The Twenty-Something Series: 2019 all wrapped up

It's that time - here's my roundup post of everything that's gone on in 2019, from learning languages and getting a new job, to publishing my first books in five years.

Well, folks, it has been A Year. And with 2020 looming, it’s that time again, for a wrap up post of everything that’s gone on this year.

And boy, has it been a lot. So let's dive on in!

So. Many. New. Books!

Not only did I have my first books published in five years (FIVE! YEARS!) with The Beach House coming out in May and my debut adult book, It Won’t Be Christmas Without You, coming out in autumn, but I worked on six further books – most of which I talked about here, and a few of which I’ve been able to announce! 

Notably, the long-awaited sequel to The Kissing Booth (Going the Distance) and a spin-off for World Book Day, The Kissing Booth: Road Trip. And with new books out or on the horizon, my agency has also been busy selling foreign rights, which is so exciting to see.

TL;DR: I’ve been working on all of the books and branching out into adult fiction focusing on twenty-somethings has been so much fun.

I really struggled with writing new stuff during uni and just after. Last year I got more settled and got back into writing again – and this year, I finally feel like I’ve got my groove back! (Boom, baby!) (Oh, right. The reference. The reference to Kuzco... That reference?)

New languages!

Ich kanne sprechen ein bissen Deutsche & Eu fala algunas palavras en Portugues. I’d already learnt some German in 2017, but finished my Duolingo course this year and would like to keep working at it next year. And, since I got so many Instagram comments and messages in Portuguese and was going back to Brazil this year, I decided it was about time I put my Spanish skills to use and learnt some Portuguese – which I’d also like to work on more next year.

Travelling – Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro

I didn’t get to do an awful lot of sightseeing on either of these trips (especially in Rio) but – how exciting those trips were! I loved every second of being on set with everyone for The Kissing Booth 2 in Cape Town, and being back in Brazil to sign books for hours on end was just such a special experience. (Plus, I even used my new-found Portuguese skills to order room service, and understand the gist of what people said to me. Go me!)

Doing more of what I love

Aside from all the writing and jetting off to fancy places for bookish events, this year I decided to do more of what I enjoy – like going to the theatre. After my agent closed some deals for the TKB2 novel, I treated myself to seeing The Lion King in London. I rallied some friends to see Six and took myself to Book of Mormon, and found a mate who also wanted to see The Nutcracker ballet. I’ve been to the cinema by myself a few times before, but went quite a bit at the start of the year (and even used a day off work recently to go see Last Christmas!).

I got a permanent role at work!

In 2017, I joined the company I’m at now on a graduate scheme, with a fixed-term two-year contract, which was due to end in September. I was keen to stay at the company and back in May, a permanent job opportunity came up – in the right sort of department and with a good team. And I got it! I even negotiated my salary, so go me!

Beginning the house hunt

I feel like I really levelled up in adulthood this year: I went and got myself a mortgage promise and went to look at houses. Houses! To buy! To finally stop renting! Once I got the permanent job contract, the house hunting started in earnest… 

And while it was unsuccessful and I put it on hold while I was on that ‘write a whole first draft in five weeks’ deadline in October/November and due to some uncertainty at work, this felt like a pretty big milestone for me – and one that hopefully will be more successful in the next year or so. (You have no idea how excited I am to buy some lovely big bookshelves, and frame my posters. Imagine! Hanging things on the walls, wherever I want, with no worries about a landlord!) (I promise I'm cool. No, that's a lie. I promise I'm every bit the nerd you believe me to be.)

Working with brands more

Now this was something I put on my vision board, and my list of goals for 2019. I didn’t have much of a plan (okay, I had no plan at all) but it ended up working out! I did a panel with Birchbox for International Women’s Day, was invited to a pop-up skating rink at Bar Elba in London, attended the His Dark Materials and Christmas Carol premieres with BBC, and did a promo for Joanie Clothing (whose Bronte jumper I’m completely in love with). 

PLUS, more recently I announced a partnership with NCS and their short story competition - more on that here.

I know maybe it sounds silly, or that some of you might roll your eyes at this one – but since it was something I wanted to do, I’m really proud that it makes the list.

Cooking new things!

I wanted to cook something new this year. That was it, that was the goal. Simple as that. Cook something new. I also wanted to bake more – I like baking, but since I live by myself and not too near many friends, I’m at a loss of what to do once I’ve baked. But I did both of these! I even started keeping a recipe book for the recipes I came across that worked and that I liked, and made fudge for the first time. (It... did not work out. But at least I tried!)

Becoming more self-aware

This year, I made a more conscious effort to think about some of this stuff and reflect on it. Like burning out: it wasn’t some symbol of success, and I hated when it happened. This year, I kept a close eye on myself, knew what to look for, and successfully avoided it – and am so much better off for it. 

And realising how high a value I put on productivity was a big one for me: but it’s also meant that I’ve focused on my goals, thought about what I want to do and need to do, and actively thinking about how I’m being ‘productive’ has ended up reducing my stress so much… and helped me work on eight books, too, which is something I had to repeat because I’m just not over that. (EIGHT!)

And that’s 2019 all wrapped up! I really can't wait for 2020, and to see what else I can achieve then.

Did you have any goals you achieved this year, or do something you’re especially proud of? (Honestly, that apple crumble I baked – well done me, even three months later!) Share in the comments or let me know over on Twitter, where I’m @Reekles!

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