for the bookish community!
I’m lucky to work at a cinema and get free movie tickets, so I get to see quite a few of the new releases! I’ve probably seen at least 100 movies this year, seeing as I tend to go to an average of two a week, so it was SO HARD to formulate my list of favourites. I’m sure I’ve missed out on a ton I really enjoyed, but these are the ones that are sticking out at the moment as ones I’ve loved! And there are a ton of new movies coming out on Boxing Day, so this is definitely not an exclusive list for 2017! But I highly recommend checking these ones out if you haven’t seen any of them.
Even though I have Netflix, I don’t tend to watch THAT many TV shows. Once I get into something, that’ll be all I watch for the next month, but sometimes I can go months on end without watching anything. So my list of favourite new TV shows for 2017 is pretty much all I watched this year, but these are all amazing.
From the new music that was released this year, these albums were my favourites! While I’m still listening to A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and From Under the Cork Tree from 2005 and I’m very picky with my music, these five albums in particular have seared themselves onto my heart. My best find of 2017 was Walking on Cars, a band from Ireland that I’m desperately hoping will come to Australia one day. I definitely recommend checking these out if you haven’t heard of them!
This year has been my biggest year for writing so far! 2017 started off by finishing the first draft of a novel I wrote 30k of during the previous year’s NaNoWriMo, and it came in around 75k at the end of that draft. I was in New Zealand at the time, and it was amazing to be able to write the last few thousand words sitting by the ocean outside a cabin.
I took a little break from that one for a few weeks before launching into edits, including sending that manuscript to a few beta readers and getting feedback which I applied to my following edits. A few months later, I started sending out my first round of queries to some agents, which was very exciting! It was the first time writing a query letter and sending my work to agencies, so it’s undeniable that this experience has been so useful in learning how to approach that whole stage of writing.
However, I decided to set that manuscript aside for now and not sent it to any more agents. The main reason was because I feel that it’s not the story that’s right for the market at the moment and I’ve heard it’s very hard to sell speculative fiction. It was also remarkably similar to another book I read a month after sending out my first batch of queries, so I wanted to concentrate on my next project. That doesn’t mean that manuscript has no future! I may decide to resurrect it sometime down the track.
In the last week of July, I got an idea for my next manuscript that just started to consume my world. It was only three days after first getting the idea that I launched into writing my first draft after doing some loose plotting. I’m not much of a plotter anyway. But I wanted to push myself this time, so I set up a goal to write 50k in the month of August. I thought it was better to set a slightly unreasonable goal for myself so I didn’t slack off, and I couldn’t believe that it was physically possible for me to write that much in four weeks. I’m not like all those other writing machines who can smash out a novel in a weekend.
Because I was aiming for about 75k for my first draft of this manuscript, I finished it in September and then started editing in October. I’m still working on that manuscript and I’m currently on my fourth draft, so I hope to send it to a few beta readers after I finish this edit! I’m so excited about this story, and I’m hoping to start querying it early next year.
All up, I wrote over 100k this year and I couldn’t be happier. I pushed myself to write more, learned more about the querying process and how to approach agents, and met some amazing writers and authors who shared their wisdom with me and helped make dipping my toes into the publishing waters so much easier. I’m so thankful to all the people that answered all my questions and provided feedback and suggestions, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. My writing goals for 2018 are to query my current manuscript to a number of agents, and also write and complete two other novels!
10 Things That Made Me Happy in 2017
- Travel! I was lucky to go to New Zealand, Japan, and Vietnam this year, and I’m so grateful. There’s nothing I love more than exploring new places and experiencing new cultures, so it was amazing to have the opportunity to go to all these places. I’m already planning my next adventures!
- Starting The YA Room. In November of 2016, Alex and I talked about starting a young adult book club in Melbourne for the first time. In January of this year, we hosted our first event, and now we’re approaching the biggest event we’ve ever planned – YA Day on Sunday 28 January. Neither of us can believe how much this book club has grown and developed over the course of a single year, and we’re so thankful for all the love and support we’ve received. We can’t wait to do even bigger and better things in 2018!
- Successfully completing my first year at university. I’m currently one third of the way through my uni course, which is Professional Communication! While I’m not loving it as much as I’d hoped, I’m so thrilled I got into the course I’d always dreamed of doing when I was in high school and doing well in all my subjects. I’ve met some really great people in my course too, and I’m so thankful for their friendship and all our Nandos shenanigans between lectures this year.
- I’ve met so many new amazing bloggers, authors, and writers! Part of what came with starting The YA Room with Alex was meeting so many new people and having opportunities to do interviews with authors and organise events that wasn’t possible before. I’ve interviewed Angie Thomas, met Samantha Shannon, and interviewed and hosted events with a variety of Aussie authors, including Danielle Binks, Alison Evans, Michael Pryor, Lili Wilkinson, Will Kostakis, Kate O’Donnell, Shivaun Plozza, Steph Bowe, Claire Christian, and so many more. All these people are so lovely and inspirational, and I’ve loved getting to know them more and spend time with them this year.
- Australia legalised marriage equality. It’s been a long time coming and it frustrates me that Australia was so behind the rest of the world on this issue, and it took a lot of hurt and pain for us to get there, but we finally did it. I’m just so relieved that the LGBTQIAP+ community now has the same right as our straight friends to marry the person we love. This year has been hard on a lot of the queer community, but we’ve supported each other and made sure that love wins, and it did. I’m so proud of us.
- My blog has grown and I’ve become more proud of my content. It’s taken me a while to find my blogging ‘voice’ and figure out what kind of content I want to create, but I feel as though I’m finally there. At the beginning of the year, I made a goal to only produce content I wanted to create, regardless of which books I felt pressured to review. Since making that goal, I’ve felt more free to write the kind of posts I’ve always wanted to create but never had the courage to do so, and I think my blog has improved greatly because of it. In just a year, I’ve almost doubled my follower count, and although followers aren’t everything, I think they reflect that you all are enjoying what I post – so thank you so much for reading my blog! It truly means the world to me.
- I’ve learnt to sometimes put myself first for a change, which has greatly improved my mental health. I don’t talk about my mental health on here often, but this year I’ve seen such immense improvements in my diagnosed depression. I’ve learnt to be more open with those that I trust, but what has helped me the most is realising that it’s okay to take time out just for myself and to say no to people. I found that also understanding my own brain and knowing when I needed time out was key, and at the moment, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
- I’ve had the time to do more of the stuff I want to do. It’s so hard in school to make time to write, or blog, or even just spend a day in the city wandering around bookshops, going to Starbucks, and sitting in a park. This year, I’ve also learnt to be content with my own company and to enjoy to do things alone. I’ve loved writing in coffee shops, going to art galleries and movies, and just walking around for hours while I lost myself in an audiobook. I can’t remember the last time I had this much free time and freedom to do what I choose, and it’s such an amazing feeling.
- Creating new things! Not only have I finished two manuscripts this year, I’ve also started making booktube videos for The YA Room, and I’ve also been writing episodes for That YA Podcast – a YA storytelling podcast that my friend Casey and I will be launching early next year. It’s been so fun to work in these different mediums while still blogging! I’m so excited to keep working on these projects next year.
- Become someone I’d proud of. It’s been a long road of self-doubt and being self-conscious, but I think I can finally say that I’m someone I’m happy to be. I still do cringey things and having anxiety makes me question what I say after every conversation with someone, but on the whole, I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud to be queer, to be a nerd, and to be myself unashamedly – flaws and all. I’m far from perfect, but this year I’ve learnt to accept that being perfect is impossible and that we all make mistakes. What matters most is what you learn from them and the way you treat others around you.
What are some of the things you’re proud of from 2017? Did you travel anywhere this year? What was your favourite movie? What TV shows do you enjoy? I’d love to hear all about how your year went (So far! We still have a week or so to go)!