Now that Christmas is over and 2023 is getting close, which will hopefully be an even better year than 2022, I’ve been looking back at what I’ve done this year. Writing-wise, this year has been pretty good for me. I’ve written more in this year than I have in any other year I’ve been alive. In one project I’ve written 25,000 words, and in another I’m nearing 35,000, plus a couple of short stories and other little things. I’ve also got plans for two more longer stories that I’m hoping to get started with next year once I’ve finished these two.

I’ve also read a fair bit more than I have in recent years. I’ve given myself a lot more time to read books than normal, which I’ve enjoyed and I’ve been reading a lot more varied books as well. One of the things I wanted to do was read everything that was shortlisted for the Booker Prize earlier in the year. (The plan was to read all 6 and write a post about it before the winner was announced, which I didn’t end up doing, but I did read 4/6 and really enjoyed 3 of those books. Treacle Walker is not something I liked at all.)

Through that challenge I read Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout, which I absolutely loved. I read about 50 pages in one sitting and knew that this was something special and read the rest of the book so quickly. I was excited when I found out that there were more books about Lucy Barton, and started reading the others. I also asked for most of Strout’s books for Christmas, and now I’m only missing one, so will be reading them all very soon. So Oh William! is my favourite book I’ve read this year, which I think came out in 2021. My favourite book that came out this year is The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy. I love reading good dialogue, even if the conversation is just meandering and there’s so many good moments in The Passenger, and I love that it starts with a mystery plot that’s really interesting, but by the time the book ends I was more interested in the characters just talking and living.

To read more, I’ve had to pretty much give up playing games. I still play a few games, but no where near as much as I used to. Out of the games I have played, my favourite of the year by far is Crisis Core – Final Fantasy VII – Reunion. Pretty much every spare moment I’ve had has been playing this game since it came out. I’m on the last chapter now, and doing all of the side stuff before I finish up the story. I love the way the actual story is told, and the way it adds to the original FF7. I never played the original version on PSP, so this is all new to me and it’s made me want to replay through FF7 again afterwards.

Looking forward briefly, I have a few things I want to do in 2023. I want to finish up all the projects I’ve started with writing, and be able to look back this time next year with them finished and editing in progress. With reading, I want to have read all of Elizabeth Strout and Don DeLillo’s books by the end of the year. I’m also going to try and spend as little time on social media as possible. It’s such a timesink and I don’t enjoy it. I don’t post or tweet anything (I have it set to auto-post about the blog posts when they go live), just read posts from others. I have cut down my time massively over the last few months. I don’t have access on my phone, only on my laptop, so I can’t spend all day scrolling through nothing. I just worry that I’m going to miss out on events being announced, or news that I wouldn’t pick up anywhere else.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a happy new year!

About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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