2019 In Review: Bookish Goals and All My Failures

As I write this, it’s December 30th, 2019. I put on some ambient sounds this morning, curled up with with my cat and a piping hot mug of coffee, and reflected on my year in 2019.

I accomplished a lot of what I wanted. I also failed a good amount. I don’t usually set New Year’s goals, but at the beginning of the year I did. Here’s what I said I would accomplish.


My 2019 Bookish Goals:

✔️ Win NaNoWriMo.

✔️ Attend an event as an author.

✔️ Make every single blog post deadline for the Midnight Society.

✔️ Finish another novel and query it to my dream agent.

✔️ Promote other authors and their talents (aka help my fellow writing community).

✔️ Start a new literary agency internship.

✔️ Read 100 novels.

✔️ Finish Harrowed 3.

✔️ Put out another anthology.

✔️ Learn as much as possible about anything writing or book related.

✔️ Go to the American Library Association Mid-Winter conference.

✔️ Start and maintain my Bookstagram.

✔️ Join a subscription book box.

✔️ Maintain a membership to a writing association.

✔️ Finish Love Spell, the witchy romance I write on Wattpad.



Here’s How I Did…

I failed. At a lot of these. Not all of them. Let’s look at each one.

? Win NaNoWriMo!

I failed at this. I did participate in NaNoWriMo. I stared a new story that I’m really enjoying. But I did not finish. But I did end the month with more words (about 20,000) and I’m glad I participated to keep building new habits. If you’re on NaNoWriMo’s site and/or you participate, add me! My username is Carniehands. My goal for 2020 is to keep participating in every NaNoWriMo, win or lose.

✔️ Attend an event as an author.

I was lucky enough to be on a YA Horror author panel at MidSummer Scream this year, through HWA. It was such an honor and I owe a lot of thanks to the people that allowed me to join them. I attended MidSummer Scream as an attendee last year and it was so cool to be a part of it! This wasn’t my first horror author panel event, but it was one of my favorites. You can watch the panel here. I’m surrounded by talented people and I’m so grateful!

? Make every single blog post deadline for the Midnight Society.

I reallllly failed at this one. This is something that will be a priority for 2020. I need to be better about following my blogging schedule. And something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately—making time for what is important to me.

? Finish another novel and query it to my dream agent.

I did not do this. I did not finish another novel, nor did I query this year. But I read a ton of other people’s queries, lurked in query pitch contests for the agency I work for. This will certainly be a goal I carry with me into 2020.

✔️ Promote other authors and their talents (aka help my fellow writing community).

Yes! I did this! In a number of ways. I ran my annual Halloween writing showcase. This year’s theme was urban legends and there were so many amazing stories this year. Check them out and read them for free any time you like. Huge thank you to the artists and authors who participate in this to make it something amazing!

I also read a ton of manuscripts for my internship. I tried to stay present and encourage authors, offer honest feedback, and advocate for books I thought were awesome. I bought the books my friend’s published and made sure to leave them reviews. I was a cheerleader whenever I could. I joined a ton of horror related blog tours too, to keep the horror author love alive.

✔️ Start a new literary agency internship!

I did this! I was lucky enough to start with Corvisiero Literary Agency in January 2019, and I’m so lucky. This is such a fantastic team of intelligent, helpful, kind, caring people, headed up by the incredible Marisa Corvisiero and Saritza Hernandez. I’ve done so many internships before and this is the best one, hands down, I’ve ever had. I’ve learned so much and I’m so grateful to Marisa and the awesome team for taking me into the wonderful team she’s cultivated.

If you’re querying, I highly recommend checking them out. You can see my team and their bios/interests here. They care so much about what they do and about their authors.

✔️ Read 100 novels.

I both failed and accomplished this. When I made this goal, I set out to read 100 published novels. I didn’t make that goal (reading 100 published novels) but I read well over 100 novels, between the published novels and all of the unpublished manuscripts I get to read as part of my internship.

? Finish Harrowed 3.

That’s a negative ghostwriter. Brian and I have both been so busy, we haven’t really had a chance to write together in some time. This is something that I would love to change in 2020. To make the time to write about what’s important to me. We both are workaholics and that gets in the way of our personal endeavors. Also, a lot of life happened in 2019, some of it really hard stuff that ate into creative time.

? Put out another anthology.

I have numerous anthology ideas spinning in my head and two that are in progress right now. I love anthologies and reading incredible short stories from talented authors is such a blessing. I would love to do more of this in 2020.

✔️ Learn as much as possible about anything writing or book related.

I think I’ve done a good job of this. I’ve read a ton of books on writing. Started my internship. Asked a lot of questions. I read a ton of blogs online. I have a subscription to Publisher’s Marketplace. I joined Horror Writer’s Association. And I will keep learning as much as I can, forever.

✔️ Go to the American Library Association Mid-Winter conference.

I did this. I met up with my brother in January, in Washington state, and we went to ALA’s MidWinter conference and it was AMAZING. I had the best time with my brother. Below is a picture I took at sunset one of those magical days exploring along the coast.

After ALA, we roadtripped around the state of Washington and did a lot of hiking and checking out beautiful places. I would love to do that again. I really hope that ALA continues to do west coast events, because not everyone can afford to travel to the east coast for bookish stuff. They usually do one east coast and one west coast event, but in 2020, both their big conference and midwinter are on the east coast, which makes me sad.

✔️ Start and maintain my Bookstagram.

I started my Bookstagram. I didn’t maintain it as much as I’d liked but I did post an okay amount and participated in some awesome blog tour events through major publishers. This will be a 2020 goal to do even better. I am always looking for more Bookstagrammers to follow, so let me know if you’re on Insta and what your account is so I can give it a follow! Or if you have a favorite Bookstagrammer, let me know that too!

Here’s my Bookstagram: @JoleneHaleyBooks.

? Join a subscription book box.

I didn’t! But I researched a lot of them and know which ones I would like to try. I think OwlCrate is definitely one of them. They did a box this November 2019 for WinterWood and I about died when I saw the exclusive cover with the sprayed edges. Here’s a link to the author’s Instagram account where she shares a picture of the special edition book.

✔️ Maintain a membership to a writing association.

I joined HWA in 2018, I believe, but I’ve stayed a member through 2019. I’m pretty happy that I joined and so far I would recommend it. I’d like to attend meetings in person this coming year.

✔️ Finish Love Spell, the witchy romance I write on Wattpad.

I did not update Love Spell as much as I would have liked, but I did update the story periodically through 2019. Love Spell isn’t finished by any stretch of the imagination BUT, as I write this I have over 84.6 reads and I’m sitting at #1 in witchy stories and #9 in YA romance.

Thank you to every reader, every person who has ever left me a comment encouraging me to keep going, and for every person who has taken the time to peek. You keep me inspired and I’m grateful to have you in my coven.




What were some of your 2019 goals? Did you meet them? I’d love to know in the comments below. Or if you have some awesome 2020 goals, let me know those too. I’d love to hear. I’ll be posting an update when I finish working out my 2020 goals.

Merry Christmas to all of you. Here’s to the roaring 20’s!

Much love and magic,


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