Reflections and Projections: One writer’s​ highs and lows of 2018

It’s that time of year when we inevitably begin to reflect on the last twelve months and begin to think about how we’d like the next 12 months to pan out.

For me, 2018 has been a year of highs and lows. The first half of the year saw me make much progress in my writing with professional edits and submissions to agents, while the second half of the year had me struggling to even get myself to the keyboard. Agh, not to mention it has been almost two months since I’ve written a blog post! But, when I look at the big picture I can see that I’ve I’ve achieved quite a lot in the past year and I’ll be entering 2019 with clear goals.

Finding the Balance_ Writing, Working, Parenting + Life-2

So here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been doing in terms of writing, reading and blogging about in 2018.

Top 5 blog posts of 2018

This year, I introduced a new blog interview series on how debut authors secured a literary agent. It proved to be very popular and I am so pleased that other writers found the information useful. These are the most visited blog posts on my site for 2018:

I paid for a structural edit on my novel: This is what I learned about my writing

Top 5 competitions to enter an unpublished manuscript in 2018 (Australia)

Louise Allan: How I Got An Agent (Interview)

Ben Hobson: How I Got An Agent (Interview)

Joanna Nell: How I Got An Agent (Interview)


Top 5 Writing Achievements of 2018

writer persistence

  1. Finished a manuscript and had it professionally edited. 
  2. Pitched to an agent face to face at the ASA literary speed dating event in Sydney
  3. Sent out more than a dozen submissions for my manuscript and got back 2 personalised (and encouraging) rejections
  4. Wrote a children’s manuscript (so random!)
  5. Officially launched my content/ copywriting business (after freelancing on and off for years) AND landed some long-term clients AND wrote approximately 20,000 words in non-fiction articles

I also started a new thriller manuscript which is up to 30,000 words and wrote 3 short stories which I entered in short story competitions.

Top 5 Writing Lowlights of 2018


  1. My 3-year-old stopped having day sleeps and I struggled to keep up a writing routine
  2. My 11-year-old Cocker Spaniel Buddy sadly passed away and I miss having him by my desk while I type
  3. I took on a lot of freelancing work (great for the bank account) but it really messed with the work/ life/ writing balance so I had to cut back
  4. I’m currently at a tally of NINE rejections for my manuscript and I’m awaiting feedback from a few more agents (I won’t hold my breath!)
  5. No blog posts in the past two months 🙁

When I look at all the things I’ve achieved with my writing, it makes me feel less guilty for losing rhythm in the second half of the year. I also have to remember not to be too hard on myself. I’ve had a lot of challenges in both my personal life and in my writing world this year and on top of all that, juggling a part-time job, a freelance business and a three-year-old!

When I became a mum, I was surprised at how easily I could write in snippets of time. I’m a fast typer and there have been times when I’ve managed to get down more than 500 words in just twenty minutes. But this current manuscript has been particularly difficult and I haven’t had the emotional energy to stick at it. I’ve found it hard to dip in and out of the story and the character’s heads. I’ve really craved longer periods of writing time which has just been impossible in recent months. I’m hoping that will change in 2019 when my daughter starts preschool!

Top 5 books of 2019

I read 26 books this year plus a few writing reference books. A majority of the books I read were fiction, written by Australian authors, and many in the crime/ thriller genre. So, I have to do two fave book lists, one for crime and one for other fiction.

throw blanket, writer, keep warm, winter

Top 5 Crime Books

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

Top 5 Fiction Books

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

The Sisters Song by Louise Allan

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell

The Lace Weaver by Lauren Chater

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeymon

Top 5 writing goals for 2019

writer confidence

My goals are much the same as the last two years, only this time I have to get a better writing routine.

  1. Stick to a writing routine
  2. Finish my WIP
  3. Edit my WIP
  4. Prepare a pitch for WIP
  5. SUBMIT!


And that’s it from me! I wish you all the best of luck with your writing goals for 2019!

Happy holidays


Lauren x





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