Tuesday, December 31

2013 Goals Reviewed

Well, another year has gone by. I wasn't as productive as I'd hoped, but I'm still pleased with my progress. A lot of family matters came up this year, and there's no way to plan ahead for stuff like that.

Anyway, some of this will be a repeat from my halfway post in July, but I wanted to see it all listed together. Here is my original post, if you want to look at it. 


--Finish A Highlander's Ransom: I did not accomplish this goal, although I did finish the first draft in October. I really wanted to have another novel completed by my birthday but I didn't (no other way to look at it). I'm trying not to beat myself up about it. Tomorrow is a new day and a new year, and I will rock it.

--Write a synopsis and query AHR: Obviously I didn't do this since I didn't finish the book.

--Read at least 50 books this year & keep up with my NTR shelf: I did accomplish this, and actually reached 70 books (as of yesterday morning). My NTR shelf is a bit out of control right now, but that's because I received a lot of books for my birthday and Christmas =)

--Write 500 words a day, or 2500 words a week: Ha, that's funny. One of my biggest weaknesses as a writer is my inability to write everyday. I really need to focus on how to fix this next year.

--Write and finish another novel (this includes writing a query letter and synopsis): Alright, this didn't happen either. Next year I will be better, I swear.

--Renew Celtic Hearts, RWA, and Romantic Times Magazine subscription: Yes, I accomplished something (spending money)! Although, to be fair, this is a big investment. These memberships aren't cheap.

--Order new business cards: I decided not to do this right now because  I haven't quite decided whether I want to be Natalie Murphy or Natalie Nicholas. I imagine I won't do this unless I 1). Get an agent/book deal or 2). Attend a conference.

--Buy domain name and create a website: Like the above goal, I haven't decided whether to be Murphy or Nicholas. I have bought the domain name for Nicholas, but Murphy was not available. I also haven't created a website, but again, I'm not sure whether I should yet. At the moment I think my blog is sufficient.

--Join Hearts Through History RWA Chapter: Decided not to do this after doing more research.

--Be a judge for the Golden Claddagh Contest: I was a judge for the contemporary category, and I subbed a few times for the historical category as well.

--Continue working on the Celtic Hearts Call of the Clans Newsletter: I did two newsletters for the group this year, but decided to stop because it took up too much of my writing time.

--Look at attending the RWA National Conference in Atlanta: This did not happen. We simply didn't have the money. Oh well!

Bonus Writing:

--I gained a new critique partner with Jena Lang! Seriously, love her. I've never felt more confident about my writing.

--Critiqued for Jena! She's very talented. Watch out, she'll be on the NYT best seller lists in no time.

--I was asked to be the Young Adult/New Adult coordinator for the Golden Claddagh Contest. It was very time consuming and stressful, but I managed. I'm not sure I would do it again (too much politics involved in what should have been a simple contest).

--I beta'd two books this year and critiqued one. I also helped edit and critique various assignments for some of my friends in university.


--Continue to keep up on birthdays: Yep, I did this. People seem to love getting birthday cards in the mail, so this is something I will definitely keep up.

--Continue to work towards Green Card, SSN, and Virginia driver's license: I received my Green Card on July 5th; it was issued on July 1st. After that I got my SSN and driver's license no problem.

--Work on resume & find a job: I have updated my resume but haven't found a job yet.

--Go through the entire house and donate a bunch of clothes and other items: I did this and am in the midst of doing it for a second time. The first time we donated a "Jeep load" of clothes. It was approximately 12 giant garbage bags full.

--Train Powell: We attended a training class for Powell back in January/February. We're always finding new tricks to teach him.

Bonus Personal:

--We bought an elliptical in April. I managed to lose five or so pounds, but it wasn't enough. On July 8th I decided to start counting points with Weight Watchers as well as working out. Since then I've lost 40 pounds. I've hit a bit of a plateau the past month or so, but that's to be expected with the holiday season. I'm hoping to get back into the groove in January.

Other Stuff (some good, some bad):

--I got second degree burns in March from dropping a pot of boiling water on my hand. It hurt a lot and made my life difficult for several weeks. I later learned that I probably should have gone to the hospital, but at the time I didn't think it was that bad.

--Granny and Pawpaw had a bit of a tough time last winter. Granddad has also been having troubles. He's been in and out of the hospital several times this year. Then in October Granny had a stroke. She's doing okay now, but it was scary for a while there.

--I suffered all year with my arms. I did have a nerve conduction test in August, but they couldn't figure out what was wrong. I'm hoping to get more answers next year.

--My dad injured his back/shoulder and my mum's legs aren't doing that well. Although I'm not there, it is certainly stressful to be away from my parents during this time.

--We had a whole tax fiasco back in April when we went to file our taxes. It wasn't fun, but we got it done (on time)!

--My cousin had a bunch of testing done earlier this year. They thought it was MS at first, but now they've decided its fibromyalgia. Apparently my family has bad nerves ;)

--I planned and organized the family beach trip in August for eleven people.

--Sadly, several family members died this year. Although we weren't that close to them, we are close to others who were. We tried to be there for them as much as possible and even had them over to dinner several times to try and lessen their burden in anyway we could.

--I had a really bad head cold for three weeks in September/October. It really knocked me off my game.

--I went to my first college football game! Virginia Tech vs. Duke. We lost, but I had a blast! =)

--Powell injured his paw and required a vet visit. He also had a weird smell coming from his ears a few weeks ago, but the vet couldn't find anything wrong.

--I had a breast cancer scare in November. I found two lumps, but my doctor assures me there's nothing to be concerned about.

--My cousin announced her engagement! She's getting married on 
June 21st, 2014 back home. She has asked me to be her matron of honor (or El Conquistador of Honor) and she's offered to pay for my plane tickets! I'm hoping to go home for three weeks to visit with everyone.

--I planned and helped organize the Nicholas Family Christmas.

Well, I'm sure there's more, but these are the high points (and low points) of 2013. If I think of anything else, I will add it below.

It wasn't a super great year, but I look back at a lot of it with fondness. Hopefully next year will be even better!


--My grandmother slipped and broke a bone in her upper arm over the weekend. 
Luckily my parents have been able to help her out.

So how was your year? Do you make goals for 2014?


  1. You had a very busy year, Natalie! I applaud you for listing not only the good, but the not so good, too (had no idea about your health scare in November, so glad everything is OK).

    Here's to 2014 - all the best to you, my friend :)

  2. Yay for all the good things and :hugs: for all the not-so good things. Definitely don't beat yourself up for the missed goals. Cuz if you start, then I'll start and we'll be swimming in a puddle of angst.

    2013 was a busy year. On the personal level, I accomplished quite a lot. On the professional level? Squat. Here's to a more balanced 2014. ;o)

  3. Janet-- Yes, I did. I like listing everything so I can look back and see how much I accomplished and how much I went through. I don't like excuses for not reaching goals, but sometimes you need to be realistic at what you've been through. There's no use in beating myself up over a few missed goals--they just pushed me to accomplish them in 2014 instead =)

    Yes, I didn't make that health scare public for obvious reasons. It was pretty terrifying and the fear stuck with me for a long time. I was glad my doctor got back with me right away, and I'm glad I went in over nothing!

    I hope you have a wonderful year! I like your concept of just being. =)

  4. B.E.-- Thank you, hun. It was a very busy year no matter how you look at it! Sometimes I just need the reminder to see what I've been through (both good and bad). It helps me realize that no matter what happens, I'm strong enough to take it on.

    Yeah, I don't see a point in beating myself up over it. I've figured out goals for next year and I will try my damndest to accomplish them! Nothing more I can do =)

    You accomplished SO MUCH on a personal level. Holy crap. I mean, with regards to your house... *shakes head* Crazy.

    A balanced 2014 would be nice ;) I want to see your name in B&N, woman!

  5. Well I am IMPRESSED! You may not have done Everything you wanted to, but you sure accomplished a lot! Major congrats on that 40 pounds. Didn't think you had near that much Extra:)

    And I am throwing my vote for Natalie Nicholas - because you have the domain, and because it sounds so melodic. Have a great 2014!

  6. Suzanne-- Aww, thank you! I am proud of what I accomplished. I just aim high ;)

    Well you are now officially my favorite person ever, LOL! I have a lot more than 40 to lose, but I'm pleased with myself. This wasn't about an "image" or anything like that. This is all about health for me. I wanted to have more energy and I have recently seen what being overweight can do to a person, so I started with the goal to be healthier. The weight loss is just an added bonus.

    Natalie Nicholas has been a crowd favorite. I like it too. I think it flows quite well, especially with the double N's. I've been very lucky that I like both my maiden name and my married name.

  7. I'm impressed and proud of all you accomplished this year. When you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Your passion and drive inspire me every day. Yay, you! <3 I can't wait to see what you do in 2014. Here's to dreams coming true!

    2013 was a year I'd like to forget. I'm so glad it's over. There were too many bad moments, except for when we became critique partners. Best day ever!

  8. Jen-- Aww, thank you hun! You helped more than you know! <3

    This is the year we make our dreams happen, girl! We can do it!

    Awwwwww *big squishy hugs* Love ya! xoxo

  9. You accomplished so much this year, so you should definitely be proud of yourself! I'm like you with the writing everyday - I'm trying to do that, but sometimes I get caught up in other things. I'm going to *try* to work on that this year. And I'm so glad everything turned out good for you in November! I had no idea you had to go through that. I went through a health scare in August, so I know how terrifying that can be.

  10. Mel-- Thank you, hun =) Yes, writing every day is difficult. Life gets in the way, and our creativity wanes depending on what we're up against.

    Yeah, I did not make that particular scare public, mainly because I had no idea what was going on. I decided not to alarm everyone until I knew more, and by that point I didn't feel like scaring everyone on Thanksgiving lol.

    I'm sorry about your health scare. They're absolutely terrifying to go through. *hugs*


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